… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…

Drilling through Metal: Drill a Smaller Hole First


That’s just one thing I learned this weekend, when Dad came out with his truck full o’ tools, and helped me put up the new shutters and window boxes. First of all, yes you can drill through a substantial hunk of metal, such as the heavy metal brackets that came with the 4000 lb window boxes… Dad decided they needed more holes in them for extra screws for extra support. I didn’t believe he could drill through those buggers, but he did. And he didn’t even get a special drill bit, just used plain old multi-purpose bits, drilled a small hole first, and then went back over with a larger bit. Also, he said, don’t put a lot of pressure on the bit, because… why… oh, because it will cause the bit to overheat, and that would be bad, I can’t remember why, just don’t do it. He said he prefers using his drill press for stuff like that because you have so much more control over the pressure than when the drill is in your hand.

There are better ways to find a stud than drilling a series of small holes in your son’s bedroom wall. That’s another thing I learned. Well, actually, I already knew that one, but I got lazy and figgered, I can fill all the little holes with toothpaste, who will ever know… I even had a stud-finder right in my hand, but it was all wiggly and I thought rather indecisive and wishy washy, whereas the drill bit never lies: when it hits wood, it hits wood.

It’s scary drilling into pristine vinyl siding on the front of your whole house.

I learned that even Donald Gene can make a bad cut once in a while. He’s cutting a board to be used as “strapping” which means it goes behind the window box as a support, you’ll never see it, ever ever ever, so the cut doesn’t need to be precision, the board doesn’t need to be beautiful… except when Dad’s involved, he’s gotta measure it within 1/16″, and he’s gotta use the combination square to make the line all gorgeous and perpendicular… and he gets out his cordless circular saw, and he’s cutting, he’s cutting… and you know I could’ve wacked that cut out in 3 seconds with my own saw, but I was reluctant to make the cut, because Dad’s so blasted precise about it all, and don’t you know he cuts that thing wonky as hell, he starts out good, but then goes way off his line and the cut’s a mess, it’s a TRAVESTY really… I thought he was gonna re-cut it, because that sorta thing drives him crazy… but he didn’t, he let it go up as is. It was so wonky and uncharacteristic of him, that I wondered if he did it for my benefit… maybe he was pretending to be human and flawed? I’ll always wonder… Some day maybe I’ll go up on a ladder and look behind that window box to see that cut again, just so I know it’s real…

He tells me he’s thinking about Carl all day, his dad… he’s using Carl’s tools, there’s Carl’s hammer, and his utility knife… He says he thinks about him every day, and when he’s not thinking about him, he’s dreaming about him… He wipes his glasses as he says this, and I know Carl’s always in his head…

He gives me Carl’s apple picker, he says he wants me to have it, as I have a lot of apples to pick. It’s an ingenious tool too, it’s like a combination basket/rake, attached to a 10ft pole, and it reaches up and grabs the apple you want and gently whisks it into the basket. Carl grew and picked so many apples, he sold ’em by the bushel (pronounced “BOOshul”) to the A&P.  That’s always blown my mind, taking produce to market… providing like that… I can’t imagine what it must feel like to see your own produce for sale..  It was still dark this morning when Zack took a flashlight out to the tree and picked an apple for his lunch.


Carl used to sell fruit trees too, sold for Stark Bros. , probably back in the 1950’s and 60’s.. This year I ordered an apple tree from Stark Bros, for my son, his favorite, Gala. He helped plant it. It’s got about 8 leaves on it so far. Well, I mulched it yesterday, and I thought about Carl… and Donald Gene…



10 thoughts on “Drilling through Metal: Drill a Smaller Hole First

  1. Gala apples are my favorite too! Crunchy and sweet!

  2. I love that you and your Dad are creating and working on projects together. I always enjoyed those stories.

    • well, Terri, Dad does all the work, I’m generally the tool runner and Chief Executive Officer In Charge of Holding Stuff In Place… but I like to think I’m absorbing some know-how along the way…

  3. What a sweet and truly lovely story. You are a marvel.

  4. (((love))) Them’s the best apples right there!

  5. Is that you?!?!? You are back!!

And what about Naomi?

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