Sunday, November 2, 2014

Epic DIY Fail

For the most part I do my best not to get too negative on this blog. I enjoy sharing the positive experiences and successes I'm blessed with in my life. 

But I don't want my readers to think I'm some kind of Pollyanna or that everything in my life goes perfect. I think I do a pretty good job of "keeping it real". 

I consider myself a "life long learner" and like to try a lot of new things. However, I have a bit of difficulty handling my failures and that's putting it mildly. So as a way of trying to change that today, I share one of my failures. It's may not seem like a very big deal to most of you; but because it revolves around, what I consider to be, one of my personal the end result really bothered me. 

Enough said. Here now is today's story. Something in a fit of hyperbole and exaggeration I am calling my "epic DIY fail".  

Earlier this year I posted about a new roll top desk I bought from a neighbor. It was very heavy and difficult to move. 

So before I set it up in my house, my son James helped me put wheels on the bottom. Here's the pic showing them. 

Making this desk easier to move was relatively easy. As someone who is not very much of a DIY guy this was a big success for me. Getting that desk was the first step in setting up my at-home recording "studio". 

The other piece of furniture that I wanted to be part of my set up was a computer cabinet that used to hold our desktop. Here's what it looked like 10 years ago when we first set it up in what we used to call our "computer room" 

If you look at the bottom left hand corner of this pic you'll see that the cabinet sits stationary on the floor. For this cabinet to be used as part of my studio I needed it to be movable. 

Based on my success with the roll top desk, I decided to put wheels on the cabinet too. But this was a lot easier said than done. 

The bottom of the cabinet was not flush with the floor. I would have to put the wheels on wood blocks and fasten them to the inside corners of the cabinet to enable them to extend below the bottom and support its weight.  

On my first try I used small blocks, screws, and metal brackets. I found a piece of scrap wood in our storage barn that I used to make the blocks. I bought a hand saw to cut them myself. 

But when I went to actually install everything I realized that my concept wasn't going to work. I had to do it a different way.  

"Plan B" consisted of making the blocks for the corners bigger so that they could be fastened to both the bottom and sides of the cabinet. Also, this time I would use nails instead of screws to secure them. 

I would need 4 blocks of wood each 3 1/2 inches high and 3 inches wide. I went to a local lumber yard where one of my friends from church works. He found a piece of wood to cut apart to make the blocks.  

Since the piece of wood was 6 inches square and 3 feet long, it took me a couple of weeks to find a cabinet making business that could cut it for me. I bought the additional hardware I needed and set out to complete "plan b" and have my studio complete. Here is a shot of all the materials I was going to use to do it. 

I was really very excited about finally finishing this project after a couple of months of delays. But the deck was stacked against me.

As you can see from the picture the nails I used to secure the wheels to the blocks are not driven all the way down into the wood. They are bent over. That's because I found it very difficult to get them to go all the way into the wood. No big deal because although it didn't look very good, the wheels were secure and would work. Once they were in place they weren't going to be seen anyway. They only needed to be functional. 

When it came time to nail the blocks to the inside of the bottom of the cabinet another problem came up. I discovered that 10 year old particle board had a tendency to fall apart when pounding nails into it. I did my best to keep the wood together but the degree of pounding I had to use to drive the nails only made the particle board disintegrate even more.

A combination of determination and frustration led me to wield one last "give it all I got" effort to get the first block secure on the foot board of the cabinet. But then it all fell apart. The foot board broke off and the bottom of the cabinet fell apart.  Not only was my 2nd plan not going to work, but now the cabinet's structural integrity was gone. It wouldn't even stand up again without falling apart.

Realizing what had just happened I quickly understood that I was looking at an epic failure. The cabinet was done. The only thing left to do was carry it out to the trash. 

Since I couldn't carry the unit out to the carport without it falling completely going to pieces, I decided that I would simply dismantle it and carry it out that way. 

I have to admit, I took out a little bit of my frustration while taking the hammer to the cabinet . When it was all said and done it was in the pieces and out of the house.  

Once I was finished with the clean up I realized that I was extremely discouraged. My inner monologue turned to a negative "why do you ever try these kind of things, you know it never works out." DIY projects and I are like oil and vinegar. We just don't mix.

But soon I got past it enough to put it in perspective. I am now looking for the lessons in the fail. The thing I regret the most is the money I invested materials. 

I could have easily gone out and bought a new piece of furniture with wheels already on it. But I wanted to utilize something I already had. That didn't work out. 

Nevertheless I am now looking for alternative ways of finishing my recording study. The lesson I have learned may very well be not to try anything like this again without some help. But I'm confident that perhaps I will somewhere down the road glean a more positive and even more valuable lesson from this epic DIY fail. 


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