Part 1 of this series contained the setup, and introduced the plot twist. In this sequel the plot twist turns to betrayal, creating a personal crisis for our hero to overcome…
Short version of part 1: my paints were everywhere, needed a solution. Came up with the idea to build a rack behind the door, a space that’s useless for anything else. Drew up the designs, created a materials cut overview, printed it, went to the local Praxis home improvement store, gathered the materials, headed for their sawing room, and… plot twist incoming!
Here’s the deal: Praxis doesn’t cut smaller than 10cm for safety reasons. But since I was using 20cm panels that would be cut in half, each half would be 9.8cm. (If you’re not sure why: 20 divided by two is 10, but their saw blade is 4mm in width as well. Since the entire sawblade area is going to disappear, that 4mm needs to be subtracted from the 20cm we have – so it’s really 19.6 divided by two — hence 9.8cm). And 9,8cm is smaller than 10cm… albeit by a negligible amount.
I asked about this on Praxis’ own maker site in the past and got varying responses from them, but the takeaway was that it was probably fine, although it would depend on who’d be doing the cutting at my Praxis store.
You can probably tell from the way this story is going, that they refused.
The man in question didn’t just flat-out refuse. No, he made it worse, somehow. He laughed it off, saying he still had 10 fingers on his hands and he’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much. That laugh still haunts me.
I was incredibly upset. I think it’s completely nonsensical. If 10cm is perfectly safe for everyone to do, then 9,8cm is probably going to be almost equally fine. That 2mm difference is never going to be the difference between “completely safe, nothing will ever happen” and “I’m going to lose all of my fingers”.
What could I have done? I could have gone with 10cm depth instead of 9,8cm, but to do that I would have to buy the 40cm prelaminated chipboard panels instead of the 20cm panels. (30cm would not have been acceptable either because the remainder after cutting off two 10cm pieces would have been less than 10cm, again due to the saw blade.) Buying a 40cm board would cause a heck of a lot of waste (almost half), and more importantly for my budget, they’re over twice as expensive.
Of course, Praxis was more than happy to cut to 10cm for me if I was willing to spend closer to €100 than the €50 I had for a budget. And that just wasn’t going to happen. So, intensely frustrated, I put back all of the materials, and left the store empty-handed.
It would appear that, at Praxis, the customer is always wrong.
I said nothing on the way back home. When I finally got home, I cried. I’m not afraid to admit that. I cried for half an hour. My mom consoled me as best she could, and I love her for it. I needed that cry, and I needed that comforting. I work my ass off to try to make something out of this new hobby of mine, and I do it all with a wide range of disabilities and on a less-than-minimum-wage welfare budget. It’s already incredibly hard.
I’ve already had so many setbacks, especially with faulty equipment and the like, and just trying to work around my disabilities and low budget in general… and when a stupid store then tries to make a stupid point by sticking to a stupid rule over 2 stupid millimeters it all becomes just a little bit too freaking much.
I needed a break from the project, and I took it.
I didn’t give up, though. If Praxis wasn’t willing to be reasonable and help me out, I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of dropping everything and putting an end to this project. Instead, I started asking around and was quickly pointed in the direction of my faux-work.
I call it that because it’s not really work – it’s where I am one day per week so I can have something resembling a regular life with social contacts. Essentially they let me play at having a regular life without any of the actual pressures or requirements of a real job. Sometimes I do things for them, but it takes me a long time. They get a small fee from the government for their troubles. The funny thing is that they’re actually a special education school that teaches kids who can’t function in a regular school. Mostly they accomplish this by flipping the heavy emphasis on textbooks and theory and teaching them basic skills instead, in a variety of fields – from finances, to print and media, to welding, and yes, even woodworking.
Indeed, they have a complete woodworking setup. I spoke with my supervisor there, and explained the situation to him, and asked him if perhaps I could have my materials cut there instead. I’d get my stuff cut and the kids get training without it costing the school materials. It’s a triple-win, and my supervisor agreed with that.
Long story short, I went back to the Praxis and picked up all the materials I needed once more… and beautifully, I came in exactly on-budget at €51. Okay, so it was technically €1 over budget, but unlike Praxis, I’m not that picky when something is off by 2%…
I did have Praxis cut the white hardboard back-panel to size so that it would be easier to transport. The rest of the materials went to my faux-work, where they’d go into the queue to be cut into shape based on the drawings I’d provided.
Things were finally starting to look up at this point.
Then I realised I’d made a little oopsie. I bought the €15 white-laminated backpanel and had it cut to size to fit the back of the paint rack — specifically, it was 122 x 192 cm. Pretty big:
So what was the oopsie? I’d, uhm… kind of… forgotten the size of the stairway at my dad’s house. It’s pretty tiny. I’ve gotten long materials up into that room before in the past, but they were 60cm wide. This thing was over twice as wide.
Oh well, nothing for it but to try to get it upstairs anyway. And the keyword there was most definitely “try”:
Now, I’ll spare you the step-by-step of it, but I did eventually get it up the stairs. It took me over half an hour of moving the entire thing millimeter by millimeter. None of the corners really survived… luckily all of the damage would be hidden by the two large vertical planks, so nobody will ever know.
It’ll be our little secret, okay? ❤️
Now it was just a matter of waiting for the remaining materials to be cut, so I was allowed to take a break from construction of the paint rack for half a week. Probably a good thing, all in all. It had already been quite the roller-coaster of a project.
Tune in next time for the third and final part of this trilogy, where our hero, after having confronted and overcome betrayal, heads towards a victorious conclusion to the epic paint rack trilogy (read: actually builds the damned thing).