Monday, August 13, 2012

Repairs using what you have

Also known as macguyvering around these parts, I grew up with the idea that if something broke you tried to fix it.  And if you didn't have the appropriate part, well, you finagled it with what you had before you gave up and threw the item out.

Things have been busy around the CrazynCrafty household these past weeks.  So much stuff to do between work, side business, and personal obligations has left me no time to do any crafting for myself.  I did manage to fix a few things here and there that needed it because not having the items in question was really cramping my style.  And since macguyvering requires a certain mix of creativity, perserverance, and a stubborn will to not throw something out unless you absolutely have to - it seems like a kind of crafting all its own.

First up was an umbrella I picked up at Goodwill for $1.99 a little over a month ago.  A good deal already to start with, one of the arms snapped.  Not entirely sure how it happened, but my umbrella was out of commission.  Ignoring the fact that I'd gotten it for cheap and could certainly afford another one, the first question was how could I fix it?  The solution involved a bamboo skewer, some strapping tape, and upholstery thread.  Strapping tape is one of the strongest tapes known to mankind I think, ranking right up there with duct tape.  I used it to tape the skwer along the arm, covering the break, so the arm was straight again and braced by the skewer and strengthened by the tape.  The upholstery thread connected the small metal brace piece to the arm so the arm would be held up when the umbrella was opened.  For a couple of things I had laying around I retained the use of a very useful item given the recent rain we've been having.

Second up was a clothing drying rack.  It is a cheap wood (maybe?) one I got somewhere.  Not even sure where now, but it didn't cost me much. Cheap construction meant it was only a matter of time before it fell apart.  Not willing to accept that, and not willing to pay $20+ for a new metal one, I set about finding a way to fix it.  There were two problems here.  First issue was one of the horizontal rods where you actually hang your clothes.  They're attached to the side braces by means of an end cap that goes through the brace and screws into the rods.  One of these end caps was missing, so the rod kept coming out.  A piece of cardboard folded over and wrapped with strapping tape made a neat new endcap and a spare screw from something pulled it together:
The second issue was the horizontal rod that the top piece hooks into to keep the rack standing.  Hard to describe unless you have a clothing drying rack, but the rack folds flat for storage.  The side braces accordion flat or stretch out to form the rack and the top swings over to hook onto one of the rods to hold the whole thing up.  This rod is attached differently (read: worse) than the others.  The rod has a plastic sleeve on each end that slides over a plastic peg in the side braces.  That's it.  So when the plastic collar breaks, there is nothing connecting the rod to the side braces, and the rack can't stand up because the top piece has nothing to hook onto.  Brilliant.  So I took some strapping tape, awesome stuff, and wrapped it as tightly as I could around the plastic collar to hold it closed again and strengthen it.  Won't hold forever, but it'll limp along for a while yet.  I used a decent sized piece of tape so I got a couple layers of tape on there.  Below is a picture of the repair up close and the rack itself in case my description was terrible (it probably was) so you can see the flat top and where it hooks on the right side.

So yeah, saved myself $20 on the rack and maybe $6 on the umbrella, assuming a sale and I'm purchasing replacements new out of necessity.  Not bad for maybe 20 minutes of work total and some stuff I had around the apartment anyway.

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