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This is a question DIY disasters

I just can't do power tools. They always fly out of control and end up embedded somewhere they shouldn't. I've no idea how I've still got all the appendages I was born with.

Add to that the fact that nothing ends up square, able to support weight or free of sticking-out sharp bits and you can see why I try to avoid DIY.

Tell us of your own DIY disasters.

(, Thu 3 Apr 2008, 17:19)
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This question is now closed.

DIY Shoe Repair
I have a much-loved pair of steel-toecapped work boots which have seen me walk from Rochdale to Haslingden, have endured hiking in the highlands, motorcycling (and motorcycle crashes), drunken football, and many outdoor raves.

These things are held together with superglue. The soles come off about once a month, so they get superglued back on.

And yesterday, I noticed that the leather had torn away from the insole on one side of my left boot. Disaster, I thought! I decided to fix it immediately lest it become any worse.

The answer? Ah, there's a bicycle inner tube in the loft. Stanley knife? Check. Superglue? Check.

So I cut out a 2x4 inch piece of rubber inner tube, pulled the lining out, and grafted the inner tube between the leather and the sole of the boot using superglue.

Surprisingly, it seems to be working perfectly. I don't know for how long, but I really don't want to get rid of these boots - not least because I'm too cheap to buy any more.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 16:08, 2 replies)
I hate wallpapering. I just find it an eminently displeasurable chore and will avoid it wherever possible, preferring to stick to paint that can be changed readily. Plus you get to paint cocks and tits and stuff, which always brings out the inner 8-year-old and livens up an otherwise mundane task.

My ex mum-in-law (who, by contrast was a wallpapering tour-de-force) had a friend who was determined not to come the ‘helpless girly in distress’. Not for her the ‘getting a bloke in to do it’ route, oh no. In a valiant declaration of her female independence, she decreed to everyone that her bathroom needed decorating, and she was going to do it herself. So off she went to the DIY shop, and back she came with paint, wallpaper (a lovely striped pattern), paste, brushes, and a pasting table.

She set to on her decorating mission, and eventually finished. Proud of her work, she would show it to friends, who would nod and declare that yes, seeing as she’d never wallpapered before, she’d done a good job in sticking it to the wall – no air bubbles in evidence, on nice and straight…

Apart from the bits behind the toilet and the sink, where sometimes the striped pattern ran vertically, and sometimes it ran horizontally. She’d cut the bits of wallpaper to fit the fiddly little awkward areas and just stuck them on. Apparently it looked a bit like a kaleidoscope gone wrong…
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 16:08, 3 replies)
DIY weed
I probably shouldn't be admitting this, but WTF, I'll risk it among friends eh?

Several years ago, a trip to Amsterdam provided me with a souvenir packet of Skunk #1 seeds. Spurred by a lack of consmokeables and a surplus of time, I set about creating my very own 'indoor garden' from some 2x1", MDF and bulk packs of fluorescent light fittings.

Due to the low-tech setup and restrictions on time, I only ever produced one 'crop' of 2 plants. That provided a coffee jar full of questionable tasting yet highly effective 'happy-smoke'. I considered the effects to be average-ish, but Mrs Greencloud reported actual hallucinations! I've rarely felt such pride.

How sad I am that an ill-timed last-minute holiday required me to destroy the cloning operation I'd developed,(for fear of burning the house down) losing a potential half-kilo per month.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 15:38, Reply)
A few disasters
Foot through the ceiling, living room, done that ouch my leg hurt. Cuts bruises and a few attempts at electrocuting my self, including blowing an entire phase in a block of flats. Extracting a car hub bearing using the oven as a heat source wasn’t very clever either, result bearing out kitchen wrecked.

My first attempt at DIY, I was lucky to survive. I was only 3 years old at the time and my parents woke up to find me in the living room with all the valves from the TV neatly arranged on the floor . Apparently I was looking for the people inside the TV. Yes the set was plugged in.

Our neighbor was lucky to survive his DIY. He lived below us in a block of flats. We were sitting down to eat when a huge fireball flew up past the outside widow. We rushed down stairs into the neighbors flat; he usually left his door unlocked. To find him standing in the kitchen with a confused look on his face holding a small pan. His hair was singed his face was black and all the plants in the window were melted. He had been heating some gun oil when it went on fire. So he turns on the cold tap and puts the pan under it. Boom. Luckily for him he did open the window first.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 15:08, Reply)
DIY cointreau
My mother made cointreau from vodka, orange peel and sugar. You had to put it in a dark, warm place (what we call a hot press but you English types call the airing cupboard) and shake it every day.

She and her friends drank it on Christmas Eve. They got so pissed and so excited that my mum over-rocked on the rocking chair and fell off onto the Christmas tree, collapsing the whole damn thing and landing on the presents.

We like to remind her of that every Christmas, especially when we're putting the fairy on the top of the tree: "oh look ma, the fairy made it to the top of the tree, just like you didn't."
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 15:05, 76 replies)
Osok reminds me of my Dad's attempts at homebrew. Many was the occasion when I was young that we'd share the house with a large plastic bucket fermenting beer, or a range of demijohns in which elderberry wine or something of the sort was coming into being. All these concoctions were reasonably successful, which encouraged Dad to have a go at ginger beer. Not your wimpy Idris stuff - oh, no. Proper, hair-on-your-chest ginger beer.

Having got to the bottling stage, he took the crates of full bottles into the garage to settle and mature.

One Saturday lunchtime, we heard a pop and a bang. Followed by another.

You know how the chain reaction in fission reactors and atomic bombs works? That a neutron (Is it a neutron? I presume it must be...) bumps into an unstable nucleus, causing it to decay into a different element and releasing more neutrons that repeat the process in a cascade? Well, it was like that - with comparable explosive power. The explosion of the first bottle set off the ones next to it, which, in turn...

Naturally, Dad wanted to rescue the situation - and the car, which was in the garage - which meant retrieving the crates of death. Not entirely foolishly, he decided that he needed to wear goggles for the operation. Goggles that were kept in his workroom. In the garage.

Somehow, he made it. Somehow he got the crates from the garage onto the drive without causing major injury. Once outside, the warmth of the spring sun did its work, and every last bottle exploded.

He'd wanted it strong...
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 14:51, 23 replies)
Reminded by Osok's post...
I currently have 6 litres of home-made sloe gin marinading gently in the cellar of my parents house. Having first made it when I was a young 'un (and my father drank most of it, but allowed me to have some diluted with lemonade on special occasions), I've now graduated on to making various flavours of drinks. Experimenting has taught me that plums soaked in vodka do not taste quite right, whereas plums in brandy (or even better, slivovitz) are heavenly. Eating the plums after a year or so gets you pretty wasted on a couple of mouthfulls...

Things that do not work:
home-made "chilli" vodka.
Home-made "chilli" gin, in the hope it'll taste better than the vodka. Don't...just don't.
Anything in chartreuse. Some alcohols just shouldn't be meddled with.
Strawberries (but rasberries in vodka, or blackberries in whisky, are ace). Gooseberries are too sour for anything.
Mint works ok with rasberries, in rum, if you don't mind picking sludgy bits of green from out of your teeth for hours afterwards.

And whatever you do, don't add a bit of soot to cheap whisky to give it the peaty flavour more commonly found in a good single-malt. No matter how drunk you are, it will not taste like Talisker. At all.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 14:51, 22 replies)
DIY (or Self Inflicted) Cirrhosis
Now I would be the first to admit that I am a devotee of drinkies. I have never yet met a tipple I didn't like (slight exaggeration, but I refuse to let a drink win without a struggle). Until I encountered home-made wine.

My maternal grandfather made superb single-varietal apple wine which had the aroma of Calvados and the falling-down effects of a sledgehammer to the back of the bonce.

My paternal grandfather brewed his own beer, and a wonderful light yeasty brew it was too. Many years of living in Africa had made him develop a beer-based timetable, and at a certain point in the day he would pour a good-sized jar out and he and my Grandmother would sip happily away. Not a bad way to spend your retirement.

My Godmother made strange wine from anything organic, which, while it exploded now and then and once tasted strangely of sardines, was generally rather toothsome in a surreal way.

My Dad, well, he got a kit. His first few years efforts were, errm variable I think is the politically correct term. Gut-churningly awful has also been used. A white wine should not be so astringent that your cheeks are sucked inwards so that your lips resemble a cat's bum. A red wine should not stain glass permanently. Or bubble suspiciously when poured. He gave up in the end, although TBF he wasn't bad after a decade or so's practice.

I have now got possesion of the winemaking kit. However, not being completely daft, I 'liberated' a couple of demijohns full of matured fruit based beverage while collecting the crate full of tubes and mysterious assorted gubbins.

Then I discovered exactly why it had been left (unlabelled) in a garage. The white has the subtle aromas of cat urine and kerosene combined with the body of a famine victim and the aftertaste of WD40 and phlegm. The Red/Rose/Neon nosed well, lots of fruitiness, before the taste of mildew, Sumo-Wrestler's jockstrap and graveyard soil muscled through.

Hmm, 24 bottles so bad that even I won't drink them. To go with the half case of Netto Spanish White that someone gave me a while back and is definitely past it's best. What to do?


Pour the stuff into tupperware, lob into freezer compartment, remove ice after it's been freezing for a bit, rebottle and drink.

Well, all except the last. The first batch is sitting menacingly in an old rum bottle, waiting for me to get pissed/poor enough to actually consider drinking it. I didn't know liquids could scowl menacingly, but this one can.

I also have made a fantastic strawberry vodka, unfortunately followed by a plum recipe. This was eye-wateringly sharp, so for the next batch (and this is the clue that I had indulged in a shandy or two), I used dried plums. Or prunes as they are otherwise known.

It could only be described as 40% ABV prune treacle. After a glass or seven the memory of trying to remain perched on the throne with the room circling around me as the house apparently was crossing the Irish Sea in a Force 9 Gale, while Godzilla thrust his taloned paw up one's ricker and ripped my colon out, is still one that haunts me at 4am.

Say no to prunes.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 14:39, 8 replies)
One Christmas
I'd got a nice new handblender for Christmas and decided it would look nice mounted on the wall for ease of access.

I chose an outer wall in the kitchen, about fifteen centimetres from the window.

I didn't have an electric drill and it was a solid stone wall, but I took my little hand-whirry drill thing and started drilling.

It was all going so well. Until....


The drill suddenly slipped into the wall about a centimetre deeper than it had been.

I withdrew the bit slowly and a fine jet of water arced straight into my face.


I scrabbled round trying to find the stopcock for a bit and managed to get the water off.

I then phoned an emergency plumber type person. On boxing day. It cost me £150 and he left a massive great hole in the wall of the house I was renting, as he'd had to get in to cut a section of the pipe away. Even he admitted I'd been unlucky and if the house had been newer there would be no way the pipe would have been that close to the window.

The hole, which was about 50cm by 50cm and about two inches deep was eventually lumpily filled with polyfilla, which I then painted, and then had to paint the entire kitchen to match as the magnolia was ever so slightly different. The landlord never ever noticed that the wall was never quite straight and still hasn't to my knowledge (I moved out about 5 years ago).

to top ot all off, I dropped the handblender about a month after I got it and broke it :(
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 13:49, 1 reply)
DI- Why?
My job (as a professional builder) is to fix up DIY-gone-pear-shaped type jobs. Oh yeah, you know, the ones where the home improvement shows make it look incredibly simple to install your own skylight but tend to miss out the important roof engineering aspect of the job and rather just skip to footage of the magnificent finished product? As an example, I just finished repairing a skylight-gone-wrong where the homeowner decided to cut through a roof truss because it was "in the way". Total cost of just getting me (or similar) in to install the skylight: ~$500, total cost of getting me in to fix up the damage caused by a DIY attempt: $9,000-odd so far and I haven't even gotten all of the subcontractors invoices yet. (roof line drops, rain comes in through massive cracks in tiles that have crushed themselves due to massive power of roof line dropping, water pipes split due to roof joists pushed out of place from truss pressures, water running down wall cavities undermining foundations which then require underpinning etc etc... it adds up.)

I have some simple bits of advice for DIY house modification types:

1) Get a professional in
2) Get a professional in
3) If something looks like it's meant to be there, don't cut through it. If a professional put a structure in place while building the house, err on the side of caution and assume it does something useful.
4) Ask someone who knows what a load bearing wall looks like before getting your sledge hammer out.
5) Building regulations are in place for a very good reason, do not simply treat them as "advice"
6) Get a professional in.
7) Roof engineering is complex. You're dealing in tonnes when it comes to weight. You're dealing with weight that has to transfer to very specific places so it can be carried down to earth. Roof trusses and load bearing walls are not there just to look pretty (I think they look pretty), they actually do things!
8) If you remove some wall coverings and expose the house frame and you see a beam rebated into the studs on an angle, please don't cut it. That's called a wind brace. It stops your house listing in the wind. Please, don't cut it. Please. You need it. Simple rule of thumb: if a piece of timber in the frame looks like it might have taken a bit of work to install, you can assume it wasn't just put there for a laugh.
9) Yes, I know the storm water connection is close to the surface whereas you have to dig very deep to reach the sewer, but please don't be lazy and send your sewerage into the storm drain.
10) Putty and fillers are cosmetic, they're not structural.

Of course, I am being a bit harsh, another part of my job is fixing up so-called "professional" trades bodgy jobs.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 13:37, 1 reply)
More on fuel tanks
CHCB's picture below of (presumably) a 'crap car on the way to Mongolia' reminded me of a story my mate Grant told me. He is an electronics technician, but also does a lot of car repairs. A friend of his came to him one day and asked him about how to repair a leaking petrol tank.

"Not a bother", said Grant. "Just empty it out, take it off the car, and look for the hole. You can then solder it up, and Bob's your uncle".

Satisfied with this advice, the bloke went away to try it.

Next day he came in, and complained to Grant that his technique was no good. "I couldn't get the tank to stay still when I was soldering it", he said. "It kept jumping around the garden".

Only then did Grant realise the problem. As an electronics tech, when he referred to soldering he was talking about using a soldering iron. Except that his mate was a plumber, and what do plumbers use to solder with?

Yup. A blowtorch.

So every time he'd put the blowtorch to the leaky bit, the petrol vapours inside the tank had ignited, and rocketed the tank away over the garden. He was extremely lucky that it didn't either blow up in his face, or at least burn him severely.

Nowadays, plastic fuel tanks have taken all the fun out of repairs though!
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 12:53, 2 replies)
more DIY car repairs
Ruptured your fuel tank? Not sure how to get petrol into the engine? Just build one of these babies out of a spare jerry can and the windscreen washer tubing, and run it straight into the carburettor:

Just don't lean out the window for a smoke. Oh, and remember that the fuel gauge will no longer work. And you won't be able to wash your windscreen.

(The fuel tank, by the way, was the least of our problems.)
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 12:41, 68 replies)
DIY Cars....
I purchased a car with the intention of restoring it a few years ago. I got myself a Nicely Rusted non road worthy Mk3 Ford Capri.

I decided to do all the work myself and did a pretty good job, Sanded off all the rust and treated the metal work and either replaced pannels or patch up small holes with fiberglass as needed.

I managed to do a really good jos and pretty much rebuilt the car from the ground up replacing the whole breaking system etc etc took quite a while including the painwork.

About a week away from completion somehow I managed to loose the keys, No Problem I though just buy a new set of locks off ebay and keep doing other stuff in the time while waiting for them to turn up.

Eventually a week later the new door, boot and steering rack keys turn up and I go straight out to fit them in the fading daytime light. Both Doors and Boot lock were fitted first with minimal effort then came the steering rack. For most people who know on old cars these things were NOT designed to come off so I was going to have to break it, I hack saw as much as I can and then started with a small chisel and got to a big big chissel trying to make the thing come off.

So there I am lying across the passenger seat facing the roof with my shoulder on the drivers seat head under the steering wheen and my hand holding the chisel in place, After 20 mins it was almost off thinking to myself one or two more hits and that should be all i went to give it one almighty smack and bang. "I think that caught my thumb as I tihnk it hurts a bit but carry on" I start to notice as the blood was pouring on onto the floor and I was starting to feel faint i get up and realise I had smashed the chisel half way through my thumb :S OOPS

Sorry for the length / width etc.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 12:20, Reply)
The lead singer of Twisted Sister
Once accompanied me on a trip to Newcastle Upon Tyne. Whilst there we took in the sites that the city has to offer, the Metro Centre, the strange people that hang around the Monument, The Baltic Mill, men in vests despite it being only 2 degrees centigrade (in fairness, it must have been cold for them to even be wearing vests).

Following this cultural explosion we took a trip across the River Tyne on the new "winking" millenium bridge type thing that they've been and constructed for students to jump off.

Whilst strolling over the bridge an approaching group of locals obviously recognised my companion but, being the crafty little devils that they were, they didn't let on until they were standing right next to him. At this point they, as a gigantic sports wear clothed chorus, yelled out a traditional Geordie phrase.

Sadly, the shock startled my erstwhile walking partner so much so that he fell backwards, hitting the hand rail right in the centre of his body which caused him to carry out a spectacular flip. This in turn catapulted him downwards towards the surface of the river, which, upon impact, killed him stone dead.

That was the sad tale of my Dee, "Why Ai!" Disaster.

I'm sorry, I know it's only Tuesday but stories have been drying up a bit recently.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 11:39, 34 replies)
Not quite DIY...
But I was helping out on a restoration project of an old ship (metal one, from the end of WWII, long story...) and I ended up cutting out some of the old rusty steel decking out.

The best way to explain this is for you to imagine I'm upstairs in your bedroom, with a stick that has a flame on the end. This flame is about 1000°C, and I'm cutting out sections of your bedroom floor, that are dropping into your kitchen.

Obviously this is pretty dangerous, so people tended to avoid walking under the area I was cutting.

One foolish gentleman however, ignored this hazard, and walked under my shower of flame, sparks and molten drips of steel...

He got his arse set on fire.

This story would be amazing if he ran around screaming like those tiny men from Command and Conquer, but he looked at the back of his overalls, and simply patted them out, and wandered off.

Like so many of my stories, quite the anticlimax.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 11:22, 2 replies)
When I was in tech
One of the lecturers had a glass eye. As freaky as it was it was used to great effect when telling us what not to do.

How did he lose it?

he was tightening his tennis racket with a pair of long nose pliers. Just when he was pullin git tight to finish the job, the pliers slipped off the cord and into his eye.

Apparently he tried to pull it out but it wouldnt budge.

I still feel ill at the thought of being rushed to the hospital with the handles of a pair of pliers protruding from his face while screaming in pain.

Length? well, it was long nose pliers...
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 11:09, 3 replies)
Why you should never trust me to repair anything
My problem with DIY tends to be with tools - I.E never having the right bloody tool for the job. So I have to improvise.

Need to strip down the entire back end of a motorbike? Don't have the correct sockets? No problem - a pair of rusty spoons, pliers and molegrips will do the job nicely.

Need to wire something up? No terminal blocks or soldering iron? That's quite alright - just smother it in electrical tape. Or sellotape, whichever is handier.

I could easily work for Fiat. Or maybe my workmanship would be too good.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 11:01, 3 replies)
record breaking fail.
i remember in days of yore when me and another pimply faced herbert we shall call pj, were called upon by his folks to put up a bunch of shelves in their lounge in return for monies with which to purchase beer. being about 16 we leapt at the chance to earn illicit beer tokens, so we obliged. after several hours of concentrated swearing, we managed to put up said shelves.. things of beauty they were, as flat and level as vanilla ice's flat-top, and generally considered a resounding success.
how we grinned as we popped the first cans of our trusty beverage du jour, strongbow.
how we scarpered when the shelf loaded with old and very precious vinyl decided to come out of the wall revealing the fact the drillbit we used was clearly too big, and the matchsticks we'd used to plump up the rawlplug were exposed.

we still finished the booze though!
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:56, Reply)
Long time lurker first time poster
Had my fair share

While having a fight over masking take at school with a knife funny that my hand came off the worst all the teacher was worried about was the blood on the floor and his wonderful tools while I leaked all over the place

Have also fallen out of my loft onto stuff not once but twice first time was onto a chair not the greatest feeling in the world and secondly onto a ladder which promptly broke but to be fair it was like the ones that you see old people using in them adverts where they fall and break there arms and legs

After the latest one I have since purchased a new sturdy proper ladder which works a treat
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:48, 30 replies)
I've just taken my first steps into the world of DIY booze-making.

Last night I put a carton of grape juice, about 2l of water, some sugar and a teaspoon of yeast into a bottle.

It's definitely fermenting, as the balloon I put over the end has started to swell up from the CO2 (I think it will pop soon!)

I'm keeping it in a warmish place (near a radiator), shall add yeast again tommorow and on Friday, then put it in the fridge on Saturday to let it settle. Probably won't be amazingly alcoholic given only 5 days, more like a sort of weak grape beer, but still, we'll see.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:21, 2 replies)
Bright Idea
You’d think that changing a light bulb would be an easy thing, wouldn’t you?

Well, you’d be wrong.

A few years ago, I was visiting my Mum on a break from University. She needed a light bulb changing, and didn’t like standing on a chair and then facing the whole palava of removing glass flutes to get to the fitting.

“Worry not, Mater!” I cried “I shall change the bulb for you!”

I clambered on to a chair, faffed around with clips and screws and eventually exposed the fitting for the new bulb. Making sure she had turned off the switch, I removed the deceased bulb and made to replace it.

I don’t know what happened next. It seems that between removing the dead bulb and putting the new one in, someone had turned the power supply back on.

Whatever happened, my next memory is of opening my eyes, and finding myself in a crumpled heap against the radiator. Between the light and the radiator is a distance of 13 feet. And a sofa.

Apparently there had been a loud BANG, and I had performed a beautiful reverse pike backflip over the sofa. The only thing that prevented me from getting a perfect 10 was the fact that I landed with all the grace and fluidity of a retarded duck landing on mud.

For weeks I was picking bits of shattered light bulb out of my hand, and subsequently refused to change light bulbs if my mother was within 100 miles of me.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:14, 8 replies)
Professionals? Pah!
Last year, my girlfriend and I moved in to our first place together. I lived in the flat for a month on my own while she got her things together to make the big move to London.

On the day she arrived, she had an entire contingent of her family with her, including her Father.

This man absolutely terrifies me. He’s a great bloke, but he’s an attack dog handler for the MOD. In his day-to-day job, he carries a variety of nasty-looking weaponry. In short, I had better never hurt his daughter, or I’m in trouble. Anyway, years ago this chap joined the RAF as a carpenter, and still builds things he needs for the house, and very well he does it too.

Well, my girlfriend and I needed a couple of shelving units, so we did what any young couple does – we went to Ikea. After a couple of hours we returned triumphant to the flat, our flat-pack furniture ready to be quickly built.

The father-in-law and I decide to take it on ourselves to use this as a kind of ‘bonding’ moment, and start putting the shelves in together.

Things didn’t start well. There’s a kind of nutty-bolty thing (a technical term, look it up) which, when twisted, grabs hold of a screw that has been inserted in a corresponding hole (fnar!) and anchors two pieces of wood together. I had got ahead of myself and inserted the wrong screws in to the wrong holes, and after much swearing and use of pliers, we managed to remove them.

The shelves for the unit were affixed using allen keys, and this is where my story comes to a close. I was stood there, holding everything in place while he was using an electric screwdriver to screw the bolts in to place.


Not a good sign.


Ah. Houston, we have a problem.






It turns out that this man had attempted to screw in a bolt that needed an allen key bit with a cross-head bit.

A carpenter, indeed. Could still kill any one of us without even thinking about it, though…
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:05, 3 replies)
Did you hear about that Welsh bird off Playbus,
who got a job at Scotland Yard, but failed to catch any criminals?

...that was a real D.I. Wie disaster.

I know, I know, and I'm not ashamed neither.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 9:50, 4 replies)
I've just received this by e-mail from a friend
And thought it fitted in with this week's QOTW:

Sorry for squintness - I didn't scan it!
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 9:03, 2 replies)
Ooo, another "be careful when you're drilling into a wall" story.

2 weeks back and I'm building another fitted unit (hand built, custom design, all my own work) - I will add that it looks fantastic - I'll even provide photos if asked :-) [Finished article - picasaweb.google.co.uk/james.niclair/HomePhotos/photo?authkey=V6YJ9KUzVvI#5180709801792686802]

Anyhoo - I've drilled holes for my support batons and I've put in the Rawl plugs and I'm fitting the baton and .... CCrrrraackkkk.

That's not a good sound in anyone's book.

I'll ignore it (like you do)

Carry on screwing and CCRRAAAACCCKKKKK!!!!

I decided to stop at this point and look at the wall from a slight distance.

What do I see... a huge crack running from one side of the chimney breast to the other where the plaster "just isn't right".

The cupboard's just a little higher than originally planned....
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:51, 2 replies)
In my ex's house there's a big, heavy and very nice mirror hanging in the front room.

Actually, it's 2 inches higher than intended as I did my usual comedy drilling.....

Mark the two holes - check
Is it square - check
Is it really square - check check

Drill - Bzzzzz - kink

Drill kicks sideways and suddenly my .5cm hole is 1cm


Try again, 1 inch higher

Drill - perfect

Hmm, hole's not quite big enough - I'll use the next drill size.

Arse, too big.

I know I'll fill it and drill it again.

Arse, that doesn't work. Um, what now?

At this point, the wall looks more like I took an AK47 and shot it at the wall - the results would look a lot better if I had done.

My lesson? I now ALWAYS drill a 3/4mm guide hole for any masonary work before using the actual size bit that I need.
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:46, 1 reply)
When you've cut the piece of wood
I often run my hand over the cut to check it for smoothness - now I'm a huge fan of manual tools so cuts aren't always perfect and often require a second going over with a plane.....

But this one time, I did an ugly, ugly cut - ran my hand over it - and came away with 4 splinters, a cut hand and extra depth to my swearing ability...
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:41, 1 reply)
Shameless Repost
A bit after the hammer/nail/thumb incident, I decided to do some more DIY - I've had my "accident" so now I'm safe....

Or so I thought.

I needed to remove some cable tacks that were holding the phone wire back - No big deal - They had to come off, the wall painted and new ones put it. It's not rocket science dammit.

Anyway, I proceeded to remove them.

Now, directly below one of them (about halfway up the wall) is a socket.

You might see where this is going....

I touched the one above the socket - the metal bit.

"Bastard, that hurt"

That's right, some moron (not me) had put it through the live wire - how it hadn't shorted out the house, I don't know.

"Well, that's just daft." Thought I - "There's a lesson here"

"I'd better turn off the electricity and carefully remove the cable tack" - Is what I SHOULD have thought/done.

What I did think was "Did that really happen? I'd better touch it again"

"OUCH!" (Followed by much swearing).

That really bastard hurt. I know, I'll touch it again.

"F***, etc"

Yes, that's right I touched it twice, then held on a bit the third time just to check for actual pain. Of which there was a lot.

I was going to get off the ladder, but I realised that I was actually now lying on the ground - "Now, how did I get down here?".....

I turned the mains off at this point and was a LOT more careful the 4th time.


The lesson is - I'm shouldn't be allowed out of that padded room....
(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:38, 3 replies)
So many stories
I've got so many stories for this as I'm a walking Darwininan mistake waiting to happen:

Very Homer-esque - Can't quite get nail sorted so hold nail with thumb, hit thumb with hammer so to start the nail off. Much pain and screaming...

Pure idiocy - I'm in a hurry so I'll not clamp the piece of wood to anything when drilling it - cue wood spinning round with the drill and cracking me in the elbow.

I do wonder - line up junior hacksaw having replaced the blade with a nice new shiny one - blade slips and kicks and drags it's way onto my hand. Twice. It's still not healed properly and this was 2 weeks ago.

Painting - I painted the floorboards of our Nursery a month back and I did the old "Paint as a filler" (I can't be the ONLY one that does this can I?) - first coat looks good and I'm rather pleased. I go to the bathroom for the loo - which is beneath the nursery and there's paint EVERYWHERE - turns out the floorboards aren't quite so sealed and the paint's come straight through.
Did I learn? No - 3rd coat and the GF has paint dripping in her hair. I'm not popular still about that one :o)

Just ouch - full sized saw - line up carefully, pull back and saw........ And another blade kick straight onto my other hand.

Wallpapering - I was papering the nursery and thought I was doing really well - I stepped back and realised that one sheet didn't line up and, frankly, was obviously not square - not even close. Even though I'd marked it up with the spirit level - the adjustable level - which had been adjusted to 15 degrees **sigh**

Circular sawing - Again, a careful line-up and marking and then POWER - pressed the power button without realising how powerful it was and it skipped out of my hand, at speed across the door, digging into it and marking it horribly where it really shouldn't have been marked. It fell onto the floor in a shower of sparks and bangs - it was returned to B&Q as it mysteriously stopped working...

Belt sander - Very much like the circular saw - always keep a tight grip on these as the first time I used it, it shot out of my hand, across the room and tore the plug out of the wall, shorting the house out.

Light switches - All I can say is that touching a "Live" wire to check whether the power's off instead of going downstairs and flipping the fuse - is a BAD idea.

Light switches 2 - Same switch, nursing a sore hand, I use a power tester light pointy thing - which promptly blows up and shorts the house out. Again.

Cables - Never leave cables trailing - I tripped over a cable which somehow sparked up an orbital sander. On my nice new kitchen table. **more sighing**

Somehow, I'm still alive with no broken bones....


(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:37, 1 reply)
B&Q Balls-up
I love this...

(, Tue 8 Apr 2008, 8:08, 5 replies)

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