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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Monday, January 31, 2005

Lucas Proofing

So we finally got the stair case Lucas proofed. A bit of a lay of the land for those of you who have never been here, our place is on two floors. The main level, off the street, is my office, the living room/dining room area and the kitchen, with a sort of nook like area where the TV is. The basement, where the bedrooms and bathroom are, is accessed by a stair case in the middle of the room. This stair case has a very cool looking railing that the previous owners had put in. It's been custom welded out of piping and is really cool. It is also not designed for kids at all. The smallest hole between bars is 1.5 feet. To date we have been using a collection of an old door, some MDF and a sofa to block access to the sides not fenced off by baby gates. Given that he now climbs everything this was no longer a real solution.

We had many different theories about how to handle this. My initial suggestion involved a eye bolt in the floor, some bungie cord and a harness. This plan was vetoed.

Then we were going to use some grommets and some kind of thick canvas and make retractable curtain like things. This was discarded because A) Who the hell wants to do all that sewing B) Cost. Turns out thick canvas (off white, undyed) in largish quantities is not at all cheap.

The next theory involved plastic coated wire and turn buckles. It died after we did a test and realized that we had no idea what we were talking about. It would appear that we kept the bill for the turnbuckles so they are going back to Home Depot.

Then we were going to weave see through vinyl in and out between the bars, with grommets at the end to close them off. We bought and cut the vinyl to shape, got grommets etc etc. I'm guessing we are going to throw it all out. Unless someone wants some very nice pieces of vinyl. To do what with I have no idea. But we've got them. Tons and tons of the crap.

Then, suddenly out of the blue, it was realized that Christine's mom's boss runs a business that uses Plexiglas all the time. He did us a deal and cut it and rounded the corners for us. We then got some 4" x 4" x 10' cedar beams from Home Depot (a fun taxi ride that was) and some hardware and formulated a final plan.

So the deal is that we ran a circular saw down the middle of the beam, 3 times actually, to make a 1.5" groove into the wood, notched the beam where the vertical pipes were and then attached the beams to the pipes with flat metal plates with screws. This process burnt out the engine on my new circular saw which meant my father had to go home to Dorval and get his.

Then came the fun bit. After marking off the location of where the hardware would go we had to drill holes. This, in theory is easy. Plexiglas should drill ok. Like many theories the reality is somewhat different. We got two holes into the first piece no problem but then disaster struck, the next two holes cracked the Plexi. We all felt like crying, or at least drinking quite a lot and then crying (not Lucas, he was at his Mami's). So we attached the wounded sheet of Plexi in place and then my Dad had a brain wave. Instead of using the drill like a drill, why not run it backwards and cut through the Plexi using heat? This worked perfectly.

So, using this technique we managed to get finished. Sure we're going to have to replace the first sheet of Plexi, but we are really really happy with the results. Lucas seems to be mildly oblivious to the whole thing. He knows he can see us when we go downstairs, but that seems to be it. Oh, he gave the Plexi a good lick or two but that's about it.

You can see the whole thing here.


At 9:48 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The final effect is very Apple Store-ish!

- flargh

At 10:32 a.m., Blogger Cameron Campbell said...

Funny, Mike said that as well. We're really happy with it, now I have to find a way to make a barrier that lets the cats through without them having to preform gymnastics.


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