How Fixing A Fence Reminded Me Of Something Very Important

06-08-2014 01:19 PM

I just fixed a fence in the garden, a minor miracle I may add as I have the DIY skills of an ape wearing boxing gloves whilst blindfolded, but I did it.
A tree had push through the top trellis section of the fence and over time had pulled it into my neighbours garden, snapping a section of post at one end and leaving it at an angle on their side.
To repair it I had to remove a section of trellis, then pull the fence back into an upright position, use some wood to fix the break on the post and secure it all. It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish.
The tools used were a hammer, a piece of metal plate that’s in my toolbox which has some purpose but not then one I used it for, so I used it in the absence of a crowbar. I also used my electric screwdriver and some spare screws from the many thousands I have left over in my tool box, because Home Depot insist on selling packs of screws in quantities that would give you enough to mend the wooden equivalent of the Chinese Wall.
When I stood back proudly to review my success it got me thinking, what if I had approached the fence task in the same way many of us approach modern recording?
It would have meant me spending hours on Google looking at hammer reviews and drill reviews, then watching YouTube videos on fixing fence panels. I could have visited a few DIY forums to seek opinions, only to find that Bob who has been fixing fences for more years than he can remember gets into a row with Debbie who has also been fixing fences for more years than she can remember over the type of nails to use. Apparently in a blind test Bob is convinced he can tell when a fence has been fixed with nickel nails and when one hasn’t. I’m also then drawn into a discussion where John explains why taking the time to use a vintage hammer will give me better results, but Chris think it’s all bullshit and his modern Chinese replica is just the same. Of course I could also make a trip to Fence Fixing Expert to see which tool they would use to fix a fix a fence, but in the end I need to understand that Fence Fixing Expert is simply a place to help people who may be stuck, not the fence fixing gospel and the FFE team don’t mind how I do it, as long as I get the job done.
In the end I decided to fix the fence with tools I had and used my imagination. I’m sure there are other ways to fix my fence and the tools I used (especially the piece of metal) are not the ones someone else would have chosen, but they got the job done.
I hope you get the point - in the end these are just tools to get the job done and of course there are many ways to use those tools.
If we spend our lives obsessing about tools and methods, to the point of becoming tool collectors and in endless arguments about the ‘right way to do it’ then we may know a lot about hammers but the fence may never get fixed.
Go be creative with the stuff you have and do it your way, you may not have my tools or do it my way, or indeed the way of some guy who can talk you to death about the stuff and how to use it, but in the end if you make something beautiful then it really doesn’t matter.