Connected through time and space


I hammered this together with a couple of nails to hold it while I attached the bolts.

…and a couple of well placed nails.

Sometimes I just want to use a nail. It’s been decades now that I and many others have been using screws and drills to attach and build everything. It’s so easy — just zip, zip, buzz, buzz, click, click and it all goes together nice and tight and sturdy. It’s faster than nails. It’s more secure than nails. It’s easier to remove than nails (as long as you don’t strip the heads, of course).

But sometimes I miss nails. Building things with nails is one of the connections I have with the past and with my father who died in 1995. He was a civil engineer and when I was growing up in rural Louisiana we built many things together — with nails, but also with lag screws and carriage bolts and cables and chains. I loved drilling the holes with the brace and bit in addition to driving the nails.

I know screws and nail guns are nice but I enjoy the directness and the not-having-to-be-plugged-in-ness of attaching something with a couple of nails. Not having to depend on electricity is a big part of what I like. Dad and I could build things anywhere — out in a field somewhere, by the pond, in the woods. Availability of electrical power was one thing that was never even on our minds.

So today when I added a little extra support to my workshop in my ninety-three year old garage, I thought about the way I used to do it as a kid and just for fun I used some of the old tools. It was just a few nails, a couple of holes and some cuts with the hand saw. The best part, though, was that I felt my dad there with me the whole time.

We had a great time.

This old brace and bit can still the simple jobs done pretty darn quick.

This old brace and bit can still get the simple jobs done pretty darn quick.

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