Sunday, October 26, 2014

In which Katie and Hayden's collapsing floor problem is fixed for good

When Katie and Hayden's middle floor collapsed again a couple weeks ago, I emailed my parents to ask my father if anything would go wrong if I just nailed the damned shelf into the sides of the cheap, poorly constructed MDF bookcase.

Elena and Kayla provide confirmation of my original ideas on floor height.
He sent me a drill.

My father is a man of action. He is also a man who knows his power tools.

Hellooooo, drill!
He also got on the phone with me to explain how to perform the necessary bookcase-fixing actions, which I am about to share because today's sewing session is just going in a vile manner and telling this story makes me feel competent.

The first step is to mark, with masking tape, the line of the existing shelf-support holes, so that the new holes will be in line with the old holes. I interpreted his instructions to mean running tape on both sides of the holes, as that made it easier for me to see the holes (which aren't straight in the original -- harrumph!) and to make sense of what's going on here.

High-heeled dolls get to be the height guides.
The tape running the other way was originally just to tell me where the ruler had ended, so I could measure up some more without going all catty-wampus. However, the top of the tape landed about where the old line for the top of the supports had been, which meant that just-above-it was also a reasonable place to put new holes.

Here is my father's most exciting piece of advice: wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit at the level where the hole needs to stop, so you know when you're done.
Note evidence that I have been reading the drill instructions.
I originally chose a drill bit size by sliding possible bits into the existing holes until I found one that was a snug fit. Then I drilled exactly the way the drill instructions told me to -- and lo! A hole!

Peg in hole! Yay, me!
Of course, it's a hole at the old chalk line, not at the top of the tape, where I'd even neatly marked the future hole with an ice pick so the drill bit wouldn't travel. Oops.

There we go! Correct spot.
On the next three spots, I got the hole in the right place the first time, largely be muttering "right at the top of the tape, not on the old chalk line" to myself compulsively. The drilling part turns out to be totally non-scary. The most difficult thing to remember -- other than how to read my own markings -- is to keep the drill running while pulling it out of the hole, so it doesn't bind.

And here we are! No more worries about falling ceilings.
The shelf sits happily on its pegs. I ripped out the old granite-patterned contact paper in the bathroom and reinstalled paper that doesn't ripple, though it ended up being the gray granite because my nearest Dollar Tree was out of beige. I'm now wondering what other patterns are possible, since it's much easier to paper around a shelf that's removable.

If you're wondering what the cat -- who meditates under furniture at the slightest loud noise -- thought of this, here's what he was doing directly behind me while I drilled.

The drill charger is warm! It is my new friend!
It is obviously only a matter of time before I have Home Depot cut MDF for me to build a more customized house, though it could be some time, as I'm not sure what I'm going to want.

Next up, in the more plausibly near future, is to re-peg one of the other two shelves in the same manner as this one, to give me another few rooms for the ravening horde. This would allow me to have a dining room next to the existing kitchen, give the living room its own full run of shelving, and squeeze in some more bedrooms.


  1. Great job Smaller Places! I truly admire your skills, I get into a panic each time I see a hex key......

  2. How crafty of you... or tooly, LOL. I'm sure your dolls will show their appreciation.

  3. Very nice job! You have opened up a world of possibilities with your new drill! Your dolls must be very happy!

  4. @billa, @Muff, @Phyllis -- Thanks! I am now plotting...

  5. I'm impressed - that's getting a job done.

    Love your cat's chillin ;-)

    1. Thanks! I now look at the world through the lens of "What could I DRILL?"