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A Small But Satisfying Project
A bit of background: Many years ago, my grandfather - carpenter, furniture builder, toymaker, all-around woodworker par excellence - made a pirate chest for me. One of its features was a padlock hasp. Though this was never intended for any sort of real security - it was part decorative and part just to keep the lid shut - I was the kind of child who insisted on putting a lock on it anyway.

And the kind of adolescent/young adult who inevitably lost the key.

A few years ago I took the screws out of the top part of the hasp so that I could get at the contents of the chest, but for one reason or another, never got around to doing any better repair than that. So this has been the state of the pirate chest for the last, oh, decade or so:

It might've stayed that way indefinitely, but a short while ago I happened - after years of looking right past mentions of it on Twitter - to check out tested.com. One of the key features of that site in recent years is a series of videos in which Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame builds things in his home workshop, or shows off things he's built, or... well, things to do with his love of making stuff - particularly, by an odd coincidence, boxes and cases. I'd say I was inspired, but I think the predominant sensation is really more like shame. Here was this great thing my grandfather made for me, and I had never gotten around to fixing it. I've never been particularly handy, but it's not like this was a difficult job.

So I got off my butt and hunted down a proper trunk lock. It came in the mail yesterday, and today I busted out the screwdrivers, borrowed a - what do you call a Dremel tool when it's not made by Dremel? I don't know the generic name for it. Anyway, you know the kind of thing I mean - and fixed my pirate chest.

First order of business was to cut the lock off, since the tongue of the hasp was blocking access to the screws on the loop side. The lock is a pretty decent one with a hardened steel shackle, but the hasp itself is just decorative brass, so I cut the loop instead. This operation was a complete success:

From there it was just a matter of unscrewing the old hasp loop, prying it off (it had become pretty firmly embedded in the wood over the years, and the trunk was stained and varnished after the original hardware went on), then using the spots where the finish was missing to position the new lock and screw it on. This operation was also a complete success.

Philips-head screws aren't period, but a) the trunk itself is held together with them and b) regular screws are such a pain in the ass I'm willing to make the sacrifice. If pirates had had access to Philips screws, they'd have used them. (Besides, real pirate chests' locks don't say OHIO TRAVEL BAG - MADE IN CHINA on them either, but what're you gonna do?)

I may experiment with the screws a bit at some later point. The ones the guy at the hardware store recommended have button heads, and upon further review, something with a lower profile might look better - particularly on the lid end of the lock, where the holes are in a surface which is itself proud of the lid face, exaggerating how far the screw heads protrude. For right now, though, I'm satisfied. I've fixed the trunk, I've put the key on my regular keyring so I won't lose it (or if I do, I have bigger problems), and if I do say so, it looks pretty good.

This was far from the most challenging project ever undertaken in the history of man, but I'm pleased anyway, because, well, it was long overdue and I went and did it. Adam Savage I ain't, but at least I've fixed a box. :)

ETA: Oh, if you're wondering why there's a roll of toilet paper on the headboard shelf of my bed, it's because I sometimes have nosebleeds in the night and I don't have any box napkins in the house, not because I have some on-label need for bedside toilet paper. :) Unavoidable hazard of CPAP therapy, though the incidence is much lower now that I've started using a flow generator that has a heated humidifier attachment.
4 notes or Leave a note by the exit
jarodrussell From: jarodrussell Date: February 2nd, 2014 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Well done, good sir.
cmdr_zoom From: cmdr_zoom Date: February 2nd, 2014 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll second that.
mindways From: mindways Date: February 2nd, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
hyuri From: hyuri Date: February 3rd, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
what do you call a Dremel tool when it's not made by Dremel?

Either a rotary tool or a miniature/micro die grinder. The latter are more commonly applied to pneumatic tools IME, but I have seen electric tools so labeled.
4 notes or Leave a note by the exit