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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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My father and DIY
By all rights, my Dad should be the best DIY Dad in the business. He spent the fifties building and maintaining vacuum valve computers and radar gear, the sixties designing bits of military jets and the seventies/eighties designing parts of oil refineries, rigs and pharmaceutical plants. The Handley Page Victor, English Electric Lightning, BAC TSR2, Jodrell Bank, half the North Sea oil platforms and even Concorde contained bits my father had designed himself.

Armed with this experience, you'd think that getting my Dad to hang a shelf would be like asking Stephen Hawking to help with your maths homework, right?


My father is blessed with the sort of self confidence akin to a herd of elephants, the patience of a small child and the easy going nature of Basil Fawlty. As a result, such trivialities as a set of instructions or even a cursory moment to check his calculations were frequently skipped, much to the hilarity of the neighbourhood.

I cringe looking back, neighbours must have been regularly regaled with the frenzied cry of "Oh SHIT!!!" being bellowed from inside sheds, under car bonnets or in the general vicinity of our tormented Black & Decker Workmate.

Boiler Room Rage:

Incident number one occurred when I was about nine years old. Dad decided that the unsightly hexagonal key used to gain entry to our central heating boiler under the stairs just wouldn't do.

I recall being scooped out of bed by my nervous mother and bundled into the back of the family car for the four mile trip to our local Marleys at some ungodly hour of a Saturday morning. After a thrilling thirty minutes, I was ordered to assist Dad with his project.

Four hours later and after being slapped twice for various misdemeanours (ie "not holding the wood properly") Dad has finished drilling into the metal door and is installing a proper handle.

"Wha... Wha... You BASTARD!"

Oh dear. I sense rage building...

I looked at the door and I looked at my dad. He wore an expression on his face that was midway between rage and utter confusion and befuddlement. His hand rested on the door handle he'd just fitted and he tried again, perhaps hoping his initial assessment was wrong.

Then Mount Etna erupted.

"They've sold me the wrong BLOODY handle. SHIT!" he yelled.

Yep, to open the boiler cupboard door, you had to pull the handle *up*.

Kitchen Fiasco:

Six months later, Dad decided that mum needed a new kitchen. MFI? Not a chance.

Dad meticulously planned the operation in his own brain. The thing that amazed me at the time was that not a single drawing or blueprint was used. It was all sketched out in his head.

We'd need tiles. Lots and lots of tiles. Saws, drills and spirit levels of some considerable vintage were produced. Lengths of wood were retrieved from the shed and I was ordered to patiently sit on the wood, hold screwdrivers and saws while absolutely not saying a word while my father intermittently sketched marks on the wood with a pencil, sawed and ranted at the neighbours' children for being too noisy. A bewildering range of aged, rusting tools were dangled in front of my face with the faint promise that I too might get to use them if I was quiet enough and concentrated long enough. Failure to concentrate to my father's satisfaction was rewarded with cold rage and a slap if I wasn't careful.

My mother kept her distance, she'd be told to "sod off!" when Dad got fed up of her nervously dispensed advice like "Oh, I think you need to put a screw in there" uttered at a hushed volume.

I guess she was desperately trying to contain his rage and placate him. Paradoxically, she was great at dispensing useless and rage inducing advice though, even a mild mannered soul like me cannot undertake any DIY while my mother is around, for being told "You need a phillips screwdriver for that" in hushed faux-knowledgeable tones usually has me grinding my teeth within seconds. Eventually, she resorted to her last line of defence - topping up cups of tea.

By lunchtime, our kitchen resembled the aftermath of Krakatoa crossed with a Greek Wedding. Bits of broken ceramic lay everywhere, in the middle stood a portly, red faced swearing man.

"The BLOODY walls aren't straight! SHIT!" yelled a voice kneeling on the floor, with three inches of arse-cleavage peek-a-booing up from the beltline of his jeans as he was attempting to tile from floor to ceiling. How he guessed from this altitude I'll never know.

"Shit! SHIT! You BASTARD!" he bellowed as another tile broke.

"These BLOODY tiles!"

The tiling was eventually comlete at long last. However, in a manner akin to one of those geometric illusion type drawings, if you traced the line of tiles along the top of the longest wall, the ceiling appeared to have been installed at an angle of two degrees off the horizontal.

By 9pm Saturday night, worktops were being sawn. I was attempting to watch "Dad's Army" above the sound of someone bellowing "Shit!" at the top of their voice before coming in to tell me I was lazy and useless for not helping him.

By 5pm Sunday he was attempting to mount doors onto new cupboards. Yep, a sturdy looking framework and new worktops were fitted. Not bad.


Due to a minor miscalculation of cupboard space, it tanspired that we suddenly had three previously unaccounted for inches between the cooker and a cupboard.

Dad stared at this intesnely for a few minutes, with the usual blend of befuddlement and barely contained rage.

Ingenuity eventually saved the day however. Dad wandered off with a saw and produced a cupboard door three and a half feet high by three inches wide. My mother was instructed to keep her baking trays there.

Record Cabinet Disaster:

Mum managed to win a small amount of money on the Football Pools. Yay mum! However, instead of treating herself to something nice, she pre-empted a Dad-rage by buying him some chipboard. Why?

Well Dad expressed a desire to make a record cabinet a few weeks previously. Hoping that giving him what he wanted would soothe his oft volcanic temper, mum did something truly daft thanks to an ill conceived moment of kindness.

It was a bright summer weekend, I sat on my bedroom floor assembling the Forth Bridge from Lego (again, without instructions). By 11am I was retrieved from my room and sat outside on bits of chipboard as Dad intermittently sawed and ranted.

"SIT STILL! Hold the bloody screwdriver properly, you won't be able to do any of this when you grow up if you don't pay attention!"

Yep. I was the walking toolbox, however at least I'd reached an age when he stopped slapping me around when things went pears. I think it goes some way to explaining why to this very day, I find the sound of someone drilling into a wall utterly terrifying.

By late afternoon, the job seemed nearly complete. Despite the lack of plans, the cabinet was cuboid in shape. I was confident, had my super dad managed to snatch a daring victory? It would appear so.

Takeaway that Saturday afternoon was almost a jovial affair. My mum wasn't a bag of nerves and things looked promising.

Sunday morning, my own construction was coming along nicely. I hummed along to the music coming from my brother's bedroom. I remain grateful for the sanity gifted to me from the Human League, Luther Vandross, Gary Numan and the Boomtown Rats courtesy of my brother's Realistic (read Tandy own brand) Hi Fi.


*sound of needle abruptly scratching across vinyl*

A blood curdling scream of rage and anguish pierced the air. Birds stopped singing outside.


Then I recall hearing a loud banging noise, the type you might hear if someone kicks a chipboard record cabinet hard.

"SHIT!" *bang* "SHIT!" *thump* "SHIT" *splinter*

Startled I walked to the window, fearful that Dad might look up and take his rage out on me.

I was rewarded with the sight of a grown man toe-punting the rapidly disintegrating remains of a record cabinet around the garden. The wood, tools and everything else in earshot were excrementally denounced.

The reason for the destruction? Turned out that Dad had lost his temper attempting to take a plane to chipboard...
(, Thu 3 Apr 2008, 19:25, 11 replies)
(, Thu 3 Apr 2008, 19:31, closed)
Must have made for an amusing childhood.

(, Thu 3 Apr 2008, 20:28, closed)
story! I hope to, one day, be this angry about DIY ;)
(, Thu 3 Apr 2008, 20:44, closed)
Krakatoa / Greek wedding. I like! (pronounced in Borat accent)
And yes, I'll gladly be your speaker!

*spuckwit is a DIY hybrid, from spacker + fuckwit
(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 13:34, closed)
Absolutely legendary :)
(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 14:50, closed)
Had me giggling like a loon.
I scrolled all the way down to click before even finishing reading as I didn't want to forget.

Brilliantly told but I see a little to much of myself in your dad.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 16:00, closed)
Clearly your Dad may have one or two teensy weensy rage problems
(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 16:47, closed)
Paternal Rage
Yes, my father did have several unresolved anger issues, too numerous to recount here.

He once attempted to rectally force-feed the family's GP his own suitcase after the doctor suggested Dad might need to seek medical help with his anger issues.

I wish I were joking.
(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 16:58, closed)
A plane to chip board, the would have been fun to watch.

(, Fri 4 Apr 2008, 19:40, closed)
...and yet, having met you, you seem like such a well-balanced individual...
(, Sat 5 Apr 2008, 13:59, closed)
Oh yes...
Told with the mastery of the spawn of a poet. One who's had a one-night-stand with Bill Shakespeare and missed her morning-after pill.


An afterthought, however, that your dad really comes off as a twunt of magnanamous proportions. Of course, this is all DIY related and as such isn't a viable gauge of a persons psyche, but there's definitely a contender for high blood pressure right here.

I ramble. Funny stories of DIY. Nuff said.
(, Sun 6 Apr 2008, 2:30, closed)

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