Finding fixes in a sturdy foundation


I can really struggle with the simplest of handyman jobs. My limited skills and tools selection can turn a little quick repair into a drawn out mini-catastrophe. I’m too cheap to buy brand new. I’m usually unwilling to pay somebody else to fix my stuff. I’m better in this digital computer, or artistic world, than the straightforward mechanics of nuts and bolts.

Tomorrow I want to be camping with my family in the ‘gently used’ popup that Lindsay and I purchased a few weeks ago, from a craigslist ad. I found out last Sunday that a threaded driveshaft assembly on the lift system was stripped out, and the top would not pop. Shux! It was a must-fix if any time would be spent in the camper with weekend.

After busting some knuckles and identifying the issue, I went about ordering parts. They were expensive, but available and I had them shipped 2nd day air. After arrival I began to disassemble the original pieces in order to replace certain parts with the new. One little roll-pin was being quite uncooperative!

I only had two pieces left that needed to be separated. The roll-in connected them. It was a short driveshaft and toothed gear. First thing was finding a hammer and a punch. Check. Then I needed to whack away at the little end of that pin. Well, just finding a way to set it in place was very hard.

I wanted to secure the part, so I could hit it. I needed it to sit solidly and not move around while I worked on it. I tried using a length of pipe and sticking the driveshaft into it. That worked for a little bit. Then it started to bounce around, the harder I smacked it with the hammer.

I didn’t own a vice, but that is exactly what I needed. Without a way to clamp down and hold it tight, I couldn’t get a good solid thump on the end of that roll-pin.

Throughout the afternoon, I tried many ways to work on the piece but eventually, I made a trip to town and bought some new tools and a vice too. I brought the stuff back home and set the vice on the workbench in my garage. Even at that point, there was more work to do. I didn’t buy big lag screws or bolts and nuts to secure the vice to the bench. I used some deck screws and tried to temporarily hold the vice tight to the countertop.

Then I could clamp down of on the gear. Then I could hit the pin with the punch. Then the roll-pin began to move further out the other side of the gear, closer to release!


If I have a problem in my life, I now see a couple truths about that situation. I might need to find some tools to work on the problem. I may already have some, or I may need to get new ones. Once I have my tools, I might find that pressure and tension and being clamped down upon, might help me focus and pinpoint the solutions. Even if the tools are present and I am locked down ready to pound, I have to be secured firmly to a strong foundation.

The little rolled metal pin stuck in the gears, had to come out, for me to fix the functionality of the camper as a whole. I had to find a strong structure to work from, in order to make any progress at all. Without the solid wooden tabletop, and the heavy-duty metal vice, the pieces just jumped around and became impossible to do anything with.

Eventually, I couldn’t get any further, and had to ask for the help of someone who was better with these things than me. Luckily, my step-dad Joe worked his magic on it. All is well, and the camper is now fixed and ready to take to the lake just a few hours from now.

My personal internal foundations have been tested at times. Do I always remember to lock down my issues and study them against those immovable and unchanging truths? Probably not often enough. Thank God, for steadfast love that endures forever. I pray that I may learn to lean into Him, always.

Reminds me of a song I’ve heard on Sunday mornings 🙂


Aaron Nichols

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.


One thought on “Finding fixes in a sturdy foundation

  1. Dear Grandson Aaron–My heart was bleeding for you — buying new tools and
    we might have had some of those things for FREE!! Our thanks to Joe for
    coming to the rescue so you could enjoy a beautiful day camping. We need
    a new pic of that “new girl in town”!! I am packing as fast as I can!! We are
    anxious!! G & G

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