The Project thus far… cont’d (Materials)

Step 2!
On March 22, I went to Home Depot with all intentions of getting the materials I needed. My dad is a contractor, so I grew up around tools and whatnot and they’re not exactly foreign to me (despite my blonde-ness). So I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get. However, the Home Depot in Bridgeport, CT is really confusing! And it took me a lot longer to locate what I needed in that backwards store than it would have if I had been in a store that actually made any sense.
So first, i wanted to make sure I could get the metal I needed. After all, it wouldn’t make much sense to buy tools and stuff if I had nothing to work with. I ended up in the duct work aisle because I figured A) duct work is made of metal, B) you need lots of metal for duct work, C) I need lots of metal, therefore D) go to the duct work section! That worked in theory a few days prior to this when I had gone there and actually seen a sheet of aluminum for around $8. But on this day, it was all gone and I was at a loss.
After wandering around cluelessly for about 10 minutes, I finally decided to get some help. I was referred to a very nice sales rep who brought me to the door/hardware section. The pieces were rather small (I guess they were meant for using in door frames) and when I said I needed a bigger sheet the guy finally asked me what I was doing.
“I’m making armor.”
Yeah, that got a very interesting look out of him. But whatever.
He finally brought me back to the duct work aisle. But this time, it was the other end where there was a display of decorative metal sheets (like for heating vents?) and BEHIND those sheets stood large, 36×36″ sheets of metal. Bingo! No wonder I hadn’t seen them.
I thanked him and located the piece I wanted. It was a 36×36″ sheet of 30 gauge aluminum, which was perfect (more about how “perfect” it is later).
Rather than run around the store with a rather large, razor sharp sheet of metal, I left it where it was and decided to find some tools first.
Hm… now if I were tools in a HARDWARE store, where would I be?
I’m sure the contractors and laborers got a kick out of watching a short blonde girl walking even more cluelessly around Home Depot for about 10 more minutes. None of the signs gave any indication of where I might find “tools”, and any place that seemed logical (such as right next to the metal I was going to be working with, for instance) yielded any luck.
Finally I had to ask for help again and I was directed to the front of the store: Away from anything having to do with anything and hidden by cash registers.
Oh, well, how silly of me…
In the “tool” section, I got to work looking for hand tools. I already had an IKEA toolbox in the apartment (complete with hammer, flat nose pliers, and a screw driver with about ten attachments). But I figured that now I needed something to be able to hammer the metal out with without damaging it, something to cut the metal with, and something to file the metal down with so that I wouldn’t slit my own hands while working with it. Oh, and I logically decided that I should probably get a pair of leather gloves so that I could hold the metal while working with it. But every pair of work gloves I had passed thus far were a standard LARGE and I have rather tiny hands, so no luck.
Being aware of money constraints (the metal was already going to cost me $20) I made some wise choices. Rather than get the really cool double ended plastic and rubber hammer for $13, I got a rubber mallet for $4. I got a set of three different files for around $7, and I picked up a pair of tin snips which could cut up to a 20g sheet of steel for around $9.
Finally having found my tools, I made my way back to the sheet metal and picked it up. There were more odd looks as I rolled it all out to the garden center, but whatever.
At the checkout stand, there was a display of gloves which I had noted one before. It was kind of annoying because I man can walk up to the display and get a large set of gloves for $4. But since I had tiny hands and had to get smaller gloves, I ended up getting a pair of women’s small gloves for $7: paying more for less leather and a little flower embroidery embellishment on the top. It’s sexism, I tell you!
And so ended my adventure at the hardware store. Next up, I’ll begin to discuss what a P.I.T.A. working with sheet aluminum is.

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