Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ah, la cart! Out of the Box Thinking

Here are the components of a stainless steel cart that were waiting for me after the last blog post. Although not the kind of project that you can hold in your lap and pet like a cat, it is a perfect task for fulfilling that occasional DIY furniture-making urge. The cart was purchased from a big box retailer whose shopping experience quells you into thinking you can easily take home three or four boxes of potential furniture and put it all together in a snap.

The steel parts came in a box with a little bag full of hardware and an instruction booklet. All the hardware was there when I started and it was there when I finished, but there was a brief period of time in the middle of construction in which a couple of nuts and a bolt went AWOL.

The booklet was great--no words, only pictures of the kind that surely belong in the category "Cart Assembly for Dummies" which, believe me, is my personal rating when it comes to making stuff from out of a box. The simple and clear illustrations were laid out in a logical order. After the errant hardware returned it was a fairly straightforward process. Before I knew it, the cart was finished.

Then the only problem which remained was how to lift an extremely heavy glass jeweler's case from a table which was one and a half inches lower than a cart which had wheels on two legs. Since I was home alone and had no patience for waiting for help to arrive, I turned to logic and philosophy.

If I wedged the fingertips of one hand under the very edge of one side of the glass display case, a little shim of cardboard torn from the original packing box could be wedged under one of the four chrome feet upon which the two tier glass case rested. I reasoned that I could keep shimming up each little foot with one cardboard shim at a time rotationally until I had the glass case raised up about a half inch. Then came the philosophy part.

Four books were chosen from a nearby shelf for their depth--or thickness, if you will: The Dream and the Underworld by James Hillman, I and Thou by Martin Buber, Cosmic Questions by Richard Morris, and The Origin of Humankind by Richard Leakey. Perfect! A book was maneuvered into place under each footing and the whole thing was now upon solid ground.

Now I started shimming again with my little cardboard pieces on top of the books. When the case was raised a little over an inch, I applied a little body English to one side of it and tilted it slightly in one direction while lifting it so slightly in the opposite direction at the same time, all the while holding my breath and praying that the whole shebang would not go toppling over the side of the balcony on which it and I stood. And it worked!

Here is a finished picture of my success.

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