Triumph of the Washer.

We assign roles to one another, like “he’s good with computers” or “she’s a great public speaker.” Aside from recognition of my strengths, I was saddled with “he’s not very handy.” While some of this assignment is true, I’ve discovered my ally, a little piece of hardware that allows me to go from all thumbs to ambidextrous: the washer. I can fix nearly anything with a washer. True story.

Our affair began last summer when I, along with the help of others, constructed a backyard playset, a true monster, whose inventory manifest read like the Dead Sea Scrolls. To be sure, I was in over my head, underwater, seizing up.

Construction spanned 5 sunless weeks. Many horrifying crimes were committed during this personal Dark Age. In a fit of anger I nearly wood-screwed my wife to the rock wall. I screamed no less than 27 times at my 3 year-old, all because he wanted to play on the damn thing before it was done. Poor kid. But it was the malformed slide, and its ill-fitted “adjoining” pieces that proved to be my White Whale, writhing all over me in enigmatic horror. I literally wrestled, UFC-style, that effin slide into submission.

For me, looking back, I feel as if I completed a graduate-level course in home improvement: DIY – 420, Art of the Shim. I’m proud of my efforts. This playset is a straight-up kid palace!

Playset From Hell!

Hundreds of flat washers, locking washers, all working in concert.

From frustration and despair came knowledge, the insight that flat metal donuts eliminate space where too much exists, bridging the gap. Here are few examples of my shimming the world.

Dresser Drawer:

Dresser Drawer

Once wobbly handles are now tight, like Chuck Norris’ fist!

Striker Plate:

Door Washers

The door never remained closed, until it met 6 washers!

Sliding Closet Door:

Sliding Door Washer

Enlarge your screw’s head!

There are other examples, including lawnmower and electrical outlet repair. I’ll assume you understand my madness and require no further proof.

Give me a call if you need a hand with your DIY projects. I’m at 212.ISCREWU or

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6 Responses to Triumph of the Washer.

  1. Mary Miraglia says:

    Okay, first of all that is not the saddle, it’s the striker plate for the latch. The saddle is the thing on the floor that the door closes over, it’s usually wood and sometimes has a big rubber threshold sealer across it. Yes, the saddle is on the threshold.

    Second, do those washers on the drawer prevent the screws from coming undone? Because that happens around here all the time. Thanks, ISCREWU. Inspiring.

  2. I too carry the tag “he’s not very handy.” And yet I too have occasional moments of DIY achievement and insight. For guys like us, reveling in our breakthroughs and celebrating our acquired knowledge is all the sweeter – when it actually happens.

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