To Fix or Not to Fix

When I was in the Marines, as a PFC (Private First Class, a.k.a. a “boot” in the fleet, sometimes even a “shower shoe”), I was told to fix the broken bench on an aluminum pick-a-nic table (hey Boo Boo!).  “Aye,aye, Sergeant!”

 Not a endorsement either way.

Once a Marine, Always a Marine!

I assessed the defect and determined what exactly was needed to make the repair. (This in Okinawa, too.) I told my Sergeant that I needed to go to the hardware store and get this part and I would have it fixed lickety split, all the while thinking, “Wait a minute–you’re in a foreign country. How are you going to ask a native where the hardware store is? Maybe I will use sign language and depict hammering. No, not a good idea in a military uniform to depict pounding on something.)

The Sergeant said, “Follow me.” We went down the stairs and he pointed to a set of old raggedy a$$ gym lockers (I’ll spare you the details of the whiff I sniffed in my mind (gym lockers, ladies and gents). Sgt. French, while successively pointing all 1,2,3, & 4 fingers, said, “There’s yer four hardware stores. Now fix it.” As he walked away, I though to myself, bubble, bubble, bubble, “You blankety, blank piece a blankety blank blank blank.”

That day I learned a valuable lesson in the reality of our ever-so-short existence on this blue and green (and brown) planet. That being to work with what you have and when all else fails, work with something else and get the job done.

Now this post goes for anyone in any industry, including the consumer of everything.

It Can Be Fixed!

I recently ordered custom cherry cabinet doors from a wonderful purveyor of quality wood doors (kiss, kiss) and such, Donald Dean & Sons, Inc.As a know it all (well, not really, but almost), I understand that some things can be overlooked, but when working with wood, wood is the boss and it is quite possible that nothing was overlooked, especially when the company engine is running hot to please ALL it’s customers. Wood does what it does. In transit, wood experiences various climate conditions which can most likely effect the stability of it and sometimes we just can’t know what wood is going to do. This is where the skills of a highly detail-oriented, knowledgeable and experienced problem solver come into play, whoever you are.

I called the company and informed them of the situation. They were ready to drop everything they were doing in order to get a new door out as fast as they could (within 3 days generally). Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!

A little glue and that joint will not separate!

As I assessed the door, the genius in me took over (you know, that genius collected from a multitude of other geniuses, yeah, that one. Hint, hint, we all have one!).Wanting to get the project completed, I determined that a little bit of good old wood glue would do just fine without sacrificing the integrity of the finished product. I turned the door upside down and worked on the back side of the door so that I wouldn’t further tarnish the visual side. As I gently, yet quickly applied the glue with a brush, I made certain not to overstuff the fracture with glue in attempt to keep the glue from seeping out of the crack on the visible side when I applied the clamp.


I then clamped the joint ensuring that everything was flush and fit properly, but only enough to meet the fractured ends firmly together while not overpowering the clamp!!

Lets see what happens when stained.

Voila! Ready for finish. And THAT is how to allow little or no waste. And that, too, allows my supplier to focus on the all those other customers so that the next time I am patiently waiting in line, my turn might just get there a little faster.

You ask, “But what if the glue joint comes apart?” Glue 101: It won’t. If I used a superior quality wood glue (which I did) and fastened the seem correctly, this seem will never break, no argument about it. As a matter of fact, I will mark my door inconspicuously to ensure that the wounded side of this door does not suffer the stress of the hinges. Easy cheesy Louisy.

Thanks Donald Dean and all your sons and daughters who made my doors. Until we meet again…

“I Am America!”

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