6/28/07

Just Trying To Support My Family

The story presented here may strike you as one of manly conquest, involving as it does the use of power tools, bending of metal and some rudimentary mechanical engineering. But I feel it's a more universal tale of general human problem-solving, akin to fashioning arrowheads, traversing land bridges and hand-crafting corndogs. Let us hope it may soon take its place beside these other momentous achievements as an equally inspiring triumph of man (sorry, *person*) over his (or her) environment.



The problem:
Unhappy wife. Achy back. Restless sleep. No good.

The cause:
Uncomfortable bed. Dips in the middle. Like a hammock.

Equally no good.




Diagnosis: Center-support failure. These posts, intended to provide critical mid-region reinforcement to the steel frame structure, are laterally deflecting under load. This deflection (the slight tilt shown in this picture; it's worse with someone on the bed) is most likely caused by a sub-optimal interface between the polymer footplate and the varnished floor surface (and/or shoddy manufacturing), sufficiently relocating the force point outside the acceptable zone, rendering the posts ineffectual.

Giant dog hair tumbleweed a concern as well.

Hypothesis: Surreptitious jumping on bed by aforementioned wife.

Action plan: Reinforce supports. Secure in vertical position. Keep hypothesis to self.

So I checked out what was going on under there, and figured the only way I could keep these middle post things from going all wonky on me was to brace them up somehow.

This led me to:



The garage. Nothing gets solved without at least a few minutes of standing in the garage, staring at racks of random objects waiting for something to occur to you.

What occurred to me was that I could probably tie the bottom of the bed post to the bed *frame*, thereby keeping it from laterally deflecting any further and, as I said, going all wonky on me.

I found some leftover chain from a light fixture and some S-hooks we'd gotten for some hanging plants. Excellent. Then I went back in to hoist up the mattress and box spring, hoping to find something on the frame I could hook to.

Well, shoot. The first thing I noticed was that the bed is really heavy, and hard to lift up on my own. This was partly because Vince was sleeping on it, but I didn't expect his 55 lbs. to make such a difference. I did get it propped up on a box, though, enough that I could take a look at least, and Vince resumed napping on the now-sloping surface.

Nothing to hook to. Well, that's okay, I said to myself. I've got a drill... I'll just *make* a hole in the appropriate place.



Let me just say for the record that bed frames are made of pretty tough stuff. Drilling a 3/16" hole through there made quite a racket, and plenty of little iron filings everywhere. Ah well. Just adds to the ambience. The concerned inquiries from the next room ("You okay in there? What the crap are you doing?") ...those add to the ambience, too.

But I got the hole made, and went right for the metal hook to poke through it. Uh, oops. The hole is too far from the edge, and the hook doesn't reach.

Back to the garage.

Fortunately, I found a heavy-looking keyring, and figured it could probably go through the hole and form the anchor point needed for my reinforcement scheme.



It did.

After that it was a simple matter of stringing together the hooks (the chain seemed like a pain), checking my work and putting the box spring and mattress back in position.

The wife's bed skirt would conceal my handiwork nicely.



You'll note that the repurposed comforter bag in the background reveals my status as the KING of household repairs. Yeah whoo!

What's next? Who's got a problem for me to solve?

Mars landing? I'm on it. Incipient drought? Just give me a sec. Widespread disenfranchisement of America's youth? On your desk by five.

I was feeling so darn capable at this point that I even employed a little cleverness in the clean-up. Remember the iron filings? Well, why use a conventional broom when you can pick them *all* up with a nearby...



Refrigerator magnet! Whoop whoop! And, naturally, it worked like a charm. No more little shavings of metal from my on-shore drilling.

Unfortunately, there's a slight drawback to the magnetic solution, which is, um, the metal shavings. Now they're all stuck to the magnet and there's no good way to get them off. Nobody wants shavings all over the fridge.



And this was the point at which my plan pretty much unravelled. Because it turns out that as soon as you sit down on the bed to test the fix under some weight...



Rackin' frackin' bendin' keyring! Man, I did NOT see that coming. Guess my keyring wasn't quite as heavy duty as I'd hoped. I'll admit I may have been giving it a little preferential treatment, on the basis of its origin (see glorious badge below).



Whatever the cause, I must sadly report that this solution was not so clever after all, and probably wouldn't have survived *one round* of Penelope's jumping acrobatics. Which, of course, are purely hypothetical.

I've let down the Handyman Club of America. I've let down the proud lineage of can-do fix-it-types. Ultimately, I even let down my own bed, if only about .75 inches.

Looks like I'll have to find another way to anchor my chain network.

Final analysis...
Bed: Halfway fixed. Saggage: Minor but persistent. Colin's weakness for poetic solutions: Confirmed.

7 comments:

kohn said...

1. buy a stepper bit for your steel drilling. it makes quick work of various hole sizes. http://www.make-digital.com/make-look-inside/vol03/?pg=65&liid=0a66fa31aa&search=stepper+bit

2. you can purchase magnets that have a release for doing the cleanup you mentioned. most have a plunger on the top you pull back to move the magnetic field further from the pick-up surface. http://www.shop-mag.com/canister-magnets.htm

3. i suggest you put your carpentry skills to the test and build a platform bed. they are easy to build, high on style and low enough for dogs to easily jump on.

- ak

-T- said...

same situation: my solution? 3/4 in. ply sheet all across the frame.

Anonymous said...

I keep Katie's silverware chest with a blanket on top right under the center of my bed. It works like a charm. I just hope she never wants to use her silverware.

'See you soon!

Love and hugs
Mom

Paul Lopes said...

I'm with "-t-"... Plywood all round. Always works against the almighty saggage.

second storie said...

made me laugh with every sentence! thanks for that.
signed,
another "hypothetical" bed jumper...

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud three times reading this... was definitely wondering about the dog hair tumbleweed, predicted the serepititious jumping on the bed, and enjoyed the self-praising Whoop whoops. Can't wait to see you guys and check out your handiwork covered by the bedskirt :)
YS

Anonymous said...

Oh, and buy a new bed for crying out loud!!
YS