Why, you ask? Well, a few months ago, a friend of mine came over and helped me fix the fence to keep Ruby in and to mount the new gate hardware to make sure that the gates stayed closed. The problem was that the gate in the back fence had shifted over the years and the new hardware that I had bought would not fit in the spot that the old hardware had occupied, being of a substantially different design.
Ted suggested shifting the hardware to a lower position on the gate, I agreed, and he screwed it all together. And life was good.
Except that the screws holding the latch that was attached to the gate went through a single cedar plank. And given a certain amount of abuse, they loosened and one of them fell out and became lost.
I took a look at the situation. OK, I would need two new screws and a piece of scrap wood that I could stick behind the holes and I could make this work. I picked up the screws at Home Depot and they were good enough to let me salvage a piece of scrap and home I went.
When I screwed the new screws through the cedar plank and into the scrap wood that I'd tacked to the back of the plank with some nails, the scrap wood fell apart into pieces. This was not at all what I had in mind.
Time to reexamine the problem. The gate swung freely at the bottom, but the cedar plank was a problem up near the top. Let's pop it off and see what everything looks like. After all, I had spare planks in the garage. The aged plank was removed and it now became apparent that the problem was with the piece of wood 2x4 at the top of the gate which had been inserted to anchor some older revision of the gate hardware at some time during the 20 years that the fence has been up. It stuck out too far.
Well, I could fix that. If I had the right tool. But I didn't actually have a hand saw at this point in time.
I had, however, been musing about the general usefulness of a reciprocating saw for a while now.
So back to Home Depot I went. I checked out the rechargeable saws and determined that they were damnably expensive; I then purchased the cheapest Ryobi corded saw I could find and an extra 100 feet of extension cord in the interest of avoiding a three tripper for this project.
Gretchen stabilized the gate while I used the new off-brand Sawzall to remove about an inch from the end of the offending 2x4. (Somewhere during the middle of sawing off this inch of extremely damp wood, it decided to rain and we unplugged and retreated to the house for ten minutes, since I think trying to use a plugged-in saw in the rain is just asking for it.) The gate now swung freely. I installed the post-side hardware, then nailed the new plank onto the gate. Screwed the gate-side hardware back in and the gate closed happily.
And then I went back to the house to grab the saw, lopped off the excess length of cedar plank at the top, and declared victory.
I am sure that I will find something else that I need a reciprocating saw for.
It will come in handy some day.