Fixing Stuff And Saving Money And Obtaining The Hanyman Achievement

glenwilson

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Laka was mentioning that he had been doing some stuff around his house and I have over the last year done a few things too. For example, I did a bit of soldering and fixed a Kenwood food mixer for £10 (for the parts) but saved about £200 in not getting a new mixer. Our shower broke recently, replacement cost £200. The parts were available but by the time I worked out what was actually faulty it was getting close to the price of a new shower unit. A plumber would have been £100 (at least) plus new shower. The shower was a straight swap and just needed two screwdrivers and two spanners.

So that is about £300 saved. For about 2 hours effort.

So how do you get the handyman achievement and the impressed look from your partner/wife/husband/ significant other/dog/cat?

Practice!

My main advice would be tackle so small things first that don’t cost a fortune to repair if you do screw up. For example, when there was a big cloud of smoke from the Kenwood it was obviously and electrical fault. I just searched for the problem and discovered it was a know problem on older machines. Ours was at least 45 years old. The usual problem was a transistor thingy blowing that also takes a couple of capacitors away with it. The parts kit has everything you need apart from a soldering iron and solder.

I am no soldering god but even if you have never held a soldering iron before you could do this. Even if you ended up with big solder blobs it will work. Just follow the instructions.

The main steps to handyman are:

  1. Research the problem
  2. Make sure it is worthwhile doing yourself. Is the cost saving enough to make it worthwhile. If you just want to have a go that is a good reason but balance that withe the cost of repair if you screw something up.
  3. Check what you are planning on doing
  4. Get the wife etc. to also have a look too. They can ask those “silly” questions that you have not thought of.
  5. Check again
  6. Take your time doing it. There isn’t a rush to get something done, if there is then maybe you are not the person to do it.
  7. Safety: check the power/water/etc is off and double check.
  8. Do the job, check everything BEFORE you turn on power/water.
  9. Before standing back check that it is working as it should be before reassembling it completely.
Obviously the above will vary with what you are doing but just keep checking before you start and as you go along - it will save you time in the long run.

I am lucky in having a reasonable selection of tools. For somethings you may have to buy a special tool and you need to factor that in to the cost savings and if you are likely to use it again. If you do buy tools it is worth buying decent quality as they will last a long time especially things like pliers, hammers, clamps etc.

Hope this helps anyone thinking of trying something. The internet and YouTube are great resources to study before you start a project or repair.

Like cooking, brewing your own beer, there is a satisfaction in know I repaired that and it is still working or doing the job it is supposed to.

And check you spelt the title correctly before hitting post. :)
 

glenwilson

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Even simple stuff like painting can make a difference. For example the surround of the cars comsole was a silver colour and had got a few scratches. The rest of the dash is less reflective and it always looked out of place. Watched a few how to use spray can paint vids and was pleased with the result. The budah ornament had been in the garden for ages and was worse for wear after years of bird crap. After cleaning it was primed and the the Mrs wanted it a gold colour. I keep an eye out for car paints that have been reduced in cost - the larger automotive paint cans are usually good value. And with some practice you can get good results. The budah was about £8 for paints.

The process I use is:

  1. Clean the item with soapy water and dry.
  2. Wipe the item with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol
  3. Spray the undercoat gradually building it up rather than trying to do it in one go. Usually takes about 15 minutes between coats.
  4. Sand down any runs or dust spot
  5. Clean again with rubbing alcohol to remove any grease from fingers. And do a final under coat layer and allow that to dry for about 24 hours.
  6. Clean again with the alcohol
  7. Start the main colour, again doing several light coats to build up the colour and leave for about 24 hours.
  8. Give the surface a sand with very fine sand paper and again clean with alchol.
  9. Do a final colour coat. This can be a little heavier or a few lighter coats.
  10. For items that may end up outside it can be worth doing a clear coat for protection.


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glenwilson

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Just to add to Glens post, if you do apply a clear coat to finnish make sure its a UV clear coat, this will stop it yellowing in time.(y)

Also, I have had the clear coat alter the primary colour. This may have been due to the colour being semi-gloss/satin and the clear-coat being a gloss (read the can properly Glen). Automotive paints are meant to last and I have found them to give very good results and should be waether proof.Plus if you need more of the paint you can be pretty certain that another can purchased later should be a match. For plastic items being painted it is worth using a primer designed for plastics. These do make a big difference and stops the paint peeling.

Obviously there is a the cost of buying the paints when doing something like the budah but what was a pretty discoloured item is now something that stands out rather than being hidden out of sight.

In some cases it may not actually be cheaper to repair something compared to a replacement. But it can be very satisfying when you stand back and think I did that. It is a bit lke home brewing, the 1 gallon batches I do are not cheaper than buying beer but it is fun and when you try your own recipes very satisfying.

DIY projects will also depend on your avalable time too. If you are working full time, your free time may be more valuable and getting work done for you or replacement may become cost effective.

If you have never used a soldering iron ever there are some good, inexpensive kits that take you through the how to learning. Again there are plenty of YouTube resources.
 
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