CXO

Powertools and the Geeks that use them

I have a labrador retriever (in addition to my other pets). He is probably about 8 or 9 years old (hard to be more precise, we have had him 5 years, but he was a rescue dog.) He likes to chew... a lot. Lately, his favorite thing to chew is my western red cedar fence. I think he has separation anxiety, and since I have moved my office upstairs, (where he isn't supposed to be), perhaps he thinks that if he gets out of the gate, he can come in the front door, and head right up the stairs. Anyway, after a few weeks of him getting out and my family trying to forestall his adventures by putting trash cans, other large items and finally stapled on chicken wire in front of the hole he had eaten, I decided it was just time to fix the fence.

So, off I went to the hardware store to get boards, nails, etc. It was a cold, nasty day, and I had a cold and felt nasty anyway, but since Bill was home, it was time to strike while the iron was hot. I got a pencil, tape measure, hammer, Skil saw, nails, staple gun, wire fencing mesh, etc, and headed out to the gate. I cut the boards and began nailing them up. For galvanized nails, and a 20 pound hammer, they sure weren't going in all that well. They'd get 3/4 inch in and then stall there, no matter how much I continued to pound. Bill even tried, to no avail. Then, his eyes lit up, and he scurried off, returning a few minutes later with the power drill. Pilot holes was all we really needed.

So geeky are we that we didn't consider pilot holes. So geeky was I that to be honest, I nailed the boards up, then cut them to length (yes, Skil saw set so that I didn't cut into what I was nailing to. THen I even cut the bottoms off so that the gate would actually open. Seems if the boards rest on the ground when you nail them in place, they will drag on the aggragate, and prevent the gate opening nicely. Regardless, once the boards were replaced, I reinforced the bottom (where I had cut that extra inch off), with a cross board (2x6), and then covered the bottom 3 feet of gate with 14 guage galvanized wire fencing. I probably used 150 power staples to hold it in place. One every inch or so along each side and at strategic places on the interior. Can't see it that much from the outside, but it makes it hard to chew on from the inside, and nearly impossible to peel away. I also put it on the side between the gate and the house.

So, looking at my powertool collection, I realized that I only really have three pieces: my husband's drill (a gift a few years ago when I wanted curtains in our room), my power stapler (that I bought to run CAT5 cables through the house (figured stapling them close to the ceiling on the wall would prevent tripping), and the Skil saw (purchased last summer when we had to redo a bunch of trim at our rental (the tenant had been extremely detrimental).  Everything else I have is non-powered: hammers, screw drivers, allen wrenches, wire cutters, pliers (many types), nail punches, etc. I am not much of a handy-person, as evidenced by the order in which I did things to get that gate fixed, but I have a good end plan. There is no way, short of Cooper learning to use a Skil saw our wire cutters of his own for him to get through that gate. All in all, it probably took three hours. A real handy-person could have had it done in one, but I have the satisfaction of out smarting my dog...gee, somehow that sounds less monumental in type.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox