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Bill Roper's Journal
Two Trips to the Hardware Store Later 
15th-Feb-2009 02:57 pm
This morning, I got out of bed, showered, shaved, and went off to install the new outdoor light fixtures. As might have been expected, things did not go smoothly.

I removed the first of the old fixtures and discovered that the existing fixture box was recessed behind the brick so that the supplied mounting screws for the new fixture weren't long enough. So I took the headless screw that the manufacturer had supplied off to the hardware store where I'd bought the fixtures. The lighting guy sent me to hardware. The hardware guys stared at it, sold me some #6 screws and a bolt cutter, and sent me home.

This would have been great had a number six screw actually been what would fit in the mounting plate. I inspected the old mounting hardware and realized that I'd threaded a slightly larger screw through from the rear. This made sense and suggested that I really didn't need to cut off the screw head.

So daisy_knotwise, Katie, Julie, and I packed off to lunch and then back to the hardware store. I returned all of the previous purchase, then walked back to the hardware department with the mounting hardware. I handed it to the guy who had sold me the #6 screw before, informing him that a #6 was too small.

This time, he tested it with a #8 screw -- which fit fine -- and I bought a packet of longer screws than the ones that I'd used the last time I mounted an outdoor fixture on this box, since the screws that were in the old mount were clearly too short. I came home, mounted the fixture with no further difficulty, and everything was fine.

The next fixture box stuck out slightly from the wall. This meant that the screws that were supplied with the light were more than long enough, but I ended up having to cut and insert a wood shim to get it to hang right.

Then I went to hang the last light. I was almost done. I just had to put the last little round black nut on the outside. And I had to do it left handed. The one thing I didn't want to do was -- Oops!

Was to drop the little round black nut on the black dirt behind the holly bushes. *sigh*

I called Gretchen for help, because she's better close to the ground than I am. After about two minutes, she located the missing nut. I twisted it on tight, went to the basement, turned the circuit breakers back on.

And there was light!

16th-Feb-2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Was talking to a friend about her bathroom restoration and she was complaining about how many trips the contractor made to the hardware store every day. She felt that, since he'd been doing this sort of thing for decades, he should know what he'll need beforehand. I tried to explain to her that every project, no matter how well prepared, will require *at least* 2 trips to the hardware store. Often several more. It's just the way it works. She wan't buying it. But then, she's the sort who can afford to pay for contractors and hasn't really ever done any home improvement projects.
16th-Feb-2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yup. I'm making a bracelet. Not all of this counts as it's from different types of stores.

Already had the bronze and the amber and most of the tools. Intended to edge the bronze with half-round brass wire to make it look thicker and for pretty. They don't sell it. Bought two spools of brass wire in different gauges and a draw plate for half round wire. Two gravers, with handles, some fine sandpaper, and some very thin brass to mount the amber.

How do I mount the draw plate? Well, I have a big vice but nothing to mount -that- on. So I go to the hardware store for a length of 2x8, some carriage bolts, and some heavy plastic sheeting to put under the 2x8 when I clamp it to the table. They didn't have regular nuts to fit so I bought some lock nuts. Went home, counter sunk the carriage bolts from the bottom so they wouldn't show and fastened the vice on with the lock nuts. Nope. The carriage bolts wouldn't hold under that torque so I couldn't clamp them down. Went to a different store and got the right nuts.

Ran the wire through the draw plates and it worked beautifully. Almost. I had assumed that if the round wire had the same cross sectional area as the half-round wire I intended to make it would work fine. Not even close. Turns out the wire also stretches while you're drawing it and the finished product is narrower than I wanted. Off to -another-, closer jewelry store that I hadn't even tried because they specialize in beads. They have heavier gauge brass wire. I also bought the heaviest brass sheet they have, for making the base of the amber mounting. The very thick brass I already have is just too hard to work. This at least cuts easily. Is it heavy enough? I'll find out, maybe the hard way.

Anyway, two jewelry stores and two hardwares -so far- and that's only because I had most of the tools and materials already.

-Every- project always takes at least two trips.
17th-Feb-2009 08:38 am (UTC) - All Projects
All projects will require at least three trips to the hardware store.

Trip to get the light in the first place; check.
Trip to get the stuff you didn't know you would need; check.
Trip to take back the wrong stuff and get the right stuff you didn't know you would need; check.

I would say you are shooting par here.

I just had to drill a large hole in the back of a cabinet to unplug a cord to remove a broken light bulb in the snake cage. Give the choice of that or search outside for a black nut behind the holly bushes, I'll go get my drill and crawl under the cabinet.

Enjoy your illumination.
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