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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Installing a Microwave Oven in 210 Days: Part 4

Measure twice, then cut once.
Repeat as necessary.
(Or: Try and try again until you finally succeed).

After watching the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix with breakfast, we began our day by relocating one of the brackets we had installed yesterday, as my wife realized that we had set it in the exhaust fan area.  So, we couldn’t use that stud in the wall for support.  Hopefully, all our little brackets, set into the drywall and the half-inch sides of the Oak cabinets, would support our new over-the-stove microwave.  After all, it only weighed half as much as the one we had taken out.

Then we set up shop outside.  We dragged over a duck-board garden bench we made many years ago, and used it for our workbench.  We got our drills and our jigsaw, and I finally found my father’s old crosscut saw in the garage.  We measured where we would need to cut the melamine for the shelf.  As the screw heads protruded from the brackets, we had to account for that.  I tried my best to remember the visual reference for where the blade would cut.  Then I switched on the old saw and made my first crosscut. 

When we tried the board for width, it was too long.  As it turned out, I had allowed too much for the width of the blade.  So I trimmed off a thin slice.  Still, it wouldn’t quite fit.  So we made a third cut.  Hooray: the board slid onto the brackets nicely.  We checked our initial measurements for width, and decided we needed to reduce the shelf’s width by an additional 1/8” due to the protruding screw heads.  So we took the board back out outside, measured, and I ripped the ¾” excess off the board.  Then we took it inside to check how it fit.  I might have cut off a 1/16th too much, but no one would notice when we pressed the 1”x2” Oak trim back in front.  

I have no idea how old my father's Skil saw is.
Newer models tantalize with more features, and
I've often thought of replacing it, but I never have.
Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever
even changed the blade.

Using our template, we marked the drill holes for the upper support screws and the power cord.  Then we drew out the rectangle in back for where the metal frame above the microwave’s exhaust fan would protrude into the shelf.  We used the jigsaw to cut the opening, took the shelf inside to rest on the brackets, marked our screw-holes, then went back outside and drilled those.  Then we set it back inside on the brackets, and installed a screw at each corner to hold the shelf in place.  

We lifted the microwave, slipped it between the cabinets, and set it onto its lower support tabs.  The microwave refused to sit back against the frame.  Although we had followed the template, it seemed we needed to increase the width of the exhaust-fan rectangle by ¼”. 

By now it was noon.  We broke for lunch, warming up leftover pizza in our old countertop microwave oven.  We watched a first season episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” while we ate.  In the story, written by D. C. Fontana (who had served as Gene Roddenberry's assistant and also wrote episodes of "Star Trek"), Steve Austin helps train Kelly, a female astronaut (played by Lee Major’s then wife Farrah Fawcett Majors) for her first space flight.  When the capsule develops a fault and must dock at Skylab, the hatch refuses to open, trapping Kelly and her injured copilot inside the capsule.  So Steve heads a rescue effort, and uses his bionic strength to open the hatch.  Then he goes outside to effect repairs so the doctor he brought up can perform surgery on the injured astronaut.  Unfortunately, it seems as though Steve's bionic limbs and eye don’t have sufficient radiation shielding: his vision goes fuzzy several times, and he suffers episodes of shaking and reduced strength.  Thus, when all four return to Earth in Steve’s capsule, Kelly must pilot the unbalanced and overweight craft manually, something she’s unprepared for. 

After pizza and a Brownie-Fudge Klondike for dessert, we felt more stiff and tired than before.  I mused that, working outside, the sun’s UV radiation must be sapping our strength, just as it had Steve’s.  My wife shook her head.  It wasn’t ultraviolet that was to blame, but microwaves.  Oh well.  Time to go back outside, and resume our work.

Hoping we can finish in the afternoon,
Dragon Dave

Related Dragon Cache entry

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