The Allen Wrenches

After “Five Screws,” Not a Cardiologist raised the question of the Allen wrenches from IKEA furniture kits. How can I bear to throw them out? Yesterday, installing a towel bar in my wife’s bathroom, I ended up with an Allen wrench for the set screws: it was part of the hardware package. This thing is shorter than my pinkie, and I estimate its diameter at two millimeters. It served its purpose well, even though my tool chest contains Allen wrenches of hardened steel: brand-name Allen wrenches: autonomous Allen wrenches that I’ve paid for with my own money.

Now I’m faced with the wrenching decision about throwing away this disposable, single-use wrench of softer steel. Maybe, instead, I could sell it on EBay. I can’t just chuck it after it has done for me what it has done.

But I’ve already swallowed hard and tossed out the plastic wall anchors that were included hardware. Actually, it wasn’t such a tough decision to make. These are the springy kind that you pinch to flatten out from a V-shaped, resting position, making it like a brad—it looks like a clothespin, really—that you drive straight through your pilot hole (a rather large pilot hole because this anchor is pretty big). When it’s seated in the wall, you’re to take the two-stage plastic pushpin that’s also supplied and drive it through the center of the anchor to the pin’s second stage, an automatic stop that releases tension inside the dual blades of the V, causing them to audibly flex, almost as if you were to unstick your tongue from the roof of your mouth. What you have then, with the pushpin still in place, is an assembly that looks like Cupid’s bow and an arrow tipped with a plate, not a point, in order to do no harm in the name of love or merely being smittened.

Regular bullet-shaped wall anchors are my preference, and I have a large arsenal of them in stock.

Of course, saving the screws that are also provided with the installation kit was a given.

Last week I installed hanging lamps in the upstairs hallway, replacing the fussy brass lanterns that were provided by the builder. Part of the process was to screw together the long stems that hang down from the ceiling box. The instructions called for applying Loc-Tite to the threads of these stems. (Usually I detest cutesy commercial spellings, but Loc-Tite has always somehow seemed superior to Miller Lite and others.) With the lamp kit, there was a small, one-time-use tube of the adhesive compound. No use saving it, I figured, for dryness would creep in. Then there was a second lamp, and another tube of Loc-Tite when the first had already been disposed of. If I had only used forethought! I could have obtained a second application from the first tube, saving the second in a slot or drawer in the garage, where the cold temperatures could have rendered it useless.

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One thought on “The Allen Wrenches

  1. Ha! Tool boxes…a man’s equivalent of a hope chest. I hope I get to use this allen wrench again. I hope this tool I bought on sale will come in handy. I hope I have to hang a big mirror one day can use the extra big 50 lb drywall anchors.

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