Monday, February 18, 2013
They Said It Can't Be Done!
This story starts over 100 years ago with the beginning of "Thomas Jewellers" an institution in Geelong. Situated on the corner of Moorabool and Malop Streets it has enjoyed primacy in the city for over a century.
Thomas recently underwent a makeover, rumoured to have cost over a million dollars! I've never been into the shop but the outside has certainly been spruced up.
A few months ago, while the refurbishment was still going on, I was driving the Nightrider bus which takes the pubbers and clubbers home to the coastal towns around Geelong through the early hours of a Sunday morning. That's when I spotted something interesting in a skip bin outside Thomas. NB. This is not THE skip bin in question, it's just an example of A skip bin for the sake of the post.
It was a wooden cabinet which I'm guessing had formed part of the old counter. It appealed to me so after the shift I went back and hauled it out of the skip bin and brought it home in the back of my station wagon.
I particularly liked all the different sized and shaped hutches and a vision formed in my mind of transforming it into a bookcase by sawing it in half. From side to side. To form two "identical bookcases which might even sit one on top of the other.
But how to do it? Cutting something like this cabinet with all of it's shelves, struts and dividers would be tricky.
That's when I thought of "Redgum & Iron", a very interesting business in North Geelong that cuts up great big slabs of redgum and sculpts stuff out of rusty iron such as old railway pins. Surely they could run it through one of their big saws?
No, turns out they couldn't!
"That's a %*@> of a job mate a real %*@>, can't help you"
Fair enough. Back to the drawing board.
What about a chainsaw? Chris next door has one and while he was willing, he was very reluctant.
"It'll just chew it to pieces Marcus!"
What to do?
Obviously it was a specialist job, requiring specialist tools. Time to hit ebay.
A circular power saw should work for the outside.
Lo and behold, there's a power saw going for $20 in Gympie.
Pop lives in Gympie!
45 minutes till the bidding closes.
G'day Pop, can you go onto ebay and look at something for me?
20 minutes and half a dozen attempts later we were finally looking at the same item!
Pardon the pun but we were cutting it fine!
Yeah it looks alright Son and yes I can bring it down with me in January if you win it.
I was the only bidder so for $20 and a personal courier to transport it a couple of thousand km I had the first tool I'd need.
Next on the list was a jigsaw which I managed to get at a garage sale for $10.
The final and critical tool was Mum's "Renovator". You may have seen them advertised on TV. I can vouch for them as being a very handy and adaptable cutting device.
Employing the help of my trusty sidekick Sport Boy I set to the cabinet with a succession of power saws.
Note the combination of safety glasses and steel toed socks he chose for the job!
A precision job like this one requires careful measurement!!! In reality I was just trying to establish a line to follow with the saws.
Sadly my photographer went out just after this and didn't get to capture for posterity the brilliant manouvreing and dexterity of my woodworking skills!
Suffice to say it was tricky and required a high degree of problem solving, not to mention the semi-dismantling of the cabinet, but after an hour or so I had achieved the first part of the task: The cabinet was separated into two roughly equal parts. The final cuts, made in the narrowest sections were achieved using the Renovator with the blade turned back towards me, quite a neat trick if I do say so myself.
Next came the reassembling. A hammer and a packet of nails and another hour or so and voila,
"half-cabinet A" was back in one piece.
That was enough for one day. I put the second one together the next day.
Next came the sanding and tidying up. Admittedly the back of each cabinet was pretty munted due to the difficulty of getting to each surface and section but as they will spend their lives hidden up against the wall I was not worried about that. A couple of hours of sanding had them both in good enough order to be moved inside although the second one had to await a spray of varnish.
They now stand neatly and proudly against the wall in the lounge and I have to say I am VERY PLEASED with myself! And Mrs HP likes them too.
So, to all the scoffers and doubters and those who said it couldn't be done: I did it!!