First little triumph: We needed to prepare a floorplan of our new classroom: with about ten different wall surfaces all at different angles. The teacher arrives with a laser beam measuring tool. The younger ones grab it, measure every corner to corner that is unencumbered, mark in the measurements on a rough plan, photograph it on their i-phones, send copies to those of us without. It didn’t work.
This is stupid, I said to myself. Before the next lesson, I printed the i-phoned plan, drew a line right down the middle of the room, added intermediate points, and divided the whole room into measurable triangles. I came in with my camera tripod, so we could revolve the laser round the fixed points on my central line. “Never seen that before, but try it”, said our teacher. It involved shifting some heavy furniture and some fast geometry at one point where we could not get the measurement we needed. But it worked, the plan came together (we missed one critical measurement, but were still at under 1% error). That felt nice.
Second little triumph. Last night we needed to slot a 240 cm strut into an aluminium support. The only wood available was 5 cm x 4 cm, which we had to reduce to 4.5 cm x 4 cm. It’s a 5-minute job with a mechanical thicknesser. Except that chip suction system was not working, and a siren whined every time we tried to set it. Five minutes sitting around became ten. And fifteen.
Finally I marched to the tool cupboard, took an old-fashioned hand-plane, set it accurately, and to the astonishment of my (much) younger colleagues, took off the offending 5 millimetres in under 10 minutes. It fitted perfectly. “There”, I said “and someone else can sweep up up the shavings”. My shoulder ached all evening, but so what …