Second Chances

Another Saturday morning comes early.  The colors were not quite so brilliant as a couple of weeks ago, but the dawn is no less the start of a new day.  It might be the overflow of good days past, but it could be, just as easily, a new beginning, a page turned, or a second chance.

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Out the same east window where the sun rises is a Cleveland pear tree that I planted as a skinny sapling in 1996.  Around 2009, it apparently was hit by lightning and one of the large central branches was broken off.  The main trunk was split in two with a fist-sized crack at three feet off the ground and the conventional wisdom was to cut it down, or at least to cut one half away.  Instead, my son-in-law Jeff Reichanadter suggested that we try pulling the trunk parts back together.

We got some 2x4s and some pipe clamps and managed to close up the gap.  Then we drilled four holes with a long 3/8″ bit, that we tried to line up for two threaded 1/4″ rods.  It was close enough so we could hammer the rods into place, and we quickly got some large washers and double nuts tightened onto both ends of the rods.  When we sawed the rod ends off and took the clamps off, nothing happened so we gave each other high fives and went in.

Below is the tree up close, five years later:

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Here is the happy tree this spring.  I guess you could call that a second chance.

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The boat has needed quite a few restarts and page turns also.  After the failure of the float test, we went back to the physics book.  That was described in the 9th post, “It’s Elementary, Watson.”  The progress of that story is shown below in the photos of rebuilding the cross frames.

They were originally constructed with dowel-reinforced corner joints and plywood supports, and then shaped according to the first design.  On the photo below you can see how the added piece made it around 3″ taller and was contour sanded for the best fit.

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Next the cross frames were cut to a new profile with the jigsaw and shaped smooth.

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In the case of the added piece below, it had its own second chance after it survived a wrong band saw cut.  After already having significant time into the piece, I decided to fill the cut with a thin piece of wood.  Then the shoulder cut need a second try with an added shim to make the stringer lay higher on that perfect line.

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Another of the repeats occurred to the cross frame shown below.  After I had installed the lower stringer, I had to recut the corner away and glue it again to allow the stringer to move in slightly.  Then it was right.

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It wouldn’t really be inappropriate for the whole boat to be named “Second Chance.”  But when the beauty of the corrected lines emerge, it becomes totally worth the extra effort.  Below are the reworked cross frames and the cockpit becoming defined by the side trim:

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Here my grandsons, Clayton, Brayden, and Hudson, didn’t need the second try:

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But over the years, I did need second chances quite a few times.  One of those occasions, my sister Anne Crist pointed me to Joel 2:28.  It describes the devastation that the army of locusts did to the crops of Israel.  But God promised that if they repented, He would make up for the years the locusts had eaten.  He is still in the business of second chances for anyone who will seek Him with their whole heart.

2 thoughts on “Second Chances

  1. Good Stuff, we all need secound chances once in awhile. Usually we learn a good lesson from the first failue.

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