Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lumbering Up

A naked man wraps himself in cling film and walks into his psychiatrist's office.
The psychiatrist looks at the man and says, "Quite clearly I can see you're nuts!".

Ba-dum-bum. It never gets old. I know, I know - I won't quit my day job.

After a tough Pilates class this morning, I walked over to Home Depot to see a man about some lumber. I needed to get some replacement drawer liners for the absolutely crap chest of drawers I have at home. The bottoms of all my drawers have buckled and bowed and now the drawers hardly close. So I went to the store that claims, "you can do it - we can help" to get six pieces of plywood cut to size.

To my mind, the sad thing about Manhattan hardware stores is that they don't have giant car parks offering sausage sizzles (or brat frys, if you're from Wisconsin). No ice cream vans either. And aren't they poorer for it?

The pimply sales representative at Home Depot told me that they don't sell wood in Manhattan. He lowered his voice to a whisper and told me that if I wanted to buy plywood, I would need to go out to a Home Depot in "the suburbs". We both stared at each other, knowing that was never gonna happen. Then he said I could try the competition, over on 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. So off I went, to see another man about some lumber.

Store #2 turned out to be a bust, with the lunatic behind the counter telling me that not only would I not find the plywood I needed in his store, I was unlikely to find it anywhere. Not in the city, not in the suburbs, not anywhere on planet earth. Hmm. I don't know much about plywood (nothing about it in fact) but I am fairly confident that if Target can find plywood thin enough to build the drawers in the first place, somewhere has to sell me plywood to replace it.

So I went to the store I should have gone to in the first place.

Nuthouse Hardware is the only 24/7 hardware store in NYC and it is quite an institution. It is the sort of hardware store you go to when you have no idea what you need to buy. Not only do you come out with it, you leave with your arms full of a bunch of other stuff you had no idea you needed in the first place.

Two of the hardware store guys (jovial Nepalese fellas) took pity on me and decided to render assistance. I explained to them what I thought I wanted, and they chattered away to each other to work out how to meet my plywood needs. They invited me to descend two flights of stairs with them, which I obligingly did, all the while wondering if I would ever be seen again.

Down in the basement I discovered a wood-worker's paradise. Offcuts of every kind of lumber you can think of (though I can't think of too many, let's face it). Down the back, behind the steel and 2x4, we found several squares of plywood - just the thickness (or thinness?) that I needed for my DIY job. I did a happy dance on the inside. Once again, Nuthouse Hardware delivered the goods.

The guys then involved me in a lengthy discussion about plywood thicknesses and sanding materials, which I only barely followed. We measured, me re-measured and we measured one last time. Then we finally got down to the business of using the saw to cut the plywood to the shape and size of drawers. Even though all I did was stand back and get covered in wood dust, I was quite pleased to be downstairs with the guys and part of these plywood particulars.

Of course on the way out, I bought sandpaper and a giant plastic container to keep my snow & ugg boots in (as you do). The store won again.

And now I'm home and actually have to give the drawers their new bottoms. If only such a task could be outsourced. DIY is all well and good, except for the Y part.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I absolutely love that store! I swear you can buy anything in there and I still have never even been to the top two floors. Mind you, I think it could be a little scary at 4am...