So Close yet so Far

Ideas are funny things, especially as they try to become things that are more than ideas.

Recall how recently a gourd became a banjo.  Making the tuning pegs stick was a bit of a wrestling match, with the final solution seeming to involve that when the right tension was obtained that the pegs be struck with a wooden hammer to make them bite.



Really though there are bigger fails than such – this post is about one such – how, faced with the need to hammer in such pegs and then, of one need adjust them, to loosen them first before re-tensioning and re-hammering.  It seemed to me that it would be elegant that such a banjo would come therefore with its own tuning tools – perhaps a little hammer, perhaps a little pliers, so that it could be independent and self sufficient.  The pliers would want not to have metal lips, lest it damage the pegs.  A wooden pliers?

Pliers A Pliers B Pliers Holding a Shell


Sure – how hard could that be?  Thing is, it’s not that they’re hard to make.  In less than an hour you too could have a handy-dandy wooden pliers at your beck and call.  It’s rather that when you try to use them – you know, squeeze them a little, apply a little pressure – well, they just break along the grain at the fulcrum.  (Click on picture for precise diagram).  I’ve had to glue it three times but the glue really does not remediate – it’s a fail in the design.

Pliers Point of Failure


I’m going to give it one more go.  In the next I’ll have the grain run the long way at the fulcrum, not that I’m sure that such just won’t transfer the critical point of weakness elsewhere.  I suppose a third approach would be to find a stick that’s got that sort of vague S curve, maybe 1.25 inches thick, flatten it on both sides some so it’s maybe an inch or so, then cut it in half the long way, then dig the troughs for the joint – and presto, no weakness.  Perhaps indigenous peoples could be be deployed to source the raw material. Does it make me indigenous if I do it?  Does anything make me indigenous?  Isn’t it about have a naturally arising relationship with the world around you?  I get confused on these subjects, but I will report if I am able to construct a non-fail wooden pliers and what it takes to do it.


One thought on “So Close yet so Far

  1. Pingback: Wooden Pliers, resolved | Splashdown

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