Posts Tagged With: DIY

ScrapHappy July 2021: Palletgate V2.0 Update

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I'm involved)

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I’m involved)

You’d forgotten, hadn’t you? Well, that makes two of us. In March 2020, when so much happened and then nothing happened at all for months and months, I wrote a little ScrapHappy post entitled ScrapHappy March 2020: Palletgate V2.0. There was a suggestion that, in the near future, Palletgate would be rebuilt, stronger, tougher and more pallety than ever before. Well…

Welcome to the near future. In it, pallets have given way (not literally, at least not in this project) to something altogether shinier (when polished): aluminium (or aluminum, if you prefer). The problem with Palletgate Version 1 (apart from the obvious one of being built by an idiot hammer-wielding optimist) was that without further treatment of the wood, it was bound to rot as it isn’t good quality. In Wales, well, we have our fair share (and also that of England’s) of rain, so the idea of building a new one just for it to rot (even if I were to finally prime and paint it) seemed a bit silly**.

Then I wondered if I could repurpose the old bits of staging from the long now-replaced-with-the-Limery greenhouse to make a shiny new gate to keep our currently non-existent chickens* away from the raised beds. Made of lightweight non-rusting aluminium, these bits seemed ideal, so I investigated the pile of potential material further. The original leg sections could be bolted together, in ways that wouldn’t make sense if you were making staging but made PERFECT sense if you’re making the frame for a gate. I reckoned I could probably use some of the old struts as supports for the mesh (recycled from Palletgate version 1), and maybe use them for hinge supports too. Time would tell…

All the World's a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

All the World’s a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

We did indeed appear to have the technology. We COULD rebuild Palletgate. It WOULD cost 64 pence, with change for a small beer.***

Extra bits and pieces

Extra bits and pieces

There were also some (potentially) handy extras too. I also used nuts, washers and screws from a set I bought about twenty years ago, one which has already outlived its original case (which was the subject of this ScrapHappy).

You know what? This might just work...

You know what? This might just work…

I tested to see if two bits of the staging could form half the gate – they could, so I set about bolting them together, using the pre-existing holes and new bolts, since the originals had all snapped (I know that feeling!) when I removed them.

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time...

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time…

Having created the framework, I figured out a way to attach the hinges. The gate is so light that the existing hinges, that had bent a little under the weight of the old pallet, were perfect for this incarnation. Now to attach the mesh, a remnant from PalletGate version 1.

A Complete Mesh

A Complete Mesh

The mesh fitted on easily but needed some support as it was, to use the technical term, “a bit flappy”. This had been a problem with the first gate, with various extra supports being added over its life. I tried to find the focal points of the flappiness and clamp them with some of the original support struts from the staging.

Strutting its stuff - trying to stop the mesh flapping about

Strutting its stuff – trying to stop the mesh flapping about

I also added one of the tops of the staging to dampen any movement at the top of the mesh.

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

Finally (oh, how you have longed to see those words in this post), I cut a couple of grooves and constructed a gate latch from other leftover staging bits.



I’m not sure if this will be the final design of latch but it works for now. I do have an idea to improve it, but that is possibly for a later ScrapHappy!

It's Gatier than you Think

It actually looks like a real gate!

But, what should this new gate be called? StagingGate? AluGate? Well, it is Partly Aluminium, Lightweight and has the usual DIY vibe of LET‘s-see-how-long-this-lasts Gate, so perhaps we can abbreviate this to:


What else could it be called? Palletgate (version 1) is dead. Long live Palletgate (version 2)!


* So much easier to look after than extant chickens and produce almost as many eggs as ours did in the last year of their lives.

** Problem is, I do silly really well.

*** Small, bordering on non-existent at today’s prices.

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

ScrapHappy March 2021: I just can’t stand it…

Many, many years ago, I built a water butt stand that steadfastly refused to do what any decent DIY project undertaken by an incompetent should do – completely collapse after five minutes. I know, that is decidedly NOT playing the game. I think I built the stand nearly twenty years ago when we installed our Window Operating Cistern *† (a hosepipe that you can open a window and pull in to fill the toilet cistern). The stand has had one or two minor repairs and this one is no exception, except it has an element of happy scrappiness to it.

You see the two bits of fresh wood that will be the new support on one side, replacing the rotten timber?

They were part of the packing around our new oven.

Some jiggery-pokery later and ta dah! Fixed. I even managed to reuse one or two of the screws. I guess when the other side goes, I’ll just order a new oven!


Reunited – water butt reconnected and looking a little like Borg‡


* Patent applied for

† Patent refused with the message “Stop sending us rubbish like this!”

‡ Alien assimilators rather than Swedish tennis players

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

ScrapHappy December 2020: Platform Soul


Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

When Bones* said “It’s a shelf Jim, but not as we know it!”, it wasn’t in the script and no one knew what the hell DeForest was going on about. But he had seen into the future (or was it back to the past?), to this very post. Probably.

As my regular reader will know, there once were some shelves in the kitchen at Chez Snail, which supported many books and cooking pots until the “many books” became “too many books” and the whole lot turned into a bit of a mess. One of those shelves became, in part, a mini-ironing board for the Snail (see here and here for further details).

But you can’t keep a good shelf down and yet another part of it has channelled its very essence, its soul if you will, to become a useful bit of, well, floor. Certainly, a platform of sorts. As you can see from the picture above, there is one of those annoying spaces in the bathroom which isn’t really useful for anything. There is a towel rack that fits over the raised carpet bit, with its fourth leg supported on an upturned pot (and usually a whole load of other “stuff” scattered on the floor):

Slightly potty

Slightly potty

So, to create the platform, I took the remains of the shelf and cut it (again). Annoyingly, the space it was to fit in was not actually an exact rectangle, so I ended up with a piece of ex-shelf that was ever-so-slightly rhomboid in nature.

Shelf (thinks): "Here we go again..."

Shelf (thinks): “Here we go again…”

I was also able to use an offcut from the bath panelling that I fitted back in the days when my DIY had a limited range of swear words at its disposal. This provided a front panel and a couple of blocky feet for the back (that, mercifully, no one can see).

3 piece jigsaw

3 piece jigsaw

Primed and then painted the lovely pelt colour we have used for other things – yes, PalletTable and PalletCart spring to mind – finally that gap can now have a towel rack and other stuff on it.

Platform 1

Platform 1


What’s left to do with what’s left of the shelf now? Time and ScrapHappy will tell…


* Star Trek, not David Boreanaz.

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

ScrapHappy November 2020: Board of Things

Plank stupidity - a shelf, fallen from grace (well, the wall)

Plank stupidity – a shelf, fallen from grace (well, the wall)

When the Roman Empire fell, it was replaced, after a fashion, with another one. When the Ottoman Empire fell, it was replaced by DFS*. When our kitchen shelves fell, they were replaced with a superb set of cupboards, with a built-on bookcase.

And what happened to the shelves, you ask. No, you don’t ask do you, because you already know.

I kept them.

Many years later, and the Snail is in need of a new ironing board, but a little one, to iron little things with a little iron. So, armed with an old shelf, a jigsaw** and a lexicon of new and improved swear words, I set about this allegedly very simple task. First, I sliced the shelf to the right size, then removed the bits where the brackets used to fit et voilá! After sanding down and removing both the old bracket fixings (for use as feet in the end product), it was over to the Snail for the softscrappy bit – read about that here – it involves repurposed fabric and upholstery tacks!

Getting jiggysawry with it

Getting jiggysawry with it

Clamping up the action

Clamping up the action

One made-to-measure mini-ironing board kit, ready for the attention of the Snail

One made-to-measure mini-ironing board kit, ready for the attention of the Snail

And (I know this will come as a shock) but there was pretty much no swearing! Crikey…


* Furniture-related joke, but if I have to explain…

** Two pieces only, one of which is quite sharp.

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

ScrapHappy October 2020: On the Rack


Does what it says on the box

Of an evening at Chez Snail, there are a variety of entertainments to be enjoyed, with some coming out of a box rather than a bottle. One such amusement is Qwirkle, which in stark contrast to our other favoured game of Scrabble, has no interest in correct spelling whatsoever. It’s a great game, simple to understand and uses different parts of the brain compared to Scrabble. You have to match up coloured tiles for points. And points mean, er, very little really.

Unlike Scrabble, the game does not come with any type of tile holder (not a long-lost cousin of the lead singer of Slade) and it is this deficiency I address in this post.

I think it was a pen holder or something originally

I think it was a pen holder or something originally

It was one of those ScrapHappy coincidences, in fact. A few days before, the Snail had been clearing through her office/sewing room/SnailCave and had come across a piece of an old easel she used to use when teaching. Most of the rest of said easel was propping up the pipe feeding rainwater to one of our water butts. “Can you think of anything that this bit of metal might be useful for?” she asked, and I, in my customary way, had shrugged and put it in my office/workshop/studio/unholy-mess-of-a-room for safekeeping.

If this were a radio programme, there would be “time passing” music now.

Days pass and we are playing Qwirkle in the Limery, tiles balanced end-on, occasionally falling over (the tiles, not us. We sit down to play, it means the wine has less far to travel.). The Snail mentions about having tile racks and a lightbulb goes on over my head – well, it’s dark and the Snail has put the lights on. I head to my writing space/junk pile/guitar store and emerge with the piece from the old easel.

By chance, the tiles fit perfectly. A ScrapHappy post is born!


About to get the chop

Figuring out some support

Figuring out some support

I cut the metal into two racks and used the rest to provide angled supports. As the tiles fitted exactly into the racks, there was no space for a nut and bolt to hold the supports on so I used superglue.

Unbelievably, there was almost no swearing during this phase of the project. No, really.

Two days later, one of the supports fell off, to absolutely no one’s surprise. There may have been a little swearing then. I used sugru to reattach it. Oddly, the other rack has remained in one piece.

After all that, time for a game of Qwirkle and a long drink!


Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

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