Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mr Murphy Ain't My Friend

"We have met the enemy and he is us", Pogo 1970. Seems that the Irish star of misstep and aggravation, Mr. Murphy, had a couple of drinks with Mr. Flannery yesterday.

Mr. Murphy, is the proclamator of Murphy's Fourth Law of Thermodynamics. Not to be outdone my such lesser luminaries as Issac Newton, who could only conjure up three such laws, Mr. Murphy, probably in an alcohol induced state of higher conscientiousness, proclaimed his own universal law of society, if anything can go wrong, it will.

Yesterday I could not get out of my own way, or Mr. Murphy's, in getting set up for the occasional sale. The erstwhile Duncan Phyffe coffee table which has been painted pepto pink, then Easter candy yellow and finally toned down with a slather of aged oak gel stain, again crossed my path.

Now this table is a $5 refugee from some estate auction. It had wobbly legs, sagging joints and a stained and unstylish top. (Not unlike your correspondent). I, for some unknown reason, decided that it had potential. Its real potential now appears to be processing it for its BTU's by rapidly converting it to ash.

I removed one of the two tripod legs, then glued and clamped each leg set into a nearly stable configuration. I painted and stained the table and the legs. For the piece de resistance I cut and glued a 1950's over the sofa print of a woodland scene to the top. This involved resetting my steel carpenter's square a couple of times because it was a couple inches short to make a full cut. (Now how can two sides be square and the connecting lines not meet properly?) After making the de riguer blood sacrifice, because this portion of the project required the use of a sharp object, I finally got the print to lie flat and nearly square.

Remarkably the print's October tones matched the pinkish-yellowish-stained brown finish of the table pretty well. I reinstalled the errant leg, using not just wood glue, but Gorilla Glue, clamps and screws. I left the clamps on the table and placed it in my pickup for transport to the Porch.

I disassembled the multi clamp matrix from the table and gently set it on the tarmac of the parking lot. I'll be damned, the table sat flat, level and without a creak or wobble. I was very pleased with myself. After only 200 hours of work I had turned this $5 piece of junk into a $25 piece of art. Then along comes Mr. Murphy.

It seems the that there is a proper direction to point the tips of the the tripod legs. One foot of each tripod must point to the other and the center of the table. This gives it symmetry and prevents one foot from extending beyond the edge of the table. In my desire to make sure that the tripod never moved again, I had permanently fixed one of the legs 180* out of position. So today, with my Saws All in hand, I will be attempting to perform a tripodectomy and rotation right here on my driveway.

Mr. Murphy, have 'em set us up with another round.

Mr. Flannery

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Oh Mr. Flannery.....we all have days like that but I don't believe I've read one so well written before.....be sure to mark the offending tripod and don't remove the wrong one!!!