Thursday, August 4, 2016

How to take things apart

Since many of my current projects involved disassembly at some point, I thought I would write a little about tools and techniques that are useful for taking things apart.

Generally, this involves Undoing Fasteners, Cutting the Material, or Applying a Controlled Amount of Excessive Force.

For the dining room chairs, I needed a screwdriver to unscrew the seats, from below. The backs were held on with a couple of screws and some friction; I had to guess how best to pull them loose after I took the screws out--they had tabs that slotted into the chair frames. After that there were many staples to pull out with a small regular screwdriver and needlenose pliers, and also some hooks to pry up.

For the armchair, disassembly was mostly a matter of pulling off the glued-on cording, and then pulling dozens and dozens of tiny tacks, again with the small screwdriver and needlenose pliers. There were also a few nails, which I pulled with a claw hammer. These same tools are the ones I used the most in tearing my couch completely apart.

For the sandals that became slippers, first I picked out the stitching with a seam ripper...but then I noticed that the stitching was only for show; the upper was actually glued into the sole. So I ended up cutting it off with kitchen shears (leather is a close relative of meat), and then going around with an Xacto knife and trimming the rough edges down to the level of the sole.

For larger woodworking projects, the flat bar and cat's paw are smaller relatives of the crowbar.

If you're looking for a challenge, try taking apart a stroller. Not many reusable parts, though.

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