Not For The Intended Purpose

For over 35 years I’ve been shopping at the same family-owned hardware store near our house in Maryland.  In virtually every instance the experience has been a delight; they have one of just about everything, they know where it is, and they can explain how to use it.  Besides, I can often get in and out quicker than I could find a parking space at the home improvement center.  Sure, I pay a premium in slightly higher prices but that is a trade-off I will make every day and twice on Saturday.

What doe this have to do with the subject of today’s blog?

Well, the siblings that ran the store for most of my life had a vague idea about what I did for a living, but they mostly knew that I would buy stuff and use it for something other than the intended purpose.  Like using powdered wallpaper adhesive to make a poultice to leech out a stain on some marble, for example.  They were always entertained by my reports of how I used their products.  They would often introduce me as “the guy who uses things for the wrong purpose.”

Recently I had a project wherein I needed to make a pile of bent aluminum flashing that was just smidge bigger than my mini-brake/shear could accommodate.  Since it was aluminum I could have easily made it conform but I wanted the bend to be clean and quick.

As I was poking around for scrap parts to make a bending jig I actually bumped into the corner of my saw sharpening vise (it was a painfully memorable moment), and “Viola'” a light went off in the dark space between my ears.

I cut the aluminum roll into the pieces I needed with a square and a utility knife, and marked out the bending line.

I placed the sheets in the vise with the bend line along the tip of the vise jaws and simply bent them with a scrap board.

In about ten minutes I had the entire pile finished and ready for use.

I love it when a path to completion includes the route through the land of “for the not intended purpose.”