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DIY repairs - sometimes better than the original

 
steward
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The plastic handle on my crockpot lid broke while the darn thing was practically new. I searched online for a replacement and found many, many other owners searching for a new handle, too, though not many options. Grrr.

Then, Paul made me a handle out of a branch from a maple tree. It has lasted over three years. I think I was lucky to get a year out of the plastic original.

I would love to see other pics of what folks have fixed and made better in the process.

crockpot-handle.jpg
using a branch to replace a broken handle in the cooker
crockpot handle by Paul
 
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That is very romantic. I like the idea of fixing a thing for someone in a way that they can not help but be reminded of you when they use the object. Most repairs try to blend in as much as possible, it is very "Paul" to make a repair that stands out so intentionally.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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nathan luedtke wrote:That is very romantic. I like the idea of fixing a thing for someone in a way that they can not help but be reminded of you when they use the object. Most repairs try to blend in as much as possible, it is very "Paul" to make a repair that stands out so intentionally.



Shhh! Don't tell Paul he did something romantic!
 
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Broken water hose sprayer? Easy fix:



 
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Nice fix! I have a sprayer just like that. I was gonna have my buddy 3D print me a new handle, but i like the hardwood version. I just need some Black Locust wood!
 
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There is a Japanese tradition called Kintsugi, where you take a broken piece of pottery and repair it with gold. It saves the pottery from being discarded and makes it even more valuable. I love how you have taken mundane broken items and made them into functional art. I'm inspired.
 
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Nice handles Paul! It looks like you have a severed foot laying around in the shop, careful with those saws!

I have often used wooden dowels to act like corks for old glass bottles (old medicine bottles) that don't have a lid. If you get a dowel about the right size it doesn't require much sanding (if any). It seals very nicely and looks great.

 
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I don't know how many times when a bona-fide, brand new thingie just doesn't work right, needs tweaking, or breaks either in the process of installation or shortly afterward.
Plumbing and electric stuff seem particularly bad at this, to the point where I begin to suspect a cabal or conspiracy whose purpose is to frustrate the DIY'er into giving up and blowing money calling in a professional. Time and again, my jerry-rigged fixit outperforms and outlasts what I buy new.
Example: ANY plumbing leak, splice, or joint, between similar or dissimilar pipe materials, carrying whatever (water, steam, gas, etc.) can be fixed with one thing: long strips of bike inner tube....wrapped tightly round and round the joint or leak. If the splice is in a hose or something else outside, follow the innertube with a wrap of duct tape, which resists sun much better....sun is the enemy of rubber.
 
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Ryan Workman wrote:I have often used wooden dowels to act like corks for old glass bottles (old medicine bottles) that don't have a lid. If you get a dowel about the right size it doesn't require much sanding (if any). It seals very nicely and looks great.



Sounds great! But how do you prevent the dowel from falling inside the bottle? I was thinking of doing something like this but I thought I'd have to whittle or sand it to make a little thinner at one end and a little too thick to fall in at the other.
 
nathan luedtke
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Via this article in nytimes about a design exposition focused on "fixing things" I was reminded of this thread. Has anyone else come across or created interesting or attractive repairs recently?

The article mentions the Japanese art of Tsukoroi which translates as "darning, mending, fixing".



One notable version of Tsukoroi is Kintsugi- the mending of broken pottery using precious metal inlays. This was mentioned earlier in the thread, here's a representative image:

 
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I re manufacture most demolition tools. The tips are never ground properly. Often the angle of the foot of pry bars is set so that when used, the other end hits the floor or wall before prying a very large gap. I beat it with a sledgehammer to get a nice sweep to the handle. Fire hardening and oil quenching finishes the job.

I often salvage nice clear mahogany boards from 50s vintage houses. They are typically painted on one face and on both edges. Old dressers with stained and gouged tops come up regularly. I nail the boards painted side down to the dresser top. Cut off the ends and round corners with a belt sander. That's the extent of my furniture building skills. Lots of bang for the buck with this trick.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Had to add these pictures of the mailbox handle Fred made for the base camp mailbox. Thanks Fred!!

I'm not sure that my second quick pic this morning is the best to show how he even carved it to snap perfectly and snugly under the latch at top. Beauty!!

basecamp-mailbox-wood-handle-20161017.jpg
base camp mailbox replacement wood handle
base camp mailbox replacement wood handle
basecamp-mailbox-wood-handle-notched-20161017.jpg
sweet detail at top allows handle to snap under the top part of the latch
sweet detail at top allows handle to snap under the top part of the latch
 
paul wheaton
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Stumbled across this thread today and remembered seeing the lid recently, so I went back and grabbed a pic of how it is doing now.

Note that I did not peel off the bark, nor did oil it.  I think this repair is now about 12 years old.

crock-pot-lid-repaired.jpg
crock pot lid knob repair
crock pot lid knob repair
 
paul wheaton
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Posted to reddit and somebody asked for plans for 3-d printing this style of handle.  And somebody else provided this:

 
master steward
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I was wondering where to post this, and then a fellow permie pointed me at this thread:

I have a canning kettle that I use outside on my corn-cooker for scalding ducks when processing. Its lid is heavy with tiny handles that are hugely difficult for me to handle safely with only one hand. I don't need, nor want, the locking mechanism when using the pot this way.



Imagine getting that lid off with one hand while holding a sopping wet Muscovy Drake in the other!

I needed something better...



My neighbour gave me this old pizza pan, and the handle was from an old pot. It's light as can be, and I can grab that handle even while wearing heat-resistant gloves!



One of these days, I've got a Gander I might just test it on!
 
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I love posts like these, it inspired me to take a walk around my place to hunt for some Wabi-sabi fixes.

Turns out the things I love the most are actually things I have fixed.  

Looking at my little collection here I also realize the fixes were things that took me no time at all to do - from under 1 minute to a half an hour for the mattress.



Clockwise from upper right:

1. When I see something ugly I just put a sweater arm on it.  I do this with vases, mugs, essential oil diffusers, anything that does not make me happy when I look at it. I don't even sew the bottom, just tuck it under but of course you can sew it if you want to.

2. Simple chipped pottery fix with a sharpie.  The trick is getting the color combination that makes you happy.  This small bowl is now my favorite snack bowl as I love the balance of the gray and bright blue.  It has been through the dishwasher daily for a year and my quick fix has not faded.

3. Elevate things you want to keep dry.  I did this with my "Not Forever" wool kitchen sponge on its teak tray. Stacking materials with different textures and finishes somehow makes them individually more special.  The ceramic base was an old business card holder and its perfect for catching any drips from my up-cycled wool sponges.

My mattress fix was may favorite fix because I get to enjoy the repair every night.
https://openyoureyesbedding.com/blogs/news/wabi-sabi-your-mattress



 
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Lynne Cim wrote:Simple chipped pottery fix with a sharpie.  The trick is getting the color combination that makes you happy.  This small bowl is now my favorite snack bowl as I love the balance of the gray and bright blue.  It has been through the dishwasher daily for a year and my quick fix has not faded.



Lynne, how did the sharpie fix the bowl? At first, I was thinking it was a paint pen and maybe the paint filled in the cracks?
 
Lynne Cim
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Gina,  The chip was white and the bowl just looked damaged so I simply colored it with a mix of green and blue sharpie so the chip became more of a decoration and now this little bowl is back on the shelf and back in use.  Not technically repaired so that it back to being glazed and impermeable but good enough for me to still use and enjoy eating my peanuts out of
 
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I have a bench top belt/disc sander from Harbor Freight that I was given. The table in front of the disc was floppy and would not hold my work piece square to the table.

I over engineered the fix, because I had some 3x4 angle iron. But I cut a short piece of that and used a door hinge to remount the table on the angle iron. I was able to reattach the original angle setting device.

The table is now rock steady!
 
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Lynne Cim wrote:I love posts like these, it inspired me to take a walk around my place to hunt for some Wabi-sabi fixes.

Turns out the things I love the most are actually things I have fixed...  

My mattress fix was may favorite fix because I get to enjoy the repair every night.
https://openyoureyesbedding.com/blogs/news/wabi-sabi-your-mattress



Lynne, the mattress does look different, but what exactly did you do to improve it, beside put a mattress cover on it? I have a mattress that hubby and I HATE. It's uncomfortable, lumpy, and despite being turned(though it can't be flipped upside down), it's developed more 'potholes' than a Chicago Street. Yours definitely looks poofier in the after.
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:  Then, Paul made me a handle out of a branch from a maple tree. It has lasted over three years. I think I was lucky to get a year out of the plastic original.
I would love to see other pics of what folks have fixed and made better in the process.  



Well there are a lot of simple things manufactured whereby no one thought of the purchaser/user.
Take a very simple butter dish.

I bought the one in the picture with no knob to lift the cover - and it always seemed that I had greasy or oily fingers when trying to open the dish. I sure this was engineered to death and corporate people and engineers made thousands of dollars to make this SIMPLE butter dish, well SIMPLE.  NOT!!!

I found a Knob by browsing Menards hardware for pulls, etc.
I use a good glue around the knob and it is NOW SIMPLE to open the butter dish.
And I think the pull made it clasy enough to sit on anyone's table, especially mine!  
Butter_Dish.JPG
[Thumbnail for Butter_Dish.JPG]
 
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Take the guess-work out of seed-starting with these beautiful and ingenious SELF WATERING terracotta seed pots! Get 10% off when you sign up for our super awesome newsletter.
https://ortakitchengarden.com/
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