The Internet Knows Everything

About ten years ago, movers showed up to pack up and move our worldly goods across town. Because this was a short move, we went with some local, low-priced labor, instead of name-brand professionals. From a previous move, we knew that the legs of our baby grand piano could and should be removed for transport. Unfortunately, none of the movers knew how to detach the legs, and neither did I. I squirmed underneath and looked up, and did not see how to do it. I only saw some massive screws that looked like they were not about to move.

The internet to the rescue – – a quick search led to a YouTube video showing somebody moving a piano like ours, and just reaching under and knocking something with a rubber mallet, and voila, off came the legs. I could not see exactly what they did, but when I crawled under the piano again to look for something easily knocked aside, which had to be there, it was obvious what to do.

Two more anecdotes along these lines, both of which deal with my 2007 Honda. That car has spent many years baking in the hot sun, and some interior parts have let go. First, the visor in front of the driver would no longer remain in the flipped-up position – – it sagged down, partly obscuring my view. The adhesive holding the two halves of the visor together had failed from the heat, and so the visor had lost its grip on the metal rod sticking into it.

What to do? Once again, I found a YouTube video with the needed information. It directed one to purchase “binder posts” (found on Amazon) and insert them into holes drilled in the visor. The holes had to be drilled in just right the right places to not damage the interior parts of the visor. And it worked – – the visor action is now as tight as new:

Less critical, but still annoying, was the sagging down of the “headliner”, the fabric ceiling of the car interior. It was not blocking my view, but was touching the top of my head. Many years ago, I had tried to fix a similar problem in a different old car by smearing glue into the fabric and holding it up against the hard top of the car to stick it there. That turned out poorly, so this time I went looking for a different solution. Searching on “fix sagging headliner” gave a number of hits, with various recommendations. If you wanted to remove the plastic trim around the edges so you could get up behind the fabric to apply fresh adhesive, certain glues or double-sides tapes were suggested that could handle the high temperatures. If you have to do the entire ceiling, this gets to be a big job.  Alternatively, one could use something like a steam cleaner or clothes steamer to get the original glue up there hot enough to be sticky again, and then use a cloth roller to push the fabric up against the ceiling.

Or…you could use thumbtacks or other pins. I learned from these articles that above the fabric was a thin layer of fairly rigid foam insulation, which was attached to the underside of the metal car roof. Evidently, this foam would take a tack or pushpin. This approach seemed much easier than the other methods, but it seemed to me that simple tacks or pins would quickly work loose and fall out. But a couple of articles suggested using “twist pins” or “headliner pins”, where the metal pin is twisty like a corkscrew. They screw into the insulation and hold pretty well. So, I got a pack of twist pins with clear heads for $6 from Amazon, used some masking tape and a tape measure to get some symmetry in placement, and screwed them in. Another problem solved:

I am old enough to remember life before the internet. It was way, way harder for the average person to find this type of arcane information on short notice. I suppose I would have had to hire professional movers for the piano, and taken my car to a professional repair shop to get it fixed, as opposed to doing it myself. Back then, professionals could charge more because they had something of a monopoly on specialized knowledge. That knowledge monopoly is pretty well broken now, but pros can still command a premium in many cases because they have special tools or have actually done some procedure before and so have the skill and confidence to do it efficiently and correctly. It’s no big deal if I mess up fixing my old car visor, but I would like my surgeon to have gotten some training beyond watching a YouTube video.

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