Move that Rock, Remove that Bolt
Did you ever break a bolt off by tightening it too much? The other morning I was working on the steering on the little case tractor and danged if the bolt that holds the steering part on just broke off the head. I could not remove the housing the threaded part of the bolt was in and I was forced to find a solution. I also doubt that there are parts to replace the housing the bolt broke off in. Years ago, I had seen a broken bolt removed from an engine with a Tap but I wasn't sure what to do in detail. I asked myself WWKD? That is shorthand for What would Kenny Do? That is my brother-in-law that is pretty detail oriented and very mechanically inclined. Would he haul it to a repair shop and pay $100 dollars or would he give it the old college try first? I made a trip to our wonderful world of Ace Hardware to see what wonderful tools they have for broken bolt extraction.
It was pretty clear that Ace had a tool for removing everything from a small screw to a pretty major bolt. I bought a medium sized extractor and the right drill bit as recommended on the package. I drilled a hole in the broken off bolt and the first move to insert the extractor just went exactly as needed. Three short turns and the bolt was well out of the hole and a I just finished the removal with my hand. I was completely amazed how easy it was and proud that I managed to get it out. I replaced that broken bolt with a grade 8 (Super strong) bolt and think that it should not be a problem anymore. If that bolt breaks off, I am pretty sure that I won't be able to drill a hole in the part left over on a hardened bolt..
There are times that I wonder if that project is not a metaphor for life. I was talking to my niece and discussing her life now that she has moved into a new relationship. In her old life she was married to a fireman. There was very little he wouldn't attack but in true fire fighter fashion, he was quickly the one to put out the fire and move on. He was very good at starting new projects but slow to finish them in an outstanding manner. The guy she is with now is an engineer and actually plans what to do and then executes the plan. She said that it is not that he isn't spontaneous, he just likes order in his life and likes to have things finished properly and the tools put away.
Do you make a list when you work on a project? What steps do you use to analyze the steps, cost and outcome? I tend to work a very short list of things to do and then jump into the execution part of the plan. Many times I have said, "Good enough for Government work!" Yes, I have often found my tools right where they were when I finished a job. In fact, my chains are all out by that big damned rock I am going to drag out for Barb's garden. I had better stop spending so much time writing this and get on out there drag that rock where I need.