Posts Tagged With: repair

ScrapHappy December 2021: Repair, Reuse, REVIEW

As we approach the shortest day and the turning of the year, I thought I would write a quick review of my ScrapHappy activities (and not just because, here at Chez Snail, we are more than halfway through our Solstice calendar which has a small but perfectly drinkable bottle of wine behind every door and therefore means I may not be as creative as normal).

As my regular reader will know, I am not skilled enough to start ScrapHappying with fabrics and other soft scrap, so I go for the hard ScrapHappying. Occasionally, the two overlap as they did in October and November

There was a definite lamp theme by the time I used a bit of one in October. I had already repurposed an old set-top box in January to ensure the Snail’s craft light kept shining, and converted a pair of electrickery-powered lights back to good old candle power in May

Of course, the hugest news in the ScrapHappy Universe, and by that I mean in my head, was the rebirth of Palletgate in July…

There was ScrapHappy component creation going on in June and August

There was a ScrapHappy makeover for the water butt stand in March

Some scrapped telecom cable (retrieved from the side of the road) was used to keep the raspberries off the ground in April

And there was an old scythe to restore in September


Eh voila! Another ScrapHappy year done with! I hope you all have a very ScrapHappy 2022 and, indeed, a very Happy 2022 in general! See you next year for more ScrapHappiness and maybe even a new ScrapHappy top-of-the-blog post image (maybe)!

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, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin, Viv and Edi


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

ScrapHappy September 2021: Scythe o’ the times – Again


Too good to scrap

Before the once upon a time started, there was a scythe that was used and hung up after each day’s toil in a slightly-too-big-to-be-called-a-shed shed. This happened a lot until one day, it stopped happening at all, and the scythe hung there, quietly awaiting the day it would be taken down, to feel once more the yielding of the blades of grass to its blade of steel…

Once upon a time, some Snail friends moved into a house next to which was an old barn-like building. In this building-of-indeterminant-status, there was a very old scythe, hanging from a rafter. This was a happy scythe – it had done its work and was resting and rusting in peace, while the world outside went on its way, presumably growing very tall grass and cutting it down again with very sharp, much newer blades.

Time passed, about 12 years to be vaguely precise although in scythe years, that’s about three weeks (they can live an extremely long time). One day, Mr Snail appeared and then things happened…

I mean, you can’t let a scythe rust to nothing without an attempt to rescue it, right?

This piece of scrap really was quite a challenge. I use a scythe reasonably regularly (see here) but I am still learning, particularly when it comes to the black magic that is peening. This is where you repeatedly whack the edge of a blade to make it better at being sharp, which it certainly isn’t immediately after having been whacked with a hammer. I have peened one of my own blades a couple of times but, because I don’t scythe rocky fields and so start to damage the edge, any difference I have thought was there before and after peening might be down to wishful thinking.

This old scythe was an opportunity to see if my peening technique was actually doing something since, when I tried to cut grass with it, it mostly folded the grass over, without actually doing any cutting. The snath (shaft and handles) seemed OK (it’s metal) although the wooden grips could do with a coat of varnish.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.


Peening jig (not a dance)

Peening jig (not a dance)



Other bit of peening jig (still not a dance)

After peening, the blade was definitely sharper, but the set-up was clearly wrong. A couple more hours of playing and now it will cut reasonably well – ultimately, I think a new blade will be the answer but until then… scraphappiness abounds!


Proof that the scythe can now do what it claims

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can't see his legs, his wearing camouflage...

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can’t see his legs, he’s wearing camouflage…


P.S. A warm welcome to Jule, the newest Scraphappy member!

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, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Carol,
Preeti, Debbierose, Nóilin, Viv and Edi


Categories: gardening, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

Mend It Monday: (It’s been) A Card Made Right

Looks like that must've hurt!

Looks like that must’ve hurt!

Some years ago, the Snail bought a new digital camera that was waterproof/shockproof/80% proof. Well, maybe not the last one but I needed three things for the list. Later came the purchase of a 16GB SD memory card, which we considered to be way bigger than we would ever need. And we were right.

In the early days, the Snail didn’t have a cable to connect the camera (via USB) to a computer to download the pictures, so would remove the card to put in a reader on her laptop. Over the years, the contacts on the card have worn away, to the point where they were drummed out of the International Contact Society for failing to live up to their essential tenet, at least inside the camera. That’s when a toothpick came to the rescue. Wedged between the card and the battery, it seemed to do the trick.

Until the other day.

The camera refused to accept that there was a card in the camera and was not going to enter into any other discussions because, deep down, the camera is, in fact, a computer.

The card itself would work in a USB card reader I had, so clearly it wasn’t completely beyond rescue.

Some frankly horrific use of a soldering iron later, and I had managed to flow some solder over the four most worn contacts whilst only melting a small chunk of the card’s body. In fact, so horrible does it look, I think the picture may need a warning notice on it.

The horror, the horror! Just, ugh, horrible. But it works!

The horror, the horror! Just, ugh, horrible. But it works!

And, in a turn up for books everywhere, it seems to work! It never needs to be removed again as we have USB cables around the place that fit, so hopefully, the other contacts won’t wear to the point of failure.

I wonder how many perfectly functional SD cards have gone to landfill because the contacts have worn through?



Categories: camera, repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

ScrapHappy January 2021: Let there be light!

Fully working bright light

Fully working bright light

First, a ScrapHappy New Year to you all!

To start the year, here is an easy ScrapHappy mend of an LED lamp which the Snail uses for various crafty activities. In fact, we have two of these lamps and, although they weren’t cheap, they are well made and very useful. They feature a ring of LEDs as well as a magnifier in the top, and will run from batteries or a mains adapter. The Snail uses the mains adapter for both – the batteries are housed in a detachable box which I may well use for something else one day (watch this space!).

This particular lamp started to be like me – a bit dim. This is a strange thing for LEDs to do as they aren’t like incandescent bulbs that have separate parts that can fail independently (so one of several filaments might break but the others would keep on shining). It probably meant that the power supply wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, so I started there. A quick check with my rusty voltmeter told me the truth – the supply was only half decent. It was producing a little over 3 volts rather than 6 volts to be precise.

Half the supply it was

Half the supply it was

In the last 20 years, I reckon every household has probably had about a million* mains power supplies that have long since become pointless because the device they were supposed to power has broken. Many have (shamefully) been put in landfill, but many reside to this day in old boxes at the backs of cupboards/wardrobes/sheds. Mine reside in my office/workshop/studio, liberally scattered across shelves/boxes/drawers.

Could I find one that was suitable?

Could I find one that was suitable? - SPOILER ALERT!

Could I find one that was suitable? – SPOILER ALERT!

Yay! I could! This is the supply from an old set-top box, for receiving the Freeview digital signals (for my non-UK reader, Freeview is the UK’s contribution to the vast thousands of utterly unwatchable TV channels around the globe). We stopped using the box it powered about ten or so years ago but *I KNEW* it was worth keeping.

Of course, it didn’t have the right bit on the end of the wire so I had to chop the end of the defunct power supply and solder it onto the “new” supply. Once done, voila! LEDs that are properly bright. And perhaps a hint of a smile in the magnifier too? Perhaps…


One happy lamp


*  I checked with Twitter – it is a million.

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

Mend it Monday: Brush and Lead


Brush Fix #1 didn’t work…

A couple of repairs for this occasional Mend it Monday post (as started by The Snail of Happiness). The first is the washing-up brush – made of coconut bristles, with no plastic, and a wooden handle. The perfect eco brush except that the head just started falling out the handle (I don’t think it is designed to be interchangeable) some time into its service.

I tried putting a collar of the marvellous sugru around the neck, but this really didn’t work at all so this is the next attempt – I have filled the hole in the handle with sugru and forced the brush head into it. Time will tell if it holds for more than a nanosecond but it feels pretty firm.


Brush Fix #2 – lovely green sugru


This worked for 4:32…

It was four minutes and thirty-two seconds into washing up before the head became detached once more. Harrumph…

While I harrumphed, the Snail filled the hole in the handle with gorilla glue and pushed the head in – where it has stayed ever since. There’s a lesson in there for me somewhere…

The second mend is a classic sugru-on-frayed-cable-fix – this is the USB cable that came with my Kindle a million years ago. I noticed last week that the outer sheath by one end had worn away to expose the ground shield beneath. There was no question this time – it was always going to be a sugru mend. The only real question was – what colour?


More successful use of green sugru

Yay for mending things!




Categories: repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

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