Sunday, 10 February 2008

To hang two Japanese paper fans on a wall has taken me all morning, including two trips to Bunnings in Ashfield. The fans are not in themselves particularly spectacular or valuable.

One was given to me by a friend of my wife's who was remarkable for having three children as well as for putting up with my wife's odd moods. The other one landed in my possession at some point during my decade in Tokyo.

To get this result, I started out in the car at around 9am. I completed the business about half an hour ago. It took this long despite the fact that the total concept was crystal clear in my mind from the get-go: I knew I wanted to use angle hooks and since the wall is double-brick, I knew a drill would be required.

Bunnings' tool shop on a Sunday morning is very busy and there's only one sales guy who knows all the details of the hundreds of models they sell. A queue quickly formed. I stood to one side until the cashier interrupted the expert.

He flashed me a quick look, as if to say 'greenhorn', and airily bid me buy a Bosch or a Makita unit.

I looked about me, saw endless rows of cordless and mains-powered electric drills and quickly deserted the post. I decided to do something useful, and made for the aisle displaying hooks and screws.

Here I felt in better company. I quickly selected the size and shape of hook I wanted. I also took some larger hooks for hanging a Japanese printer's block, which is a wooden slab about twenty centimetres long and half as much wide.

I then went to the place for masonry plugs and got the smallest type available: 5mm.

These critical items in my possession, I returned to the drills but asked a different sales person for help. Since he could not tell me precisely what type of drill I'd need, however, I started inspecting packaging and the marketing copy printed on it.

Since my maximum hole size would be 5mm, I gauged that a drill capable of punching a 10mm hole into metal would be good enough, if not over-spec. I took a box to the counter and asked the expert if this would be true. "Not necessarily," he answered.

"So what kind of drill do I need to put a 5mm hole into brick?" I asked. He was clearly not grasping my situation. So I asked him if a cordless would, perhaps, be inadequate.

"Yes," he said. "Get this." I looked at the box labelled 'ozito' and the $30 price and pressed, again: "Will this work?"

With a positive answer occupying a multitude of synapses in my frontal cortex, I took my selections off home and inserted the 5mm masonry bit into the drill's chuck, which is tightened manually.

I plugged the cord into a double-adapter underneath my window case and, having marked with a pencil the location on the wall for each hole, placed the tungsten tip against it and started drilling one of them.

After making two, I inserted a 5mm plug into one. Useless. It slipped in with no friction holding it at a place where a hook could screw in. Bugger.

I got back in the car and returned to Bunnings.

I wasn't happy. The guy who was lucky enough to serve me this time apologised profusely (this unlikely outcome is solely attributable to the fact that he is North American). He also took the time to help, thus averting future complaint.

He took me through the process from the beginning. This way, he reckoned, any other issues could be identified before I again drove off. He took on-board the fact that a 5mm plug is too small if a 5mm drill bit is used.

But he also (luckily) noted clearly that a plug larger than 5mm would be too big for the hooks I'd chosen. With a 7mm plug, for example, they would uselessly twist around endlessly.

The solution was to buy a packet of 'Fix-it' plaster-impregnated cloth patches. These are separated, soaked in water, moulded around the plug, left to dry for three minutes, and inserted with the plug into the hole.

This worked, although I had to snip off excess cloth with scissors (see bottom photo for a full catalogue of tools and consumables required).

I had learned a few lessons during the morning, so when preparing the second fan's mounting holes I chose a 4mm drill bit.

This worked perfectly. I knew this because I needed a hammer to sink the plugs into the holes. Note: when using a 4mm bit, you can twist the bit around in the hole as you finish it. This makes the diameter slightly larger than 4mm, and ideal for a 5mm plastic plug.

So while the morning's work demanded an unexpected amount of time as well as mental application by four individuals, the result is ideal. As you can see (above).

Here are the items required (from top left):
  • 'Fix-it' plaster-impregnated cloth patches
  • Angle hooks for mounting fans
  • Mains-powered hand drill
  • Scissors
  • Philips-head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • 4mm drill bit (also used 5mm bit, not shown)
  • Screw (for removing the 5mm plug that uselessly disappeared into the first hole)
  • 5mm masonry plugs

1 comment:

Meredith Jones said...

Indeed the result is ideal - it's a lovely corner.