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If you can't fix it with a hammer and a roll of duck tape, it's not worth fixing at all, my old mate said minutes before that nasty business with the hammer and a roll of duck tape. Tell us of McGyver-like repairs and whether they were a brilliant success or a health and safety nightmare.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 11:58)
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This question is now closed.

A friend of mine is a notorious cowboy builder and also has a reputation as a bit of womaniser
He really is an amorous bodger.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:24, 2 replies)
You can carry ANYTHING on a motorcycle with a bit of ingenuity and a healthy disregard for the Highway Code.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:23, 11 replies)
My mates’ dad was a notorious bodger
(not in the rapey sense, move on if that's what you were after) This man demolished a support wall in his house and when told it was unsafe, propped it up with a 2x2 bit of pine. He had to get it sorted properly when cracks went up the bedroom walls.
The one I witnessed whilst it happened was when he bought a Fiesta for his son (the car, not the scrot mag). There was a fist sized hole around the headlight so proceeded to fill it with a bit of cardboard prior to finishing it off with filler. We stood and watched as the cardboard soaked up the water in the filler, lost its shape and fell out. Not to be embarrassed in front of a bunch of giggling kids, he added more and more cardboard and filler till the headlight and indicator ended up fused to the inside of the wing.
Another of his genius DIY jobs was to replace the staircase in the house with a nice stained wooden thing. This was also unsupported and sagged and creaked when an adult went up and down the stairs. He thought it was too heavy so removed the balustrade and banisters.
He installed a serving hatch between the kitchen and lounge which wasn't level and too low. It needed a good shove to open one of the hatch doors and smacked the head of anyone sitting on the sofa any time it was opened.
He tarmac’d his own driveway but didn't remove the previous drive slabs first so ended up sealing the bottom of the garage door. He had to dig out a 6" wide trench to enable to door to be opened.
We all enjoyed going round to his house as we looked forward to see what the next DIY gem would be.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:11, Reply)
Super landlord is super.
I once lived in a charming flat in a charming tenement in the charmingest end of Glasgow. The occupants of the flat across the landing had done a runner and the leccy board had cut them off for not paying the bill. Our landlord was reluctant to pay the fifty quid to have it reconnected so instead he took an extension cable, wired a plug on both ends, and connected our ring main to that of the neighbours with the cable wrapped along the bannister.

He was very safety conscious - he put a little sticky label on the plug saying "please do not remove".
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:33, 6 replies)
I used to work on the remedial jobs for an electrical contractor that did work for the local council
So I have seen plenty of bodged jobs.
Highlights include:
A bloke who had installed a light in his loft using only a single core and earth cable, connecting the earth to the neutral, then wondered why the power tripped off when he went in the loft after he'd had his fuse box changed
Another tenant who my colleage used to work in the pit with, who swears he didn't do it, but had 3 sockets in his living room that were wired in blasting wire, of the sort that was used in the mines

And let's not forget the method of clearing faults at the place I currently work. There are a lot of sodium lights where I work and every now and then the insulation in their (up to 40 year old) ballasts will break down and create a short circuit, thus plunging a large area into darkness as the fuse blows. Rather than testing the circuit to find the fault, the usual method involves The Doctor. The Doctor is a 63 amp fuse, which doesn't blow because the wiring is in such poor condition. It is inserted into the fuseboard for about 20 seconds, to allow plenty of current to flow through the delicate wiring of the ballast and blow the fault clear. Then it's just a case of inserting a new 10 amp fuse and finding the light that doesn't come back on.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:20, 6 replies)
The house that Jack (of all trades) built.
My Dad basically built the house I grew up in.

It started life as a run down, deserted 1 bedroon bungalow with an outside toilet. It is now a 4 bedroom, two bathroom beautiful looking place.

That hides more pitfuls for the unwary than The Crystal Maze. There is:

The conservatory roof that has a wandering leak that gets 'fixed' and moves, gets 'fixed' and moves, gets 'fixed' and moves. He's been chasing it for five years now and I think it's winning.

The shower door that opens inwards, so you have to squeeze round it to get in and out. But its too tightly sprung, so is liable to snap shut on you at any moments.

The boiler that has two settings. Furnace and Off. No matter what it says on the dial.

The pair of kitchen cupboard doors where one opens whenever the other one shuts.

The garage entrance that is precisely 1 inch wider than the widest point of the car. Although that's brilliant just for the fun of watching Mum try to park.

The loft hatch which was measured precisely to be exactly the same size as the entrance to the loft, rather than maybe an inch wider so that it actually settled on the ridges it was supposed to. It stays in place by being twisted ever so slightly so that it catchs and doesn't fall. You can't even see the gaps. unless you look up.

The back step to the garage which, realistically, you ought to build a step to get onto.

I'm tempted to go round there at the weekend to make a note of the things I've forgotten and update this list.

I think my Dad's motto is 'If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing half of'
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:10, 4 replies)
The week before we got married, Mrs Bigfatlazyman went back home to Ireland to sort out wedding stuff, leaving me with a list of jobs to do around our grubby flat in Glasgow.

One of these jobs was to sort out the slightly sloping floor by the gas boiler. I ripped up the lino and started hammering nails into the plyboard. That didn't work, so I got the electric screwdriver out and screwed the floor down. It worked, but it used a lot of screws. It was only while i was cleaning up that I noticed some pencil marks on the plyboard. There was a curious double line that kinked in the middle and changed direction, on which was written the baffling letters 'EPIP'. thinking it was just some builders code for 'bent floor board', I relaid the lino and thought nothing more of it.

Until two weeks later on honeymoon, I woke up with a massive panic induced adrenaline rush on realising 'EPIP. thats PIPE spelled backwards!'. Didnt sleep for another two weeks until we got home, and couldnt tell the mrs as she's have killed me.

It was actually a water pipe... and £3000 worth of damage to the flat below. I denied all knowledge. But she knew. She knew.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:10, 5 replies)
As most first-time buyers, we bought an old cheap house to do up
As the terraced house was in a regional development area, we got a grant for a new damp-proof course, roof and rewiring, but the work didn't cover everything.

Like, for example, the collapse of part of the kitchen ceiling, under the old chimney, which had been truncated at the first floor level. The building work had vibrated the house so much that an 18" square piece of ceiling had fallen down.

Of course, the builders denied responsibility, so I had to fix it myself or get an expensive tradesman in. Not being able to afford the latter, and not feeling like dropping a whole, century-old ceiling and replacing the lot, my brain entered bodge mode.

First, the hole was stuffed with plastic and bits plywood nailed across the joists to stop any water dripping down the chimney from attacking the new ceiling, then a 6' x 3' offcut of plasterboard was nailed under the old ceiling across the width, but not the length of the galley kitchen.

This created a section of ceiling that was half an inch lower and with an obvious edge. So, how to disguise it? A light-bulb went on over my head and I bought some lengths of 3" softwood and some dark oak woodstain.

These were used to create fake beams of the type that the house would never have had in its prime. One of the hollow "beams" was butt up to the lowered section of ceiling and, looking down the room it disguised the step in the ceiling line pretty well. The other beam was then put up across the other half of the ceiling to balance the look.

A few months later, I sold the house to a mate who went on to live there for about five years, but I err... 'forgot' to mention the ceiling bodge, and I've never had the courage to ask him if it held or failed.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:08, 1 reply)
DIY surgery: A tale of blood, blood, woe and blood
Don't - for the love of God - attempt DIY surgery on yourself, for it is as much as a bodge as soldering a nail across the contacts in a fuse box.

I know this because of my attempt to remove an otherwise harmless skin tag that had grown in my armpit. My grandad had one in the small of his back and it grew so big it freaked me out, so I was determined to get rid of it.

I used a pair of nail scissors.

And although the skin tag was tiny, and although the surgery didn't hurt in the slightest, and although I thought nothing could go wrong, I was not prepared for the blood.

Loads and loads of blood. Within a minute I was covered in blood, and so was everything I came into contact with. And. IT. WOULD. NOT. STOP.

Covered in blood like Peter Sutcliffe at a whore's convention, I shaved the armpit and stuck on the biggest plaster I could find from a blood-soaked first aid box. And still it bled, until I was covered in bandages, plasters and blood.

The following morning, I resembled a man who had been run over by an offal cart, and slowly, painfully pulled off the plasters. Blood, everywhere. And it WOULD. NOT. STOP.

I have since been told by medical professionals that such surgery is frowned on and someone called a "doctor" will actually remove said growths, cauterise them and bandage you up, without looking like an accident in a butcher's shop.

Bodged surgery: DON'T DO IT.

If you've finished your lunch, full 12-inch version with picture HERE
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:01, 6 replies)
Hey I could do one about this time I was supposed to provide a dossier of evidence to justify invading Iraq.
Or something about the economy.

No, hang on, this one's a cracker.
I was supposed to organise a babysitter for when we were on holidays in Portugal, blah blah blah.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:56, 2 replies)
This may not be links, but...
Here's one anyway
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:50, Reply)
My mate unlucky Ginge.
Phoned me up to help with hanging some doors as 'the chippie wanted a bloody fortune just to hang a bloody door, how hard can it be?'

Turns out it's a lot harder than it looks and after we'd finished planing the first one it looked like the entrance to a saloon.

He paid the chippie to hang the rest.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:38, 4 replies)
My ex-wife's father
His name was Erle. I'm not sure if it was the bodged spelling of his name that made him that way or just that he was a cheap bastard, but he insisted on repairing everything with whatever happened to be at hand rather than driving out to buy the proper parts. He really had no mechanical aptitude, so the results were often pretty bizarre. I used to refer to them as Erle-isms.

Among my favorites:

-he was mowing the lawn and broke the glass globe on the coach light by the driveway. His answer? Coat the inside of a gallon pickle jar with white house paint and put that up there.

-his station wagon was a late 70s beast with the little doors over the headlights that would flip up when the lights were turned on. One of these stopped working, so he broke off a chunk of tree branch and jammed it, bark and all, in place to hold the door open. It looked like the torture scene from A Clockwork Orange.

-he couldn't be bothered to remember the combination of the lock on the barn, so he wrote it on the barn door in pencil. Then one day he repainted the door, and proudly took me out to show off his work. "Did you write down the combination somewhere else?" I asked. He looked at me for a second before muttering "Well..." and wandering off.

-a blown fuse in a car? Forget about trying to track down the cause when you can simply wrap the fuse in aluminum foil and be on your way. I saw at least one burned out hulk that was the result of this. There was a second one, but he denied having anything to do with that one.

After he died I spent many a weekend tracking down and fixing Erle-isms. I don't think I got them all.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:30, 2 replies)
i fixed the toilet
using rare earth, neodymium, stupidly powerful magnets from www.supermagnet.de

and i used these awesome, world shattering magnets to....hold the lid up.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:29, 8 replies)
I've had gas for cooking for years. Sodding years.
Anyway there was a leak a few years ago, and the service agents say they can't do anything about it. Apparently, their responsibility is just from meter to cooker. British Gas have the responsibility for the exterior stuff, and refuse to replace it, even though it's shitty cast iron, and nearly 50 years old. All they'll do is bodge it up, time and time again.
So now, as of next week the gas supply is being removed. Apparently, gas is too dangerous for flat blocks. Fair enough, they're giving me a new leccy cooker, the ceramic hob/double oven type, but I still feel dumped on.
British Gas - bodging fucks.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:15, 5 replies)
Hahaha - thing broke - hahaha - sellotape - hahaha - thing broke again - hahaha
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:08, 63 replies)
Don't waste money buying fuses
All you need is a nail.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 13:07, 1 reply)
Mrs Vagabond And The Shelves Of Death
... and so it came to pass that Mrs Vagabond decreed that shelves would be put up upon the wall in the home office, that we could put boxes of paperwork upon them and be tidier in her eyes.

So up they went, and they were very bloody load-bearing shelves - 18'sq boxes weighing at least a couple of stone each.

Then it was decided that actually they should be moved up a bit, and thus the end of the rail cut off with the jigsaw to make it look nice. So it was spoken, and so it was done. In doing so, a couple of the screw holes had widened, and thus on consulting The Senior Vagabond, I put spent matches into the holes to make it tight to a new rawl plug.

Up again did the boxes go.

Now - at the time we had a computer that was so old, it used a CRT monitor! I'd loaded the Creative Suite onto it, and this had, frankly, made it shit it's pants.

The way to operate this computer was to wait until one was desperately thirsty and bored, and then turn it on. Go and boil the kettle, make a lovely cup of tea, slake one's thirst, read the paper, maybe have a biscuit, and then go and click on Potatochop.

Go and boil the kettle, make another lovely cup of tea, slake one's thirst, finish the paper, and then, if you were lucky, it would be ready to play.

And so it was that one afternoon on her day off, Mrs Vagabond switched the computer on, and went and made a cup of tea.

And woe was her and her heart filled with fear as a sound like a BOMB dropping rang in her ears. She rushed to the office to find that the shelves had in their entirity torn from the wall, leaving 2-foot wide holes, and completely crushing the machine, the monitor, and all that was good below them in turn.

She doesn't ask me to do so much DIY these days - we tend to get a working class-type in to do it for us.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:59, 2 replies)
My first car
I got a Vauxhall Astra 1.3 for my 18th almost 20 years ago. I only got it because my sister (7 years my senior) got a car on her 18th, and me being the spoiled bastard grabbing-git of two decades ago demanded a car after the precedent had been set. Anyway, I loved that car, as it was a chariot of freedom that would carry me to many a (non)conquest.

It died in the winter. My dad is ok with cars, knows how they work, replaces this that and the other, and it was quickly decided that a new carburettor was required. Not going to happen. I had neither the money to buy a new one or the inclination to go scabbing around wrecking yards for second hand ones, so we made pieces for it.

Using nothing but ordinary tools and materials, Dad and I worked like the A Team and MacGuyver's bastard child to fashion enough bits and pieces to get the jallopy back on the road. And it worked.

And then guess what happened? Two weeks later my brother-in-law borrowed it to get oop-north for the weekend and brought it back absolutely wankered and it had to be scrapped. The only bit that worked fine on it was the home-made carb. It was initially the chief suspect, but later turned out to be blameless.

It was only a couple of years later when I was sat white-knuckled in the back of Dad's car as the brother-in-law was 'borrowing' it that I suddenly put two and two together...
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:54, Reply)
Essex electrics...
... my MiL lives close to the Ford plant in Dagenham and it's a pretty good guess that whoever lived in her house before she did worked in the factory there. How do I know this?

A few years ago we were replacing her kitchen. Nothing fancy - a few new units and a new cooker & hood. The kitchen was quite close to the fusebox so I suggested that while we were at it we may as well replace the cooker cable rather than join on a new bit to run it where it was now required - and just as well in fact.

When we came to take out the old wire, the insulation just crumbled in our hands to leave bare wire. It was a good thick conductor but the insulation was hopeless... in fact it looked just like the sort of cable you might get on a jump-lead (only very much longer) - as if it had only been made to take, let's say, 12 or 24v rather than 240v mains current.

Evidently, whoever put the cable in knew just enough to realise that high current required a thick cable and so had taken something high amp-rated from the plant (cooker cable being expensive). It was put in, it worked and it was forgotten but they had not thought that insulation designed to last a few years in a car and shield 12v might not be up to 20 years buried in plaster and taking 240v. I'm just glad we took it out before the place burned down as a result.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:50, 2 replies)
Bodged Self First Aid
For the last 12 months and 27 days I have had a scar on my forehead from my last night as a drinking man.

Sober, I would never have walked into the wall light in the first place.

Sober, I would never have thought that a five inch gouge from above where my hairline would be if I had one to just above my right eybrow could be fixed by pressing a few folded up pages of The Sun against it and using a necktie to hold them in place.

Sober, I would never have woken up in a blood soaked pillow wondering why I couldn't open my right eye.

Sober, I would never have been standing over the sink, having ungunked my stuck together eye, making the bleed start all over again by pulling bits of Kaylee, 19, Essexes boobs out of my cut before thinking 'I should get that stitched really' and then falling asleep on the settee for the rest of the day and having to repeat the process before I could go to bed that evening.

To be fair, I am kinda pleased with how things turned out. The scar could be a lot worse, but it's visible enough to, among the many emotional reminders I have, give me a very visual reminder as to why I didn't drink yesterday and don't plan to drink today.

You know, that should have been funnier...I spent a morning and an evening picking bits of page three out of my head...it must be the writing that has let me down.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:42, 5 replies)
My Present House

Shortly after I moved in, I needed to rip out the old security lights and put in some new ones. So I unscrewed the switch and found that every wire in there was black coloured. No red. No green. No blue. No striped green and yellow. Nope. All black.

So I checked a few other switches, including the 30 amp cooker supply, and, yup. All black.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:23, 18 replies)
If all you've got is a hammer ...
Everything looks like a prostitute.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:20, 1 reply)
My gf was driving me and a mate to Brighton for a weekend of fun and hi-jinx
We'd barely cleared the M25 before the two boys cracked open the first of many lagers to be drunk that weekend, while the missus got on with the sensible business of driving us to our destination. Spirits were high, when somewhere near Leatherhead, the vintage Metro began to cough and splutter and eventually we had to pull over at the side of the road. Luckily, we were near a garage.

I popped the bonnet and using my (albeit limited) mechanical knowledge immediately diagnosed the problem. "Honey?" I called out. "Where's your oil cap?"

Nowhere to be found, unfortunately. Neither did the garage sell replacement Metro oil caps, so I was forced to improvise. Thinking quickly, I downed the rest of my can of beer and ripped it in half, scrunching the torn ends together so it resembled a kind of cone. Wedging the thin end into the engine, I hammered it into place with an unopened can.

The car started and my beer-can technology remained in place for months afterwards.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:11, 18 replies)
i'm sure it'll be fine...
the electrics keep going in our house.

we only bought it last year and have only just managed to afford to have it plastered.

if we keep rebooting it, it seems to work on the most part. oh and we've had to undo the screws in the light sockets (and one wall socket) so as long as you don't turn the upstairs light on whilst holding the bottom of the switchplate it seems to be ok.

it'll be fine.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:10, 4 replies)
Theres this wierd bodge job cult
Run by a bloke named Nick.

Bunch of lying wankers.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:06, 19 replies)

It's called duct tape.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:06, 5 replies)
I'll fix it later.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:04, 4 replies)

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 11:59, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

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