A Girl, a Drill, a Plan, a Canal

A Girl, a Drill, a Plan, a Canal

Shopping at Brookland Hardware was a delight! (see previous post for a description of the Salad Table / Product Manufacturing Facility that I’m building) The staff are always incredibly knowledgeable and friendly and I left with a smile on my face and a gumball in my mouth. Unfortunately they didn’t have the 2 x 4s in the recommended lengths of 10 and 12 feet, so with the charming BH staff, we improvised and figured out how many of their 8 foot 2 x 4s would be necessary to make it work. They were sympathetic to the fact that the Product Manufacturing Facility (“Salad Table”) had gone drastically overbudget and so offered me a 10% discount! Superb!

They were surprised to learn that I was planning to walk home with my purchase of roofing nails and six 2 x 4s, but I only live around the corner, don’t drive, my hauling bike is kind of dead right now, and happen to own a pretty impressive set of biceps. They bundled them into sets of three and duct taped them for ease and I strolled clumsily out the door knocking into several things hanging from the ceiling. Despite the impressive biceps, it was kind of heavy and I snuck through my neighbor’s driveway to throw the first set over the fence into my backyard and went back for the second bundle.

Sawing six 2 x 4s into 14 different pieces with a handsaw was a pretty time consuming experience. I don’t have a tremendous construction background and found out later that I probably wasted a good deal of time and energy by sawing with short strokes instead of long ones. Long strokes are more effective, efficient, and smooth — remember that if you try this and are as amateur as I am.

Next step: assembly! I was incredibly excited to be using a power drill and felt really strong and tough. The directions for building the PFM/ Salad Table were pretty sparse and just said “Attach”.  So I tried just drilling the 2½ inch screws straight into the wood. It didn’t work. I found out when one of my handy roommates came home that you have to pre-drill using something flashy called a “drill bit” and we didn’t have one small enough so I walked next door to borrow one from my neighbor, Pat, a fellow who seems to have every tool imaginable. Things were going great until I decided to take out the drill bit and put in some screws to see how it would hold up. It held up great!

construction I

But I wasn’t very careful with the pieces and the fancy borrowed drill bit slipped through the cracks of my deck!  I realized after that it would be wise to drill all the necessary holes at once so you don’t keep switching out the parts. I was getting really excited about the project and didn’t want to stop and the hardware store was closed and so for the first time in two years I crawled under our spacious deck.


It was a lot less gross than I expected, but even with a flashlight and a large magnet, I couldn’t find the bit anywhere. However, I was lucky to find 50¢ which recouped the cost of my two hardware store gumball purchases. YES!

Luckily another handy roommate came home and happened to have a whole set of drill bits and I got to work again.

coming together

It got pretty dark as the project stretched into the night, so I worked by lamplight.

working by lamplight

And this is what the surface of the table looked like this morning.


I stapled the fine mesh window screening at the bottom of the table for water to filter through but so that soil-less medium wouldn’t be able to fall and then on top of that stapled hardware cloth which supports the weight of the soil and the plants. It took a pretty long time, but I’m impressed with myself so far.

After a fierce whack to my thumb with the hammer, I ended up assembling the rest of the table with one hand.


Which turned out much better than I expected and now the Salad Table/ Product Manufacturing Facility is ready to be filled with soil-less medium and seeds.



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