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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nothing is ever easy

I've been replacing the columns on my porch and today seemed like a good day to get a few done. I jacked up the roof over the porch and took out the old column. The builders didn't anchor the post at the bottom. Around here they call it "anchoring by gravity" or some such. Not the best system IMO.

I've been using standoffs that use a concrete bolt in the slab to hold them in place, so I use the old hammer drill to make the hole. (My dad bought that drill for $5 at a flea market back when he had a bunch of rent houses. Not a bad deal for $5. I wish he'd bought 20 of them.)

Then I start the anchor bolt. I'm using a socket wrench with about a 10" handle on it. I don't think there is any way I could overtorque the bolt so I must have gotten the wrench off at an angle. At any rate I broke the bolt off just below flush with the concrete. Great. Not fun.

I figure I'll try to use my easy-outs. I get a small bit out of the cheapest set I've got and try it out to see if I can drill it. YES!! The old, cheap bit drills it nicely. I get the hole in fairly deep and go look for the easy-outs.

I cannot find them. Not in any of my toolboxes or any of the drawers that sometimes collect odd tools and hardware. No big deal. My better half went to the hardware store and picked up a set. Great!! Now I can get the thing out and finish the first column.

The only problem now is that the hole isn't big enough for the smallest easy-out to fit in. I get a larger bit and go to work making the hole bigger.

The only problem is that I broke the bit off down in the hole. It was at the perfect depth to keep the easy-out from working and of course drilling out a drill bit isn't going to work. I tried using a concrete nail as a hardened punch to shatter the bit,but the bit was too deep in the hole to reach.

I ended up drilling a hole right next to the first bolt so I could install another anchor bolt next to the first one. Everything went fine until I got it almost far enough in to fit the standoff over when I broke the head off that bolt, too. Fortunately, enough of the bolt was sticking out of the concrete for the standoff to work.

Is it any wonder I was afraid to go to the bathroom for the rest of the day?

1 comment:

Paladin said...

This chain of events sounds just like every plumbing repair episode I've ever undertaken. Even something as simple as changing a toilet float becomes a heyday for Mr. Murphy.


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