Thanks, Dad

If you're ever at a party with my dad (because, man, does my dad LOVE to party!), and he's not talking, just ask him how something works. Four hours later, you'll either be in a vegetative state, or you'll be extremely thankful for then knowing EXACTLY how it works.

My dad is a mechanical engineer. We grew up fixing everything. And while we were fixing things, we were getting explanations, algebraic formulas, chemical make-ups, theorems, slide rule calculations, rocket propulsion physics, and complex diagrams that would make Einstein and DaVinci shake their heads. I can only remember one time my mom and dad hired anyone to do something around our house. We had a water leak in one of the bathrooms on the second floor. I can't remember if the drywall in our dining room fell in, or they had to cut it out to get to the pipe. Regardless, my dad hired a guy at work to come do the sheetrock work. I clearly didn't learn a damn thing from that, because 20 years later I did the drywall work in my basement, and hated every minute of it. I learned that just because you can fix something, it doesn't mean you should. 

Fast forward to my framing gun (air powered nailer) getting jammed the other day. I downloaded a schematic diagram of it from the internet, which made it look like it was just a few working pieces short of being the Space Shuttle. The itemized parts list was three pages long! So...I promptly threw it away and grabbed some tools. Note: I was smart enough to take some pics as I tore the thing apart.

A nail had inexplicably turned 180 degrees in the gun and got jammed between the "hammer" mechanism that drives the nail, and the frame of the tube that keeps it all together. Seemed simple enough. I took apart all the excess exterior pieces so that I could access the nail with some vice grips. I got a good hold of the head of the nail...and promptly broke it off. So, now I have just the shaft of the nail, recessed into the firing chamber. So, I take a few other bolts and screws off that were in the way, and grab the shaft with some needle nosed pliers...and break that part off, as well. Uh, crap!

Now I have just a sliver of the nail wedged in there. No option but to take the entire gun apart because I can't access it. I attempted to drive the hammer mechanism back into the gun with a steel punch, but I only manage to drive it (and the nail bit) deeper into the chamber. It's somewhere about this time that I use up my entire month's allotment of curse words and start borrowing from next month's stash. I should have recorded it because I got pretty creative, even stringing together words that have probably never been uttered in such succession. 

I took the head of the gun off, which was held in by four 6mm allen bolts that were apparently installed by a gorilla. The guys who change your tires at the service center and turn their impact wrenches up so high that no human could ever get your lug nuts off, have nothing on the dude that put this nail gun together. I had to put the damn thing in a vice and lean so hard on my VERY long allen wrench that I feared if it didn't break loose I was going to be catapulted through my workshop wall and into the creek. All I could think about was Shannon coming home, finding my body in the creek, a pained grimace on my face, a hole in my shop wall, and the empty pizza boxes I haven't cleared off the kitchen counter since she's been gone this week. 

At this point, I'm sure some of you are thinking "Hey, buddy, why don't you just take it somewhere and have it fixed?". I'll tell you why: BECAUSE NO STUPID METAL CONTRAPTION PUT TOGETHER BY MONKEYS IS GONNA GET THE BEST OF THIS GUY!!!...or maybe it will. 

I got the head off the gun and put it between two 2X12s so that I could support it while trying to punch out the nail without damaging the cylinder. I switched to a long square head driver that usually is put in a drill to drive screws. It was longer than my punch, who's length I had exceeded...and jammed the driver in next to the hammer mechanism. So, for those at home trying to picture this: I now have the tip of a nail wedged in there, along with the head of the driver I was USING to get the nail OUT!!! By now, I'm just making up words that don't even sound profane, but, to my credit, I haven't thrown or smashed anything (on purpose).

To make this long story a tad shorter; I finally got it all cleared out. I am taking a break while I put it back together. If there are pieces left over when I finish, I will just mix them in with the dog kibble when I feed them tonight. If, by some miracle, the thing actually works when I'm done, I'm gonna spend the rest of the day just aimlessly driving nails into anything I can find. I'll nail leaves that fall off trees back onto their respective limbs. I'll nail the chickens to their coop, so that I don't have to clean any more bird poop off the porch. I'll even nail the "s" on my keyboard that feels like it's starting to come loose. 

To conclude: Thanks, Dad, for instilling the ridiculous mentality (and ability) to fix almost anything. If the stupid nail gun doesn't work, then I also have the have the ability to edit this post.

Post mortum: It works! It actually works. I just nailed my hand to the tiny house floor. Someone please call an ambulance...

This is the internal plunger that takes the air and drives the hammer mechanism (to the left)  into nail.

This is the internal plunger that takes the air and drives the hammer mechanism (to the left)  into nail.

The shiny part about a third of the way from the left is the 1/2" piece of nail that was jammed in. This after I've dislodged the hammer mechanism. It was still wedged into the sleeve of the gun, but getting it tapped out was relatively easy. 

The shiny part about a third of the way from the left is the 1/2" piece of nail that was jammed in. This after I've dislodged the hammer mechanism. It was still wedged into the sleeve of the gun, but getting it tapped out was relatively easy.