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Embed code for: CW 301 Trigger Paper
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Gary William Hallford
CW 301 – Trigger Paper & Expansion
September 21, 2015 / October 7, 2015
Hand Drill Blues
On a late summer evening in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Eastern Nevada, Jason dug through a satchel of antiquated hand tools and pulled out his prized hand drill. Electricity had failed in most locales almost thirty years ago, so Craftsman, Makita, and all of the big-name power tools were now as useless as a recipe in his ex-wife’s kitchen. Very few of the modern carpenters had ever used hand tools, so their skills were severely negated once they had nothing to plug their newfangled equipment into. However, Jason’s father had been an old-school cabinet maker who prided himself on creating his wares using only hand tools. When he taught the trade to Jason, at the completion of each piece of furniture, he gave Jason another hand tool. The first piece received was a small finishing hammer, followed by a hand plane, a crosscut saw, framing hammer, a rasp, chisels, and eventually this hand drill.
To build with mortise and tenon, the chisels were absolutely necessary. However, to attach all pieces without any nails, a hand drill with several different sized bits was needed. To create a simple table top Jason would use the hand drill and the ¼ inch bit to drill at least two holes in each slab of wood. Typically he would drill the holes at angles of 15 to 25 degrees so that these joints would not separate over time, but for some non-essential pieces he might drill the holes without the offset. The joints would not have the durability of the offset ones, but they were faster to make. For table legs and other heavy duty applications, Jason would use larger drill bits, as large as ½”, ¾”, or even 1”. Once when framing a barn he hand drilled with a 2” bit.
The project today was special. Molly, Jason’s mate for almost five years, needed a bassinette for an unexpected child. Normally Jason would have crafted a full-sized crib for the child, but when the weather started getting colder they planned to travel south to warmer climes. Winter in Eastern Nevada could be brutal, so they decided to migrate to what had once been known as Chihuahua, a region of Northern Mexico, seeking warmer weather for the birth of their first and only child. Molly had been pregnant before, but lost the fetus after falling off a horse. Jason had the idea of building what was essentially an armored bassinette to protect the coming child.
In a burned and abandoned farm house south of Ely, Jason had found some remnants of an old oak chest of drawers and a teak bar. Hardwood furniture was difficult to find after the war ended, because the wood burned so well and most survivors did not understand that lumber would soon be a hard to find commodity, like electricity, hand tools, and people who knew how to use them. The teak had been intricately carved with an Asian motif, but neither Jason nor Molly were old enough to have learned about the previous World Wars, only knowing that it was made of an extremely hard wood. Jason had tried to hand drill the teak with a ¼” bit, but after several hours only penetrated 3/8”.
Jason was getting frustrated at the lack of progress when he heard Molly call him for a meal. He placed the hand drill next to the satchel and walked over to where she had been cooking. Molly was not a great cook, but earlier in the day they had killed an antelope, and the gamey meat was a nice change from the almost vegetarian fare they had been surviving on. While they relaxed with a cup of boiled chicory leaves, the quiet intrusion of a raccoon was unnoticed. The bandit took hold of the hand drill and scampered off into the sagebrush with his new trophy.
After the sparse meal had been completed, Jason reluctantly returned to his woodworking project. He dug around in his satchel to find the one and only sharpening tool set he used to keep his drill bits sharp. He had others for knives and axes, but this was specifically intended for high quality Forstner bit sharpening. Whet stones and razor strops were useful elsewhere, but to polish up his prized drill bits he used this three piece set of special hones. Once he retrieved the small collection of hones, he walked over to where he had left the hand drill. It was not where he thought he had left it. Where might that be? He thought, nobody here but Molly and me, and she ain’t left camp since we got here.
Jason looked in every conceivable place where he might have left the hand drill, from the scavenged furniture to each abandoned building he had searched. This is crazy! Where the fuck did it go? Frustrated, he went back to where the satchel was because it was the last place he thought he had seen it. He reached inside the satchel and pulled out a pipe he had fashioned several years ago, and a small tin of dried hemp leaves. He crumpled up the marijuana and put a small quantity in the hardwood pipe. Not having a lighter, he was about to walk back to the cooking fire Molly tended, when he noticed some tiny footprints in the dust. “I’ll be damned”, he muttered, “Fucking raccoons.”
He took a good look at the chaotic collection of tracks and noticed what might be drag marks heading eastward, toward the sagebrush. Jason followed the trail as best he could and when he arrived at the edge of the millions of acres of sagebrush, thought damned needle in a haystack? Jason saw a huge old sagebrush nearby. “If I was a ‘coon here, where would I stay?” He walked through the tall dry grass and in nine paces stepped on the drill. “Eureka! I need a light…”
he offset. The joints would not have the durability of the offset ones, but they were faster to make. For table legs and other heavy duty applications, Jason would use larger drill bits, as large as ½”, ¾”, or even 1”. Once when framing a barn he hand drilled with a 2” bit.
After the sparse meal had been completed, Jason reluctantly returned to his woodworking project. He dug around in his satchel to find the one and only sharpening tool set he used to keep his drill bits sharp. He had others for knives and axes, but this was specifically intended for high quality Forstner bit sharpening. Whet stones and razor strops