Thu 22 Nov 2012
Yesterday I followed rules 1 and 3 of the Fixer’s Manifesto and repaired our patio table umbrella, of all things. After almost eight years of exposure, a foot-long section of the bottom part of the wooden pole, just above where it sits in the stand snapped clean through.
I figured this out yesterday morning after noticing the umbrella was listing to port exceptionally hard.
My first thought was just to remove the broken section and reseat the remaining pole in the stand, but that would have left the umbrella at basically my neck level, which would force me basically to either duck/cover and or limbo down first if I wanted to sit at the table beneath it. Doable, but inconveeeeeenient.
So my second thought was to write the entire umbrella’s obit, but then I was all: “Dang, new patio umbrellas run like upwards of a hunnert bucks!”
Realizing that spending money unnecessarily was stinkin’ thinkin’ I got busy working the solution instead of the problem. See, the pole is a top and bottom section joined in the middle by a metal sleeve, so I pulled the umbrella up and away from the table and undid the sleeve. At first I figured I’d just hunt around the house for a suitably sized dowel (or go buy one at the hardware store), saw it to an equal length and use that as a replacement for the bottom part of the pole. But that wasn’t going to work out because the part of the broken section that goes into the sleeve was threaded and I am inconveniently without the skills or machinery required to thread a piece of round wood.
So I started to write the umbrella’s obit again, but then I stopped abruptly because I remembered something. Wouldn’t you know there was this hollow metal pole that for years and years has been sitting under the steps on the south side of the house. I can’t recall where it came from or what its purpose is/was, or why I kept it all this time, but there it was.
And wouldn’t you know it was literally the same diameter as the pole. Sat perfectly in the stand. Problem was though, the diameter of the hollowed inside part of the pole was about a third-inch smaller than its wooden counterpart, which required me to get a rather large buck knife and risk amputating some finger bits while I whittled the end of the top part of the pole (the one with the umbrella attached) until the two pieces fit together pretty much perfectamundoly (as seen at right).
As you can see below, the umbrella now sits waaaay high above the tabletop, the result of the metal pole being about a foot too long (and me without the machinery too cut it down to a better size). I suppose I could saw the length off the top part and rewhittle, but for now having too much room to get beneath it is a far, far better thing than not having enough, not having it at all — or spending upwards of a hunnert bucks for a new one.