Monday, November 12, 2018
New Garden Bench
Our original garden bench can be seen over Becky's shoulder. It must be more than thirty years old and needs to be rebuilt before it can safely support more than just some potted plants. New oak slats were cut at a local mill several years ago. Holes need to be precisely drilled near the ends for the bolts that fasten slats to cast iron frame. That task is likely included in my operable skill set but so far it has been avoided. As a result a new bench was needed.
Lowe's was the source of our last new bench. A year end sale provided us with a great bench at a fine price. The shade garden near the road is the location of that bench. We looked again this year but benches are no longer stocked in their stores. Benches can be ordered for shipment directly to our home but that seemed somewhat limited. I like to see exactly what my money is to buy. Finally, we surrendered to the way all business will soon be conducted and ordered our new bench online.
We expected the bench to be sent to us unassembled. This is a photo of the entire directions. The thorny issue is illustrated on the lower right corner of the instruction sheet. A bolt is to be threaded into a nut that resembles a tiny soup can. Both the bolt and the nut are to be inserted into their respective predrilled holes. I found it impossible to find an alignment that would allow the bolt threads to mate with the nut. I came dangerously close to torching the entire project.
Following a good night's sleep, a plan hatched to solve this alignment problem. A 20d common nail was long enough to be inserted into the bolt hole and thin enough to pass into the can shaped nut thereby placing the nut in its correct location. Then the position of the allen wrench set into the end of the nut could be noted and held. The nail was carefully removed and the bolt inserted in its place. The bolt instantly found the threaded hole. The bench was then easily assembled in less than fifteen minutes.
This tag identifies the American company that now manufactures its product in Vietnam. The wood cut there is Balau hardwood, similar to teak with regard to its ability to survive life exposed to weather. Our bench is well designed and carefully milled. The parts fit tightly together and the bench looks and feels solid. If only there was someone in either Texas or Vietnam that could write or draw instructions showing how to align the bolt and nut when both are out of sight deep in their respective holes. Such instructions and a 20d common nail would make assembly a breeze.
Becky set the camera to take this picture on its own. Clearly, we survived the ordeal of trying to mate bolt and nut when both were out of sight deep in their respective holes.