Thursday, August 28, 2014

Art of Window Maintenance

There is Phaedrus in each of us.

I am going to tell you about the crank in the window I had to fix. The house is old, so is the window. The crank was rotten and fell off, all rust and dust. The new cranks worked fine but the arm got stuck when closing in. I knew I had to file some of the metal off the arm, and got started with a flat, double cut, bastard file. In any project I do, one gets started in some direction, it might look long, even boring, but it promises to show progress.  I get going in that direction, but am constantly looking for the new insight, an idea, a spark that will take me off that initial direction, in a short cut, in a clever turn and that is when  the project takes hold of you and you are from that moment on, inevitably intertwined, your ego and the project, one helix strand hugging the other, you will not relinquish.

In the case of the window crank, the key idea eventually sparked: a key portion that needed filing, I could just file the metal window frame instead of the crank arm which is a lot tougher. This got me going with more energy and showed quicker progress. But in all projects, ideas by themselves dont work, you need to sweat too. In this case, the window frame I had to file off was hard to work with, because of tight space, I had to make short filing moves, constantly taking care to protect my skin, nails, and all else. Ultimately, after substantial sweat, the crank arm fit in snug and the window shut tight, with a sweet sweet snap.

Phaedrus will not stop there. One uses a single cut file and polishes the window frame so it looks nice, but goes further,  to  file and polish the crank arm  too (as a true engineer, I had chosen to file the underside of the crank arm so the file marks wont be visible, but it still has to be polished, even if no one except an obsessive engineer will notice it).