random #11: What a way to test out my new lumber rack!

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-26-2009 01:35 PM 1777 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Hooray for windy days in LA Part 11 of random series Part 12: Hatchback toy update »

Last night I ran to home depot for 4 pressure treated 4×4s, 8 2×4s, and 5 sheets of 23/32” construction ply. Today, in bursts of uncharacteristic stick-to-it-ness, I actually put together the whole rack. On my lunch break from the office, I ran home and cut out 8 4’ 2×4s, 8 23-7/8” 2×4s, and cut the 4×4s not only to height (about 69”), but also cut in a 10° angle, and used Sketchup to plot the angle on the front leg to meet up with the back. I’m going to be putting on a rain canopy of some sort – maybe corrugated plastic. After work I got all the countersinks drilled in the long 2×4s, the pocket holes in the short 2×4s, then watched “Lost,” heading out during commercials to make marks on the 4×4s, and then out in the dark with a headlamp on after the show, I worked until around 1AM getting the whole thing screwed together as quietly as I could with neighbors on either side of me, and an otherwise dead silent neighborhood. Naturally, I kept knocking over piles of 2×4s, dropping my plastic clamping square on the cement, and just generally making a terrible racket, despite my caution.

With all of it put together, normally more like a 2-3 day job for me (around the workday hours), I stood back to take in bits and pieces of it with my tiny LED cone of light from the headlamp, thinking how nice it will look in the morning. Then – and this is why I rushed it out – I started cutting up branches in the garage with my large pullsaw, again, as quietly as possible, so I could load them into the rack, out of the way of the gardeners who come tomorrow. I didn’t want them throwing everything away in my green waste bin. At some point, I heard voices next door, and thought “Oh good, they’re still up – I can’t be bothering them.” A bit later I heard a racket right outside the garage, from right where the new rack was. It sounded like someone was coming over the 6’ cinder block wall, landing on my rack, falling off of it into the large garage door (2×4 frame with corrugated metal nailed into it), then running away. My first thought was that the neighbors threw something over the wall to try to shut me up. Maybe I was making noises they could hear. I worked a bit longer, sawing, lost in thought, then decided to check – nothing out there.

I worked another 15 minutes, and then heard more distinct voices, so I opened the door, and looked out, and there was a red laser pointer dot on my lawn, moving all around, scanning for something. I walked out and looked all over. I had no idea where it was coming from. Then I heard voices around the side of the house, and saw the gate there was open. I went over and asked “Hello?” You know, exactly what you shouldn’t do in a horror movie :) A man replied “Hello.” Three flashlights were hitting me in the face, blinding me. I asked “Who am I talking to?” “The police.” They asked me if I’d heard anyone come through my yard. I told them what I’d heard, and realized that was why the gate was open. The person jumped the wall, landed on the rack I had just finished building about 20 minutes earlier, rolled off, hit the garage, then ran through my back yard and out the gate. The cops scanned all around my yard, in my garage, and then went through the side fence to where the new rack was. I wondered what must they think here in LA finding something like 3 trees worth of logs and branches laying everywhere :)

One cop wanted to see over the wall, so he grabbed the ratty old pallet I rescued from a fast food restaurant recently (bottom half of this post), leaned it up against the rack I just built, and started trying to climb it like a step ladder. I said “That’s not going to hold you. It’s falling apart.” The other cops laughed and said “Just climb the rack.” I thought “I just built this a half hour ago, and now it’s part of a police chase!” So climb it he did. It has 4 shelves, and a moment later he was standing in the center of the top one, shining his light all over the neighbor’s yard. I thought to myself “Rack, please don’t break.” The other cops went around to the other yard, while he sat there on the vantage point of my rack, surveying for probably 10 minutes. I had mentioned at some point that I had just built the rack that night, and he said “Not bad. This thing is strong. I’m about 280, probably 290 with all this gear on.” The rack wasn’t even flexing. I made it beefy to handle the load of lots of wet logs.

He asked “What kind of woodworking you do?” I couldn’t think of a solid answer, so I gave the most truthful: “I’m mostly in the learning phase right now.” Not too long after there was some commotion next door, so he jumped down, and ran off yelling back to me “Thanks, buddy!” And that was that.

Now I’ll need to wipe dirt and footprints off the top shelf, and then tack on a rain canopy of some sort :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

12 comments so far

View GMoney's profile


158 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 03-26-2009 02:33 PM

That’s a good read for this morning! got me smiling, thanks. Don’t remember ever saying this to a guy before, great rack!

-- Greg, CT

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3913 days

#2 posted 03-26-2009 02:48 PM

If things don’t settle down in your neighborhood, you may need to add some razor wire to you newly build industrial strength lumber rack. LOL


View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 03-26-2009 03:19 PM

where are the picy-picy? I wanna see!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3527 days

#4 posted 03-26-2009 03:53 PM

I’m picturing the face of the suspect, who probably used the same route to get to whatever nefarious activity he was engaged in, returning, and coming face-to-face, in the dark, with a “lumbering” monstrosity that had not been there an hour earlier. LOL The first “voices” you heard surely must have been his more than mumbled “WTF was that?” and similar appreciative comments on your handiwork!
And then your assistance to Law Enforcement! I’m hoping your Lumber Rack will get a Commendation for it’s efforts, for rising above nearby fences! Maybe they’ll commission you to build similar surveillance stands, kind of like mini-siege towers.:)
Maybe, you’ve inadvertently discovered the remedy to our Border problems. Gary’s Lumber Racks along the whole border! Foiling would-be fence jumpers, and offering observation platforms for border guards! LOL
Too funny! Keep ‘em coming Gary! Always a great read! Michael C.

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4425 days

#5 posted 03-26-2009 03:57 PM

Stories always go great with woodworking projects. This one has one that will stay with it forexver.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3467 days

#6 posted 03-26-2009 04:10 PM

Was that 290 pounds including doughnuts? funny story mate.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3551 days

#7 posted 03-26-2009 04:12 PM

Great Story! ...and some wonderful log finds!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3753 days

#8 posted 03-26-2009 05:40 PM

you are great about pics, so I won’t complain about them not being here, but imagine if you had been photographing your work right when he jumped over the fence? That would have been awesome. When they post the picture of suspect in the paper, you would become a published woodworker with your rack in the background!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18288 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 03-26-2009 08:02 PM

Great post ;-) You’re lucky the creep didn’t jump in your lap while your were working on the rack!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3780 days

#10 posted 03-27-2009 12:39 AM


From the events of your story, you are going to have to start sleeping with an fully loaded nail gun :^)


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3960 days

#11 posted 03-27-2009 03:26 AM

GAry sounds like you built a great police.. er lumber rack. Any pics of it int he daylight?


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3407 days

#12 posted 03-27-2009 07:49 AM

Love the comments, all. I’ll get some pics up in a few!

HokieMojo – there was a shot from my view of the cop standing, legs apart on the rack, with the top of the building behind him illuminated by his and the other officers’ flashlights that looked like a movie poster. I wished I had my camera handy, but it was in the garage, and I didn’t want to run off during all the excitement. Also, I’m not sure how much cops like you taking their pictures when they’re doing their job. It seemed rude, somehow.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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