Welcome to the 224th Metamorphosis Monday!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. This was one of those weekends where I had a long list of things I really wanted to get done but Mother Nature had other plans. It rained “monsoon style” all day long on Saturday, but being the determined, crazy woman that I am, I dragged the tall urns from the deck onto the porch and replanted those as I had planned. Afterward, I dragged them back out onto the deck, all in the pouring rain. Yes. I. Did. I was determined to get at least one thing on my “to do” list crossed off.
With all this rain and dreary weather, I’m beginning to feel like I live in soap-opera land. You know how things always look dark and gloomy on soap-operas. Or, maybe my house was magically transported to Gotham City! In any case, the pics in this post are a bit on the dark and gloomy side, very “Gotham-like.”
I checked the weather forecast on Saturday and it appeared Sunday would have a few non-rain hours in which to work. The sun actually made an appearance for a few minutes and it was glorious. I had almost forgotten how sunshine looks, it’s been so cloudy and yucky here lately. It wasn’t sunny for long but at least the rain held off for a few hours.
I had to work quickly today. A lot of “potting-up” and planting got done; I’ll share that another day. Today, I’m sharing something I finally got done that I have been putting off since last September. How’s that for procrastination! I’ll give the details of what I did in case you run into this problem some day. Hopefully you won’t put it off for 8 months like I did. It was actually very easy in the end.
For years I have had two feeders hanging off the decks flanking the screened-in porch. You can see them in this pic below on the left and on the right.
Last September I replaced the hook the feeder on the right hangs from with a much longer shepherd’s hook in an attempt to prevent wily squirrels from leaping out onto the feeder. Even though the feeder shuts down when a squirrel is on it, the stinkers had figured out how to hang upside down from the top where they would then scarf down huge amounts of seed, emptying the feeder in no time flat. The longer hook combined with a baffle has done wonders. Mr. Squirrel doesn’t even attempt it anymore. Yay! Chalk one up for the humans in the Squirrel Wars!
I tried to do that last September when I changed out the other one but I ran into a problem, a big ole ugly, rusty problem. The screws holding the hook onto the post had rusted so badly, the tops of the screws just crumbled when I tried to unscrew them.
You may remember I purchased a spiral screw extractor in an attempt to drill the screw out. That totally didn’t work and all I ended up accomplishing was breaking a drill bit. You’ll find that September post here: Squirrel Wars: The Latest Trick Up My Sleeve
That ugly ole hook didn’t magically disappear during the winter. No, it was still there hanging off the deck mocking me as I prettied up the deck with flowers this weekend.
Just two rusty screws stood between me and the removal of that old hook.
For a reference of where this hook is located, it hangs from the side of the deck with the bottle tree. Do you see it there on the left, hanging off the post? I had bent it down before I took this pic.
I’m not sure how but I managed to get the rod part off when I bent it down. It just fell off. So all that was left was the mounting plate.
Side story: See how crooked the top of the post is when it isn’t covered up with a post cap? When I hired my contractor to add on the deck and the screened-in porch, I told him I would be using copper caps on the posts. I even purchased them prior to the construction of the deck so he could see them. He forgot to tell his deck crew about the copper post caps and I came home from work one day to find the deck built with pointed, pyramid-shaped posts. The deck guys had to go back and cut the tops off all the posts and since the deck was already built, they did a pretty awful job of it. Some of the post tops are so badly shaped, the post caps won’t sit level on top of them without sticking something underneath. Anyway, that’s why the post tops look so awful when a post cap isn’t in place. End of side story.
Okay, back to the hook problem: Last September I posted about this dilemma and afterwards I received the most amazing e-mail from Liz who blogs at the blog, Infuse with Liz. Liz shared my problem with her awesome hubby and he came up with a very detailed list of possible solutions.
In her e-mail to me, Liz wrote:
I wrote my hubby an email and gave him the link to your story and asked for his input…this is his reply. It’s lengthy but thorough.
First off, the “solution tool” from the guys at home depot is for removing screws that have broken off inside metal. It doesn’t apply in this case. And it’s nearly impossible to drill out a flat head (slotted) screw.
Several solutions to this situation are:
1) Use a new/sharp chisel and about a 12 to 16 ounce hammer (or larger) to shear the head off completely. Abandon the screw left in the wood or use VISE GRIPS to remove the screw after the bracket is removed.
2) Use the same chisel/hammer tool to get the screw started to rotate. Use the chisel on the outer edge of the head to get it to rotate. The chisel will form a burr and the deeper the burr is the better the rotating force can be. Just don’t make the burr so deep that the chisel tip is approaching the center line of the head. It’s the first 1/2 turn that has the screw “hard” in the wood because of rust. Then use the proper sized screwdriver (again either new or properly sharpened to like new condition). This means that the screwdriver has to fit snugly in the slot or it too, will tear out.
3) Use that same screwdriver mentioned in #2 as a “punch”. This means to set the screwdriver in the slot as if you were going to use it “normally” but then use the hammer to HARD tap the handle end as if trying to finish set a nail. This applies vibration to the shank and helps to loosen the rust as well as “setting” the screwdriver firmly in the slot. Use maximum pressure on the screwdriver towards the screw head to prevent “climbout” while turning the screwdriver. A simple aid in turning the screwdriver while “leaning” into it is to use a pair of locking pliers (aka VISE GRIPS) on the shank. This makes it easy to turn while your applying “down pressure”.
4) Use those VISE GRIPS to clamp on the head of the screw in an attempt to start the rotation. Finish up with the screwdriver.
5) Use a Dremel with a saw blade to refine the slot and remove the rust at the bottom of the slot. Then use the previously mentioned screwdriver to complete the job.
6) Grind the head off the screw with the Dremel and abandon the screw or further attempt to remove it/them with the VISE GRIPS after the bracket is removed.
Screwdrivers, VISE GRIPS, etc. must be in good condition or failure is going to be the end result. Worn jaws on a set of pliers (VISE GRIPS, etc.) cause more problems than they cure. Screwdrivers that are not sharp or aren’t sized properly to the task at hand will invariably “tear out” a functional head leaving another problem. See what a new screwdriver looks like. And don’t reference a “cheapie” screwdriver either as they usually aren’t formed properly.
Regarding sizing of a screwdriver to the screw head, the width of the screwdriver blade is only part of the game. It must be at least the width of the screw head AND it must not wiggle in the slot and yet must fit to the bottom of the slot. Phillips head screwdrivers have the same requirements. Don’t use a #1 in place of a #2 or vise versa, etc. I have Phillips head screwdrivers from size .5 to 5. A big difference, indeed.
And a final note. When mounting items like this in the future, use stainless steel hardware (screws, etc.). This type of steel normally doesn’t rust. Sometimes pre-drilling with a small bit before using the fastener can help when it’s time to remove the fastener. Don’t use a drill that is larger than the screw shank as the thread pressure will be too low to be of any good. Another trick is to use either a liquid wax or lubricating oil either in the hole or at least on the threads. Be cautious though as soft woods do not need relieving by drilling or lubricating. If you do, the pullout pressure may be too low to hold your project in place.
Isn’t that an awesome list of ideas!
When I read the Dremel suggestion, that sparked an idea. I didn’t have a chisel, need to buy some of those, but I thought I could accomplish the same thing with my Dremel. Today, during our brief rain respite, I bent the base plate down really, really far.
That exposed the screws where I could get to them….
…with this bad boy. I really wanted to take a picture of the blade cutting through the screw, but there was just no way I could lean over the edge of the deck using a whirling, cutting tool and take a photo at the same time. And keep all my fingers. Which I really prefer to do. 😉
In no time at all I had sliced through the first screw…see pic below. Seriously, it only took like 8 seconds if that long. By the way, always be sure to wear protective eye wear when using a tool like this. I did and was really glad because the sparks and metal bits were flying like crazy. I also recommend long sleeves to protect your arms.
I cut through the second screw and then used the Dremel to smooth down the metal nubs, making them nice and flush with the post. Now I just need to caulk and sand this whole area, then give it a good coat of paint.
I wasn’t able to hang the new, longer shepherd’s hook back in the same spot because the pole and hook bumped into the new post caps when I held it in place. I’m glad now that it wouldn’t fit in that spot because I found a better place for the new hook. I attached it on the other side of the pergola. The one on the right is the one I installed last September and the one on the left is the new hook I just installed today. This view is through the breakfast room bay window. This location works great since I can stand at the kitchen sink or really anywhere in the kitchen and see the birds coming to the feeders.
The birds didn’t waste any time coming to the new feeder location.
Not sure if these are House Finches are Purple Finches, I think they’re House Finches. This feeder also shuts down if a squirrel gets on it. I need to buy a baffle for it, too so the squirrels won’t attempt to hang down from the top.
I managed to get several other things done outside today, will share those soon. I know this wasn’t the prettiest metamorphosis, but it was definitely a satisfying one! It sure felt good to get rid of that rusted hanger.
What did you do this weekend? Get any projects done you’ve been putting off? I hope you saw some sunshine. It was so cloudy and yucky today, as I created this post around midnight I noticed the solar lights on the deck had already gone dark. They just didn’t get enough sunshine today to stay lit for more than 2-3 hours. Sunny days are coming, though…this I do believe.
I managed to snap one pic earlier for you this evening before all the deck lights went dark for the night. It was raining again (of course) when I took this photo. While working in my office this evening, I could hear an owl hooting away out back in the trees. I ran downstairs and out onto the porch to record it with my phone so I could share it with you but unfortunately, he stopped. I love, love, love hearing the owls here. I’ll capture him hooting on my phone some night and when I do, I’ll share it with you. Just love that sound!
I’ve really come to love my Dremel; it has gotten me out of so many jams. Remember when it saved the day in my crazy closet Expedit hack! You can read about it here: Ikea Expedit Hack: How I Made it Work
Looking forward to the Before and Afters posted for this Met Monday!
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