Sunday, November 7, 2010

Making Do With Available Materials

This post is nothing fancy.  I just wanted to note that by setting aside one's desire for nice things, one's options for getting things done increases many-fold.

Case in point: I needed a cover to protect an old wood boat I was restoring.  Not only did it need to keep the rain off, I needed to work under it too.  It needed to be cheap and portable.  I could have paid $1000 on a 14x24 hoop greenhouse that took half a day to assemble.  I could have scoured craigslist for a used one for half the price, but one usually pays the price for buying used: incomplete parts, or it needs a new cover, etc.

I rent my shop.  The owner stashed many long lengths of inch and a quarter schedule 40 PVC behind his barn.  It wasn't getting used, and since it had been lying in the sun for a few seasons, it wasn't ever going to get used in a critical plumbing situation.  I started rubbing my chin...

Four hours after the rubbing, I had this:

The boat is a 1958 Lightning Class Sloop

Its ugly, but its cheap, and with only a half day invested, its the epitome of farmer tech.  I paced off the foundation, sinking rebar scraps into the ground every six of my actual feet.  Then, eyeballing square, I paced another 14 feet across and sunk another row of five rebar scraps.  Then I simply cut the pipe to length with a cordless sawzall and, slipping the PVC over the rebar, raised the "framing".

I was pleased with the utility of the method.  Coming from a carpenter's background, I'm used to adhering to the maxim: "plumb, parallel and square".  HAHAHAHA!  I didn't even use a tape measure.

I've owned the World's Largest Tarp for ten years, a leftover from a remodel I did in 2000.  It needed to be huge to cover the roof I had taken off.  Afterwards, I coveted was huge!  And it cost me a hundred bucks!  I'm not getting rid of this!  Ten years later: the payoff.  I unfolded the enormous tarp in a field (its bigger than a yard, one needs a field).  Taking a deep breath, I cut it in half.  Oh yeah, that took guts, I know!  What you see here is only half of The Worlds Largest Tarp.  I told you it was huge!

Square lashing with mason's twine I found unused in a tool bucket of mine:

The PVC is too wobbly, so I anchored it thus:

This getup prevents the whole works from blowing away:

I paid 2.99 for the blue plastic grommets at Harbor Freight.