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Fri Mar 26, 2021, 09:21 PM

Will answer to "Leonardo," per favore: My engineering of a cane-seat

Remember Election 2020, the fervor to vote and expectations of hours in line. Well, I was possessed to find a "cane seat" since I'm a portly (then age 73, now 74). First, the odyssey of googling, shopping by internet or finding a local outlet, extensive comparison of seat sizes and sturdiness (230 lbs). It turned out that two big box sporting good stores had them, apparently used by golfers. Happily, Dick's, the one on the correct side of non-guns, had the better one. Then my big day of early voting came, and the thing stayed in the trunk because there was no line at all. Fine.

Then the covid vaccine lines came along, and too late, already in a 3 hours' line, I remembered the cane seat for the second jab, but it turned out that the 2nd jab was a faster thing, so it stayed in the trunk.

But a further use turned out, since I'm a wimp about trimming my dog's nails, or rather both he and I are about my doing it, and after a couple of years of bouncing around for small business groomers to do it, we ended up at a chain place that - get this - had no seating. So the first time the cane seat hit the spot!1 But then the next time, the three legged thing would *not* stay standing, would sway over to one or another side with me scarcely escaping being splattered on the deck.

The problem was obvious: That the spread of the three legs was too narrow, or close together. My pondering (mental work) went on for weeks, with my first thought being to BEND the aluminum legs apart, perhaps a double bend with outward slantings near the joint and downward slantings to the ground. My mental wheels kept turning, settling on replacing the screw with a longer one, perhaps also including some bending.

More weeks passed before getting around to gathering the bolt and nut, finding only the eye-bolt, 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches long. Thinking some more about the steps, having to hack saw tightly the light weight bolt, then probably having to drill the holes wider for the eye bolt, both tasks likely to be troublesome.

So today, all other tasks abating for the moment, took it up. I decided to experiment first with just the bolt length without any bending of the legs. And the two steps were unexpectedly easier and the eye bolt and nut worked as projected. But then, surprise surprise, the legs were just as unstable as before, swaying over to one or the other side. After a couple of attempted seatings and adjusting the spacing of the legs, the problem became clear: The eye bolt had *BENT* from my weight?!1 ------I was astounded, since I assumed a 1/4 inch thick bolt could take me like a feather!1

So instead of the big box place that was limited in its bolts, went to a specialized local bolts-and-steel place. Nope, the humorless dude said his bolts were all bendable, not iron. There were other places, and found one. This dude had the right stuff and it was the strongest composition, and 54 cents. I had the bent eye bolt with me and left him laughing about what bent it.

Back at the engineering studio, the iron or steel bolt introduced into the aluminum holes well, with only a few turns of a vice plier. And apparently the spread was fine with the length of the bolt. The seating feels sturdy and stable. First serious use will be at the next appointment for dog nails clipping.

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