At the beginning of my carpentry career, I tried to remove the main stair newel from a 150-year-old building. It was a massive 8-inch-diameter walnut post that had been mortised deep into an underlying beam. My partner and I tied one end of a 3/8-inch nylon line to the base of the newel and the other end to the bumper of a 3/4-ton pickup truck, thinking the job would be easy. Our single length of line soon became two lengths. We tried again, doubling and then quadrupling the line — with the same result, only louder. After a few more tries we admitted defeat, and threw the frayed remnants of our line in the dumpster. As I heard it told, someone else did