30 June 2008

Worth the effort?

After all those posts on assembling furniture, I thought I should add a couple pictures of the finished set-up. There are a couple hanging sky chairs on the porch as well. All in all, a fine set-up for game nights, knit-ins, and Dungeons & Dragons sessions. The Cuddly Hubby checked it out and, yes, this new table is wider than what we usually use for gaming. More space for spreading Dungeon Master screens, rolling dice, setting out chips & dip, and marking up battle mats. We even ate dinner out here one night. The view from the porch includes plenty of tall oaks and lots of little local wildlife. Ahhhh. Happy sigh.

29 June 2008

Assembling Your Maddison Chair: final

Now you are almost done!
You have three big chunks: a seat-back combo, an armrest-legs combo, and an armrest-legs-crossbeams combo. (See the previous three posts for pictures.)
Lay the seat-back combo sideways and place the armrest-legs-crossbeams combo on top of it in the correct position. If it doesn't seem to fit, you might have to flip the seat-back piece around to the other side. You can see in the picture that this is looking very much like a chair!
You should have eight fasteners left: four short bolts, two long bolts, and two fasteners for the crossbeams. Use two of the short bolts to attach the legs to the seat of the chair. The bolts go all the way through the seat edge and the chair legs. Use one of the long bolts to attach the top of the armrest to the chair back. Use allen wrenches to tighten. Both parts of all these fasteners can be gripped with the allen keys, so it is easy to make them tight.
All that is left is to flip the chair on its other side. The remaining armrest-legs combo can be fit into place. This one will need to be bolted at five spots not three -- remember, you'll need to do the crossbeams as well as the chair seat and back.
Ta-da! By myself, I could put a chair together in 15-20 minutes, less when I had help holding things in place.
The directions do remind you to tighten everything periodically, so do put those allen keys someplace where you can find them again and with a label to remind you what they go to. The furniture store people also recommend treating this furniture with wood oil to keep the nice warm orange-brown color. The table is nothing complicated when compared to the chairs, so I won't bother to blog about that. I would recommend, however, that you have a friend help with the table, as it is very big and heavy and not a one-person job. And although the assembly instructions were a pain, the furniture itself seems very solid and sturdy.

28 June 2008

Assembling Your Maddison Chair: crossbars

The directions suggest adding the crossbars after the chair is assembled. I tried that, and it didn't work for me. I recommend adding the crossbars to one of the assembled armrest-legs combos. On the inside of the leg, you'll see two small holes close together. One hole goes all the way through the leg. The other hole only goes partway through. This pair is where the crossbeam attaches.

I've included two views of setting the crossbeam into the leg, depending on whether the leg is held perpendicular to the floor or is lying flat on the floor. In either case, you'll see that there is an opening in the bottom of the crossbeam. So, you'll need to turn the armrest-legs piece at least partly upside-down.

The fastener you'll use is the long bolt with the odd little cylinder. The bolt is inserted from the outside of the leg, through the leg, and into the crossbar. That little cylinder drops into the hole in the bottom of the crossbar. Before you drop the cylinder into the hole, do notice that one end is smooth and one end has a divot that will accommodate the allen wrench. Make sure the divot is facing up where you can get at it. Using the allen wrench, you can rotate the cylinder in the hole until you feel the teeth of the bolt fit and grab it.

There are two crossbeams -- one for the front legs and one for the back legs. Attach each crossbeam to one of the armrest-legs combos. You'll have this:
This photograph looks a bit odd because I've rotated the image 180 degrees so that the armrest is at top.
One last note: one of the two crossbeams will have the nameplate on it.
You'll need to decide which direction to make it face. The crossbars are symmetrical, so it doesn't matter which one is front or back, nor does it matter which side faces outward and which faces underneath the chair.

27 June 2008

Assembling Your Maddison Chair: armrest & legs

Here is the middle part of the instructions. Believe it or not, these are explaining how to attach the legs to the armrests.
The armrests are smooth wood on the top side and have two inserted metal screws on the bottom side. It also helps to identify which end is front and which is back. The front end is rounded. The back end has a curve and a hole where it will attach to the back of the chair.

You'll also need those odd bolts with the circles. As you can see, I've used my screwdriver to take one apart. It has three pieces: a shaft with a screw at one end, a stubby cylinder, and a circle that screws into the side of the cylinder.

In this first picture, I've placed the armrest upside down, so that the wooden surface is against the floor and the two threaded areas are facing upright. I've already taken two shafts from the fasteners and screwed those into the armrest.

The next trick is attaching the legs. In the initial picture from a three days ago, the public side of the legs is visible. On the private (inner) side, there are more holes. In this next series of pictures, you can see how to use the rest of the fastener.
There is a large hole in the leg that will fit the stubby cylinder. You have to insert this carefully, because you need the screw side face up for later and also because you need to side holes to line up with the hole in the bottom of the leg. One of the allen wrenches can be very helpful for checking the alignment of the cylinder. If the shaft that is now attached to the armrest does not seem to want to fit, it may be that the cylinder is not set deeply enough into the leg. A few taps with the blunt handle of that good strong screwdriver will do the trick. Once the shaft is inserted into the cylinder, the round screw part can be screwed on top to hold it all in place. I found that the armrests did come out rather loose. From what I could make out of the directions, there are cautions not to turn the screw part too tight.

Do be sure as well when you attach the legs, that you attach them correctly. They should splay outwards. And all the round screw tops should be visible only on the inside edge of the chair, not facing towards the public side of the chair. The final product looks something like this: Do remember that you'll make two of these, and that they should be symmetrically mirrored.

26 June 2008

Assembling Your Maddison Chair: seat & back

Here's what the goal is for this segment.You'll notice that the chair back is longer than the seat. You'll also notice that the two have a curved area with a hole. The goal is to align the two curves and the two holes.

Place the seat and back on the floor and carefully slide them together with the chair back overlapping the seat. Then fold this joint to a not-quite right angle. You'll get something like this:
The holes won't completely align. Once the holes are at least partly aligned, if you have a handy-dandy sturdy screwdriver, you can do this: Insert a strong screwdriver and wiggle the shaft. That will help align the holes.
The final look: The curved edges are aligned as are the holes. In a later step, you'll be able to insert a bolt through the hole in order to attach the chair to its legs.

25 June 2008

Assembling Your Maddison Chair: open the box

I'm posting this out of pity for any other consumers who had to try to read those directions.This first photo is all the stuff that comes in the box. I've laid it all out on a blue fleece blanket so that I don't scratch the chair or my hardwood floor. You can see two chair arms in the upper left and two crossbeams next to them, legs to the lower left, a seat in the center and a chair back to the upper right. The lower right is all the fasteners and the two allen wrenches that came in the box. I also used a good screwdriver.
The fasteners in the upper left with the odd circular parts are used to join arms to legs. The ones in the lower right with the odd cylindrical parts are used to join the crossbars to the legs. The set of four shorter bolts (upper right) attach the seat to the legs. The two longer bolts (lower left) attach the arm to the chair back.

24 June 2008

A Failure to Communicate

During the Memorial Day weekend, the Cuddly Hubby & I went shopping for furniture for the screen porch. We purchased a very nice expandable table and six chairs. They were supposed to be delivered on 20 June, the date of the Mensa game night. The salesman seems to have had trouble with the concept. I had to call three times to finally get him and find out that, no, the furniture was not going to be delivered on Friday after all and would 2 July be okay? Um, no. The compromise was that I could pick up the furniture. I borrowed "Old Bessie" from Buckley. She's a 20-year-old Chevy S10 with only 75,000 miles and only essential components work. But, hey, you can fit a four-foot by six-foot table in the bed because the truck bed is about four-feet one-inch by six-feet one-inch. The salesman forgot to call me Friday as soon as the furniture arrived. And I showed up at 3 o'clock anyway because I was told my furniture would be there by then, so at least the salesman got that part correct. But he also failed to understand my statement that I would be by myself and would need help loading. Fortunately, the furniture store had a younger female salesperson who understood the situation and helped me load the table and chairs. I'm sure there's some snarky comment to be made about two women loading all this heavy furniture by themselves.

So, I got the stuff home before 5 PM. Two hours until party time. All I had to do was unload and assemble.

The furniture was manufactured in Vietnam. These are the directions for assembling a chair:

They are badly translated and misspelled. Even the illustrations are not fully helpful.

It took me over an hour to figure out how to put the first chair together. I put two together, and by that time enough people had arrived for the party that I had to give up. Actually, the first party goers arrived before the first chair was fully assembled. Later in the evening, we ran out of chairs and Jason graciously helped me assemble a third. I assembled the table the next day, which was not all that difficult after doing a chair. And I finished the remaining three chairs, so we did at least have decent seating for the tea party knit-in on Sunday.

How to assemble a Maddison chair.

15 June 2008

Getting and taking another day

For those of you dropping in to check on Copernicus, he is still here. He and my husband sat on the couch today and watched American Dreamz and part of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. On Friday, I bought five cans of assorted cat food from the veterinarian. Sophia was being picky, and I hoped to keep her happy in the middle of everything. Copernicus has eaten at least some of her food. He woke me up this morning about 7 AM because he was hungry. And all the food I had left out last night was gone. Of course, I don't know which cat ate what. But at least Copernicus is up and around. I don't think he is eating enough to gain back the weight he lost, so it really is an uphill battle. But at this moment, he has not yet lost the war.

As for me, I'm busy doing battle with the mahogany African bar. I am in the middle of refinishing it. It must be done before Friday, because we have a Mensa game night here on Friday and an Atlanta Knitting Guild new member knit-in on Sunday. I do expect to post some pictures and comments later. So, for now, I'm spending my days out in the heat on the back screen porch with my favorite tool, the Makita quarter-sheet finishing sander. And I'm watching to see that Copernicus is making regular trips from the hidey-hole to the food bowl.

Someday I'm going to get back to that grey alpaca blanket. Really. I will. Just not this week.

13 June 2008

What I can get

Thursday was a good day for Copernicus. And today started off even better. I got a whole can of kitten food into him by 2:30 PM. He ate, he was active and involved. And then things turned sometime in the evening. The photo at left was taken about 7:30 PM. Copernicus went several hours with no interest in food. I gave him his evening medications in the hope that he'd feel better. As my vet said, just take it day by day. After awhile, Copernicus and my husband sat on the couch and watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I feel very fortunate that I got two and a half good days here near what is probably the end. Of course, now that I'm writing this, I hear my husband saying that Copernicus is in the kitchen and eating.

I'll take what I can get and be thankful for it.

11 June 2008

A Precious Good Day

When people get to know me, it doesn't take long before they hear me mention Copernicus. I'm not talking about the great astronomer; I'm talking about my cat.
A flame-point Siamese, he's been part of my household for almost 19 years. As you might imagine, he's not old, he's venerable. And his health, though delicate, is proof that you really can treat diabetes and live. He's mostly had a good winter and spring. But last Monday he didn't eat. Vet appointments ensued. Assorted medications were prescribed. To his already extensive regimen of two pills each day, two insulin shots each day, fluids every-other day, and another special pill every third day was added another pill each day, two more shots, and fluids daily. This Monday, he still wasn't having a good day. His weight had dipped to a mere eight pounds, when it should be at least twelve. At the veterinarian's office, we both came to the conclusion that he is nearing the end of his days. Decisions were made not to continue certain medications. Forget the diabetes, he can have whatever food he dang well pleases. Keep him comfortable. Enjoy what time you have left.

I now understand why people bring casseroles to those who are grieving. Grief ruins an appetite. But if somebody brings you a casserole, they've put in enough work that you feel guilty if you don't at least try it; and you have to get rid of the food so that you can give back the dish.

So I cried frequently through most of Monday evening and all day Tuesday, as the grief set in. And then a strange thing happened. Copernicus had a good day today.

Last night he did not follow my husband and me up to bed. But about 3 AM, there was Copernicus, on my pillow, stomping on my head, and purring loudly for attention. I got up and relinquished my pillow. I sat there in the dark and petted him for more than an hour. He purred the whole time. A little after 4 AM, my husband got up to go to work. I told him to keep and eye on Copernicus, and I went back to sleep. Copernicus ate some breakfast. I went off to my Wednesday morning knit-along -- we're making the Fiber Trends felted clogs and reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander -- and came home after lunch. Sophia, our Russian blue, greeted me at the top of the stairs. But Copernicus got right out of his hidey-hole and came over. And he ate. He went back to the hidey-hole and then came back into the kitchen. And he ate again. I managed to get a little more into him tonight during a telephone conversation with my mother.

I don't know if this will last. So often, both people and animals take a hopeful bounce right before the end. But at least I can say that today was a precious good day.