Monday, 27 March 2017

DDO: continuing case at Ombsudsman (Ontario), re deficiency at Clerks (Town of Richmond Hill)

[ I post an e-mail which I am sending also to, with cc's as follows:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I may conceivably make future forwards, notably to individuals interested in Canadian heritage conservation.

Anyone having questions or concerns should e-mail me through my usual address,] 

Coordinated Universal Time (= UTC = EST+5 = EDT+4): 20170328T040657Z

Dear Ombudsman team,

I am herewith continuing with the Ombudsman complaint I registered against the Town of Richmond Hill around UTC=20170313T1915Z, under the procedure discussed at

In the interest of transparency, I have just displayed this present material at my blog, (for viewers outside Canada,

For prudence, I intend in the next few minutes to submit this present e-mail text also through the Web interface which the Ombudsman makes available to the public at

It has been two weeks since I submitted my complaint, and yet I have not heard from the Ombudsman. I gather from that it is common for complaints to be resolved in a two-week timeframe.

(1) For your possible convenience, I display my complaint from two weeks ago in an Appendix to this present communication.

(2) I would now respectfuly ask you to confirm by phone or e-mail that my complaint has not been dismissed (as being, for instance, somehow frivolous, or somehow incorrectly formulated, or somehow unclear), and that the case I started with you two weeks ago therefore remains open.

(3) I continue to worry about the odd and inconsistent behaviour of Clerks (efficient and friendly communications over the period 2008 through 2016 inclusive, in part in the context of my fifty or so 2008-through-2016 appearances at Town Council or Committee-of-the-Whole, sometimes as Delegation and sometimes in Public Forum or "Questions"; and now a seeming blackout on communications, with correspondence unacknowledged even after a repeated, and eventually after even a strongly worded, request for acknowledgement).

It now occurs to me that the normally efficient and friendly Clerk, in declining to communicate with me, may be acting against her will under the firm instructions of some Town lawyer. This is a scenario a little different from what I had feared two weeks ago, in which I was inclined to think that the elected Town politicians - in other words, one or a few or some large number of members of Town Council - were the source of the conjectured inproper pressure on our Clerk.

It therefore now occurs to me that I should draw to your notice my grounds, from back in 2013, for fearing the Town's lawyers, which I have just this morning in some degree of pessimism recalled.

I attach for your reference two short audio recordings, under filenames

* melitzer_legal_dept____untruthful_answer_20130624T2337Z.m4a
* barrow_dave_mayor___evasive_answers_of_20130923.m4a

The recordings raise a pessimistic fear about the probity of the Town's lawyers, in connection with one particular aspect of the David Dunlap Observatory case - with, namely, the purchase by the Town, around 2012 or 2013, of a 5-hectare David Dunlap Observatory and Park land parcel known as the "Panhandle", under terms which gave a would-be property developer at the David Dunlap Observatory a 400-percent-per-hectare profit.

(It is true that the would-be property developer is also donating other lands to the Town - donating, in fact, around 40 hectares from the 72-hecatre Observatory legacy "Trapezoid" (with at least the two key Observatory heritage buildings) while retaining 32 hectares for a projected 520- or 530-home subdivision. The 5-hectare Panhandle and the 40-hectare Trapezoid remnant are slated to become a municipal park, of around 45 hectares. In strict legal terminology, (a) the 77-hectare original 1930s-and-1950s legacy was the "David Dunlap Observatory and Park" (cf Jessie Donalda Dunlap Deed of Indenture, from around 1932, formalizing this language in the context of her relationship with the University of Toronto), and (b) the 45-hectare remnant is to become the "David Dunlap Observatory Park", and (c) the projected 32-hectare [sorry, typo here in my e-mail, where I erroneously had "33" in place of the needed "32": error noted and corrected at UTC=20170328T155837Z] subdivision is to become "Observatory Hill" - though it is also a legal fact that there has for many years existed a body, the "Observatory Hill Homeowners' Association" or "Observatory Hill Homeowners Association", representing the interests of some homeowners residing just outside the 77 subject hectares.)

The recordings are self-explanatory. Nevertheless, I summarize their content for you here:

  • On an afternoon in 2013 June, I checked the status of the Town's title to its newly-acquired 5-hectare Panhandle tract, by visiting the Land Registry. I learned from the Registry that the title was not absolute, being only "Land Title Conversion Qualified" (LTCQ). Equipped with photocopied documentation from the Land Registry, I proceeded on that same evening to Town Council and in Public Forum (or, as it was perhaps then known, "Question Period", or "Questions", or something of this kind) asked the Town Solicitor (Mr David Melitzer), through the Mayor, whether the title was or was not absolute. (My intention was only to stress-test the probity of the Town's lawyers. I was sure that I would be given the correct answer, "not absolute but LTCQ", with some more or less instructive accompanying window-dressing or accompanying embellishment. My main intent was to learn how our government works, by gauging and appraising the nature and quality of this anticipated window-dressing.) To my shocked surprise, the Town Solicitor said that title was absolute, and he said this twice or three times (as you can hear by listening closely to the audio file melitzer_legal_dept____untruthful_answer_20130624T2337Z.m4a). I stayed calm, proceeding to table the Land Registry documentation. At this point the Town Solicitor backtracked, saying that the title was indeed LTCQ rather than absolute, and by way of window-dressing adding that LTCQ is a solid kind of title. So solid is LTCQ (he now said) that he would not even recommend a conversion from LTCQ to Absolute.
  • In 2013 September, in Public Forum at Town Council, I recalled the Solicitor's twofold or threefold false statement from 2013 June. I asked politely, through the Mayor, for an explanation. (Perhaps, I suggested, the Town Solicitor had been tired, or had been inadvertent, in mishandling my question in 2013 June?) To my shocked surprise, the Mayor declined to pass my request for an explanation on to the Town Solicitor, and indeed indicated (after I probed the Mayor, politely) that in his judgement the Town Solicitor owes me no apology for his statement of 2013 June. The assertion that no apology is owed is made toward the end of the audio file barrow_dave_mayor___evasive_answers_of_20130923.m4a.

I had intended on 2013 September to raise the problem of the Town Solicitor's 2013 June false statement with the Attorney General of Ontario. I think that in the end, however, being perhaps a little overwhelmed or tired or depressed, I let the matter slide, failing to follow through on my intention.

You should now, I reiterate, note the two audio recordings I am sending you as attachments to this e-mail, since they may shed some light - they may supply what I am as of my pessimistic recall this morning coming to think might prove to be relevant background or context - on the problem with the Town Clerk that forms the substance of my 2017-03-13 submssion to you.  (Might it be - such is my line of thinking, particularly in the wake of this morning's pessimistic recall of the 2013 events - that someone in the Town's legal department is directing the Town Clerk to ignore my requests for acknowledgement of 2016 December correspondence?)

I now look forward (a) this week to your affirmation that my case is still open, and (b) over the coming days (not necessarily this week) to your closing the case - with a statement, perhaps rather terse, that I can in the interest of transparency post to my usual

I also now take the liberty of adding (what has become vivid in my mind in the last few days, as I continue to reflect on the Town Clerk's situation) that if the Clerk cannot be fully trusted - if, for instance, there are reaons for fearing the Clerk can be put under pressure from elsewhere - then we in two respects weaken one of our main municipal safeguards:

  • it is Clerks who process citizen requests to address Town Council and Committee-of-the-Whole as a Delegation
  • it is Clerks who process citizen complaints directed to the Town's Integrity Commissioner

For your possible convenience, I specifically draw your attention to the paragraph beginning ((QUOTE)) A satisfactory resolution of the case would involve ((/QUOTE)) in my Appendix below. That paragraph sets out what in my respectful estimation would constitute three jointly sufficient components in a satisfactory, if rather minimalist and low-key, resolution - although I do now add that any further steps you might now be able to take (for instance, an investigation by you of the Town Solicitor's unexpected 2013 June in-Town-Council falsehood, with an apology from the Town Solicitor through you to me) would be a further contribution toward restoring the public's confidence in the Town of Richmond Hill.


Dr Toomas Karmo

42 Gentry Crescent
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 2G9



Coordinated Universal Time (= UTC = EST+5 = EDT+4): 20170313T1915Z

I am herewith opening an Ombudsdman complaint against the Town of
Richmond Hill, under the procedure discussed at

In the interest of transparency, I have just displayed this present
material at my blog, (for viewers
outside Canada,

The material following this sentence repeats, word for word and indeed
letter for letter, the submission which I made a few minutes ago 
through a Web form at


My complaint regards deficient public communication by the office of
Clerks, Town of Richmond Hill. The deficiency conceivably involves
behind-the-scenes interference (even conceivably behind-the-scenes
political interference) directed against Clerks by some to-me-unknown
third party.

I have asked Clerks in at least 3 separate e-mails, in the period from
2016 December through 2017 March inclusive, to acknowledge my 2016
December action of drawing a potential municipal problem, with
conceivable legal ramifications, to their notice. The problem involved
misleading advertising by a subdivision developer, DG Group (formerly
Metrus) subsidiary Corsica, in respect of their envisaged 520- or
530-home "Observatory Hill". The advertising language was deficient in
several respects, one of them involving a misleading use of a
municipal-park name.

In 2016 December, I drew the problematic advertising to the notice of
Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), thereby opening the (now-closed)
ASC case #141628. The advertiser eventually resolved the case to my
satisfaction, correcting its advertising language.  But the Clerk has 
persistently declined to acknowledge receiving correspondence from me, 
despite the potential legal ramifications of the advertiser's conduct
for the municipality - refusing both (a) when the case was under
adjudication at ASC and (b) when the case was, to the advertiser's
satisfaction and my satisfaction, closed at ASC.

Two complicating factors in Ombudsman case which I am herewith opening
are (1) the inconsistency of the Clerk's present behaviour with the 
Clerk's  cooperative and helpful demeanour, in our many dealings over
the years on other aspects of the controversial "Observatory Hill"
subdivision development, and (2) legal actions brought against me by a
present "Observatory Hill"-favourable Town Councillor, Karen Cilevitz,
during Ms Cilevitz's successful 2014 election campaign. I have
documented Ms Cilevitz's 2014 legal actions at and

It is possible that the Clerk, in now departing from the Clerk's past
well-established pattern of behaviour, is now suffering political
interference (being, in other words, now instructed - as a political
initiative undertaken from some sufficiently powerful quarter, against
the Clerk's own long-standing preference - to ignore my requests).
However, it would be improper for me to suggest that any such
hypothetical powerful-quarter political interference is specifically
from Councillor Cilevitz. As a purely subjective assessment, my
feeling is 50% that Councillor Cilevitz is somehow significantly
involved in the situation (perhaps with a few, or even with many,
others), but 50% that the problem lies altogether elsewhere - in some
quarter, perhaps political, which I in my mild autism, and in my mild
consequent social clumsiness, am unable even to guess at. 

A satisfactory resolution of the case would involve (a) a specific
acknowledgement by the Clerk to me of past correspondence from me to
Clerks regarding the past (now-closed) ASC case #141628; (b) an
affirmation that the Clerk will, as a matter of general future policy,
acknowledge receiving incoming correspondence in all cases in which
the correspondent requests an acknowledgement of receipt; and (c) an
affirmation that the Clerk is politically neutral.

In the interest of public transparency, I am proposing to document
this present Ombudsman case, as I have already documented the 
now-closed ASC case #141628, in blog format at (for readers outside Canada, at

For your possible convenience, I add, as an appendix, my most recent
e-mail to the Clerk, in which I state that an acknowledgement is
sought, and in which I indicate that in the event of failure to
acknowledge I will have to open an Ombudsman case.

((APPENDIX WHAT="archived correspondence"))
Coordinated Universal Time (= UTC = EST+5 = EDT+4): 20170306T194604Z


Advertising Standards Canada has now resolved my
case involving DG Group (formerly Metrus) subsidiary
Corsica (the would-be developers of "Observatory
Hill", a projected 32-hectare subdivision adjacent
to the remnant 45-hectare "David Dunlap Observatory
Park"). I quote herewith the relevant part of the 
relevant Advertising Standards Canada e-mail to me, 
dated 2017-03-02:

ASC carefully reviewed the advertising
in light of your concerns and 
contacted the advertiser for additional
information. We were informed by the 
advertiser that, after receiving your
complaint, it changed the advertisement
in question as per your proposed

Based on the advertiser's corrective
action, we will now close our file on
this matter.

I believe I have remarked to you on a couple of
occasions, most recently in my e-mail bearing the
internal timestamp UTC=20170204T041144Z, that we
should document in a duly formal way the Town's
awareness of the problems that I first drew
to the Town's notice on 2016-12-19 or 2016-12-20,
and which formed the subject of my Advertising
Standards Canada case #141628. My e-mail to you,
bearing the internal timestamp UTC=20170204T041144Z,
is copied below.

Unfortunately, the Town has not acted on these
requests - even though I last week had a fully
correct acknowledgement, from Commissioner Shane
Baker to me with cc to you, of other DDO-pertinent
correspondence, not involving Advertising Standards
Canada. I would now respectfully ask Clerks to follow
Commissioner Baker's good example and acknowledge,
in some brief form of words of other, (a) the Town's
awareness that I brought case #141628 to its notice,
fearing a breach of advertising ethics, and even (as
a legal layman) fearing an outright illegality; and
(b) the Town's awareness that the case has now been closed
by Advertising Standards Canada, in a way which
satisfies my concerns.

In the interest of transparency, I would propose to
reproduce your brief form of words on my server
space, as a supplement
to my existing documentation of case #141628
at that server space. My server space seeks to guard the
public interest, by doing everything possible to
render the ongoing DDO conservation case transparent.

As I remarked to Commissioner Baker and you in
connection with Commissioner Baker last week, I am
trying these days to be more diligent in transparent
administration than I have been in the past - seeking,
as I would put it today, to cross all my t's and to dot
all my i's.

I make two further contextual remarks.

(1) It is especially important that we achieve full
transparency, with a due acknowldgement to me of
my correspondence with you, because of a possible
public perception that the aspiring developer and
the Town are in some sense allies. It will not have
escaped public notice that although the developer
is making a large gift of land and buildings to
the Town, for the Town's remnant 45-hectare park,
the developer has also made a 400-percent profit on
its circa-2013 sale to the Town of five David Dunlap
Observatory hectares (slated to become part of that
45-hectare remnant park), and additionally stands
to profit from the sale of 520 or 530 homes in
its projected 32-hectare subdivision. I would say
that this is to the detriment of the provincial and
national DDO heritage (a heritage which in my own
private judgement should have, and yet did not,
generate a federal application for UNESCO World
Heritage Site protection). Mindful of the dangers of
the developer's bringing litigation against me, and
recalling my belief - Councillor Hogg must this week
correct me if I am mistaken - that in the past the
late Alfredo DeGasperis, Sr of DG Group (then Metrus)
has outside the immediate DDO context been involved
in a threat of litigation against Councillor Hogg,
I underscore and stress that I do not myself assert
the developer and Town to be in any sense allies:
my assertion, which I believe I can support in court
under "Truth Defence" by due use of subpoena, is
only that there is a possible public perception that
the developer and Town are in some sense allies. -
Mr Bronskill, representing DG Group (former Metrus)
subsidiary Corsica, is a cc'd party to this present
e-mail, and he must this week correct me if in
writing this paragraph I have strayed - as, mindful
of "Truth Defence", I do not think I have strayed -
into some tort of defamation.

(2) I have noticed in the last few days with a special
horror that the Vatican has played loose with the
normal accepted rules of administration, by failing to
acknowledge incoming correspondence in sexual-abuse
matters. It was in part this loose Vatican behaviour
that triggered the resignation, around 2017-03-01,
of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for
the Protection of Minors: cf her words as quoted at
This, like other bad things I have noticed in Soviet
and Singaporean files in my minor past public work,
is much on my mind as I now work
on our particular DDO file.  We do not want our
Town imitating the just-cited Vatican administrative

In light of my last two paragraphs, I have to remark,
politely but firmly, that I cannot in conscience
take Town silence for an answer, and that if I
receive no acknowledgement of correspondence from
you by late tomorrow afternoon (I define this as
UTC=20170307T2200Z), then I will start a case against
the Town at the office of the Ontario Ombudsman. I
would in that unpleasant, abrasive - but remote? -
eventuality be basing my proceedings on the Ombudsman
expanded-jursidiction provisions as explained at

  As of January 1, 2016, the
  Ontario Ombudsman can take general
  complaints about the province's 444
  municipalities. This is in addition
  to complaints about closed municipal
  meetings, which were added to the
  Ombudsman's jurisdiction in 2008.

looking forward (I reiterate)
to your terse response by UTC=20170307T2200Z,
addressing my points "(a)" and "(b)" above,

Dr Toomas Karmo
42 Gentry Crescent
Richmond Hill ON L4C 2G9

[This is the end of the present blog posting.] 

Toomas Karmo: Stackerboxes and the Management of Chattels

Screenshot from one of my four Debian GNU/Linux desktops. Anticlockwise from upper right: operations clocks (green for the local civil time, red for UTC); paper template for pencil markup of bow plate; closeup of the paper template (note lines on the paper, to help produce a correct pencil-mark asterisk on the underlying plate; a plate for port, starboard, upper deck, or lower deck, already marked with pencil asterisks under the guidance of its paper template, and now awaiting dimple-marking with hammer and metal punch; box with glue applied to the junctions of port, startboard, upper-deck, and lower-deck plates, and with stern still facing the ceiling; assembly now rotated, with bow facing the ceiling (it is time to apply the final bead of glue, on the exposed edges, and then to secure the bow plate in position - at first just with a pair of nails in each of its four corners; completed box (note note yellow-plastic face mask, for protection of eyes when operating power drill); closeup of completed box, showing UTC timestamp and serial number; a Debian GNU/Linux /usr/bin/xterm, or "glass teletype", window, configured to show an extract from my private flat-ASCII 2009 project design notes. - As always in blogger, the graphic may be enlarged, if desired, with a left mouse-click. 

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3/5 is "mediocre pass", 4/5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 4/5. Justification: Kmo had time to do a reasonably complete and (within the framework of the version 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ...  process) reasonably polished job.

Revision history:

  • 20170328T1742Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo added a graphic, with caption. He reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, improvements over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented verions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20160328T0237Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo finished converting the outline into coherent sentences. He reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, improvements over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170328T0031Z/version 1.1.0: Kmo made some improvements in the outline.
  • 20170328T0000Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo managed to upload just a (partially polished) pointform outline. He hoped to finish converrting the outline into coherent sentences, with some necessary details also filled in, at some point in the next 4 hours.

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via]

Elsewhere in tonight's blogging, I shall have to describe my ongoing search for new accommodations, in the wake of my landlord's friendly 2017-03-20 announcement to me that he is about to sell his house. Trying to make this blog as useful as I can for people other than me, I will at the moment, however, write not about my urgent apartment-or-single-room-or-unfurnished-basement hunt, but instead about one of my three or so inventions for the management of chattels. 


Organizing my life over the years, I have arranged many household things into stackable wooden boxes of my own design. My ideal is to own almost no furniture beyond two wicker chairs, and perhaps an ornamental coffee table. Most of the rest is under this household-management ideal to be implemented with stackable wooden boxes - with what I call "stackerboxes". Stackerboxes give the visually attractive effect of conventional furniture. They are amenable not only to stacking, but to being if necessary covered with decorative drop-cloths and the like. With a large brown-stained plywood panel (stain makes cheap wood look expensive) and a bevelled-glass overlay, one even gets an attractive desk. With utility-grade panels, sofa cushions, and a memory-foam mat (and bedding, and a bedspread for correctly civilized daytime appearances), one gets a serviceable bed. Stackerboxkes would potentially make even an unfurnished, unfinished basement into adequately pleasant living quarters. (I would be strongly interested in renting such a basement space, provided I can do it legally - both in Ontario from 2017-05-01 onward and in Estonia from late 2018.) 

The stackerboxes make moving, in a situation in which books and papers abound, as easy as it can reasonably become. 

Additionally, given my stackerboxes, the people in Estonia having to dispose of my estate after my death, perhaps in the 2020s or 2030s or 2040s (I was born in 1953), will have a rather easy job. As I lie at last in a Tartu grave near 1940s/1950s family friend, and horticultural scientist, August Mätlik (1881-1956;; this is the agreed family internment arrangement, siunce the Mätlik plot is in our family's care), my eventual executors are to be pictured taking rather easy decisions, clipboards in hand, in the following approximate style: Great-great-Uncle Toomas's box QD-14 contains only books in linear algebra and basic calculus, and therefore can safely go to the Nõo science-intensive "reaalgümnaasium" in Tartu County, as directed by Toomas's codicil of 2034-12-01. Toomas's box PF-09 contains only ham-radio gear, and therefore can safely go to the Estonian Amateur Radio Association/Eesti Raadaioamatööride Ühing (ERAÜ), as directed in his will over the past decades, and as now reaffirmed in that same codicil. Although we do have to phone ahead, we can be pretty sure that the reaalgümnaasium and ERAÜ will be happy enough to receive not only the contents, but even the so-handy stackerboxes themselves. And if, contrary to what we expect, those particular institutions have no use for stackerboxes, the empties will later prove handy for Uncle FGH and Auntie RST , as they re-organize their Tartu County summer cottage.

Each stackerbox is large enough to hold fifteen or so tidily shelved books, or their equivalent in loose-paper filing folders (with the books, that is, library-arranged, to display their spines, and with the spines running parallel to the shorter sides of the box; and with filing folders correspondingly archive-arranged, with their filing tabs exposed for an archivist's perusal, and with the folder spines again running parallel to the shorter sides of the box). 

On the other hand, each stackerbox is small enough to be carried rather easily by a single person, when filled in the just-described library or archive style with its (tidy) load of books or papers. 

Each stackerbox is formally defined by me to be of external dimensions 0.500 metres by 0.370 metres by (0.300 + epsilon) metres, where "epsilon" represents the modest thickness of what I am about to be calling, in this documention, the thinnest "hull plate", specifically the "bow plate". In the North American market, timber is sized by Imperial measure. I will leave it to the reader to make any necessary metric-to-Imperial conversions - noting, however, that since I am implementing the "bow plate" in what is marketed in North America as 1/8-inch stock, and since 1/8 inch is to one significant figure 0.003 metres, the quantity "epsilon" becomes under North American market conditions, to one significant figure, 0.003 metres. Given my formal definition, the interior dimensions of a stackerbox will be contingent on the timber available. If all plates but the thinnest are implemented in "1/2 inch" stock, then all plates but the thinnest are, to two significant figures, 0.013 metres thick. Under any reasonable choice of timber, whether in the Imperial or the metric system, my external-dimensions definition seems to yield an interior space sufficient for handling ordinary published books (including rather imposing university textbooks), and for handling letter-sized folders under both the USA and the European (International Organization for Standardization - i.e., ISO) definitions. (In the USA system, letter-sized paper is called "8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper". In ISO, letter-sized paper is called "A4", under a set of definitions documented at, e.g., - The ISO definitions, incidentally, are designed to make the waste-free cutting of large sheets into smaller sheets easy at the stationery factory, and reducing and enlarging easy at the photocopy machine.) - An advantage of my external-dimensions formalism is that a large population of stackerboxes can be built first in Canada, and later on in Europe, with the assurance that the boxes from the two separate subpopulations will stack cleanly - even though, since European timber is not sized under Imperial measure, the internal dimensions of stackerboxes from the two subpopulations may differ slightly.

In a naval metaphor, each stackerbox has a thin bow hull panel, and thicker port and starboard and upper-deck and lower-deck panels. The stern is normally left open. (When one is inspecting the spines of books in a library stackerboxk deployment, one is facing, as might be expected when travelling at sea, toward the bow. When a book is steadily pushed, library-style, into a stackerbox (its spine vertical, as is normal in a library), it moves in nautical terms steadily "forward", i.e., steadily "ahead", until finally its (vertical) fore-edge is somewhat forward of midships and its (vertical) spine is somewhat aft of midships.)

In my implementation, the upper and lower decks and the port and starboard hull panels are of cheap (here in Ontario, "1/2 inch") particleboard. The (thin, "1/8 inch") bow hull panel is of a thinner, and still less imposing, board, marketed here in Ontario at Home Hardware as "utillity board". (This is a kind of ultra-cheap composite, with glossy middle-brown surfaces, or perhaps with one middle-brown surface glossy and the other mddle-brown surface matte.)  However, individuals enjoying more financial strength than I happen to enjoy these days might consider building their own stackerboxes in pine or spruce, perhaps combining two lengths of mill plank into a single hull panel with box-interior wooden ties, or with box-interior metal fishplates. Or they might even - should cost be no limitation, and should it be desired to leave the best possible legacy for one's eventual heirs - consider some such cabinet-grade hardwood as birch, oak, or maple, with perhaps also some exquisitely precise gluing of abutting plank lengths into panels, as is done when making a fine countertop or table.


Stackerboxes can be safely built up, given an adjoining house wall, and given a bit of scrap-timber shimming under the bottom box to achieve the right (slight) tilt, to a height of at least six. This gives the effect of a shelf, with an interior nearly 0.50 metres wide, possessing at least six horizontal ranges. A single column of six stackerboxes, configured as library shelving, thus holds the equivalent of around 6 times 15, or 90, books.

My design incorporates bolt-holes in the port hull, in the starboard hull, in the upper deck, and in the lower deck, for fastening stackerboxes into a rigid assembly of any desired vertical and horizontal extent. In practice, however, I have not found it necessary to make much use of the bolt-holes. One the boxes are loaded with books and filing folders, their weight makes the whole array safely solid, provided the site suffers no earthquake larger than a small tremor. (Both of the two regions of personal interest to me - the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, and Tartu County in Estonia - are geologically rather stable. Readers living in geologically active Italy, Japan, or California, on the other hand, would require a quite thorough deployment of bolts  (perhaps in visually attractive brass, rather than in drab steel?), with accompanying washers and wingnuts.)


I finish with construction tips. Since these tips are rather self-evident, for many readers it will be enough merely to glance at them, instead referring chiefly to the (self-explanatory) photographs which I shall be eventually be putting at the top of this present blog posting:

  • Here in Ontario, Home Hardware is willing to cut panels to size, for a moderate fee. 
  • I have learned the hard way that it is more efficient (a) to approach Home Hardware with wood (or perhaps paper, cardboard, or whatever) templates, and to say "I would like you to cut (say) 80 panels in this size" than (b) to give Home Hardware a specification-of-dimensions in inches or metres. 
  • Before starting assembly, I pencil-mark each panel for its nails or screws, using a paper template, and then mark the intended point of puncture with hammer and punch. 
  • I do all drilling of bolt-holes before assembling, making the bolt-holes somewhat head-welcoming by countersinking their rims with a large drill bit. 
  • I additionally use a large drill bit for countersinking in the upper-deck plate at the eventual positions of the heads of the two screws fastening upper-deck plate to port plate, and at the positions of the heads of the two screws fastening upper-deck plate to starboard plate (and so too for the total of four screws whose heads eventually rest on the lower-deck plate, and whose tips eventually lodge in the port and starboard plates). 
  • Having drilled all the bolt-holes, and having finished all the countersinking, and having applied the necessary white glue at appropriate anticipated plate junctions, I hold the (now glue-wet) upper-deck and lower-deck and port and starboard plates rigidly in place with corner clamps, with the eventual stern facing the ceiling, and with the assembly temporarily resting bow-down on a hard and truly level floor. The level floor ensures that the bow edges of the port, starboard, upper-deck, and lower-deck plates lie in the same plane, even if Home Hardware has proved to be a little inaccurate in its cutting. Conceivable slight inaccuracy in cutting will then be reflected not at the (eventually closed) bow, but at the (permanently open) stern. Since the stern is open, the possible failure of its edges to lie in exactly the same plane lacks structural-integrity significance. 
  • I next invert the assembly, with its corner clamps now on the (truly level) floor, and with its (truly coplanar) bow edges now facing the ceiling.  I put a bead of white glue around the (truly coplanar) bow edges of the port, starboard, upper-deck, and lower-deck plates. 
  • I now confer additional rigidity on the assembly by putting on the bow plate - not yet driving its screws home, but nevertheless holding it rigidly in place by driving a pair of finishing nails at each of its four corners. - Experience shows that this is the point at which a blemish is most likely to occur. In my own sad case, the bow plate is liable, through my clumsiness and myopia, to go one or two millimetres skew when I nail it down. My own special medical problem aside, I find it can also be that the bow plate, while not skew, nevertheless overhangs the particleboard panels by a millimetre or two (in at any rate one of the two possible directions for overhang, assuming the fortunate absence of skew), because Home Hardware turns out to have cut it a couple of millimetres too big. 
  • I precede the driving of each screw by first drilling a pilot hole, with a small bit. In doing this, I use a carpenter's square to help ensure that my pilot hole runs true (i.e., that it refrains from running obliquely to the side of the panel being drilled; if the trajectory of the pilot hole were to be oblique, the tip of a screw would at a later stage of assembly be liable to burst forth from the side of a panel). 
  • First I pilot, and drive home, the total of eight (flat-headed) screws fastening upper and lower decks to port and starboard plates (at this point of course turning the assembly as necessary, and at this point of course removing corner clamps as necessary). 
  • Then I pilot, and drive home, the total of ten (round-headed) screws securing the bow plate to the port, starboard, upper-deck, and lower-deck plates. 
  • As my eight flat-headed screws, I use Home Hardware (Ontario) "222-487, 8 x 1 1/2, Flat Socket Head, No. 2 Red, Plated Steel, Particle Board". 
  • As my ten round-headed screws, I use Home Hardware (Ontario) "222-550, 8 x 1, Round Washer Head, No. 2 Red, Plated Steel, Particle Board". 
  • For pilot holes, I use a drill bit which is in my North American (Imperial-measure) bitbox a "1/8 inch". For bolt holes, I use a drill bit which is in the classification of this same box a "1/4 inch". For countersinking, I use a drill bit which is in the classification of this same box a "3/8 inch". 
  • With power tools, one stackerbox can be assembled, from the raw, as-yet-unmarked, Home Hardware pre-cut panels, in around 80 or 90 or 100 or 110 minutes. Some brief experimenting suggests that with hand tools (hand drill, and also rotating chuck-equipped brace), the job can take around 120 minutes. 
  • It is helpful to log each box in one's computer as it is finished, and to assign it both a UTC timestamp and a serial number. I use for this purpose a black felt-tipped marker, writing on the (upon normal deployment, invisible) bow plate. Logging ensures that in the event of some construction mishap, the anomalously weak stackerbox does not disappear anonymously into one's overall population of 100 or so stackerboxes. (I myself was in the case of at least one box, I think just a few months ago, so absent-minded as to secure a bow plate with the usual nails and screws, and yet without the advisable all-four-sides bead of white glue. Stuff happens, folks, when you have too many things on your mind.) 

[This is the end of the current blog posting.]