Accuracy is extremely important, that is why most of us measure it with a micrometer, mark it with a piece of chalk and cut it with an axe.

Loafing is hard work if you do it right.

Mystery Solved

At Last an Accurate Count


Richard A. Hanson © 2005


I got up today with plans of doing more work on a handrail I am building.  Little did I know that my efforts would unleash a chain of events that would mark this day, November 26, 2005, as a day that would go down in history. 


Yesterday when I was almost finished with the last weld on the handrail framework, my MIG welder breathed its last breath of shield gas and began spitting sputter balls far and wide.  Since it was late in the afternoon I stopped work for the day.  My plan for today was to take the handrail frame to its location, do a trial fit, then stop by Linweld and pick up another bottle of gas.  Things were going smoothly, the handrail fit like it was made for the space, but when I got to Linweld, alas, they had taken a long holiday weekend and were not open. 


My plans scuttled, I returned home, did some touch-up grinding on the welds on the handrail and then because I was thoroughly disgusted with the turn of events, decided to quit for the day.  Not wanting to spend an entire afternoon staring at the boob tube while watching overweight young men knock each other all over a long narrow cow pasture while holding a funny looking little pumpkin, I decided to make a long over-due tour of the local antique shops. 


I quickly scarfed up a bowl of clam chowder, changed into a fairly clean pair of jeans and a shirt that didn’t stink and headed off for high adventure.  High adventure is exactly what I got, in the first shop I visited; I scored a nice hot cut that just needs a little TLC to turn it back into a usable tool.  A handle, grinding off the mushroom edges of the head and a wire brush to remove the rust and this thing will once again be a beauty.  And I only paid $5.94 including tax.  Wow what a deal, but the true find awaited me at the second shop.


Here, way in the back under a bench sat a porcelain chamber pot full of railroad spikes.  When I regained my composure and quit laughing, I realized that I had been afforded the rare opportunity to answer that age old question once and for all.  Just exactly how many is a shit pot full of railroad spikes?  I knew that for the information and edification of my blacksmithing brothers I must count them.  I carefully removed the spikes from the pot and counted them as I replaced them.  Once I was done I realized that there was room for one more spike to I added one to the count.  Now I can honestly say that a Shit pot full of railroad spikes = 24.  If someone offers you a shit pot full of spikes and there isn’t 24 of them, you can tell them that while the may have a pee pot full of spikes they definitely don’t have a shit pot full. 


I realize that chamber pots came in many sizes and that there may be pots that hold more that 24 but these would be considered mega pots full or super pots full.  Further, don’t even mention that green giant guy because there aren’t that many spikes in the world.