Saturday, April 3, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

I started match drilling the 72 holes that will be used to rivet a relatively flimsy bulkhead to the anything-but-flimsy center section today. I started out by removing the Harbor Freight springy clamps and replacing them with cleco clamps because the cleco clamps hold things together a lot tighter. Just how tight they hold was something I'd soon learn through up-close and personal experience. (In the parlance, they call that previous sentence "foreshadowing," and it is often accompanied by ominous orchestral music in movies. In lieu of that, just hum an ominous tune. Thank you.)

If you go get a magnifying glass to look at that picture, or even better just click on it for a larger version, you will note a couple of odd things. First, you will see the number '60' written in the bulkhead with a Sharpie(tm) pen. There are 72 holes to be match drilled but, as always, the devil is in knowing exactly which 72 holes are to be drilled. There are a couple that get drilled to a different size, you see, so those aren't counted in the 72. I thought I'd count the holes that I thought were included in the set and see if I reached 72. As a kind of verification, you see. What could be the harm in that? Better safe than sorry, as they say.

As I was leaning across the table counting, I reached the end of the range in which I could touch each hole. I grabbed the Sharpie to mark how far I had gone, and then attempted to record the count. As I was leaning on the center section, one of the cleco clamps got bumped. It spun around on the metal and clamped itself to the meaty part of the palm of my right hand.

I'm here to tell ya (so you aren't tempted to try it for yourself): that frikking HURTS. And where were the cleco pliers to I could get that thing off of my hand? Beats me! They're never around when you need them. Once I finally found the pliers and got the clamp off of my hand, I decided to commemorate the event with a little note on the bulkhead.

That ought to explain why my bulkhead says "OUCH!"

I took a break and came back later to start on the holes. I have, at this point, exactly five of the 72 done. The problem is that my battery operated electric drill turns slower than an air drill and it takes a period measured in actual minutes to drill each hole. And it's tiring! I can only do a few at a time, so this is really going to take awhile.

Plus there's that whole thing about the hand that I use to push the drill with: it still frikkin' hurts.

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