Recently I joined a couple of Facebook Woodworking Groups. It seemed a source of information and a venue to share, maybe pick up some tricks, tips, and solutions to problems in the trade. As you may know, these groups have thousands of members, from professionals to newbies and everything in-between. Anyone can post a question and ‘unfortunately’ anyone can offer an answer. Aye, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare said so well in Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Many times, the answers in these groups are completely wrong. It frustrates me almost as much as Hamlet. The administrators of some FB groups do not allow wrong answers to be corrected (even by professionals) or you may be removed from the group for starting a war of words. 

On occasion, I have commented on a question or problem that doesn’t have an easy answer. So, I share a solution my years of experience has taught me. I really felt I was doing the questioner a favor by saving them the frustration of the trial and error method in their quest for woodworking expertise. Usually, someone else will immediately attack my answer and insult me. And if I attempt to explain my original comment further for the understanding of the new person a flood of rude, bizarre comments come at me as if I were a criminal. It has been a shocking learning curve for me in the world of anonymous commenters.

This is an example of what has happened to me: A person posted a photo and told how he accidently sprayed WD 40 (which contains silicone) on a finish sanded project that was still raw wood. After it dried he sprayed lacquer over the WD 40 and had the worst case of fisheye I have ever seen. He didn’t know why it looked that way. He didn’t know what fisheye is and wondered if he could fix it or just had to scrap the entire project.

When I saw the photo, memories came back to my mind of the first time I encountered fisheye and did not know it had a name and all the trouble I had fixing it many years ago. My heart went out to the guy. So as briefly as I could, yet as informative as possible I commented how to fix it with cleaning, sanding, shellac, and lacquer. Also about getting rid of contaminated (liquid silicone) sandpaper, rags, etc. and why I do not use “fisheye eliminator”. Honestly, I felt it would probably help lots of those in the FB group that would read it and hadn’t known about this problem. I’m sure as you read this you know the next part.

The next day there were many comments explaining how to fix the guy’s problem and I assure you they were all wrong because I’ve tried them all. As I read through the other comments I felt so sorry for the guy with the fisheye problem. How was he to know which was correct or who to trust?

Those very wrong and troubling answers to comments are why I’m writing this blog. Those groups seem like a good idea, but a wrong answer is worse than no answer. Some of the commenters obviously were beginners at best with no experience whatsoever. Sadly, some just wanted to argue and mislead. It is a true case of the blind leading the blind. I checked on the FB support page and found this is all you need to do to start a group:

To create a group:

  1. Click  in the top right of Facebook and select Create Group
  2. Select your group preferences, enter your group name, add group members and then choose the privacy setting for your group
  3. Click Create

Once you create your group, you personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.

Very interesting way to gather a group of people interested in the same topic, but not a way to find an answer to save yourself hours of work, or save your entire project. If you have a problem with your woodworking project, ask someone you trust and know with expertise in the field. When you find the solution, share it with friends that know you. Respect each other and share common decency online just like you would face to face. Maybe I’m old school, but the overt rudeness with online groups is unfortunate and sad. My own FB page is much like my real life dealings. I’m happy to say in the over 45 years I’ve been in business my personal experience with woodworkers face to face has been very rewarding. Facebook Groups … not so much.  

 

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Another Great Rocker – Grove Park Inn

by Dale on March 25, 2015

A favorite pastime of mine for rest and relaxation is rocking in a comfortable rocking chair. It is the perfect compliment to such calming activities as watching your favorite movie, rocking a child to sleep and, of course, just thinking.

I am offering a rocking chair class which will allow you to create and treasure a priceless heirloom which can live on through the generations. The class also teaches many techniques which will add to your current skills and abilities.

The Grove Park Inn Rocker, of Mission style, is a durable and beautiful classic. It’s simple, elegant style is not as easy to construct as it may appear. But I’ve had complete novice students enjoy completing this rocker. I encourage woodworkers to take the class to further their knowledge of such techniques as compound angled mortise joinery.

Several years ago, my wife, Mary and I were at the Arts & Crafts Conference hosted at the Grove Park Inn. These rockers were in the lobby area, on the veranda and other places throughout the fabulous hotel. We were showing our furniture in the Roosevelt Room, standing all day so when we sat in the rockers to chat, at the end of the day it was heavenly. I decided I would build one for our home. So many visitors complimented our rocker that I added it as a class.

The Grove Park Inn Rocker also offers many other learning attributes to increase your woodworking skill set. You will learn the crest rail, and this skill leads into the bandsaw curved back, which will increase your adroitness in utilizing the bandsaw. Another technique is pattern routing to ensure each piece is correctly sized and shaped, a skill which is used all the time in woodworking and fine furniture making.

After finishing your rocker, we have hand woven seats available for purchase styled in replicate of the Grove Park Inn Rocker.

If you’re a prior student of this class, share your experiences in comments or photos with me at dale@the-cabinetmaker.com so we can post them here.

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You Can Build the Ultimate Rocking Chair

by Dale on February 28, 2015

MB_full rocker and stool

If you like rocking chairs, please make plans to attend our sculpted rocker class. You will want to schedule this soon to make sure you have the time and decide on materials.

I am not taking credit for designing this chair! Most woodworkers have heard of Sam Maloof, and admired his organic designs, especially his famous rocking chair.

Maloof actually invented a new joint where the seat meets the legs. If you are unfamiliar with this chair just Google “Sam Maloof rocking chair image”.

This sculpted rocking chair represents an exercise in modern design and is extremely comfortable. There are an incredible amount of woodworkers with slight variations on this rocker.

I took a class from Andy Chidwick several years ago. I made some design changes in the arms of my chair. I always tell everyone that I adapted this design from Andy Chidwick, who adapted it from Hal Taylor (known for his original design of StoryTime Rocking Chair) , who adapted it from Sam Maloof, who got some of his design from Wharton Esherick and on and on. You might Google these names to see what you think.

Everyone who sits in my chair wants one, but most can’t afford the $6000 plus price.MB_chair back Believe me, I wish they could.

Many of you on my email list may have sat in my chair while attending a Woodworking in America Conference. So many coming into my booth expressed an interest in making this rocker in a class. So I’ve listened and I believe dealt with the main problem you face. That problem is completing the chair during your class.

Now, I know there are other woodworking instructors that offer the Maloof rocker or a version of it in a six-day class.

They’re good instructors, and they teach all skills needed to complete the chair at home. Many students I’ve spoken with don’t like that approach because working on it at home can drag into a six months or more project.

With your comments and questions in mind, I decided to develop this class.

My approach is different; in that, I teach it in two five-day classes.

The first class, Part One, we will have all four legs, seat carved, crest rail shaped… half finished. At the end of the second class, Part Two, your chair will be complete, all sculpted – together and rocking. Breaking the building of this rocker apart in these two classes Makes Sure that you will finish your chair.

Your homework will be the final sanding, polishing, and finish.

As an added bonus for the class, I wanted to allow the student to choose the wood of their choice. You can use cherry, walnut, maple or any other species we can find. For Part One you need to call soon to ensure the wood will arrive on time. At that time, we will discuss the price and alternatives should the wood not be available.

Just as in life where one size does not fit all, one size rocking chair does not fit all body types and sizes. We offer the chair in three sizes, one of them will fit your body. Currently, I have a small and medium chair you can sit in before deciding which size you want to build.

The skills involved in making this chair are new to most intermediate woodworkers and would be a pleasant challenge.

I am confident that most advanced beginners would have no problem building this chair during my class because the class size is only four student limit.

As a side note, I found that most people who consider themselves beginners can do much more complex projects than they imagine they can, with a good instructor and in the right environment.

The cost of the class is $825 for Part One and $825 Part Two plus materials and taxes. For more class details. And check out Accommodations offered at the Guest House.

 

So, in making your decision remember this chair will be your masterpiece and make you very proud.

 

The Three Bear Chairs, Steve Pincsak and Buster, the shop dog

The 3 Bear Chairs, Student Steve Pincsak

The skills you learn will be used to make the chair again, and in new designs of your own.

Rock on…

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Why I Use Drywall Screws

by Dale on August 19, 2014

 

Why I Use Drywall Screws

I recently read an article about screws, which was very extensive and well written.

The article explained why certain screws are stronger, and described how screws are manufactured.

Then they did some testing, which is when things got a bit “screwy” in my mind.

As part of the test, they drove the screws into hard maple without drilling pilot holes. They used several different type of screws, and the results were predictable. McFeely’s brand and Spax tied for the strongest while the regular, humble drywall screw came dead last with the most breakage. By far.

This testing method was very surprising to me, because of the omission of first drilling a pilot hole. This was particularly surprising, considering that they were driving screws into hard maple. Had the test been performed with using the proper sized pilot hole for each particular screw being tested, the results would have been much different.

I have been using drywall screws for woodworking for over 30 years—with excellent results. I have had some break, maybe 10-20 at the most- less than one per year. I can’t remember when the last one broke because it’s extremely rare for me. I would venture to guess I’ve probably saved several hundred, if not thousands of dollars by using drywall screws throughout my career.

I don’t use drywall screws for every application, especially where moisture is a concern. I do use them in all my jigs and fixtures in my shop and haven’t had any problems at all. They are successfully holding many cabinets tightly to their walls, and I am confident they won’t fail me anytime soon.

Most applications for screws in fine furniture is as a holding device while the glue sets. Also not mentioned are brass screws, and almost everyone uses them in fine furniture. Try installing brass screws in maple without pilot holes. They break even with pilot holes on occasion, and there are several devices for correcting the problem, it is so common. I have been known to throw away new brass screws and use steel ones right from the beginning, and in some cases the drywall screw.

The real point of this blog is that I agree that premium type screws are stronger – but they don’t need to be! At least not for most applications. I do use premium type screws for some projects – but that is the exception, not the rule. Why use an elephant gun to shoot a mouse?

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IMG_8062456

When do I finish a project prior to assembly?

Never, and here is why. For me, it’s simple to glue first. Then I move on to finish, sand and then complete the piece – instead of multi-focusing on many individual parts and pieces. Especially since I usually spray lacquer on everything. Trying to spray each small part (after taping glue surfaces) and keeping them from being blown off the bench or horses, waiting for the individual pieces to dry and then turning them over and repeating the entire process is tedious and ultimately an unnecessary process.

For example, if you want three coats it is unfortunately necessary, for the sake of wasted time and effort, to spray and dry at least six times for each part, and sand between coats. Keeping track of all the parts and which surface has how many coats at any given time and you may have more than a dozen separate parts- then, when you have them all done- you must remove all the tape which covers the glue- not particularly a fun task. When the time comes to glue the final project together, you have to be precisely aware of the clamping process. You must protect not only the surface, but also the finish from the clamps.

If you do get a small dent from the clamps- it’s a quick fix when the wood is unfinished with sand paper or even possible to steam away a major deep dent. Attempting to remove a dent on finished wood is quite a complex and possibly unnecessary task, often resulting in ruined finish which will require you to touch up the finish where the dent was. A banal task which leads to even more time lost.

Gluing prior to finishing eliminates a plethora of potential problems, stress, and headaches. The only part of the process which could possibly justify the method of “finishing first” – “gluing last” would be the ease of cleaning up the glue, as it pops right off finished wood and there could be small chance of a light spot left by dried glue.

In my method I begin the process of gluing the unfinished wood by washing off the glue with water or the right solvent for the glue type- (alcohol for epoxy). After it all dries and cures, I sand the glue joints. If the piece gets stained, I keep a sharp wide chisel and sand paper handy during the entire staining process, so if I find a light spot I can scrape it away with the chisel, sand, and then go over the spot again with the stain. This method works well, even with dye stain, if you work fast. The process is the same, without stain on the first coat of lacquer or sanding sealer but I just let it dry first and spot spray the first coat where the light spot is, after sanding. The next coat blends it all in.  By the 3rd coat the flaw has been erased to a memory- total invisible. (I would do the same, no matter what finish I used – wipe on/off or surface coating like shellac or lacquer.)

So, the next time you are tempted to try “pre finishing” a project like some articles have suggested- and if time doesn’t mean as much to you as it does to me- please, be my guess and try it! However, I prefer the faster, more efficient system I have detailed to you here. Let me know your thoughts, ideas and concerns as I am always looking for ways to effectively create a piece of true quality, while getting the most quality for time spent.

 

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Hand Tools vs Power Tools and Other Things

by Dale on February 20, 2014

Hand Tools vs Power Tools and Other Things

Maybe I’m old-fashioned or new-fashioned, I’m not sure, but I really don’t like to use an old (or new for that matter) outhouse to do my ‘business’ in. The comfortable, clean, odorless bathroom is my preference, even one at the gas station. We knew a young couple once, (way out in the country!) that used drywall buckets for toilets and used their waste to fertilize the garden, said it was the best way.

I never ate with them.

On the same vein of thought, I prefer to travel in an airplane, automobile, motorcycle or any other modern transportation device – vehicle. When it comes to local travel I prefer to get into the car and drive the 15 minutes to town than to ride a horse for an hour and a half maybe longer. When I return I just get out of the car and go into the house, without feeding, watering, brushing anyone or thing and all the other needs for the saddle care and mucking out the barn.

Of course, many people LOVE all this and the pleasure of riding in the open air and they find true freedom and pleasure within their lifestyle. My hat’s off to them, and I do understand their viewpoint; I live & have my shop built on my 88 acres within the Hoosier National Forest in hilly Southern Indiana. It’s a great walk to work, no traffic. I never take that walk for granted, my love for the fresh air and 50-year-old forest surrounding me never lessens.

Another pleasure for many and angst for me is sitting outside for hours in very cold weather waiting for the odd deer to wonder into my shooting zone. My mind tends to wander into my shop and to my lists of jobs sold, various chores I’ve put off, changing the oil in Mary’s car and on and on. In my thoughtful state a deer could tap me on the shoulder and I would jump up and run to the shop to work. But dear friends and thousands of others love the challenge and all the elements of hunting.

Some of you might know where I’m going with this blog, but bear with me.

MB_ studentIMG_6638

Paul Anwiler, a master level student using hand tools while in class with Dale

Electricity in my home and shop is another preference I have. Flip a switch, and you get light, power, and a hot shower instantly, it’s great. There might be some who prefer to light their homes with kerosene, lanterns or candles, but I don’t personally know any outside my Amish neighbors.

That life before electricity and back in the pre-civil war days was when the furniture in America was made exclusively with hand tools. Mostly it was also made with loving care and pride of craftsmanship and honor of their name. When they added their name to the finished piece it was with great pride because of the quality of workmanship.

If the craftsmen of old were alive today, they would probably understand why many hobbyists, hand tool makers and advertisers, magazine writers, hand tool class teachers, etc. would promote the new fashion in woodworking of exclusive hand tool construction. It has a feeling of more control and personal touch and is deeply satisfying.

But, also speculating here, these craftsmen from the past would probably enjoy the electric lights, saws, jointers, planers, sanders and on and on. No doubt the porcelain chair in the closet with running water and toilet paper would win their approval after a couple uses too.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here, I still use my hand tools, when it makes sense and there is available time. A couple classes back I was teaching two first time students. It was their first time in any woodworking class and their first project. Guess what? The electricity went off during a storm and there we were … two first time woodworking students and me. It was genuinely perfect for the occasion, we finished with hand tools only and they got more training than they expected. You see, it’s really about time.

We all know in business time is money. Few of us can hand build furniture for just the sweet reward of doing it. Most are in the woodworking business to do what we love and also pay the bills. That’s true now just as much as it was in the 1800 or 1700’s, really since the beginning of time. When you build custom kitchens, furniture, or anything out of wood for a living, at least when it’s your career, the method you support your family, put your kids through college, especially in fluctuating economies it’s best to be able to do an excellent job as fast as you can. But when time is not a factor you can do anything your heart desires, that is, if you have the money!

The craft of woodworking has room for everyone. Some craftsmen only use Japanese methods, some hand tools only, some major in modern with the most fantastic machine available today and then there are those of us in the middle. The first time students in my class were happy that I was experienced enough to finish the class with hand tools only. But also happy that they took a class for a weekend and took home a completed piece of furniture. We could not have done that without electricity. It would have taken much longer than a weekend to finish the project without electricity and cost the student quite a bit more for the time involved.

So don’t be intimidated if your friend or neighbor only works with machines to make his furniture. That’s their preference, you can master true craftsmanship with or without electricity. My personal preference is using electricity, as well as hand tools where needed so that I accomplish more in a short amount of time and bring in more revenue (to buy more wood!).

The main rule for me is high quality either way.

The total fulfillment in woodworking or any craft is that you can do it your way. I’m so thankful I was trained on hand tools and machines. If the electricity fails I can still make projects from wood, but maybe not enough to support myself! Once I retire and have time (I really cannot imagine that) but if I do I’ll probably still use both hand tools and machines.

As new woodworkers, do not be intimidated by either method. Try both and more, try it all and enjoy the most fulfilling craft I have found and take it to any level you want and you can. Just make sure you are enjoying yourself and having fun.

That is truly what this is about, self-fulfillment and sharing the projects you make with others.

What are your thoughts?

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Glues – Part 4: Plastic Resin Glue

by Dale on January 25, 2014

In my career I’ve used veneer glue on one or two projects. It is a glue that dries hard, not flexible, and it’s used commercially for making plywood. So it is a very good glue for veneering.  This glue is also used by small shops who do their own veneering on a small basis. Interestingly, this glue is used cold.Glue_powdered

The powder is mixed with distilled water, to about the consistency of regular yellow glue. Then it can be applied by brush or roller. I like to use a regular roller frame with roller covers made for contact cement and sold by cabinet hardware suppliers.

I think Woodworker’s Supply sells them. I usually mix up more than I think I will need because I don’t want to have to stop & mix more in the middle of a glue-up. It’s always good to get everything glued and clamped as soon as possible. It is also best to roll glue on both surfaces when veneering, this insures that it will stick everywhere. You just need enough to get both surfaces wet no more. I’ve had very good results with this method.

One thing to be aware of, this glue has a shelf life even in the power form. After you add water you must use it within 1 – 2 hours. I have tried to use the powder after posted shelf life and it mixes differently, it seems to foam up a bit.

Then after it dries the next day, it turns back to powder. A sharp rap or blow causes everything comes apart. That’s not good. I’ve also used this glue for laminating legs together like on a quadrilinear white oak leg and I’ve used it for edge gluing for table tops.

All are good uses of this glue. Just make sure it hasn’t expired.

Also when veneering this glue will set-up in about 3-4 hrs. which is an advantage. Also commercial hot presses add heat to the process and it sets up very quickly, in minutes. Many large processing plants, furniture factories etc. use this method and type of glue. Regular cabinet grade plywood is also glued with this type of glue.

It is not appropriate for mortise and tenon joints in my opinion. It’s not flexible enough. The grain direction on a tenon is usually 90 degrees different MB_battle of the bondsdirection to the grain direction inside the mortise so the wood moves in different ways to each other, so the flue needs to flex a bit. This is certainly debatable.

Epoxy dries rigid as well. Exterior panel doors are sometimes glued with this glue, with good results and I have made many exterior doors with epoxy glue and never had a joint failure. So, if you decide to use this glue, read the directions and make sure it’s fresh and you will be that much more glue savvy.

Please be sure to share your experiences with me in the comments below. Share you glue savvy!

Thanks, Dale

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Glues – Part 3: Super Glue

by Dale on December 17, 2013

Super glue, instant glue, cyanoacrylates of various brand names is one of the relative new comers on the woodworking scene. I believe it was originally developed for surgeons to use to glue skin cuts back together instead of using sutures.

If you have ever used it, you can attest to its skin bonding ability. If you have any of this glue in your shop or home, you should go right out and get some solvent. You may never need it but if you ever glue your skin you will need it then, and nothing else will release your skin without pain and suffering. So, get the solvent.MB_ super glue_dreamstimecomp_32880150

This glue is sold in different viscosities or thicknesses. The thin type is like water and it will “wick” deep into cracks and splits, probably the best use for this glue. Little cracks or splits on the edge of solid wood are quickly repaired with this glue.

Just put a few drops on the crack, then quickly tape the crack with blue tape. In about 5 minutes its set up and you can remove much of the tape as will come off, usually have to scrape it with a sharp chisel. They sell an “accelerator” liquid in a pump spray bottle which causes the glue to bubble up, turn white and instantly ‘set’ the glue. This stuff used to work great, but when I have used it in the last few years it isn’t the same, and it doesn’t work nearly as well.

The thicker super glue will work for other jobs, like gluing a porcelain handle back on a coffee cup or leather to wood.

Here are some things super glue is not your choice:

  • Veneer Repair – It just doesn’t work for the long term. You will have to repair it again later, unless you clean all the old glue completely before trying it.
  • Gluing Edges or Corners – When you have large surfaces or edges/corners that are subject to hard use super glue dries very hard – so it can be brittle. Any awkward bump or knock can pop it off. I’m sure some of you have experienced that.
  • Joinery, Dovetails or Mortise & Tenon – Super glue sets up too fast to get everything together – so don’t even try it!
  • Edge Gluing – Same problem as above.
  • And don’t use it on your dog’s head to attach antlers this year.

Other Uses for Super Glue:

  • As a finish on the lathe for pens. It works great for this.
  • If you use Famowood wood filler in a large hole or dent, add the thin super glue to strengthen the filler and make it harder, after the filler dries. (This is an original idea and works very well.)
  • Another tip concerning the bottle the glue comes in. I use to have to replace the lid and tip because they would be glued together and could not get them open. Now, when I use the glue I don’t put the lid on the tip for about 5 – 10 minutes, which allows the glue on the tip to dry so it doesn’t glue the lid to itself.

These are a few of my tips on using Super Glue.

Please comment below and share other unusual uses you have discovered or tell me about some things you tried that did not work.

Thanks, Dale

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You Can Teach an Old Dog a New Trick!

by Dale on October 7, 2013

There’s Always Something New!

Well, I just learned something. I have been gluing up wide boards out of narrow boards for more years than I would like to admit. Up until about 5 years ago I used pipe clamps, made with black pipe. I always used some type of spacer to keep the pipe from touching the squeeze of glue.

Then five years ago I acquired a bunch of ½” galvanized pipes (more clamping pipes! and free!) Remembering I had read somewhere that you shouldn’t use galvanized pipe because it slip I decided to find out for sure. I made one to check. It did not slip. Then I made about two dozen ½” pipe clamps about three feet long.

A very handy length in my business and the lighter weight over ¾” pipe was another plus.

Galvanized pipe doesn’t rust, right?

So I thought that the pipe could touch the glue and it wouldn’t make a black mark. Well, this method worked fine for over five years, until today.

I glued up a bunch of 1” thick cherry for a table top, usual method. Alas! Dark grey marks everywhere the galvanized pipe touched the glue squeeze out. Why did it work all those years before but not this last time? I was using Titebond II Extend, which I haven’t used before … maybe that is the reason.

Oh, now I remember, I was teaching a class recently and told my students that galvanized pipe won’t leave a black mark. One of them disagreed and said it would! Well, it never had before but rather than make a long discussion longer, we just put some paper between the pipes and the glue. Then – now, a few weeks later it happened to me. Must be the power of suggestion!

It wasn’t a big deal, I just removed the dark stains in about 1 minute using oxalic acid power dissolved in water.

This is an old refinisher’s trick.

What I cannot figure out is why? Why after five years of working did it stop working after the student adamantly said it would stain? Maybe it was something like the placebo effect, or eggs are the greatest food until you find out about cholesterol and all that so now they are bad.

Whatever the cause I’m back to using paper between the pipe and glue. Any thoughts or ideas about why this method quit working? Add your comments and let me see what your experience has been out there in woodworking land.

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So you build 12 beautiful custom mahogany and reclaimed pine tables for a client’s restaurant over 100 miles away. The turnout perfect, all finely crafted, stained, finished, rubbed out, waxed and polished. Now how do you get them to the restaurant?finish tables

Delivery of custom furniture is not something to dismiss lightly. Twelve tables will not fit into the back of your minivan or even a full size pick-up. Rent a trailer, you think? That probably would have been the best solution, but it adds to the cost of the tables. In trying to keep the cost down I decided against the rental option. I wish I would have rented the trailer, or even rented a larger box truck! I have tons of moving blankets to wrap everything in, at least two dozen of them.

But I went with the lesser delivery cost and used my Dodge Ram 3500 Dually with 8’ bed. Along with the tables I had eight 3” x 12” x 16 ft. beams or floor joists of reclaimed pine to deliver to another client near the restaurant. Why not kill two birds with one stone or trip? Sounds like a good idea.bneams

I could put the beams in the back of the truck. They would stick out 8’ but with an “extend a bed” device that fits into the hitch it would support the extra length. Now I have a 4’ x 16’ platform to load the tables on and they all fit – Great!

Sure seemed like a good idea to me. Heck, it’s a one ton truck, it can take it!

The day before the delivery my son and I started loading the truck. First the beams, no problem – all in place. Then the tables, but I decided to stack the tables; 6 on bottom, 6 on top with the table tops touching each other (with a blanket between them, one table upright and the top table upside down).

Then using straps to tighten the whole thing down to the beams. We loaded eight tables, all strapped down in place and quit for the day. I thought I could easily load the other four tables by myself the next day, delivery day.loaded up

I will make a long story even longer now. The next day was pouring down rain in buckets. I have a carport at the shop to load my truck under so it wasn’t a real problem. I got the other four tables in place, strapped down, all tied together with a tarp (plastic) over all the tables. I was ready – and off I go into the wild blue yonder. A note here to remember I have been delivering furniture for years in all kinds of trucks or using delivery companies where I crate the furniture before they arrive and load it for delivery.

So I was pretty confident. After driving about 1 mile I remembered I forgot to place my red flag on the end of the beams sticking out 8’ from the truck so it was back to the shop, quick. When I turned down my driveway one of the tables slipped and almost fell off the truck! This was a major flaw in my plan. The new plan began.

Working alone it went a little slower and used a lot more physical strength. I removed the tarp, unloaded all twelve tables, and repacked the load. This time I loaded the tables 2 side x side and upside down on top of the beams, blanketed and strapped. Thankfully it had quit raining and was a glorious sun shining day so no tarp was needed.

Now, finally I’m off again. As I drove down the driveway the load was tipping a bit, like a teeter totter. Proving too much weight on the back of the extend-a-bed. No way could I go on because the chance of hitting a bump while driving through the hills of southern Indiana would ensure disaster.

I had another strap, 2 inches wide, a long one with tightener. I used it to strap the front of the ‘teeter – totter’ to the frame of my truck around the bed and over the tables. This secured the load and worked great. Everything was tight, no rocking or tipping, all strapped into place.

A strange looking sight heading down the highway, but a good system all rock solid. I liked it!

The 2 inch strap was about 8 feet too long so I just wrapped the extra length around the tables inside the bed of the truck. wreck This was my mistake… About 75 miles into the trip traveling about 60 mph on the highway the strap unwound itself and managed to wrap itself around the dual wheels.

Wrapped between these wheels it pulled on the whole strap holding the front of the load so hard and tightening it instantly that the strap broke two tables and squeezed the bed of my truck like a beer can before the strap broke.

A very loud BANG sounded and I stopped immediately in the grass in the center of the highway, because you know I would be passing when it happened! Wow, was I amazed when I got out and saw my poor truck.

Thankfully I was able to make the delivery of 10 tables and the beams.  The bed of my truck is a total loss – even mangling the gas tank so no fuel will enter into it. I had to rebuild the two ruined tables and I’m looking for another truck bed for my pick-up. Oh how weird is that?

Conclusion: Always RENT a delivery truck to fit the delivery!

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