I found Cesar leaned up against a shaded post near a fishing boat he was about to paint, talking with Benois, the metal worker.
“Belleza pura,” I said, offering the Brazilian greeting he’d taught me. “Hey, do you know where I can find a 6’ steel rod or pipe threaded at both ends?”
“Well…the plumbing store sells 18ft pieces of ¾” steel pipe threaded on both ends.”
“Oh and Ben, could you make me a steel washer of exactly these dimensions?” I said, pointing to my diagram.
“What is that?” They both said at once.
“It’s a ‘slide hammer’. I’m going to use it to extract my shaft log. Or in French, you could call it an ‘extracteuuuuuuuuuuur’.” I explained.
They nodded and went back to their discussion. It took a few days to gather all the pieces, but by Thursday morning Jacques had cut down my 18’ pipe to 6’ and welded a plate onto the end (which would be where I would ‘hammer’). Ben had made me the washer, but out of aluminum rather than steel. Before I complained, I figured I’d give it a shot.
I set it all up and borrowed a massive sledge hammer from the yard, and went for it. I swung the hulking head of the hammer and shocked myself by how hard it slammed into the welded plate. By the 30th hit, though, I’d broken through the welding on the plate and the tube hadn’t budged. I went up to see what was happening inside and found the aluminum washer was completely bent.
And so, I gave up…my island style ‘extracteur’ had failed. Back to the drawing board…