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Ancient Observer
3rd Dec 2018, 14:21
I regard myself as being average at diy. So if a garden or home "thing" breaks down, or needs improving, I will have a go. Before motor engines became all electrical and clever, I would take them apart. And try to re-build them. My brother is much the same.

However, in the UK it appears that anyone under 40 just can't be bothered any more. DIY stores are suffering sales drops. Is this a lazy Brit thing, or is it more common?

Bob Viking
3rd Dec 2018, 14:36
Do you know ALL the people under 40 in the UK? That’s impressive.

Can you be so sure that demographic alone are responsible for the death of DIY?

Maybe less people under 40 have a house and therefore less need for DIY?

Clearly I’m being facetious but perhaps, as your title suggests, you are a little out of touch with the younger generations and shouldn’t be so quick to judge?

Now I’ve gone and done it...

BV

UpaCreak
3rd Dec 2018, 15:01
Maybe DIY is not everyones bag. No1 Son in law (35) is computer genius, software writer, and amazing chef, but doesn't know which way to hold a screwdriver. I can manage to just about cook scrambled eggs, and work a laptop, but I have built several scale model live steam locomotives.

Blues&twos
3rd Dec 2018, 15:39
It's a combination of things, I reckon.
1) Things aren't designed to be repaired any more.
2) Things are cheap to replace
3) Spare parts are often more expensive than replacement equipment
4) Spares are frequently not easily available
5) A majority of people seem to no longer have the will or time to do the repairs
6) Electronic things are not particularly easy to fault find, and you need special equipment and knowledge
7) All of the above has lead to a general de-skilling, so quite a lot of people wouldn't have the first idea where to start, even with simple repairs.

lomapaseo
3rd Dec 2018, 16:07
It's likely due to the influx of cheap labour brought about by too many people at the bottom of the shrinking food chain

obgraham
3rd Dec 2018, 16:52
I think AO is correct, however, when I note how many people are incapable of unblocking the trap under the kitchen sink.

(Of course, that skill would not be so needed if wimyn would stop putting potato peels down the disposer.)

racedo
3rd Dec 2018, 17:05
Problem with DIY chains is they constantly expect people to buy more and more.

What has been obvious since 2008 crash is people are not moving house, therefore doing up and extending property they are in. Secondly many of the propertys that have been done up were in the rented sector where Landlords bought and did these up or tenants did it.

Now having done up property why do you need to do it again, so instead of painting every 1-2 years its 3-4 years. Natural end of life cycle.

gemma10
3rd Dec 2018, 17:22
These are the people for spares. https://www.espares.co.uk

Ancient Observer
3rd Dec 2018, 17:23
As Mr Viking points out, I do not know everyone under 40. However, I have two children in their 20s and they have lots of friends. None of them will touch diy. For our children, I get called in.
I have pondered this for a while. Even the British Times was commenting on it today. I can't paste a link as it is behind a paywall.

The "buy new" trend is a problem. Who will sell me the bits? My Mountfield leaf blower was poorly. Without Mr Google I doubt that I would have found spares. It was only a cheap leaf blower, but UKP25 on spares is better than UKP150 on a new one.

I need diy providers to stay in business!

pr00ne
3rd Dec 2018, 17:24
I have always avoided DIY like the plague, far more enjoyable and fun things to do with both my time and my money. If a lot of younger folk are cottoning on then good for them.

Ancient Observer
3rd Dec 2018, 17:32
If there was an important diy project to be done, I would be doing it in my man cave, not typing on pprune.

pr00ne
3rd Dec 2018, 17:40
A man cave? Don't tell me, you call your wife SWMBO as well?

And I totaly fail to understand the meaning of an "important" DIY project, never come across one in all my 71 years. (Edited to say it's 70 and a bit years...)

ATNotts
3rd Dec 2018, 17:57
I use DIY stores infrequently as I am totally useless with screwdrivers, saws, hammers, wallpaper, taps and the like. When I do it generally involves two trips. One to buy what I believe I need, and then a second later the same day to return it because I've picked up the wrong stuff.

Principal DIY-er in our house is Mrs. ATN!

Pontius Navigator
3rd Dec 2018, 17:59
I am fitting shelves in a new house. The airing cupboard was easy. The Utility with adjustable shelves was more difficult and the pantry, so far, has been impossible.

The difficulty with the Utility was finding a DIY store that had the right number of the correct size brackets.

The pantry presents a similar with the addition of getting the right size of material for the shelves.

The DIY stores I have visited have some stock but maybe one or two items rather than the number I need, so clearly there is DIY but not much.

Tankertrashnav
3rd Dec 2018, 18:30
First house - I put up a shelf which fell off the wall and nearly brained our one year old son who was in his rocker on the kitchen floor. One year later I built a wall out of those ornamental concrete blocks you made in a mould. Got the concrete mix wrong for the mortar. Son (now a strapping two year old) pushed it over. Then turned to car mechanics. Shocked at the price of a new exhaust for my old Wolseley I decided to save a fiver by fitting it myself. Took me several hours and managed to graze my knuckles and damage my starter motor pulling the old exhaust off - cost of repair - ten quid!

At which point Mrs TTN suggested that maybe DIY wasnt my thing. I was quite happy to agree and ever since I have always "got a man in" when anything needed doing!

treadigraph
3rd Dec 2018, 18:37
and nearly brained our one year old son who was in his rocker

Good job it missed him or he would have been off his rocker.

Been doing too much DIY in recent months but I'd rather do things I can do myself than pay somebody else...

DType
3rd Dec 2018, 19:51
Paid the callout charge to get a man in to fix the hob on our cooker. He returned to base then told us there were no spares for such an old model.
Went on the manufacturer's website and took a guess at a likely part, which was cheaper than the callout charge. When it arrived it fitted straight in and has worked AOK ever since.
Note:- FType does not like DIY, she was hoping for a new cooker.

Uplinker
3rd Dec 2018, 20:04
Problem I get is that some so called “tradesmen” are either useless, or don’t do a good job or don’t know what they’re doing. A painter who was a family friend painted the windows without rubbing them down first so then they jammed and wouldn’t close, and the same guy put the bathroom tiles on like a row of crooked teeth. When challenged about the tiles, he said “they’ll be alright when they’re grouted”. No they won’t, I want them flat and straight, goodbye.

I am able to tackle most DIY projects and have put in a complete central heating and hot water system from scratch, ditto complete house wiring, ditto a complete kitchen, flooring out a loft and putting up shelves. And fixing the washing machine and family cars.

I can build a brick wall but it won’t be very neat, ditto plastering, so for those latter two, I need to find a real expert tradesman. I am not good at painting - I always make a mess despite trying not to.

Problem is, white van man can be a Leonardo da Vinci or an idiot from the job centre, and you don’t know which until it is too late.

Pontius Navigator
3rd Dec 2018, 20:12
Uplinker, I guess my best car DIY was dismantling a 2-speed wiper motor and also on a separate occasion the control stalk. Had to drill out rivets and improvise to fasten it all together. Both worked.

​​​​​

Random SLF
3rd Dec 2018, 20:25
Luckily for me all of our kids can DIY, and the eldest grandson too. Even though I've successfully fitted bathrooms & kitchens in the past, I've got myself banned from wallpapering because it gives me Tourette's Syndrome... :*

Hydromet
3rd Dec 2018, 20:31
Maybe DIY is not everyones bag. No1 Son in law (35) is computer genius, software writer, and amazing chef, but doesn't know which way to hold a screwdriver. I can manage to just about cook scrambled eggs, and work a laptop, but I have built several scale model live steam locomotives.
My SIL is the same in just about every detail. Daughter is the same, except that she can DIY pretty well. Just as well someone in the house can.

Saintsman
3rd Dec 2018, 21:56
If something needs doing, my kids will call me. I tell them it’s easy, but they won’t have it and having seen one of them attempt to do some painting, well it’s better that I start the job rather than correct their efforts...

M.Mouse
3rd Dec 2018, 22:28
Before becoming a pilot I was in the building trade. I could write a book on some of the disastrous, and often dangerous, things I have seen done by DIYers. I have no problem if someone wants to carry out DIY but at least recognise what talents, or lack of, are present and seek advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.

Things have never been helped when there used to be a series of publications called 'W****s Good Idea Book No.xx'....How to rewire your house or some other ludicrously simplified explanation of how to carry out a major job. At least the more dangerous areas of DIY wiring have been outlawed.

Coupled with the often appalling levels of DIY workmanship the big stores sell an extraordinary amount of cheap and nasty materials. Recipe for disaster.

FullOppositeRudder
3rd Dec 2018, 22:31
I've always been inclined to DIY if at all possible. I had to out on the farm. This extended to items of farm machinery, several trailers, plumbing and electrical, a couple of significant towers for amateur radio work and the aluminium to decorate them. I'm a bit more selective these days because of aging bones. Mind you, I'll only go so far. My cooking ability pretty finishes at making toast.

One of my SIL will have a go at anything; the other has never demonstrated the the inclination or the ability.

Australia's biggest hardware chain (Bunnings) still seems very crowded every time I visit. People must still be doing stuff somewhere. Ditto for Ikea. Perhaps not all is lost just yet.

Bull at a Gate
3rd Dec 2018, 22:36
DIY in Australia is booming. The hugely successful (in Oz at least) hardware conglomerate "Bunnings" is full of people every weekend. I am going there soon to get the materials for a new floating floor to be installed (by me of course) in my new shed. All the tools I need will be there and there is a huge range of flooring styles available.

The shed also needs a rainwater tank and associated roof plumbing - also available at Bunnings. And I just finished painting it inside and staining it outside, guess where I went to get the materials?

I am far from alone.

WingNut60
3rd Dec 2018, 22:47
In my opinion it all goes back to "how or where would they ever start to develop any manual dexterity or the nous for DIY.

My generation could all fix a puncture in a bike tyre by the time we were 10 YO.
And our exposure to things mechanical (and electrical) progressed from there.
I caried out my first car engine change before I was 15.

Now, it's Leggo blocks until they're 15. And gaming on the z-Pad.
Not the same!

Trinity 09L
3rd Dec 2018, 22:57
I always take my tool box when visiting my daughters properties. Plenty of jobs, lamps to change, self build furniture to construct, batteries to change in toys, advise on what can be built, plumb,wire at suitable price/location
there men fix my phones / laptops buy the drinks etc in exchange

WingNut60
3rd Dec 2018, 22:57
DIY in Australia is booming. .....
I am far from alone.

You are quite correct.
But I think that is a different category of DIY from that of the original post.
More like kit assembly, or most of it is.
Not a lot of technical skill or manual dexterity required.

Jetstream67
3rd Dec 2018, 23:06
I agree ( 3 kids in their 20's who have successfully ignored months of DIY projects going on around them)

Labour rates in recent years made getting a tradesman in cheaper than buying the tools each time they checked, plus woodwork and metalwork no longer seen as exciting at school so there's also fear of messing it up.

Older generation have the tools and the skill and the experience -> confidence. OK it took a week to paint the room but it's lovely
Younger generation do consider DIY but not in the way we did 30 -40 years ago. A week of evenings is incredibly boringly "long" and DIY has no bragging power :-)

jimtherev
3rd Dec 2018, 23:11
If it's fun - i.e. mechanical / simple electronic / small cosmetic / 'make me a gadget to...' then I'm up for it. And usually a trawl on line will find any component I need.
If it needs lots of energy / ladderwork / getting filthy or exhausted then at my time of life it's 'get a man in'.
But there's a workshop down at the bottom of the garden with lots of stuff in I couldn't afford earlier in life - so why not use it?

Jetstream67
3rd Dec 2018, 23:12
DIY in Australia is booming. The hugely successful (in Oz at least) hardware conglomerate "Bunnings" is full of people every weekend. I am going there soon to get the materials for a new floating floor to be installed (by me of course) in my new shed. All the tools I need will be there and there is a huge range of flooring styles available.

The shed also needs a rainwater tank and associated roof plumbing - also available at Bunnings. And I just finished painting it inside and staining it outside, guess where I went to get the materials?

I am far from alone.


FYI Bunnings UK retail DIY venture just went spectacularly bust as they totally failed to recognise that DIY is no longer sexy over here in the UK for the under 40's

The over 40's and UK tradespeople bought what they knew they needed from trade outlets that were cheaper and happy to sell to anyone who knew what they needed and why.

Gertrude the Wombat
3rd Dec 2018, 23:13
Labour rates in recent years made getting a tradesman in cheaper than buying the tools each time they checked
That's usually the case. But not quite always - I just bought a £7.50 tool in order to repair something that would have cost £45 to replace, so you can win occasionally.
plus woodwork and metalwork no longer seen as exciting at school so there's also fear of messing it up.
Neither was on offer at my school. My grandfather was, on the other hand, a woodworking teacher (after being a cabinet maker). He did occasionally have a go at showing me how to do things, but it was blindingly obvious that it would take years of full time work to get as good as him (I've got some of his stuff) so I never tried.

tartare
3rd Dec 2018, 23:20
Thing that struck me about DIY while living in London was that there was f*ck all room or space to do me hammering, sawing and store me tools.
Density of population - no man shed etc.
Noise, dust, major pain in the arse.
B&Q was good in terms of range of stuff needed - prices were very reasonable - most of my power tools are British.
But here in the great Southern Land - plenty of space to make noise, mess and fix or build things!
Saturday is not complete without a trip to the man Supermarket.
Son and mates recently completed science project building an electric motor - 6 lads out in the garage using all Dad's power tools and making a huge mess.
No fingers/limbs were lost and they all got full marks.
So I'm not too sure about the under 40s bit.

Loose rivets
3rd Dec 2018, 23:49
This self-congratulatory ramble does have a punch line - and a moral to the story.

I've done most everything since I was one year old. I managed to plunge Colchester library into darkness during the war and flooded the hospital waiting room (huge, with Parquet flooring) while learning about wiring and cast iron plumbing.

First job, take down old red-brick chimney, extend slate roof, and install the first north facing window where the fireplace used to be. Second, a 10' X 8' book shelves backing onto what was a very 60's open staircase. All solid mahogany, 3/4" that would support Britannica on a shelf with ease. Then a 300 sq ft kitchen with 5th bedroom above. That cost 1800 quid including the planning application. Okay, it was in 1978.

Years later I moved half the roof up and forward using 17' RSJ's to span the lifted area, installed another bathroom under and then rewired the 113 sockets and introduced two consumer units with the new-fangled RCCD's. I then oak panelled my den and a walk-in cupboard. A thousand quid's worth of American oak to get the height, and Chinese oak for the panels. Six weeks of detailed work using a router, but finishing with chisels to give the hand made look to surfaces. There was not a single finger mark on the light oak. The box section around the vertical plumbing in one corner took a week to do. It had to be removable for pipes and ever increasing alarm and data cables. Hiding wires and pipes has been a fetish of mine since sproghood when I drilled holes in my Hercules crossbar to take lighting wires to the dynamo.

Yadda yadda yadda.

DIY in the genes? Could be. The semi-siblings I discovered in 2001 had worked extensively on their homes, and both had zoned the heating to save running costs. My boiler-house contained the controls for the three zones and two hot water circulation systems to give instant hot in the furthest bathroom.

I can still hear the estate agent's voice on the phone. "Mr Rivets, we just want you to stop". DIYing, that is. I was just finishing the grouting to the laundry. Nice it was. Bloody nice. Kitchen had three sinks and the laundry offered the fourth - under a suspended ceiling with spotlights. The sink from there was going into the integral garage as the 5th sink.

I then picked the wrong moment to sell the house and may as well not have done one single job.

But it got worse.

One visit home to the UK, the Rivetess comes back to a summer rent flat and says, 'There's a load of broken oak on the front drive.'

'NO! Can't have done . . . can he?' Yep, he had. Stripped the lot off and for some reason pulled down the brick built and newly tiled side building that was the walk in cupboard, and water softener room, and log drying store, and . . .

He removed the tiles from the 'Half Bathroom' downstairs and blue washed the plaster. The tiles were very expensive (a bloke that had called selling kitchen stuff, who'd done tiling as his main trade, told me the standard was as good as he could have achieved. Secret was, I'd built the loo and it was planned around a tile size and very accurate.)

SO F42^$#^@$# what? Bloody Nora! The tiles, along with all those spares hidden away, had gone.

He's uprooted a lovely weeping birch that was taller than the house, and torn down a garden wall that was capped with home cast . . . erm, caps. I think the fine oak is now just a stump. A big stump. Its boughs were 10" diameter.

Evening after evening I'd realise that I hadn't cleaned the cement mixer, or I hadn't brushed off the mortar from new brickwork. (It has to be done just as it has dried but is not hard. - next morning will NOT do. )

All in all, a waste of a good chunk of my life.

Or was it? The doing of it. It carried on in the US. Something used to drive me to just do jobs. Two days to hang the front door? The Rivetess suggested. Two weeks, more like. And that's exactly what it took to hang a $1000 door I'd paid $90 for. It was dead centre, dead vertical and shut like a Rolls Royce, but the people that bought the house couldn't have given a toss - but it pleased me every time I closed it.

krismiler
4th Dec 2018, 00:10
Being able to change a tap washer used to be a basic measure of DIY competence, now you need to buy a whole new tap.

My son complained about his bicycle being broken, turns out that the chain had come off and it didn't occur to him to try and put it back on.

WingNut60
4th Dec 2018, 00:34
My son complained about his bicycle being broken, turns out that the chain had come off and it didn't occur to him to try and put it back on.

You might want to explain to him one of the more dire consequences of the chain coming off.
And no, I don't mean having to walk home.

FullOppositeRudder
4th Dec 2018, 00:35
One of the reasons why DIY would appear to have retained popularity in OZ is that several of the TV gardening programs started to include minor DIY segments - painting / decorating flower pots and the like. This morphed into redesigning a complete garden corner, and then in time sprucing up the back verandah, building a pergola / barbeque / garden shed. Before you could snap a drill bit it went on to renovations to a room / rooms / almost the whole house. All this on an entire TV program if you don't mind. Other networks copied and for a while you were hard pressed to avoid these DIY programs, always with a tradie type bloke taking advice from a by no means unattractive female brandishing a new cordless electric drill or paint roller or wrecking hammer about to take out a partition (or put one in somewhere). I rarely watch TV beyond the news and perhaps Whatshisname in a pink jacket on a train somewhere brandishing an increasingly dilapidated book on how it was a hundred years ago, but this DIY fad seems to diminished in its frenzy, perhaps even died out altogether. Perhaps it's been overtaken to the point of total extinction by a scourge of cooking and food shows - an even bigger waste of spectrum if you ask me.

I did change a couple of tap washers earlier in the week without destroying the entire plumbing network. Quite a neat job I thought.

TWT
4th Dec 2018, 00:35
My generation could all fix a puncture in a bike tyre by the time we were 10

Yes. But that's because many of us had to or we'd be walking.

I carried a puncture repair kit on my bike and had to use it a few times on my cycling journey of 6 miles to school. Even if mobile phones were around back then it wouldn't have helped me. There was no-one to come and pick me up.

I did walk a few times pushing the bike in the rain when I didn't have a vulcanising kit available.

WingNut60
4th Dec 2018, 00:41
One of the reasons why DIY would appear to have retained popularity in OZ is that several of the TV gardening programs started to include minor DIY segments - painting / decorating flower pots and the like. This morphed into redesigning a complete garden corner, and then in time sprucing up the back verandah, building a pergola / barbeque / garden shed. Before you could snap a drill bit it went on to renovations to a room / rooms / almost the whole house........
.

Tim (the Toolman) Taylor?

IFMU
4th Dec 2018, 01:23
DIY is alive and well here in the Colonies. I will agree however there are masses of people who don't know which is the pointy end of a screwdriver. I am doing my best to keep it alive by doing small projects with my sons. My older boy and I are building an airplane (a Sonex Waiex 2 seater), and we totally rebuilt my '99 car. He drives it to school every day now. My younger son has built a human hamster wheel and has recently finished his second hovercraft. I have a '98 car in the project queue for his benefit as well.

n5296s
4th Dec 2018, 01:57
And yet the "Maker Movement" goes from strength to strength - people getting involved in robotics and all kinds of other construction stuff. So I don't think you can say the "younger generation" isn't interested in using their hands and brains to do interesting stuff.

charliegolf
4th Dec 2018, 09:48
In the summer, I hung 8 oak veneer and 6 solid oak doors, fitted locks and latches, and oiled them all. That's a £1000 saved in labour. Before that, 30sq m of solid oak flooring through 2 rooms- at least another £600. That's a big chunk of a ski week in a flash hotel in Meribel. Keeps me out of trouble too!

CG

cattletruck
4th Dec 2018, 09:56
To be a true DIY-er you need a shed with a bench and some tools. The next generation have been priced out of home ownership as we knew it and have to settle for smaller blocks of land without a shed and work long hours to pay it off. And those I-thingys help distract them from reality.

My 35 y/o guitarist, as talented a musician as he is, cannot even change his strings and pays a music shop down the road to do it for him - I wouldn't call him thick, that's just how he is.

Them super-mega-hyper hardware stores in Oz mostly sell cheap Chinese crap, any serious DIY-er would know where to source better product which in the long run is also better value for money.

Fareastdriver
4th Dec 2018, 10:17
Me and all the kids of my age would learn with a Meccano set. I finally finished up with a No10!

hiflymk3
4th Dec 2018, 10:25
Remember Barry?

https://youtu.be/3RVnzu0COFU?t=3

Ancient Mariner
4th Dec 2018, 10:25
I have a Black & Decker sander, had it for ages and a couple of years ago it gave in. Main roller bearing was kaput, tried calling B&D Norway.
Response? After finishing laughing I was duly informed that no one ever asked for spares, they did not stock them and considered the units expendable.
It was a standard roller bearing, dropped by my local pro-shop and picked one up for 7 GBP. Been working ever since.
Per

PDR1
4th Dec 2018, 10:36
I've always* had a lathe, a mill, a pillar drill, a bandsaw and other assorted essentials* in my man-cave, and I'm always amazed other households can survive without them. I tend to repair/adapt/rebuild stuff rather than replace it mainly because it usually breaks on a sunday afternoon after the shops have closed. When they were young my daughters were given "supervised access" when they asked, and often did school craft projects using this basic household facility. When she was 17 my eldest was heavily into music performance (the did record a few albums, but never good enough to be a day job) and she bought a fancy new microphone for her band. The new mike didn't fit the existing stand, so she asked if she could go into the cave and make an adaptor. Essentially she needed a short hex plug with a 3/4"x26tpi female thread at one end and an M12EF male thread at the other. I "supervised" because it's my cave and it has lots of dangerous stuff, but in reality all I did was dig er out a suitable piece of 1" MS hex bar and tell her where to find the thread gauges, the different inserts for the two threadforms and a quick talk-through revision on how to do internal single-point screw cutting. It took her a couple of hours including polishing and spraying with laquer afterwards.

She's now 21 and has her bought own maisonette - it has a brick "shed" which she calls the "girl cave" which contains a bench with vices, woodworking tools and metalworking hand tools accumulated as required for the various jobs she's had to do since she bought it. She's asked for a plunge-router for Xmas because she wants to make some "nice shelves", and has been dropping heavy hints that she wants me to explicitly leave the man-cave content to her in my will. Her younger sister is nearly as capable, but not as interested because she's more cerebral. She's doing biochemistry and is known amongst her peers as the one they want to do labs with, because she can assemble and debug complex experiments.

So whilst I recognise what the OP described, I feel it's up to parents to instil this sort of education in their kids - along with other essentials like a liking for monty python, ISIHAC, beyond the fringe, Radio 4 and Pink Floyd.

YMMV,

PDR

* since 1st house after uni days
** OK, so it's now two lathes, but that's because I need a metric one AND an inferial one obviously

PDR1
4th Dec 2018, 10:44
I have a Black & Decker sander, had it for ages and a couple of years ago it gave in. Main roller bearing was kaput, tried calling B&D Norway.
Response? After finishing laughing I was duly informed that no one ever asked for spares, they did not stock them and considered the units expendable.
It was a standard roller bearing, dropped by my local pro-shop and picked one up for 7 GBP. Been working ever since.
Per

I have a dremmel - one of the original mains ones (the 5-speed switch one becuase the pots on the variable-speed ones always gave trouble). It's one of those essential tools that, if it died, I would just buy a replacement without a sedcond thought. A few years ago the front shaft bearing started chattering a bit at certain speeds, so I opened it up and found that it was worn. It's an odd size that I couldn't find through normal sources so I rang the dremmel office. After being passed on about 4 times I got to speak to a spares guy. He told me they certainly had spares, but no one ever asked for them. He took my name and address, and four days later a package arrived (no charge) containing a new bearing. It also had replacements for all the other bearings and two sets of replacement brushes, with a note saying "you might as well do a complete refurbish while you have it in bits, and these two sets of brushes should see you for another 25 years or so".

I find that if you can speak to the right person you often CAN get spares, but the problem is finding that person.

PDR

krismiler
4th Dec 2018, 10:52
I have a Black & Decker sander, had it for ages and a couple of years ago it gave in. Main roller bearing was kaput, tried calling B&D Norway.
Response? After finishing laughing I was duly informed that no one ever asked for spares, they did not stock them and considered the units expendable.
It was a standard roller bearing, dropped by my local pro-shop and picked one up for 7 GBP. Been working ever since.

Few things are designed with servicing in mind these days, including cars. Cheaper production techniques use glue or press fittings rather than screws or nuts and bolts. Rather than have trained technicians in an equipped workshop with a spares holding and service manuals for constantly changing manufactured goods, it's less expensive to do away with all the back up and simply replace anything that fails whilst under warranty. Once the guarantee period is up you're expected to cough up for a new one yourself. It's cheaper to pay someone in a third world country to make something than it is to pay someone in a first world country to repair it.

Back in the 1970s TV repairmen were required as sets regularly broke down and were designed to be fixed, same in the 1980s with video recorders. A modern flat screen TV is a throw away item if it goes wrong beyond a simple power supply or similar fault. When first introduced, DVD players were so expensive, and people were used to having VCRs fixed, that they had to be repairable. Not anymore, a broken DVD player is now landfill.

419
4th Dec 2018, 11:26
DIY stores are suffering sales drops. Is this a lazy Brit thing, or is it more common?
In my experience, it's more to do with the high cost of items in these stores and many of the staff there who don't have a clue about any of the goods they are selling.

My local B&Q is well over 30% more expensive for electrical consumables (plugs, sockets, cable etc) compared to a electrical outlet (TLC) which is half a mile away and just about everything else is vastly cheaper on Amazon and other online retailers.
I wouldn't mind paying a little bit more for convenience if it helped keep more stores open but I'm not willing to pay 30% to 40% more for this.

Buster11
4th Dec 2018, 11:43
A couple of thoughts occur regarding the decline of DIY in the UK. We seem to have a couple of generations now who have become largely detached from much of reality; in school they weren't allowed to use anything sharp in case they cut themselves (or actually in case the parents sued the school), so that ruled out sewing or woodwork or metalwork, and Meccano seems to have disppeared. Probably 'boring'. They were taught to cross roads when they'd pressed a button and when a little green man flashed, rather than when there was no traffic approaching.

As WingNut said earlier, many have zero manual dexterity, and thus little understanding that those long bits projecting from their hands are actually capable of doing more than tapping screens on phones.

Some years ago I visited Paris regularly and always headed for the basement of BHV, a large department store a bit like Selfridges. The basement was the hardware section and it was huge, much bigger than any specialised tool shop in London. (Are there any of those left now?). The staff were knowledgeable and there was an enormous variety of adhesives by a wide range of producers, far more than you'd ever find in Britain. You could buy the number of screws or nails you actually needed, rather than ten-in-a-plastic-bag, and there were dedicated counters for six or eight different power tool manufacturers, half of which you never saw in the UK. "A lathe, sir? No problem". The whole impression was that they catered to a clientele who knew what they wanted and weren't prepared to be told there wasn't any demand for it. Could it be that the British are easily fobbed off with a poor range of items and when they can't find what they need they just give up?

Uplinker
4th Dec 2018, 11:50
@M.Mouse, I hear you !

As a, (self critical), engineer, I generally know if I have done something well or badly, (and need to redo it!).

I have always wondered: what qualifications could I ask to see to check if a builder or tradesman is actually any good or competent at what they do? (I can show potential employers my ATPL licence and LPC endorsements and my log book for example).

Secondly, where can I find a technical manual that details the correct and legal way to build stuff, e.g. Joist spacing, roofing, wall construction, loading, joints to use, material mixes etc. etc.?

treadigraph
4th Dec 2018, 13:16
The basement was the hardware section and it was huge, much bigger than any specialised tool shop in London. (Are there any of those left now?). The staff were knowledgeable and there was an enormous variety of adhesives by a wide range of producers, far more than you'd ever find in Britain. You could buy the number of screws or nails you actually needed, rather than ten-in-a-plastic-bag

Croydon had Turtles until just a decade ago; a really useful hardware/craft shop, it boasted a basement inhabited by ancient souls who could identify at a glance the odd screw/bolt/nut/washer you proffered and swiftly and surely go to the correct wooden drawer to provide you with the quantity you needed in a little brown paper bag on which they'd write "5p" or whatever for the tills upstairs. Sadly closed for good by "Young Mr Turtle" when demolition threatened the buildings it was situated in, a demolition that's only now starting to take place.

Clas Ohlson replaced Turtles as the useful place in Croydon, but lacked the knowledge and wisdom of those ancient souls. On the other hand, Clas introduced me to Torx screws which I use for everything now - never had one strip or refuse to back out... Clas has gone too now, undervalued in another condemned edifice which has yet to be demolished (Whitgift Centre).

G-CPTN
4th Dec 2018, 13:17
I don't know how they are doing, but I used to buy from Machine Mart for equipment that I needed.

rogerg
4th Dec 2018, 13:36
where can I find a technical manual that details the correct and legal way to build stuff, e.g. Joist spacing, roofing, wall construction, loading, joints to use, material mixes etc
Readers Digest used to do a good DIY manual

hiflymk3
4th Dec 2018, 14:23
Readers Digest used to do a good DIY manual
So did Penthouse.

krismiler
4th Dec 2018, 14:51
Back in the 1970/80s, the AA "Book of the Car" took you from the stage where you knew nothing about cars, to the point where a Haynes workshop manual would be of use. It explained the basics in simple, clear terms and taught you about more specialised tools such as valve spring compressors. Most of us would have known about basic tools from doing bicycle or motorbike repairs.

Now most cars need to be plugged into a dealer level scanner for all but the simplest of faults. A 1970s Ford Escort or Mini could be taken to pieces and put back together again by a reasonably competent home mechanic with a decent set of tools and a manual. Now the specialised equipment required would cost more than the car. Any major engine or transmission problem out of warranty and its likely to be written off unless you can find a second hand replacement from a breakers yard, as overhauling a VVTI engine or 7 speed automatic gearbox properly is beyond most engineering firms.

ve3id
4th Dec 2018, 15:43
I've always been inclined to DIY if at all possible. I had to out on the farm. This extended to items of farm machinery, several trailers, plumbing and electrical, a couple of significant towers for amateur radio work and the aluminium to decorate them. I'm a bit more selective these days because of aging bones. Mind you, I'll only go so far. My cooking ability pretty finishes at making toast.

One of my SIL will have a go at anything; the other has never demonstrated the the inclination or the ability.

Australia's biggest hardware chain (Bunnings) still seems very crowded every time I visit. People must still be doing stuff somewhere. Ditto for Ikea. Perhaps not all is lost just yet.
You haven't LIVED until you have worked on an amateur radio tower in Canada in the Winter. My brain froze up one once and had to be helped down by the guy who was higher than me on the tower!
In reply to the OP, I have been an avid fixer all my life, but even though I am a retired EE some of he kit does need special tools or a link right back to the guy who wrote the firmware.

There is hope for the future though, young people are now being wowed into the maker-mender movement:

https://www.economist.com/schumpeter/2014/06/09/first-makers-now-menders

seems right for the Times to sow seeds of doubt and the Economist to throw weedkilller on them :-)

Mac the Knife
4th Dec 2018, 16:30
Can do most things, routing, welding, turning, plumbing etc. reasonably well. Spent my childhood making more and more ambitious models.
Brother likewise (tho' no more welding for him after pacemaker) - he's less patient but better than me at most DIY.
Don't have a workshop anymore since SWMBO and I split up (she got the house/garage and I got the flat). Most tools carefully mothballed.
Can't be congenital since scientist Dad could barely put the plug on a kettle and physicist son likewise.

But I have plans....

Mac

pax britanica
4th Dec 2018, 17:37
i think the biggest argument in favour of the death of DIY is the death of DIY shops . Where I live there was a Hombase another big chain I ahve forgotten and a B&Q the only one left and not as busy as it once was and selling lots of things like new kitchens and bathrooms. The 'slack ' seems to be taken up with many more Screwfix type places used by the trade and serious DIY people who know what they want and don want to go wandering around a superstore full of stuff they are not interested in.
i spend a lot of time in rural France and there seems no such decline there but then ina Bricolage or Leroy Merlin you can seemingly buy everything needed to build a small airport rather than just put up a shelf . More seriously though a lot of younger people do not get 'trained ' they dont do woodwork and metal work at schools, dads an accountant not a sparks or chippy or whatever -you cannot play around with your car changing plugs points etc etc so i dont blame them for not being able to change a plug as you usually cannot now and many just dont have the time with the slave labour work hours many are subjected to these days

Gertrude the Wombat
4th Dec 2018, 19:28
Yes. But that's because many of us had to or we'd be walking.
Worked for ours - if they didn't fix their bikes they'd be walking. Didn't take long before they were angling for us to pay them to fix our bikes.
I did walk a few times pushing the bike in the rain when I didn't have a vulcanising kit available.
Something changed over the decades, either in the tubes or the patches or the glue. Once Upon A Time you could glue a patch on and the puncture would stay mended. These days there's such a small chance of that that I just replace the tube. Which I haven't had to do anyway since switching to Marathons.

obgraham
4th Dec 2018, 20:40
Maybe all is not lost, although the increased complexity and general unrepairability of modern stuff is part of the problem.

I live in a town where 60-70 percent of the population is Hispanic. Many of them recent arrivals. Those guys can fix stuff, and are very innovative. They also are not rich, so they often don't like the prices at the Big Box Joints. However there all sorts of little supply joints where you can find darn near anything, usually in the back under a pile of something else. That's where these locals go, and that's where I found that garage door gasket I needed in just the length I needed.

We also have a few smaller chains, like the aptly named "Tacoma Screw", where you can get, well, screws. In the size, shape, and quantity you need. (Naughty boys, you lot!)

Loose rivets
5th Dec 2018, 02:23
My lovely old Progress No.1 was about the best thing I ever bought. I wish I'd kept that and let the wife go. You can even get solid state speed controls for them now. The drills, not the wife. (You have to use a 3 phase motor even when driven by single phase) They ever run backwards. The Hitachi drill press I got in the US was made in China. :ugh: Not too bad, but had to make a keeper-downer device (by using the torque grove bolt.) Nothing compared to the Progress.

Dremel machines. Old ones are best. Real Bakelite. A MUST is getting a foot pedal for same. Buy an old sewing machine just for the pedal.

Parting with stuff. I finally got my old workbench back from a pal with a shed. About 15 years in there. Nice clutch wood-vice. Used to be I could take the top off and carry it up a ladder. Now I could barely move it. Four more years and I gave it to a young lady who's mum had asked on the local forum for tools. The lass was working restoring boats. Once in the giving mode, their van left with most of the stuff I'd got in the UK. I've still got a lot of stuff in Texas, but I imagine that's where it will stay. My plane was my mom's as were a couple of the chisels I gave the girl back here. Given up on prices in the UK for do-uppers. My borrowed bungalow was over 200 grand as was, and it needed masses of stuff done. It was bought by a developer and is renting at 1000 a month - for a semi. I bridged a loan for a pal for one two doors down. 9 grand brand new. 1970. If only I'd had a crystal ball.

I took stuff to Texas over a long period of not needing my suitcases. Odd thing about security. I took all kinds of tools that must have looked very odd during screening. My wife's case was picked out for a check with now't but frocks and things in it. Then came the reduction of cases for ordinary mortals. Never did use my one time repatriation thing due to being preoccupied with life's little issues. Heck, just remembered, my best AVO 8 is still there, and my Aristo flying computer. Oh, and my best slide-rule. I just don't know how folk exist without one of those.

krismiler
5th Dec 2018, 03:22
The depth to which items are repaired says a lot about the wealth of a country. In the richer countries stuff is simply thrown away when it goes wrong and replaced with a more up to date item. In poorer Asian countries there is a whole cottage industry around repairing consumer goods as these are major expenses and have to last. A washing machine is often dismantled, the motor rewound, brushes replaced and reassembled. Broken straps or buckles on shoes get mended and there is always someone with a sewing machine to repair clothes.

I would rather buy something designed with ease of maintenance in mind than the most sophisticated but throw away equivalent.

double_barrel
5th Dec 2018, 05:56
I am surprised that no-one has mentioned 3D printing. I suspect the new man-cave-workshop will have a 3D printer at its heart and the next gen of old farts will be asking how young people manage without them. For one-off custom parts to keep something going, or build something from scratch, 3D printing is fantastic and will only get better and cheaper in the next few years as hardware and software improves AND as a database of pre designed widgets accumulates.

stevef
5th Dec 2018, 06:12
You see a lot of clever bush fixes in Africa. I wish I'd taken a photo of a ripped truck tyre that had about a third of its sidewall held together with a fence wire herringbone stitch. That takes some doing! On the other hand, I wasn't too impressed with some of their aircraft repairs.

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 08:48
Cattletruck, what comes first today, house or cave? Pretty obviously reallt given lack of caves.

When we downsized I had a tool cull but insisted a large garage was nonnegotiable. Took ages getting all the packing boxes cleared away. All MY stuff was buried as Mrs PN would 'just put this in the garage'. Finally .when there was room to move I bought a load of racking and was finally able to find tools make a work bench etc.

The next problem was where to site the shed. I had had 3 and a spare garage. This garden doesn't have a discrete area, it is large but nothing where you could put up a shed as there is no 'side' it is all 'show' so Mrs PN insisted on pretty.

Found a barn style not far from here. Levelled the ground, bought the shed, too my time and roofed in a couple of days. Took about a week to paint and tittyvate, adding shelves and racks.

So the answer is obvious. You need a B&D Workmate, mine is blue, 50 years old. I have a companion Wallmate and of course its baby Walkmate (Jobber).

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 08:53
Ever tried to replace a toaster element or kettle ring?

They are the Ultimate disposable items. Mrs PN would change them every couple of years if she could.

I think we have had 3, maybe 4, in 50 years. The lattest is this year after Mrs PN descalled the Delonghi. After the descale it leaked like a sieve. Jug kettles, pah.

racedo
5th Dec 2018, 09:54
.
Jug kettles, pah.

Remember growing up and the number of cases where kids were scalded by pulling electric kettles on top of themselves, including one classmate who had done so when 3.
Must admit much prefer them now as remove the chance a littlie can get scaled.

sitigeltfel
5th Dec 2018, 10:08
We have one of the Bosch kettles in this video, and as he says, the beeps are very annoying. However, he provides a highly technical DIY solution to eliminate them...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=szwq8PmLFBM

;)

cattletruck
5th Dec 2018, 10:37
3D printing as a new development is actually rather boring.

Nothing beats a session of metal fabrication which involves pounding, folding, grinding, drilling, reaming, joining, filing, polishing, etc - what fun - except when my killjoy nut job neighbour urinates besides my garage which cuts short the fun short - but I'm ready for that having already factored it into the planning. Same goes with woodwork.

The things I have made in a garage environment are just too numerous to count, all of them custom jobs for a one-off purpose, many of them over-engineered, many of them relatively cheap (if not factoring in my time), and many of them still doing what they were meant to do after so many years if not decades.

I once tried making a list of all the major DIY tasks I've done but kept finding things I'd long forgotten about so gave up.

Long live the shed/garage.

G-CPTN
5th Dec 2018, 11:31
My father started his working life repairing cycles at Halfords, and, as I grew up in the immediate post-War era I was taught 'make-do-and-mend' - nothing was ever thrown away, things were either repaired or used to repair (or build) other items.

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 11:38
My father started his working life repairing cycles at Halfords, and, as I grew up in the immediate post-War era I was taught 'make-do-and-mend' - nothing was ever thrown away, things were either repaired or used to repair (or build) other items.
Remember tin plate clock work trains etc? Was there a boy that didn't fold back the little metal tabs and take off the body to see how it worked?

I think one of my most interesting demantles was the plastic bodied Sherman tank. The gearing so it was realistically slow, the cam to rotate the turret and the bellows to fire the gun smoke.

krismiler
5th Dec 2018, 12:17
China has changed the way we live, with cheap manufactured goods. Kettles and toasters for a fiver, microwaves for fifty quid. Already they dominate at the lower quality end and are improving all the time. Setting up a factory producing poor quality spanners takes a lot of investment with constructing the building, buying the machinery and creating the workforce. The step up to better quality products is much easier and highly profitable, source better steel, improve staff training, polish the spanners, put them in a nice case and give a 2 year guarantee.

Now you can charge 3 times as much for them. Soon no one will be able to compete. Back in the 1970s "Made in Japan" meant rubbish, in the 1980s "Made in Korea" was a warning to potential buyers. Stand by for a seachange.

Traffic_Is_Er_Was
5th Dec 2018, 12:22
People who pay $18.00 for "smashed Avo's on toast" don't fix things. They just buy new ones.

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 12:41
TIEW, cost/benefit - cash rich - time poor is fed by cheap disposable products from Asia. This feeds our increasing mounds of non recyclable waste.

They change the colour of garden furniture encouraging one-season use (no storage). They change trivial design changes and colours of everything to encourage new purchasing.

Of Made in Japan, in the 50s they were imitators and my father said their weakness was poor metal and bad screw threads. Made in Birmingham was a guarantee of life time use. Which is the better business model? :(

racedo
5th Dec 2018, 13:55
Of Made in Japan, in the 50s they were imitators and my father said their weakness was poor metal and bad screw threads. Made in Birmingham was a guarantee of life time use. Which is the better business model? :(

Not always. Leyland cars were made in Birmingham................ nuff said.

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 13:57
Racedo, I meant stamped Made in Birmingham not made in Birmingham. :)

racedo
5th Dec 2018, 15:37
Anybody who has read World War Z, (movie was crud) will see in a post apolyptic world, people needed were those who had basic manual skills to fix and repair stuff. In US it was blue collar, mostly immigrants who knew how stuff was made and repaired. The ones with little useful skill were the Lawyers, Accountants, Manager etc etc who really had little to offer..

Got littlie to read the book, as he is a voracious reader of books, one great trait happy to pass down. I keep telling him to learn basic skills because a time will come when they may be needed. Even if they are never needed he will have the basic skill rather than a constant idea to always buy something new.

More of a bodger than DIYer but helped rewire here, redec it, paint it etc. Plan is to acquire a place in rural France than is a fixer upper, then get littlie to join me in doing it up. Not worried if takes a long time, this is a project for fun and learning.

wowzz
5th Dec 2018, 15:48
My BiL, an international accountant, retired to live on his boat in Malaysia. He liked to recount that amongst all the wealthy expats with their posh boats, the most important expat of them all was the diesel mechanic!

Fitter2
5th Dec 2018, 16:01
Number 1 son through boyhood observed that most home repairs/improvements etc. could be done without involving expensive 'professional' assistance. Now with a home of his own, with birthday due requested a cordless drill as preferred gift. Message of approval received, with thanks for the quality and features, and a pic. of its first practical application.

It's how you bring them up.

krismiler
5th Dec 2018, 16:03
The BBC TV series "Survivors" from the 1970s was very similar. A virus had wiped out most of the earth's population and those left behind had to learn everything from scratch, even how to make a candal. Builders, carpenters, plumbers and mechanics had invaluable skills. Lawyers were pretty useless as there wasn't the resources to start engaging in trivial arguments and criminals got summary justice.

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 16:23
Couple of years ago prepared a small cooking fire for GD and GS. Collected twigs, created shavings and feathers a built the cone. My last words, now collect lots of twigs and then some thicker sticks. At this point I was called away. Dad came home and decided to light fire for kids.

Poof, gone.

Lesson 2, keeping a fire burning.😀

Then made them a 3-rope bridge, ie two hand ropes. Returned later to discover they had made it longer with only two ropes, got it high enough to clear the ground, and also tensioned it.

Then asked them how tall the trees were.

Provide the kit and their imaginations do the rest.

Ancient Observer
5th Dec 2018, 17:29
Wow!
We have got this far and no one has raised the fabulous Balsa wood propeller planes with real, tiny engines. The engines were not that reliable, so one learnt on the go how to repair them.

VP959
5th Dec 2018, 17:56
Of Made in Japan, in the 50s they were imitators and my father said their weakness was poor metal and bad screw threads.(

My first ever Japanese bike was a Honda CB72. Lovely bike, but hopeless cross headed screws everywhere. First thing I did was buy an impact driver (the only way to get the damned screws out), second thing I did was buy a set of British replacement screws. Made servicing and repairing the bike a doddle.

Tankertrashnav
5th Dec 2018, 18:08
Lawyers were pretty useless as there wasn't the resources to start engaging in trivial arguments and criminals got summary justice.

I seem to recall that in the story they shot one of the survivors suspected of pilfering food. Turned out he was innocent - but he didnt have a lawyer to plead his case

I'm also reminded of the "Noahs ark" spaceship which had been sent off from an overcrowded earth supposedly to search for new planets in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One contained all the useless people they wanted to get rid of (not builders, carpenters, plumbers etc) who included telephone sanitisers. Shortly after they left, the earth's population was wiped out by a virus caught from telephones!

Hydromet
5th Dec 2018, 21:12
Wow!
We have got this far and no one has raised the fabulous Balsa wood propeller planes with real, tiny engines. The engines were not that reliable, so one learnt on the go how to repair them.

Granddaughter, 11, is getting a balsa model kit for Christmas, from her aunt, my DIYing, flying daughter who built her first at about the same age. Rubber band powered, though, I think. I remember the engines, also the smell of ether, blisters on the fingers from repeatedly spinning the prop, and the cane for starting one in class.

G-CPTN
5th Dec 2018, 21:50
It's how you bring them up.
Not entirely.
My daughter was never a reader, but watched with interest whenever I was doing something.
She is a competent 'doer' as an adult.

Son was (and is) a voracious reader and, therefore, 'well-educated' - never bothered me when I was 'doing', even though I tried many times to involve him . . .
As an example, I bought a memory expansion chip for his computer printer and suggested that he helped me to install it - which he declined, stating that he was "sure I could manage". He was 11 years old.
Now that he owns his house he never attempts any job - even the smallest, simplest task (I bought him one of those comprehensive DIY manuals explaining how things work and how to fix them and also a comprehensive kit of the tools that he might need - both are unused . . . ). He calls in professionals for every task (cistern overflow, adjusting door striker plates - no job is too simple).

Gertrude the Wombat
5th Dec 2018, 22:09
He calls in professionals for every task (cistern overflow, adjusting door striker plates - no job is too simple).
Two very different jobs - overflowing cisterns is easy, door striker plates can be quite hard, not least because you can't see what's going wrong, in which direction, or by how much, and if you cut the wood wrong it stays cut. (Having said which I did fix one the other day, by getting out a chisel and guessing right and shaving off around 0.5mm in the correct direction.)

Pontius Navigator
5th Dec 2018, 22:21
Interesting and potentially expensive DIY was an identical failure of several door snecks all about 45 years old. One I had to burst open and repair the jam, another had my wife, trapped inside, fortunately able to pass tools through the window.

The last I was able to pull the broken spindle collar and use a screw driver to move the sneck ratchet.

Fitting new catches was something else.

Well worth while taking a lock apart to see how it works.

axefurabz
5th Dec 2018, 22:31
Something changed over the decades, either in the tubes or the patches or the glue. Once Upon A Time you could glue a patch on and the puncture would stay mended. These days there's such a small chance of that that I just replace the tube. Which I haven't had to do anyway since switching to Marathons.

That would be down to the peanuts, no?

Gertrude the Wombat
5th Dec 2018, 22:49
That would be down to the peanuts, no?
Well, if we're doing the Marathon jokes, we're back to Mal and his "please can I have a bite of Cllr [Ruth] Bagnall's Snickers?".

G-CPTN
5th Dec 2018, 23:12
I thought that the first DIY job that I tackled when I bought my first house was to build a low wall with steps to 'level' the 'topsoil' left by the builders (which turned out to be subsoil which was predominantly clay - but that is a whole different story).
The first job was to drill the concrete lintel to fix the curtain rail (using the electric drill bought for me as my wedding present from my new wife).
The next job that I remember was to build a sturdy workbench using timbers 'saved' from the building site rubbish dump (I had permission).
The legs were 4"x4" and the top was scaffolding boards (with a lower 'shelf' of scaffolding boards to brace the structure).
I was also able to rescue a 20ft long 6"x12" timber beam that I cut in two with a slanting cut to make a pair of sturdy 'ramps' for car maintenance (supported on a scaffolding pole between two axle stands). Still got the kit 48 years later.
I had the (new) house built with a double-length garage with an inspection pit (builders charged me £100 as that was their standard 'deviation charge' from what would have been a single garage). The driveway was two separate concrete paths that they continued into the garage before finishing with a slab towards the rear of the garage.
I had to dig the pit myself . . .
All this detail was effected using my A4 line-drawing plan that I supplied as a guide that I found them using as the detailed construction plan (with a side access door and window as I had indicated). I used fencing boards (from their tip) for the pit cover.

WingNut60
5th Dec 2018, 23:26
China has changed the way we live, with cheap manufactured goods. Kettles and toasters for a fiver, microwaves for fifty quid. Already they dominate at the lower quality end and are improving all the time. Setting up a factory producing poor quality spanners takes a lot of investment with constructing the building, buying the machinery and creating the workforce. The step up to better quality products is much easier and highly profitable, source better steel, improve staff training, polish the spanners, put them in a nice case and give a 2 year guarantee.

Now you can charge 3 times as much for them. Soon no one will be able to compete. Back in the 1970s "Made in Japan" meant rubbish, in the 1980s "Made in Korea" was a warning to potential buyers. Stand by for a seachange.

Take a look at this 1993 article about W Edwards Deming (and Juran).
Everywhere that it says "Japan" just substitute "China".

W Edwards Deming (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1993/12/23/japans-secret-w-edwards-deming/b69b8c00-4c5d-483a-b95e-4aeb1d94d2c6/?utm_term=.7b85dbefb3f1)

India Four Two
6th Dec 2018, 00:06
My first ever Japanese bike was a Honda CB72. Lovely bike, but hopeless cross headed screws everywhere.

I wonder if that is because you didn't have the right screwdriver. I only recently learned about JIS screws.

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/667x455/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_10_01__178a3825fb9efce00e7dffe1 d786206c9d2c23c5.png

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/691x366/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_08_20__7e047e52f81b81c7052399bb f880bb8cf0165da2.png


https://www.webbikeworld.com/jis-screwdrivers/

Hydromet
6th Dec 2018, 07:33
Then there's Pozidrive (https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/17312/is-it-a-bad-idea-to-use-a-pozidriv-screwdriver-on-a-phillips-head).

Well worth while taking a lock apart to see how it works.
We once moved into an old house that had many old-style locks with no keys, including D1's bedroom. This was not to her satisfaction, so she dismantled the lock, then made a wooden key to fit. After she had cleaned and re-assembled the lock, it operated so smoothly that the key lasted for the 8 years that we lived there.

Pontius Navigator
6th Dec 2018, 08:57
G-CPTN oAll this detail was effected using my A4 line-drawing plan that I supplied as a guide that I found them using as the detailed construction plan (with a side access door and window as I had indicated).

Same, I also provided a perspective drawing. Who did this the PM asked before using it.

Finding the PM was interesting. We didn't know any builders locally but there was an article in the Press and Journal about a PM who had a disagreement with his boss and quit. He was setting up on his own account.

We were one of his first clients and he did brilliant job, different workers at each stage of the work.

ShyTorque
6th Dec 2018, 10:06
A few years ago we decided we'd like a wood burning stove. After visiting a few suppliers we chose one from a place some distance away and had it delivered. I contacted two local "HETAS" registered fitters for quotes to install it. One came round to look but said he wasn't actually registered, only his son was, so he couldn't actually quote. His son never turned up.... why did they bother?

The second fitter turned up, took a quick look and later sent me a text, quoting £1300 labour for installation and signing off iaw the buildings regulations, on top of the cost of supplying the flue and other parts (n.b. as is normal, the flue cost as much as the fire itself). I asked him why it was so expensive - I was expecting far less; he said it was quite a complicated job. I couldn't see why it was, we live in a bungalow. I declined his quote, downloaded and read the heating regulations, bought all the required parts for the flue and fitted it myself. The only tricky part of the job was going through the ceiling for the flue, where a joist ran, without causing damage to the ceiling. I went into the loft, boxed around the joist, removed one roof tile for the flue exit and had the job done in less than a day. I paid the local council to have it inspected and signed off. Saved myself just under £1200 in labour and considerably more by buying the flue and other parts direct from the manufacturers.

Uplinker
6th Dec 2018, 11:11
Bravo to you sir, I have done similar when installing Central Heating boilers. And this is what annoys me with builders/tradesmen. You don’t know if they are any good until it is too late. Even personal recommendation is no guarantee.

Most general building things are not difficult, one simply has to think it through, and follow the regs. One thing I am nervous about is working on a high roof, since there is nothing up there to easily attach a safety line to, so the first trip up to fix a safety rope can feel a bit dodgy !

Hopefully M. Mouse will come back with a publication us competent DIYers can use to supplement our endeavours? (Thanks for the Reader’s Digest suggestion:ok:).

Regarding cross head screws. Many folk don’t realise that a Phillips screw has tapered driving flanks*, whereas Pozi drive flanks are parallel. Thus if you use the wrong driver you are not pushing against the whole surface area of the screw and will risk rounding off the internal part of the screw head: Pozi driver in a Phillips screw: bottom rounded off; Phillips driver in a Pozi screw: it will not go fully in and the top will get rounded off. If the screw is not tight you can usually get away with it, but when it is stuck in, and you damage part of the screw head with the wrong driver, the rest of the screw head will often fail since the area you are torqueing against is much reduced.

Phillips screwdrivers also try to push out of the screw head as you apply torque, owing to their tapered flanks, and this again reduces the surface area you are torqueing aginst and risks rounding off the internals of the screw.

Most cross head screws you get nowadays from the DIY/trade store (in the UK) are Pozi drives, so a Phillips driver is not the right tool for them.

*You can clearly see this in India Four Two’s photo.

Pontius Navigator
6th Dec 2018, 11:48
We decided to replace a gas 'log burner' with a real one. Again sourced one from Scotland, bloody heavy. Improvised a slide and slipped it in to place.

Removed the gas flue pipe as it was not thick enough and ordered sufficient 6 in liner. The window cleaners went up and tried to fit it but the jointing cement in the original concrete flue narrowed the chimney.

As it had been built as an open fire chimney thought sod it and just used the original concrete liner. Local blacksmith made a base plate, once in place it was a tight fit and didn't need screwing in to place.

Had it swept regularly. Sold the house - no question of regs :)

Pontius Navigator
6th Dec 2018, 11:58
We have one of the Bosch kettles in this video, and as he says, the beeps are very annoying. However, he provides a highly technical DIY solution to eliminate them...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=szwq8PmLFBM

;)
The problem with beeps is that everything beeps. The most annoying is the fire alarm backup battery warning.

Is it the cordless phone (4 off)? Is it the washing machine, tumble drier or bread maker? Micro wave, etc?

Twig it is the fire alarm, but which one, we have 4. Why don't the beep (30 sec or so) and light an LED so you can see which one.

VP959
6th Dec 2018, 12:23
I wonder if that is because you didn't have the right screwdriver. I only recently learned about JIS screws.

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/667x455/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_10_01__178a3825fb9efce00e7dffe1 d786206c9d2c23c5.png

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/691x366/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_08_20__7e047e52f81b81c7052399bb f880bb8cf0165da2.png


https://www.webbikeworld.com/jis-screwdrivers/



I think it's highly likely that I tried to use a Phillips screwdriver, as I'd never heard of the JIS head back then and this was (I believe) before Posidrive became well-known as a variant of cross-head screw. In any case, after I'd removed all the screws with an impact driver they were replaced with a set of socket head screws, which made life a lot easier. The real PITA with this bike was that it needed very frequent oil changes, as it had no oil filter, just a sort of centrifugal spinner thing behind a cover on one side (held in place with three screws). This crude spinner thing trapped bits of crud and needed cleaning out every time you did an oil change, hence part of my frustration with the original screw heads. As the bike was a few years old when I acquired it, the screw heads had already been butchered a fair bit as well.

ShyTorque
6th Dec 2018, 13:32
All I can say is, when it comes to working on motorbike engines, the legendary Mr. Allen, the one who presumably invented the hexagon socket headed screw, also deserves a medal.

Hydromet
7th Dec 2018, 01:35
Talking of Allen keys...
noticed a man in a van the other day, advertising his business...assembling Ikea furniture.

Guess he wouldn't need a big tool kit.

Loose rivets
7th Dec 2018, 01:41
Thread drifting lazily in the winter breeze.

I'm confused. How are they so good when the active radius is reduced?

So much is to do with the doi'n up of things. Torque issues when tightening. Static or running torque? A huge difference. I always used a book figure modified with a lot of gut feeling.

I have a pal that won't allow any grease on wheel bolts. That's another thing when routinely torquing up valuable kit. Lube, or Locktight. I'm never really sure what to do about thread surfaces and usually play safe - though I put copper on wheel nuts/bolts. My previously mentioned big end nuts had to be cut off because of using Colchester lathe clear stuff that must have been decades out of date. May just as well have welded them.

I did consider taking the heads off my Cadillac's Northstar engine. N*, as it's known. One does not use Helix thingies, but a dedicated device that bolts into a newly drilled hole. (one hires a plate to guide the drill) One of the things that stopped me doing the job was getting the very critical torque just so. That and a back that's not as bendy as it was.

I just read an ad that poo pooes TimeSert insert things. Studs are best. They don't show you one.

India Four Two
7th Dec 2018, 03:35
More drift!

when it comes to working on motorbike engines

Anyone else remember the days when working on British bikes, you had to have three sets of spanners? BSW, BSF and BA!

krismiler
7th Dec 2018, 04:41
Three keys were normal for British cars, one for the doors, one for the ignition and another for the glove box.

obgraham
7th Dec 2018, 05:17
Back to the ingenuity of African guys:

A few years back I spent some time in Malawi. My hostess had just brought over a shipping container of supplies, in which was a Maytag-type combination washer-dryer. But of course it did not run there, not the least because it was a 120v machine in a 220v country. "No problem", she says, "the guys will get it running". It had electronic controls rather than the mechanical dials, and obviously that circuitry was wonkers.

No way, sez I, that an African guy will be able to get that circuit board up and the machine transitioned to 220v. In fact I made a $10 bet to that effect and agreed on a 14 day time. Guy had that thing all in bits in the dirt, as the whole machine thing was new to him, soldering this to that, and occasionally going to the "market" to get something. Day 14, I go to collect my bet, and he plugs it in, fills it with water out of a bucket (no running water in the yard!) and runs the load of laundry with the electronics working fine.

This from a guy who didn't grasp the concept of a flush toilet.

Pontius Navigator
7th Dec 2018, 08:15
Loose Rivets, Kwik Fit lectured me on lubricating the wheel nuts (not). My garage, an expert on my model of car, uses a grease. Not sure what but it is copper in colour.

Pontius Navigator
7th Dec 2018, 08:16
Three keys were normal for British cars, one for the doors, one for the ignition and another for the glove box.
And one for every Vulcan bomber, the same one😀

The local Halfords, local to the airfield, always stocked extra FA501.

ShyTorque
7th Dec 2018, 08:47
More drift!



Anyone else remember the days when working on British bikes, you had to have three sets of spanners? BSW, BSF and BA!

My Indian made Royal Enfield (not yet fifteen years old) has some BSC threads (British Standard Cycle) on the studs holding the seat to the frame. I had to have a batch of nuts made after one of them vibrated loose and disappeared somewhere up the road. Most of the bike needs Imperial spanners, but there are also some metric threads too.

yellowtriumph
7th Dec 2018, 09:01
Ever tried to replace a toaster element or kettle ring?

They are the Ultimate disposable items. Mrs PN would change them every couple of years if she could.

I think we have had 3, maybe 4, in 50 years. The lattest is this year after Mrs PN descalled the Delonghi. After the descale it leaked like a sieve. Jug kettles, pah.

Next time you're in the market for an electric toaster or kettle have a look at the Dualit range as they have a comprehensive range of spares for their products. I do have personal experience of contacting them and getting advice and fitting spares and they were excellent.

https://www.dualit.com/support

Look for their 'Classic kettle' if you want if want you can replace the element in.

exeng
7th Dec 2018, 09:40
Pontious N. Kwik Fit lectured me on lubricating the wheel nuts (not). My garage, an expert on my model of car, uses a grease. Not sure what but it is copper in colour.

Tis a grease called 'Copper Ease'. A reasonably sized tub of it is available in your local Halfords etc for a few quid. Last you for years. Great at preventing seizing of bolts due corrosion.


Regards
Exeng

Pontius Navigator
7th Dec 2018, 09:48
ExEng. TY. I am sure my garage has a big tub :)

They are a Mercedes specialist not a franchise. Dad worked on Yorks and son lectures at College.

One thing you may know, they had a two-part adhesive that they used to fasten some plastic trim where the lugs had broken. It came in a packet, you mixed it in the packet and then used it once. Set like glue :)

I need something to fasten a self adhesive LED that won't.

Fareastdriver
7th Dec 2018, 10:44
they had a two-part adhesive that they used to fasten some plastic trim where the lugs had broken

Probably Araldite, or a another version. It's a slow setter so things have to be taped to each other for about twelve hours. After twenty four the join is unbreakable.

I've known helicopter gearboxes, Lycoming prop reduction gearboxes et al repaired with it.

Pontius Navigator
7th Dec 2018, 23:19
Definitely not Araldite. This was one of the newer types.. I can't remember if it was two sachets or a binary product where it was in a single pouch that had to be squeezed to mix. It was quick setting without clamping but 24 hrs to set hard.
t

Uplinker
8th Dec 2018, 12:01
A modern epoxy of some sort. It comes like putty which you knead together with the hardener. You can get underwater epoxy that sticks to steel submerged in seawater! Ship engineers use it for temporary repairs to water pumps and the hull etc.

’Copperease’ antiseize grease by Comma is fantastic. I use it for almost every machine screw, bolt and nut I take apart or assemble, even furniture and car wheel nuts. If you don’t, you won’t be able to apply the correct tightening torque to the wheel nuts, because rust and friction etc will give you a false reading and then they won’t be tight enough. I have never had one undo.

krismiler
8th Dec 2018, 12:41
Look for their 'Classic kettle' if you want if want you can replace the element in.

I have a back up kettle, no element it sits on the hob and uses the gas to heat water, a saucepan would also do. It even whistles when it boils. Toasters are usually non repairable but the same result can be achieved by laying the bread under the grill. An iron is a different matter as there isn't really anything which can be used as a substitute and you normally only find out its broken once you start ironing which will be when the shops are shut and you need the clothes for the next morning, therefore I keep a spare.

yellowtriumph
8th Dec 2018, 13:01
I have a back up kettle, no element it sits on the hob and uses the gas to heat water, a saucepan would also do. It even whistles when it boils. Toasters are usually non repairable but the same result can be achieved by laying the bread under the grill. An iron is a different matter as there isn't really anything which can be used as a substitute and you normally only find out its broken once you start ironing which will be when the shops are shut and you need the clothes for the next morning, therefore I keep a spare.

Given your facilities this would probably make a cheaper alternative for a second iron?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Antique-Flat-Iron-5/332928453322?hash=item4d84150aca:g:fGAAAOSww-lcAo64

krismiler
8th Dec 2018, 13:09
This type is better as it gets filled with glowing charcoal and stays hot for longer.
http://www.hausstrom.com/img/charcoal-iron.jpg

Pontius Navigator
8th Dec 2018, 13:13
Given your facilities this would probably make a cheaper alternative for a second iron?

How long do you have to iron bread to make toast?

hiflymk3
8th Dec 2018, 13:20
I was thinking of building an extra floor to our house, but that's another storey.

treadigraph
8th Dec 2018, 13:47
I was thinking of building an extra floor to our house, but that's ananother story, other storey.

Or you have lofty ambitions.

ShyTorque
8th Dec 2018, 16:28
’Copperease’ antiseize grease by Comma is fantastic. I use it for almost every machine screw, bolt and nut I take apart or assemble, even furniture and car wheel nuts. If you don’t, you won’t be able to apply the correct tightening torque to the wheel nuts, because rust and friction etc will give you a false reading and then they won’t be tight enough. I have never had one undo.

I also use copper grease on wheel nuts, although some claim it total heresy to lubricate a wheel bolt thread in any way. One of my Mech. Eng. lecturers (albeit about 45 years ago since I underwent mechanical engineering training) was previously a Rolls Royce Technician. He told us that RR torques were measured after the threads were deemed to be "clean and lightly lubricated". If it's good enough for RR, it's good enough for me. I've never had a wheel nut come loose after I've fitted them but I've had quite a number of seized studs break when trying to remove nuts where others hadn't used any lubrication on the threads and they had rusted solid.

One of my major gripes with mass production is that many bolt threads on cars are not lubricated or protected against corrosion. Anyone who has had the misfortune to change suspension bushes or wishbones on a modern car will have found the same problems.

ShyTorque
8th Dec 2018, 16:29
Ironing - what's that? Just wear a jumper over your shirt...

Ancient Mariner
8th Dec 2018, 16:37
Torques are normally given for "dry" threads, lubricating them will require adjustments. If you don't use a torque wrench, lubricating the bolts hardly makes a difference. I always use a copper, or graphite based paste on all bolts.
Per

G-CPTN
8th Dec 2018, 17:43
When my responsibility included running vehicles, there was a spate of wheel-stud failures.
I approached the tyre fitter and asked him to demonstrate his technique (for truck wheels) and whether he used a torque-wrench.
Fred was a big boy - probably 20 stone - and was 'fit'.
He had been tyre fitter as long as I had been working there (17 years) and I was loath to question his technique, however when he replied that his method was 'tight plus half a turn' I awaited to see how this was achieved.
Fred had asked 'Wally the weld' to weld a six-foot length of scaffolding pole onto the standard wheel-nut spanner and once Fred had used the standard wheel-nut spanner (which was designed to achieve the required torque when used by a typical driver or mechanic) Fred then applied his (undoubted) considerable strength to the end of the six-foot scaffolding pole to achieve the 'half a turn'.

VP959
8th Dec 2018, 17:56
I may well be wrong, but I remember being told years ago that using a small smear of grease (ideally the copper stuff) on wheel nut threads was fine, in fact a good idea, but that care was needed to make sure that none got on to the conical nut seat, as the friction between that and the wheel was what retained the nut when torqued to the correct degree. It seemed to make sense to me, as the contact area of the conical seat is pretty large, and in the right place to help lock the nut in place.

andrewn
8th Dec 2018, 18:19
Very apt thread for me given I recently bought a 1999 Ford Transit based "motorhome" (I use that term loosely), and it keeps breaking down. I'm currently figuring out how to remove, source replacement and then refit, what I believe is a faulty starter motor. On the positive side I could end up saving myself lots of money. On the downside it's entirely possible I'll end up spending hours outside cold and wet, with few of the tools I need, hitting my fingers with a hammer and just getting generally frustrated at my own lack of progress!

Mmmmm...

G-CPTN
8th Dec 2018, 18:34
WD40 is the main tool that you must have.

andrewn
8th Dec 2018, 18:37
WD40 is the main tool that you must have.

Laughably, in my case, I''ve just used exactly that in the hope it'll loosen the retaining bolts prior to another go tomorrow at getting them off!

G-CPTN
8th Dec 2018, 18:42
I''ve just used exactly that in the hope it'll loosen the retaining bolts prior to another go tomorrow at getting them off!
Persist with repeated applications of WD40 - it acts as what we used to call penetrating oil (remember that?).
It can also help if you have an impact driver (the sort you strike on the end with a hammer) - not to remove fixings in one go, but to allow the WD40 to penetrate.

Pontius Navigator
8th Dec 2018, 18:56
I have some 3in1, some penetrating oil, and some leak seal.

All the tons are same size and with a nozzle.

Mrs PN applied some of the latter in lieu the former :)

hiflymk3
8th Dec 2018, 19:07
There is/was a flow chart that went something like this:

If it should move but doesn't; WD40
If it moves but shouldn't; Gaffer tape

Pontius Navigator
8th Dec 2018, 19:46
There is/was a flow chart that went something like this:

If it should move but doesn't; WD40
If it moves but shouldn't; Gaffer tape
If you can fix it with a hammer it's mechanical.
If you can't it's electrical.

Yankee screw driver, push down, it twists the screw.
Irish screw driver works the same way, just hit the screw hard.

andrewn
8th Dec 2018, 20:56
Persist with repeated applications of WD40 - it acts as what we used to call penetrating oil (remember that?).
It can also help if you have an impact driver (the sort you strike on the end with a hammer) - not to remove fixings in one go, but to allow the WD40 to penetrate.
Thanks CPTN - I've just been up to see my Dad to borrow a few sockets and related tools to hopefully make my life easier. Dad is 80 now, but for many years was a very handy mechanic (though not by trade) and was able to turn his hands to almost any car repair job. He had a TR4 for many years and I can well remember,as a boy, standing in the front of the car where the engine used to be that my Dad had just proudly removed with some makeshift pulley hanging froim the garage roof! And the numerous overdrive and gearbox, clutch and synchro changes, as well as the infamous Webers. And as for the Mini's that went in and out of that tiny garage and came out a completely different colour to what they went in - all sprayed on with rattle cans, or even hand painted in some cases! Happy days I guess, and very different times from a DIY point of view.

Anyway, Dad's got quite severe dementia now and he must have asked me half a dozen times in 30 minutes if I was able to access the retaining bolts from the top, or if I needed to go underneath, but despite that he was able to impart more first hand knowedge on starter motors than I'd garnered in a whole day of internet crawling. Funny how the human mind works!

Onwards with the task tomorrow :)

jimtherev
8th Dec 2018, 22:40
The other item that was occasionally worth its weight in gold in days of yore was a humungous great copper soldering iron. Heat it with a torch until just too hot, then apply it to the nut (if available, failing that with optimism which sometimes worked, to the bolt head) and soon as possible dropping the iron somewhere safe and pop the spanner head back on.
Often saved the day.
But then, you could get into many more places than today's cleverly-packed engine compartments...

LordGrumpy
8th Dec 2018, 22:57
The main tools to have are:-
The ability to ask.
Know when you could do more harm than good.
Start early before shops are due to close.
Prepare with sobriety and thinking fluid: TEA

Pontius Navigator
9th Dec 2018, 08:57
Jimtherev, our plumber used a gas blow torch.

LordGrumpy, and knowing when and where and how to employ is.

On YouTube illustration to remove a stuck dust cap was to use a blow torch, only for the brave.

Then on a Clarkson car trip the locals technique to repeat a tyre on the rim was to put petrol in it and light it. The resultant explosion blew the tyre back in place. The flames were impressive, only for the brave.

Gertrude the Wombat
9th Dec 2018, 09:57
One of my major gripes with mass production is that many bolt threads on cars are not lubricated or protected against corrosion. Anyone who has had the misfortune to change suspension bushes or wishbones on a modern car will have found the same problems.
I once paid a bike shop to replace the pedals on my bike, as one of them had broken after 30 years. When I collected it:

"You won't believe the trouble we had getting the old ones off."

"Oh yes I would, why do you think I paid you to do it rather than doing it myself?"

Skylark58
9th Dec 2018, 11:20
For the last year I have been volunteering at our local monthly Repair Cafe. Folks arrive with all kinds of things to be fixed and it is really satisfying to get something working that would otherwise end up in landfill. There are about 12 of us with a variety of skills, some like me with general engineering/mechanical and electrical experience, some who are experts in things wooden and some who can look at a piece of electronic circuitry and make that work.You never know what is going to come through the door. There is also a cafe area providing drinks and cake. The movement began in the Netherlands as an antidote to the throwaway culture and is now worldwide https://repaircafe.org/en/about/

ShyTorque
9th Dec 2018, 15:55
I looked up that website to find one in my local area. There aren't any - obviously us tightwad northerners still know how to fix us own stuff!

Actually, now I come to think about it - I'm running my own repair cafe at this house and I even have to provide the free refreshments. Maybe I should start charging for both.

IFMU
9th Dec 2018, 16:38
We built a DIY hovercraft. Now we are doing a DIY Briggs and Stratton hot rod job to get some more RPM.
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/432x576/briggs_guts_f7a15dc08e4885b82288c17aa24ae669fedc8289.jpg
DIY alive and well here, and passed to the next generation.
https://youtu.be/TBjp08TRdY8

anxiao
9th Dec 2018, 19:54
And while reading of WD40 flow charts above I was reminded of an electrician I worked with who had the motto, "Red to red, black to black, put a bigger fuse in and stand well back".

He made it to retirement as I recall.

Gertrude the Wombat
9th Dec 2018, 21:14
put a bigger fuse in and stand well back
The kids who ran the lighting gallery in the school hall kept having trouble with fuses blowing. This problem went away when they replaced the fuses with lengths of copper rod nicked from the physics lab.

jimtherev
9th Dec 2018, 22:14
For the last year I have been volunteering at our local monthly Repair Cafe. Folks arrive with all kinds of things to be fixed and it is really satisfying to get something working that would otherwise end up in landfill. There are about 12 of us with a variety of skills, some like me with general engineering/mechanical and electrical experience, some who are experts in things wooden and some who can look at a piece of electronic circuitry and make that work.You never know what is going to come through the door. There is also a cafe area providing drinks and cake. The movement began in the Netherlands as an antidote to the throwaway culture and is now worldwide https://repaircafe.org/en/about/

What a super idea! I must investigate that when 'erindoors is mobile after her hip operation (Report to the Nuffield at 07:00 tomorrow.) Might be something several of us old farts could get interested in.

Loose rivets
10th Dec 2018, 00:40
There was a huge house on the Walton Naze clifftops and a bloke I worked with as a sprog was involved with installing a big gun in it. (It is noteworthy that it was in time of war.) He was the electrician but he had a problem: he was colour-blind.

He carried a card with wire samples on it, and a line to Brown, Green etc., etc. I've told the story before, but he had a little spoke wheeled car, and because of his job, half a gallon of fuel per week. However, no tread on the tires. However, again, loads of Bostik and masses of bandages. He just about managed his trip out after binding the wheels.

Rusted (old) Volvo wheel nuts. Very expensive to break a stud off.
In an inspired moment, I spot-welded a cheap ring spanner onto the nut and stood on the end while it was still exceeding hot. Huge creak, and off it came. Just one spot was all it needed.

Seiko pilot's watch with jammed pusher. I had bought loads of them (from 1980's.) over a year or so but never had a pusher that was so determined not to come out. Where the circlip goes on the stem the brass is down to ? very delicate.
The button goes into a surround which leant itself to containing WD40. After two days it still wouldn't budge. With more fluid in the well I heated the case until it was bubbling. Presto ! (groan) it slid out a treat. Changing the gaskets on those is tricky, and finding flying circlips near impossible.

Still got a box of them in Austin and the same here. Just lost interest after I had to move.

racedo
10th Dec 2018, 10:16
I have a back up kettle, no element it sits on the hob and uses the gas to heat water, a saucepan would also do. It even whistles when it boils. Toasters are usually non repairable but the same result can be achieved by laying the bread under the grill. An iron is a different matter as there isn't really anything which can be used as a substitute and you normally only find out its broken once you start ironing which will be when the shops are shut and you need the clothes for the next morning, therefore I keep a spare.

One of life hacks seen on Youtube was someone using a saucepan heated to iron their clothes. Looked nuts but they did it no problem.

First Irons were heated with no steam.

treadigraph
10th Dec 2018, 10:33
Speaking of toasters, I've just noticed that mine has become slightly twisted. Still works ok, but how on earth...? Never seen that before.

Blues&twos
10th Dec 2018, 19:22
as there isn't really anything which can be used as a substitute and you normally only find out its broken once you start..... which will be when the shops are shut

krismiler - happened to me one Sunday night using a hair clipper - had to wear a hat to hide my half cut hair the following day until I could buy a new one the following evening.

Pontius Navigator
10th Dec 2018, 19:38
krismiler - happened to me one Sunday night using a hair clipper - had to wear a hat to hide my half cut hair the following day until I could buy a new one the following evening.
Do you normally buy new wig?

ShyTorque
11th Dec 2018, 00:03
Start early before shops are due to close.


Agreed! Whatever you do, do NOT attempt to flush out your central heating boiler on a freezing cold Easter Saturday evening. When the brass drain tap innards crumble into powder and you can't shut off the flow of water, it can be rather inconvenient to wait until the following week to get a new one. :O

Pontius Navigator
11th Dec 2018, 11:20
ShyTorque, sound advice.

I was fortunate to live near an excellent DIY shop like Arkright, even sold Fork Handles. Able to rush in, grabbit, wave it and run. Return later to pay.

Doing a job right now and need more screws - amazing how you get through screws putting up shelves.

Ancient Observer
11th Dec 2018, 17:56
Near me is a very good lawn mower repair shop.
However, even good machines like my Hayter 56 become uneconomic to repair. It was over 20 years old, and not repairable at any sensible price.
So I had to buy a new one.
Which was fine - if rather expensive.
I asked them what happened to the old ones. Mine had a working Briggs and Stratton engine that was fine. They told me that they stored all of them in a large 40ft container. When it was full, they simply called a licensed disposer and s/he took the container away. "For dumping somewhere".

I thought that could be a great opportunity for active recycling. Educating youngsters, etc etc. After they gave me the "He's mad" look I kept quiet.
What a shame!!!

G-CPTN
11th Dec 2018, 23:28
I have several non-working computer printers - probably with clogged inkjets.
Someone with the appropriate skill could probably revive them - though it seems to be cheaper to buy a complete new printer than a set of ink cartridges - ALDI has a current such offer.

jimtherev
11th Dec 2018, 23:35
I have several non-working computer printers - probably with clogged inkjets.
Someone with the appropriate skill could probably revive them - though it seems to be cheaper to buy a complete new printer than a set of ink cartridges - ALDI has a current such offer.

And it depends on how you value your own time. I have on occasion revived inkjets. Involves mess, several passes with careful brushing & cycling thro' the printer, also replacing the little foam pads on which the printer heads rest. All right if you're feeling creative and have a free afternoon.
(I've found that making pastry afterwards is a good way of getting the ink stain off yer fingers. Offer this as tip of the day.)

krismiler
12th Dec 2018, 00:47
This is what happens to old lawnmower engines.

https://youtu.be/WAynvmMoWaA

Pontius Navigator
12th Dec 2018, 08:45
I have several non-working computer printers - probably with clogged inkjets.
Someone with the appropriate skill could probably revive them - though it seems to be cheaper to buy a complete new printer than a set of ink cartridges - ALDI has a current such offer.
I remember my first inkjet, £500, and well worth the trouble of trying to fix it. Now, as you say, all in one is peanuts.

Fareastdriver
12th Dec 2018, 09:37
though it seems to be cheaper to buy a complete new printer than a set of ink cartridges

That depends on how much ink the manufacturers installed ink cartridges have. The used to be about a quarter full; just enough to use it for a couple of times and then you had to troop off to the shop to buy a set that cost more then the printer.

Fortunately there are replacement options in fleabay.

Pontius Navigator
12th Dec 2018, 10:42
Adjusting the title slightly, yesterday, having put up 3 out of four shelves I needed 9 screws to finish the job.

Nothing for it but the wall of death, 6 miles up the A1 in increasingly murky conditions. Suddenly the traffic came to a standstill. It started to creep forward and we planned our escape down a side road a short distance ahead. As we got there we found the accident. A panel van had attempted to turn across the high speed traffic at a cross roads. It had collected a new car, with L plates, right under the van body.

When we came back the tailback was beyond our exit and second collision to compound the problems.

Ancient Observer
12th Dec 2018, 17:43
Er, Mr Navigator, whilst I am neither an engineer nor a scientist, (and I have enormous respect for them) one of the things that Dad did teach me was to plan a project. Er, isn't having enough screws a part of the plan?

ShyTorque
12th Dec 2018, 18:34
Most of us DIYers end up with all the screws having cross head drive heads - except the last one, which will be slotted head.

Bazzo
12th Dec 2018, 20:28
Most of us DIYers end up with all the screws having cross head drive heads - except the last one, which will be slotted head.

or end up with screws left over that were not really needed...

ShyTorque
12th Dec 2018, 21:44
That reminded me about the dreaded MFI flat pack furniture days. I bought an entire set of bedroom furniture in flat pack form. I built two sets of drawers, two bedside cabinets with drawers and a large wardrobe.

Because the quality of the MFI chipboard was really poor and other stuff I'd built was therefore flimsy, I used PVA glue on every joint and dowel, rather than merely relying on the factory dowels and screw fastenings to hold it all together, I PVA'd the fronts, backs, sides of all the drawers and outer cabinets to their bases, etc.

One the second day of the build I checked the strength of the finished items. The PVA had set like iron - perfect; there was now no chance of them ever coming apart.

When I came to build the last chest of drawers, the last side panel didn't look at all right. I quickly realised that I had been given two left handed ends in the box, rather than a left and a right. I got in touch with MFI who told me the pattern was now obsolete (it certainly wasn't when I bought it the week before) and the only way they could help me now was for me to return every item in the original boxes for a full refund!

I played absolute hell with them until they found an identical unit at another branch and gave me the right handed panel - it took weeks for them to find one. I never bought another item from that company.

Pontius Navigator
12th Dec 2018, 22:34
Er, Mr Navigator, whilst I am neither an engineer nor a scientist, (and I have enormous respect for them) one of the things that Dad did teach me was to plan a project. Er, isn't having enough screws a part of the plan?
I have 191_spare screws and the dog has 2.5 kg of chicken for her supper.

KenV
13th Dec 2018, 18:16
Based on the number of Home Depots and Lowes doing a brisk business and the countless auto parts stores doing a brisk business here, I'd say DIY is still very much alive and well in the USofA

ShyTorque
13th Dec 2018, 19:45
.........countless auto parts stores doing a brisk business here, I'd say DIY is still very much alive and well in the USofA

I'm not surprised. I've found that buying car parts from the USA, pre-paying import charges and having them shipped over can be considerably cheaper than buying them direct from a UK dealer.

Fantome
13th Dec 2018, 21:09
(Of course, that skill would not be so needed if wimyn would stop putting potato peels down the disposer.)

Potato peels . . how about the wife? . . . . after dissection ? It happened in Hill Street , Hobart, Van Diemen's Land in 1983 . HIS name was Rory Jack.

https://www.finder.com.au/safe-as-houses-99-hill-street-west-hobart

Pontius Navigator
13th Dec 2018, 21:23
Most of us DIYers end up with all the screws having cross head drive heads - except the last one, which will be slotted head.
Ancient Observer, and therein lies the answer. And yesterday?

Two new blinds were delivered including enough of the aforementioned screws to replenish my stock. They were of course cross slot screws but without the subtle Pozidrive mark. Confidently I chose the appropriate Philips blade. I then tried the next size. Best fit was of course pozidrive.

racedo
14th Dec 2018, 12:43
Based on the number of Home Depots and Lowes doing a brisk business and the countless auto parts stores doing a brisk business here, I'd say DIY is still very much alive and well in the USofA

But they get people to change oil every 3000 miles etc.

Jetstream67
14th Dec 2018, 13:42
But they get people to change oil every 3000 miles etc.
Never understood the USA oil change thing. The same engines go far longer elsewhere ?

Ancient Mariner
14th Dec 2018, 14:22
Never understood the USA oil change thing. The same engines go far longer elsewhere ?
Support the oil industry? Proudly made in...
Per

N707ZS
14th Dec 2018, 15:04
One thing about DIY you do the work and then have to clean up any mess. In my household no matter how fantastic the finished DIY job is if there is so much as one speck of dust on the carpet or dirt in the sink the aggravation is more than not doing the job in the first place!

ShyTorque
14th Dec 2018, 17:02
One thing about DIY you do the work and then have to clean up any mess. In my household no matter how fantastic the finished DIY job is if there is so much as one speck of dust on the carpet or dirt in the sink the aggravation is more than not doing the job in the first place!

In this house, as far as tidiness goes, there are two sets of rules. The rules applied to me don't apply to her. I sit in a small tidy corner while most of the house is full of her stuff. :rolleyes:

Pontius Navigator
14th Dec 2018, 18:00
N707ZS, our local tradesman is so messy my wife has banned him. He replaced some radon vents before we bought the house. Later our new puppy found where he had concealed the ones he removed.

However, SUCCESS, outfitted the pantry and returned everything to the right place. Clearly cleaned to Mrs PN's satisfaction as she was delighted.

tdracer
14th Dec 2018, 21:44
Based on the number of Home Depots and Lowes doing a brisk business and the countless auto parts stores doing a brisk business here, I'd say DIY is still very much alive and well in the USofA

I'm with Ken - there is a Home Depot about a half mile from my house, and it's always busy. The Lowes is a longer drive (but often worth it - it usually has a far better selection) and is similarly busy when I go there. Auto parts places do seem to be on the down swing - new cars are so complicated that even I don't often do much more than the basics myself anymore - and when I have done something major I tend to order the parts off the internet.
I had lunch with some of my former co-workers a couple days ago and the whole DYI thing come up in the discussions. It's true the younger generation is less into DYI (those under 40 often look in awe when I tell them about my latest project), but they are quick studies and when they figure out there is a youtube video that will show them how to do something in less than an hour with $20 worth of parts, that the 'pro' would charge a few hundred and couldn't get to it until next week - they decide DYI isn't a bad deal.

BTW, the only people I know who routinely change oil every 3,000 miles are the ones with older 'classic' cars - often 1960s or 1970s vintage. Hard to argue with the wisdom of changing the oil and filter ever 3,000 miles when they have over a quarter million miles on the odometer and the engine is still original...

Gertrude the Wombat
14th Dec 2018, 22:18
youtube video that will show them how to do something in less than an hour
Which has quite likely killed off some professions - one of ours taught himself to play the guitar really quite well from free online lessons. We'd have paid for a "proper" teacher if he'd asked, but he didn't want one.

IFMU
14th Dec 2018, 23:43
BTW, the only people I know who routinely change oil every 3,000 miles are the ones with older 'classic' cars - often 1960s or 1970s vintage.
I have two cars from the '90s and two motorcycles from the 80s. They are still going with their 3000 mile oil changes. Do people just buy new cars in the UK? How do you afford flying?

The 3 auto parts stores by me seem to do a good business. I always have to wait for my turn at the counter.

Pontius Navigator
15th Dec 2018, 08:52
IFMU, yes they do just buy new cars. The car dealers discovered a magic money tree. What I haven't worked out yet is what happens to all the 3 year old cars.

My previous car, 15 years, was burning oil. The change interval was 9,000 but I reckoned I had a running change in that time. I was also advised to go for higher viscosity synthetic oil. I could check the level electronically or via dipstick. The newer, 12 year old, model does not have a dipstick. In fact you don't need to lift the bonnet as the computer monitors everything for you (but not the tyre pressure).

krismiler
15th Dec 2018, 09:27
I was also advised to go for higher viscosity synthetic oil.

Usually quite acceptable on an older engine, newer ones with VVTI and multiple camshafts need thin oil to be able to flow through all the narrow passage ways. A good old 20W50 would be like filling them with tar and result in rapid wear through oil starvation.

I've just done my bit for DIY and replaced the handle on my washing machine door for a fiver and a trip to the spares department. Took around 15 minutes. As stated in earlier posts, plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to do it and the saving over calling out a repair man was considerable.

treadigraph
15th Dec 2018, 09:42
I replaced the door on a washing machine a few years ago with a very reasonably priced spare from a local white goods repair specialist. Another fault manifested itself a couple of years later which was beyond my simple mechanical skills so I popped into see them, could they visit to repair? What's the fault? How old's the machine? Nah son, do yourself a favour and get a new one from Allders - cheaper in the long run.

Webby737
15th Dec 2018, 12:08
I wonder if that is because you didn't have the right screwdriver. I only recently learned about JIS screws.

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/667x455/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_10_01__178a3825fb9efce00e7dffe1 d786206c9d2c23c5.png

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/691x366/screen_shot_2018_12_05_at_17_08_20__7e047e52f81b81c7052399bb f880bb8cf0165da2.png


https://www.webbikeworld.com/jis-screwdrivers/
No, Jap bikes of that era had screws made of what appeared to be cheese. Just show them a screwdriver and the head would round off.
Not only was an impact driver essential but it also taught me how to drill off a screw head correctly. This paid dividends when I started my aircraft engineering apprenticeship :)

krismiler
15th Dec 2018, 14:02
there is a youtube video that will show them how to do something in less than an hour with $20 worth of parts, that the 'pro' would charge a few hundred and couldn't get to it until next week - they decide DYI isn't a bad deal.

Those parts are also much easier to obtain using the internet, instead of having to go to a succession of suppliers until you find one that has it in stock, all kinds of spares can be searched for online including for obsolete models. Some merchants allow you to search by uploading a picture of what you want, which it compares with its database. Problems with particular items become known about through forums and repair kits can be specifically designed and sold to solve them.

Some manufacturers are making it increasingly difficult to obtain parts and manuals, and do their best to make their products impossible to fix. When I bought the handle for my washing machine door, there was a sign saying that they would not supply major parts for their appliances and referred you to a repair service. Consumables and minor service items were okay, but motors and control units were not.

These guys are opposing this. https://ifixit.org/right

Pontius Navigator
15th Dec 2018, 16:10
krismiler, my best internet buy was a wing mirror glass. The original was heated, self dimming 3rd but the oil was leaking. A new one was Kirk £300. Once I had the part number, internet search, one on eBay exactly what I needed under £100. Then I sold the u/s one back on eBay.
​​​​​

KelvinD
15th Dec 2018, 23:39
Speaking of DIY; I am having a spot of bother with a troublesome cistern valve. (I suspect youngest son crossed threads when replacing same some time ago). I thought I would replace it and went off to Homebase. Lots of different varieties but couldn't find input pipe size specified on any of them. I gave up with the intention of doing the same thing at B & Q in the morning but, browsing their on line catalogue, I see they are all spec'd at 1/2". I was sure all my plumbing in the house was 50mm. Can anyone confirm if it is standard in the UK to have 1/2" pipes in a house only 25 years old, or is there a 50mm fitting famine at the DIY stores?

G-CPTN
15th Dec 2018, 23:53
50mm is a heck of a size for domestic water supply.
Perhaps you are confusing 15mm with 1/2" - there is a degree of interchangeability (usually a different gland for compression fittings).

tdracer
16th Dec 2018, 05:08
What G-CPTN said! Largest fresh water pipe I've come across was 3/4", and that was the main supply line in a 50 year old house. My current abode doesn't have anything larger than 1/2" (not quite 40 years old).
Currently have an unplanned DIY project going - big wind storm last night and it took out 24 ft. of my wooden back fence. They put in a retention pond behind my property about 20 years ago - so now the ground along the back properly line is wet all winter long and even the pressure treated posts eventually rot out. The worst part is digging out the old post concrete caps - a real pain (literally - my back is not happy right now).

421dog
16th Dec 2018, 05:39
Have 1.25” coming into the house, and 3/4” distributing to the various zones. (1” to our 360,000 BTU tankless heater that feeds half the house)

on the DIY note, if I want to get any work done at my hangar (3 phase power, where my good tools live), I have to go at off hours to avoid the endless stream of supplicants looking for household repairs involving simple machine work or welding.

nobody seems to be able to do it himself, and we no longer have machine shops that do itinerant work.

Uplinker
16th Dec 2018, 07:44
..............I see they are all spec'd at 1/2". I was sure all my plumbing in the house was 50mm. Can anyone confirm if it is standard in the UK to have 1/2" pipes in a house only 25 years old, or is there a 50mm fitting famine at the DIY stores?

Yeah, as others have said, the modern equivalent for 1/2” pipe is 15mm, NOT 50mm, which is 2” !!

I think the 15mm is the outside diameter of the pipe, whereas the 1/2” was internal diameter of the old standard.

KelvinD
16th Dec 2018, 07:46
G-CPTN: You are right, of course! I had been discussing some other stuff with my brother earlier and my mind must have been stuck in the 50mm rut! I went to bed shortly after writing and found myself wondering "Did I really write 50mm?"

Pontius Navigator
16th Dec 2018, 09:06
Our house is new. It doesn't stop the builders using whatever is to hand. The input is blue plastic, through large black plastic fittings to white plastic. Our real plumber changed some of the latter under the sink to 22mm copper reducing to 15mm copper to feed water softener, dish washer and taps, with white plastic return to feed the house. He has changed all the outlets at taps etc to copper tails and isolating valves.

The original 'experts ' had omitted some isolating valves including, crucially, the one to the outside tap. Probably didn't have enough in his kit.

VP959
16th Dec 2018, 09:13
The 1/2" referred to on a ball valve or equivalent isn't the pipe size but the size of the thread, 1/2" BSPM usually. This means it has a 1/2" BSPM threaded section poking out for the pipe to connect to, either with a tap connector with internal washer, or with a bit of flexible pipe that has a 1/2" BSPF end fitting, with an integral rubber washer. The tap connector will already be on the end of the pipe if you're replacing an existing valve, but the chances are that the internal fibre washer may be shot, as they are pennies it's worth always fitting a new one when you take the fitting apart.

1/2" BSPM and 3/4" BSPM have been the standard thread sizes on this type of fitting since long before pipe sizes went metric, so unless you're replacing the pipe you usually don't need to worry about what size it is. The metric equivalents to the old 1/2" and 3/4" bore copper water pipe are 15mm and 22mm OD, which are close, but not quite the same diameter. You can get metric compression fittings to work just fine on old imperial size pipe, just by using an imperial size olive in place of the metric one that comes with the fitting. Imperial olives are still available from most plumbers merchants.

treadigraph
16th Dec 2018, 10:01
Some considerable time after my mum had a washing machine feed fitted to the kitchen sink cold supply by a plumber, she noticed there had been a small but persistent leak somewhere in the cupboard. I traced it to the actual washing machine tap which had been utterly bodged - he'd added a T to the cold feed perfectly properly (15mm onto 1/2") but for some reason had made a right pigs ear of the tap fitting, plenty of gunge to try and seal it. I replaced everything from the T onwards (including the washing machine hose), problem solved. Unfortunately I eventually had to replace the cupboard base unit which had been ruined by the leak.

VP959
16th Dec 2018, 10:22
Just realised that I should have clarified the actual thread sizes above, as they are not as they may seem in reality. A 1/2" BSP threaded fitting has a major diameter of 7/8" and a 3/4" BSP threaded fitting has a major diameter of 31/32", so a lot larger than their stated size might tend to suggest. It all goes back to the way British pipes and their fittings used to be specified by their nominal bore, rather than the outside diameter, as is now the case with metric pipe (but not threaded fittings for metric pipe, which are still in Imperial thread sizes).

racedo
16th Dec 2018, 17:35
What G-CPTN said! Largest fresh water pipe I've come across was 3/4", and that was the main supply line in a 50 year old house. My current abode doesn't have anything larger than 1/2" (not quite 40 years old).
Currently have an unplanned DIY project going - big wind storm last night and it took out 24 ft. of my wooden back fence. They put in a retention pond behind my property about 20 years ago - so now the ground along the back properly line is wet all winter long and even the pressure treated posts eventually rot out. The worst part is digging out the old post concrete caps - a real pain (literally - my back is not happy right now).

Saw something on line for Sika Post MIx which is goodfor new posts............... looked the business on youtube.

VP959
16th Dec 2018, 18:04
A friend swears by Post Savers (https://www.postsaver.com/), a bitumen-like, heat-shrink sleeve that covers the bit of the post where it goes into the ground (and where posts usually rot, right at ground level). I've not used them, but intend to give them a go next time our fence posts need to be replaced. I agree with the above that modern pressure-treated timber preservatives are hopeless when compared to the older stuff (that's now banned).

sitigeltfel
16th Dec 2018, 18:30
Our downstairs loo has a suspended toilet pan bolted to the wall and the seat had come loose. The nuts were so inaccessible that to tighten them I had to break my arm in two places, chop off three fingers and ruin a perfectly good socket set!

(Only kidding about the socket set).

Loose rivets
16th Dec 2018, 18:33
For the most part one can get away with 1/2 and 15, but definitely NOT 3/4 and 22. Expensive softer copper alloy olives are best. I used water-pump grease on all my compression fittings' threads. There is a 3/4 to 22mm converter in soldered joint. They (or a specific one, I can't remember) can be soldered one end and inserted into compression joints on't t'other.

My Essex home had three 1-1/4" pipes running the length of the house. One big bore cold and two hot to give circulation around the airing cupboard and towel rail. It worked fine for the old days when 500 gallons of heating oil was 35 quid. That is not a mistake - and I got Green Shield stamps.

It was nice to have instant hot at any tap, but when I had gas connected the huge boiler was far too expensive to let this circulation happen all day long. In summer, it was on for 2/3rds of the time that the heating ran for. Just couldn't believe it. Just shows how inefficient the system was. So, I set about fitting control valves for a long and a short circulation. In hindsight, that was totally OTT as just one cut off would have been fine. The valves were controlled by tiny 12v buttons in the tiles in each bathroom. Press one and it let the water gravitate around. Press two and the water was rushed via a Grundfos pump (which had to be bronze for constant new water. )

My pal had built the house ten years before as a quasi American concept house. I spent the rest of my time there trying to keep the American advantages, but make it look more Frintony. Hard to do with such fantastic homes in the town.
Anyway, after 10 years even the big bore pipes were furring up. Opening up joints here and there gave me a shock, but also forewarning. I found a watersoftener in the local for 60 quid and installed that. Then I overheated Big Bessie the boiler (also 60 quid) a few times over the next weeks. The 3/4 taps on the furthest bathroom allowed the calcium bits to flow out, and I removed BUCKETSFULL of the stuff over this time. Later plumbing revealed perfect clear copper inside for the next quarter of a century. Even our old AEG washer was like new when I scrapped it. That old Permutitt really did its stuff, though guests moaned that they couldn't stop their soap foaming when rinsing off. Can't please everyone.

The best test for water softening was how one's comb slipped through freshly washed hair. Seriously, that was better than all the testing kits.

I wrote a manual for the new owner as he'd said he'd like the zoning etc., but I don't really think he was impressed with all the 12v control system. (It was going to be totally voice controlled but in those days the voice recognition to an ISA PC relay board was somewhat futuristic.) I feel fairly sure the new owner would have ripped out the lot and put in a large modern COMBI or the like. Shame, but then, he'd ripped out my den's panelled walls.

I spent months of my life plumbing, pressurising the pipes upto 100psi for a week or so on test. Soldered joints were all done with good flux and very expensive solder. All wiped to a fine silver line. What I can't believe is I didn't take one photo of the finished job - despite disassembling much of the boilerhouse so I could have white walls with the shiny copper on top. Yes, I think I did give it a shine as well.

As I said before, not really something that earns a fortune, not at the speed I work, but something I was compelled to do after hearing a conversation in a crew bus in the 60's. A skipper was telling his FO how to do a compression joint. Yes, I could do that, thought I. It altered my life.

Pontius Navigator
16th Dec 2018, 19:02
Built a deck about 12 years ago and had to dismantle it last year. No post had rotted. A couple of posts, set in postcrete, could be lifted cleanly from the waterlogged concrete and reused. I think total anaerobic immersion acted as a preservative. On other posts I was careful to bring the concrete above ground level. In this case the post wasn't saturated and again no rot.

Loose rivets
16th Dec 2018, 19:16
Good old Creosote. Pre-vac'd wood, and any cuts and ends dipped in the now illegal brew.

Post concrete. Yes, it's a tricky point. A neighbour's guest knocked over my US mailbox a while back. He bought me such a nice bottle of wine, I said he could do it every week.

The neighbour used a petrol auger to make a super 10" hole and I used up a bit of wood I'd been saving for such an occasion. 10 X 3 it was, so let any urchin with a baseball bat have a go at that.

The concrete was not special, but raised to a slope. I prepared a kind of trough against the wood and let it go off. When it was dry, I forced silicone sealant into that trough, pushing so hard some would go into the shrunken wood's gap.

Then I got a new steel postbox.

Then a Mockingbird made it its duty to sit on it every day and shit contentedly - while it mocked.

Pontius Navigator
16th Dec 2018, 19:31
At around the age of 10 I was despatched on the local bus to the gas works to have the creosote flaggon, cylindrical metal tin with conical top, a ring handle and cork bung, refilled and return by bus.

Helped father paint the fence, the pavement and myself.

We survived.

Ancient Mariner
16th Dec 2018, 20:26
https://kebony.com/us/
Used above in two bathrooms, one in which we shower directly onto the wood. The one used is called Radiata. Needs a little coat of oil once a year to maintain the lustre.
Also used for a terrace, no maintenance required, taking on a nice teak silver gray.
Only thing, holes must be pre-drilled.
If I remember correctly they'll give a 30 year guarantee.
Per

IFMU
17th Dec 2018, 22:07
DIY landing gear fairings.
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/576x432/f9_complete_f3240b8d03bb1a60f9350b22c82df0dc7a5b6837.jpg
These were a pain to polish. Apologies for aviation content.

Waiex 191