Friday, April 24, 2009
A tribute to the "hell box"
Everyone needs a "Hell Box". What's a "Hell Box" you ask? It's the workshop equivilent to the kitchen junk drawer. No, I didn't come up with the name. I got the name from a writer named Granville King. Not sure if that's his real name or a pen name. Ol Granville wrote for a magazine called "pickup, Van, & Four Wheel Drive back in the 70's. GK was a desert rat living in the Mojave and wrote of his travels in his WWII vintage Jeep. Today I was reminded of ol GK and his story about "Hell Boxes".We've got a local gun show tomorrow and I have a pair of CVA percussion rifles I'm taking to trade toward a flintlock if I can find one. I disassembled one of these rifles at one point intending to refinish it. Never got around to that project. I went to put this gun back together last night only to find the screw that holds the tang missing. Taking the screw from the other rifle (above left), I headed out hardware shopping. The place I currently work doesn't have it, so I headed to the place I used to work. All I could find long enough in an M5 thread was a socket head screw(center). I figured if I had to I could grind the proper head onto it, so I bought it and a nut. When I got home I remembered the "Hell Box", and found the flathead M5(above right). Pictured below are my "Hell Boxes" or HB's.Those readers that are mechanicaly inclined already know about HB's. For the rest of you let me explain the HB concept. HB's are a very delecate and magical things. They must be properly fed, housed and treated. Feeding them is easy. Most projects has a few parts left over when you are done. Parts you will probably never need again. When this happens a few of those parts speak magically to you and say "Don't throw me out you'll regret it". These are the parts that give a HB it's magic. Find a suitable container and place it in a dark place. Under a workbench is best. That is where a HB's magic is strongest. Treatment is easy. An occassional stir is all that's required, a tap of your toe is sufficient most of the time. Do all these things and the HB rewards you with it's magic. You see all those magic talking parts have the ability to breed. If you are lucky and follow the magic formula they will breed those odd and unusual parts that you need every now and then. When pulling out your HB to look for that item of your quest, be sure to talk to it in a calm gentle voice, telling it what you need. But, be careful, don't get greedy and push your luck. Your HB might bite if you do. Today after finding my M5 flat head screw, I made the mistake of not showing my gratitude, and continued to dig for a more suitable subject. As I stirred I nearly cut myself on a double edge razor blade. This blade was in like new condition as if schick made it yesterday. Obviously something my HB bred on the spot to tell me it's displeasure for my lack of gratitude. I took the razor blade and put it in the drawer with the others. I then profusely thanked the Hell Box for it's generosity, promissed to feed it soon, and returned it to it's home beneath the workbench. That my friends is how a Hell Box works. Good luck on starting yours. I couldn't imagine not having mine. Just remember to always express your gratitude when your HB pays you back. Woods