Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 10/12/98

A Day in the Shop: by Steve Garbini

It's late Saturday morning and I'm trying to finish a bowl on the lathe before we head south for the day to visit my sister in law. SWMBO is packing up some baby clothes for the ride as a new entry into the clan will be coming soon. As well, we're waiting for a new couch to arrive before we leave. So there I am in my finishing "costume" - apron, gloves and mask - with fully soaked finishing cloth in hand when the delivery guys show up. Great. My usual good timing.

Since I'm beyond the point of no return, Pam (SWMBO) handles squaring away the dog and wrestling our old screen doors out of the way for the delivery. By the time I'm done and come up stairs, it's all over and done with. Couch is in the living room and the fellows are waving bye - bye. Terrific, back down I go. Need to clean up and put stuff away before we get going.

Not so lucky.

Pam calls down stairs and says the guys are having a problem with their truck. "Hell, woman! I'm a woodworker, not a mechanic! It's not easy creating works of art with all these interruptions." (Notice how I'm not mentioning the lack of skill thing here as it relates to creating works of art.) She then proceeds to remind me about the engineering diploma hanging on the wall and the large van blocking us in our driveway. I keep forgetting that I am indeed genetically inferior (a man) and really should just do what SWMBO tells me to do without any grousing.

O.K., so "What's up fella's?". Old Elijah and friend have the hood up with that perplexed look we all get on our faces when something isn't working right. They decided the battery is dead and they need a jump - especially since they needed a jump before they came to my house. "Oh? Need a jump at each place you go?" Uhh, yeah. "Hey guys, that's usually is a sign something else is wrong." Hmm. "Let me have a look see." (Don't you just hate trying to fix anything through one of those little truck hoods on a Chevy van?) After the requisite head scratching and staring, I notice something doesn't look right. "Hey guys, think that missing belt on the generator has anything to do with your problem?"

Ever try to find a mechanic on duty at a gas station on a Saturday afternoon now a days? Yeah, right! These guys are loaded with other folks furniture and need to get going. They get a really hurt look on their faces when I tell them wait a minute before starting to call a wrecker and that their chances of getting someone to actually fix their truck right now are real slim.

The wheels are turning in my brain and being a master of improvisation (twenty years of jobsite experience at making something out of nothing does pay off now and then), an idea is born. I remember that I saved the belt off of my table saw when I put one of those link belts on it. Could it be a close enough size? Nah. ..... What the hell, let's go look. Hmmm.

Well, you guessed the end of the story by now. It worked, and being a pack rat pays off once in a while. The scary part is that old Elijah and friend now think I'm an ace mechanic - while I'm trying to tell them go directly to a garage and have someone who knows what they are doing take a look at it cause this probably won't last.

Somehow, I'm pretty sure they won't stop until they get stuck again.

Sooo, let's save those table saw belts. Never know. Elijah might be by your place next.

Hope you folks didn't mind the waste of band width. Just wanted to share this one with you. It would have taken a putty knife to scrap the smile off my face as I waved at the fella's driving away.

My two belts,
Which are getting someone pretty far in Central Jersey today,
Steve Garbini

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