Thad Guy

Sometimes Even The Best Intentions Can Result in Shooting a Friend in The Leg

Sometimes you start a project thinking that you are going to do something wonderful, to create something of honest value. Then you just end up shooting a good friend in the leg.

Building a house is a quaint enterprise. Something like growing tomatoes in a small garden or, if it is a big house, having a kid. Having built a house is the sort of thing that one can be proud of for the rest of their life. Despite all that other stuff, I built this house.

I had decided to build a house with three friends of mine. I am happy to report that the foundation was built before we even got there and we finished the frame rather quickly. It wasn't that hard when we had the proper guidance. Now we were at the "nail plywood to the frame" stage. It is a fun stage where the skeleton gains flesh.

The nail-gun made securing the plywood to the frame a great deal easier. I would quickly tap the board, and each tap would leave behind a neat shinny piece of metal. I even liked the sound of the nail-gun. It was a quick and clean grunt, expression with a purpose.

After nailing the end of the first piece of plywood to a stud I worked my way down the board while holding it up. The other end of the plywood was hanging off the house and bouncing a bit in the breeze. When I lined up the nail-gun against the complex wood grain I realized I had a problem. I didn't really know where the next stud was. At least not well enough to hit it with a nail from the other side of this large piece of plywood.

To prevent this annoying problem from recurring we decided to divide the needed tasks among the four of us. Jason, a somewhat skinny fellow with a pension for cowboy themed clothing, would measure and mark the plywood where the studs should be. I would nail the boards to the outside of the frame. Adam, the strong and focused individual among the four of us, would nail boards to the inside of the frame. Tim had some part in the process as well, but I don't remember what it was.

It was a good plan. We made an assembly line out of the thing. Before we even did one board I was convinced that this was going to work wonderfully. I got a marked plywood board from Jason and held it up against the frame. The clean grunts of the nail-gun secured one end of the large sheet of plywood to a stud. Even at this point you could see the house starting to develop some meat around it's grid-like bones. I felt my way along the board and fired the nails into the second line marked by Jason. Now, even when I took my hand off of the plywood it didn't really lean off of the house. I briefly stepped away from the house and let the nail-gun swing to my side as I admired what the house was becoming.

I am still impressed by the power that nail-guns are able to muster. They really shoot that nail. Luckily, the tip of the gun has to be depressed in order for the gun to fire. This helps prevent the nails from being fired into the air and assures that they are sent directly into some material. The trouble seems to arise when the material that the nail is fired into is not sturdy enough to stop the nail.

I stepped back to the board and started the third column of nails, starting on the top of the board and working down. I taped the tip of the nail-gun against the flexible wood and let it push my hand, and the gun, back. With each quick grunt of the nail-gun I marveled at how easy it was to join two pieces of wood so solidly. On my second to last shot in that column, I heard Adam yell from the other side of the wall directly after the nail-gun grunted.

As it turns out, studs are not always regularly spaced, some plywood doesn't stop nail-gun nails, Adam had not yet placed plywood over that part of the wall, bleeding can be slow to start from puncture wounds to the calf, and sometimes even the best intentions can result in shooting a friend in the leg.


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