Monday, May 09, 2005

Adventures in Metal

At the end of last year, I spent some of the proceeds from the Winter Gift Market on a 10x10 canopy. Since I had a whole list of other things I needed to buy, I got a cheap canopy on eBay instead of an EZ-UP brand. The cheap one was less than even a used EZ-UP, and I figured, "who cares as long as it's 10x10 and does the job?" A lot of crafters have EZ-UP brand canopies, but a lot have other brands too.

Well, now I'm wishing I got that used EZ-UP instead of the new cheap one, because I'm having to repair it.

I've only put it up a few times, to test it out and to try out various display ideas to see how they would fit. The last time I put it away before the Gardeners' Market, I noticed that some of the metal struts were bending at the joints. I made a note to myself to pick up some metal bars next time I was at Home Depot so I could reinforce them and keep them from bending.

Saturday came, and we spent the entire morning under the canopy. I had to put it away wet (there was no other possible state it could be in, given the weather) so when I got it home, I immediately set it up again. I figured it would be better to put it out wet in the rain than to let it molder in its zip case; after all, it couldn't get any wetter than it already was, but it sure could get a lot smellier. And when I went to set it up, two of the struts that had been bending actually broke.

As it happened I had picked up a metal bar the last time I was at Home Depot, so I immediately cut it into four pieces and duct-taped it to the struts to rejoin the pieces. However, when I was deciding where to put the other two pieces I'd cut, I noticed that ALL of the joints were starting to bend. Part of this, I'm sure, was due to the extra strain they were under while the canopy was collapsing when the two struts broke. So I went back to Home Depot and got more metal bars. I am actually one bar short of being able to reinforce every joint; I will have to wait until they get some more bars in.

So here I am, chewing away at these metal bars with a rusty old hacksaw. Suddenly it occurred to me that we have never changed the hacksaw blade and it is probably extremely dull, making my task more difficult and time-consuming. So I went to find hacksaw blades, knowing we have several open packages of them laying around the house. Unfortunately, they were all a couple of inches longer than my hacksaw blade, so I resigned myself to sawing with the dull blade. As I picked up my rusty hacksaw, though, I noticed that the length of the saw was adjustable. So I adjusted the saw and put on the longer blade, and the metal is sawing much easier now.

I still have two more bars to cut up (plus the one I have yet to buy), and I'm giving my wrists a break. But as soon as I can, I'll finish reinforcing the joints, wash the bird crap off the top of the canopy, let it dry out, and put it back. Hopefully all this will transpire before it starts to rain again this afternoon.