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June 30, 2010

So I went down to the building late this afternoon to help Franco – he needed some help taking down the gas heater in the red room, and I wanted to work through my design for how we would take out an entire 5′ x 9′ window (for paint stripping, glazing replacement, etc) AND have a secured opening. I had finished the lower half of what we’re calling a “security infill” over the weekend while Sue was out of town, but the top half needed to be constructed and tested.

We got the heater down by building a temporary ramp up to the scaffold – worked great.

Then we struggled for an hour trying to get the components of the metal window system apart. There are lots of tabs, tees, and panels, and they could only be removed in specific order and directions. (I.e. A specific T-shaped piece could only be pulled away in the “up” direction”)

And then once the windows were actually “unlocked” and freely removable, there was the chain, pulley and weights to deal with. If you’ve ever taken apart a traditional (re: vintage) double hung window, you know what I’m talking about. But now BAB-isize it: make it all five times heavier.

So Franco and I have one sash free and clear and we have this clever idea of cutting the metal chain that holds the weights but first connecting another chain to extend the length so that the weights don’t just crash within the interior of the jamb. So we zip-tie the extender chain to the current chain. As Franco’s starting to lower the chain, and it’s connected 25+ pounds of steel ingots, I stick my hand into the access hole in the jamb so that I can ease the weights out as he’s slowly lowering them down.

But what I didn’t calculate is that the zip tie may not be able to hold the weight – I chose our lightest tie so that it’s tiny size wouldn’t interfere with the pulley. What a mistake….

As soon as Franco moved his hand from the original chain to the chain extension, the tiny zip tie broke, and all of the cast steel weights came CRASHING down on my fingers because they were sticking inside the access panel. It was like a guillotine for my fingers, except dull and heavy instead of sharp and quick.

So I have to say that I yelled “F***!” as loud as I could and immediately ran away from the window and started pacing around the room. I checked finger motion. Okay. I checked current pain: unknown – still in development; then it was time to remove my work glove and check for cuts and abrasions. Not too bad.

Franco told me that my expletive TOTALLY disrupted the backyard conversation of the people several houses down – and their silence made them stare in our direction for several minutes.

In the end, my fingers are all there, though I was hindered for further work throughout the evening, and I am typing this now with mostly thumbs because I have some swollen joints on my fingers.

Lesson learned…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Maurine permalink
    June 30, 2010 2:20 pm

    Didn’t I just tell you yesterday that I thought the pictures that showed some of the things you and Sue are doing at the BAB look dangerous, and to be careful. You should listen to your elders!!! Love, Mom

  2. DBY permalink
    June 30, 2010 1:32 pm

    Reminds me of a similar injury you sustained a few years ago, although this time the object’s trajectory was vertical, not horizontal…

    • Tom permalink
      June 30, 2010 2:12 pm

      Ahhh, yes, the old softball-hit-directly-onto-the-end-of-the-finger incident…

  3. June 30, 2010 9:39 am

    Crap! Glad you still have your fingers at all!!

    • Tom permalink*
      June 30, 2010 11:06 am

      When I looked back in the hole to see the pile of weights, that’s exactly what I thought!

  4. Darcy permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:23 am

    Yikes!! That had to hurt!


  1. The F word « B. A. B.

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