Followers

June 28, 2008

knock-knock


The new front door is done! Well almost, we are still searching for the poignee, the door knob, which by means of a metal rod will operate the latch. There is a lock, and it has been oiled with used cooking oil (as the locals do it). Somehow in the photo it looks awfully low, but it's really high enough that it feels comfortable to walk through.

We are basking in the approving "chapeaus" from the neighboors, and the continued surprise from friends who never quite got the idea of the described "new door made from old floorboards". The wood is 100 year old Walnut, the frame is 1000 year old stone,..... PINCH ME!
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June 10, 2008

Tool Challenged

We are still working on the A is for Arch project.
Being thwarted at every turn with poor quality tools. Here's the deal, for some reason, France is awash in cheap Chinese tools.
There mustn't be any tariffs on imported tools, as there must be in America. In France one can actually buy power tools at the
grocery store, 8 euro grinders and drills and 30 euro demolition hammers and vacuums. These tools are not made very well, but they always come with a 1 year warranty which is about double the life of the average tool for a guy like me, so if you play your cards right you can string one cheap tool along for a long time. Now, cheap tools are not much fun to work with, I have always been a strong believer in quality tools, but I already own all these tools in California, and the French tools that would 'last a lifetime' won't function on the 110 volt American system so I have no desire to drop the big euros. The Europeans do make great tools, AEG, Bosch, Festool.... but those tools are twice the price of quality tools in the US. The core of the problem is that there are no tools in the middle range, just cheap and way expensive! So I buy the cheap tools and have already replaced them time and time again.

This week it was the Demolition Hammer, the small grinder (I cut the cord, oops!) the large grinder and then the table saw. Only the table saw is still under it's warranty, but when you return a tool or electronic device to a store here in France, they try to fix it! In America, they replace it and your only out the lost hours of standing in line at Home Depot, here they send it out for repair, and half of the time they actually repair it! The rest of the time, you just wait three to six weeks while they get HQ to authorize the replacement. It is so very frustrating to be mid project and so gravely tool-challenged.

But despite the stumbles the A is for Arch project moves forward. Here the door is in place (behind the plywood barrier that keeps the tourists from marching in). It is made of inch thick, 100 year old walnut boards recuperated from the attic floor, very pretty and VERY heavy. The challenge that awaits is how to hinge it, the stone arch is not plumb, I wonder if it ever was? I will start by hanging it tight to the arch and out of level and then try to compensate with offset hinges, it's just a theory but it should work. There is nothing like reopening a stone arch to create a buzz on the street, everyone wants to talk about it. Between the Chinese tools and the French tourists, we might get done by Christmas!
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