A Screwy Experience

I’d been on the hunt for a super cheap table of a certain size, to go in my daughter’s room to get her Cage Full of Rats off the floor.

Imagine my happy surprise when driving down the road recently, I noticed a table top with a big “FREE” sign on it sitting on the sidewalk, along with its four detached legs.

I stopped, measured, and yes! It was exactly, and I mean exactly, the width, height, and length needed to fit the available space and to support the Cage Full of Rats. It had the added advantages of being sturdy, and also really, really ugly, so I wouldn’t mind having rats living on top of it. Plus, free!

With a cheerful sense of undeserved accomplishment, I put the table top and legs into the car and drove off.

I reasoned that even though no screws were included with the table, that it could certainly not be that difficult to find four replacement screws to attach the legs. (I’ll pause here while more experienced free furniture scavengers laugh.)

Because, as it turned out, it took trips to three hardware stores before I finally found the solution. The problem seemed to be that I needed screws of a slightly larger girth than the original ones, so that they would bite into fresh wood as I attached the legs. But, and this is the crucial part, they needed to be 2.5 inches long, and, apparently, of all the hundreds of available screws, the vast little baskets of screws filling vast walls, none came in that crucial slightly larger girth, with the proper length. All screws of larger circumference were too long.

I was a bit puzzled by what to do next. Luckily, a fellow at the last hardware store suggested shoving a few toothpicks into the hole in the leg, breaking them off, and then using screws of the original (and happily available) size. He said the toothpicks would make it so that the screw had something to bite into and would work a treat to re-attach the legs.

And he was correct! The table is re-assembled. You really can learn something new every day. Also, isn’t it amazing how some stuff that seems as if it would be simple to accomplish can take so much time?

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