Posts Tagged With: DIY

Mend It Monday: Achieving Speedweaving

Holey sock, Batman!

Holey sock, Batman!

I know that I don’t treat my socks well, they have a hard life and then go to pieces or, like Cobbler Bob*, end up with a hole in their sole. The Snail tried out one of the new-fangled** Speedweve devices a while ago (see here for the gory details) and it worked very well.

With another inevitable hole or two appearing in one of my socks, it was time to see if the idea that “any fool can use it” was true.

Enter one fool…

The Snail showed me the ropes, well, the yarn and the hooks.

The Snail showed me the ropes, well, the yarn and the hooks.

Now it was my turn... gulp...

Now it was my turn… gulp…

First hole woven closed

First hole woven closed

So, now it was time to go it alone… tea was definitely required…

So, now it was time to go it alone… tea was definitely required…

Here we go, no help (The Snail had fled the building), no safety net...

Here we go, no help (The Snail had fled the building), no safety net…

All done!

Both holes mended and there was no swearing! IS this a DIY first?

Both holes mended and there was no swearing! IS this a DIY first?

So, yes, a Speedweve IS so easy, a fool can use it.

Did I just darn my first sock ever? Yes, I did!

Am I ridiculously pleased with myself for having done it? Yes. Yes, I am.


* Comedian Adam Buxton did a Lego reconstruction (and the voices) of David Bowie planning his next character after Ziggy Stardust. It’s here and it’s brilliant.

** Actually old-fangled.

Categories: repair, Sewing | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Mend it Monday: Bog Standard



This is a short Mend it Monday about a toilet so there will be no sniggering at the back…*

A day or two ago, one of the hinges on the toilet seat broke. I believe that this is the toilet seat that the house was built with (well, I think they used the usual gamut of tools to actually build the house but you know what I mean), making it 30 years old. Although I can’t complain, I will, because it meant some DIY for me.

I wasn’t about to replace the whole seat, or toilet, or indeed house, so looked for toilet seat hinges online. Someone asked the perfectly sage question: “Are they a standard size?” The answer? “Yes, probably, unless there’re not, in which case no, not at all.”


Finding a set of hinges that looked like they might fit, I took the plunge (not something I would normally do in relation to a toilet, but there we are) and ordered them. A day later, I was ready for a mend that really should be straightforward, right?

This new seat is rubbish, it seems to be missing something.... actually, it is an old shelf to ensure I end up with the same number of screwdrivers as I started with

This new seat is rubbish, it seems to be missing something…. actually, it is an old shelf to ensure I end up with the same number of screwdrivers as I started with

Undo eight screws. Well, seven unscrewed. The eighth no longer seemed to have a screwhead that conformed to the normal laws of screwdrivers, or indeed physics in general. Eventually, after ten minutes of potty-mouthed poetry, I ended up prising the thing out, leaving the hole the screw used to occupy a bit larger.

There's always one

There’s always one

Now remove the two bolts that hold the hinges onto the toilet itself. Ah, well, there’s only one as the other became brittle and shattered about six months ago. I could not find a sensible way of obtaining another bolt of the same size (without buying a whole set of hinges) and so improvised: I used sugru (pink, no less!) to hold the fixing on. Now, I had to gouge away at the self-same sugru to remove it. It felt like the god of toilet hinge bolts was laughing hard at me.

Finally, after all that, I could attach new hinges. Guess what?


Ooh! Shiny new hinges!

Ooh! Shiny new hinges!

The screw going into the enlarged hole went in at an angle but seems to be holding OK.

I’ve even ended up with a replacement bolt thing in case one of the replacements shatters (in about 30 years’ time).

You could say I’m flus… but you’re not going to.

Even the Ducktor seems happy with the leftovers (well, there's always something with DIY, isn't there?)

Even the Ducktor seems happy with the leftovers (well, there’s always something with DIY, isn’t there?)


* Yeah, there will be, I just know it. It’ll be me.

Categories: repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , | 11 Comments

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.

Many other people contribute to Kate and Gun’s wonderful ScrapHappy every month – check out what they have been up to too!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, and Debbierose


Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 25 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: , , | 20 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

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