Monday 20 November 2023

Calipers in thought before communion

In the view of my cane

It’s a funny world of knowledge gained in the past that you probably never thought might come in useful. At other times, rather than use that knowledge lost in the deep recesses of your memory, you find someone who is an expert of sorts to help for a fee or a price, whichever way you look at it.

As I sat in church yesterday, I thought about my walking canes and I have quite a few, they have been subjected to lots of wear and tear, some in need of repair that I have had thoughts of fixing myself, but never got to it.

When it comes to the ferrules, the rubber thing that you fix to the end of the cane, over time, that does wear away. You would think you just walk into a cobbler’s shop and find an array of ferrules to attach to your cane. Wrong!

No standard to the rule

Beyond the unsightliness of some ferrules as big as doorstops, some just would not fit, suggesting there is no particular world standard for the diameter of walking canes. At least, that is my experience. I like snug and slim ferrules that do not bulge out at the end of my walking cane and those I would hardly find at the local cobbler’s which probably caters to a clientele that needs functional walking canes without any aesthetic beauty to their appearance.

I guess I am of the persuasion that appearances always matter, regardless of the handicap you retain for whatever circumstances you might be in.

So, whilst I was supposed to be meditating on the Eucharist I was about to receive, I began to think of how best to measure the diameter of my canes in order with that knowledge to get the specifically useful kind of cane ferrule I needed. Obviously, I could have measured the circumference of a cross-section of a cane and divided by Pi, easy arithmetic, but I wanted a bit more precision.

Calipers of a different sort

Out of the recesses of my knowledge acquired from secondary school came, what’s the instrument for measuring diameters amongst other things? Calipers, in fact, vernier calipers and so, my mind was set on acquiring vernier calipers and once I had a view of the diameters of my many canes, I would order the cane ferrules.

One other reason for cane ferrules beyond the response shock of them hitting the ground is you avoid the wear of the core material of the walking cane, the ones I use are of wooden material, however, one has an inner metal core that was exposed once the cane ferrule was completely worn. The cane needs additional work beyond the replacement of the cane ferrule though.

Shopping for a vernier caliper is an ordeal in itself, the cheap ones with digital readouts looked like a bargain until you read the one-star reviews, inaccurate, flimsy, poor quality, and useless, were the verdicts. Basically, give them a miss.

Exactness and precision, old-school

Heck, I have an engineering background, so I should be able to read scales and the precision elements to them why not get a more durable one than the plastic ones that require a battery with all the other issues the poor reviews highlighted?

So, I am getting a traditional hand-operated, stainless steel vernier caliper. I quick review of how to get your readings to two decimal points and you are assured that no knowledge is entirely lost if you let your imagination explore the possibilities around you.

After a moment of seeming daydreaming in church, it was my turn to stand in line for communion.

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