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  • theme summary
    • Home kitchen/else; devices, tips/tricks, arrange, tidy, appliances, hygiene/life, decoration, trip
    • Home environment car, bike, dogs/cats, construction, garden..
    • DIY Painting, gluing, fix things oneself (of which electricity), usual works, to bond, dismantle, restaure..
    • Technical PC-Windows and environment, pixels - Photo - practical Electricity (understanding), electromagnetism, special electric motors..
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this page,  Tinkering, fixing things ourselves

Substitute a small pin (rib of an umbrellaumbrella, rod, wrist clock, spectacles, etc) - Usages of a credit card (wedge..) to fix repair, dismantle (simple opening, observation, broken parts, zips, fuses, batteries box - Doors that rub, wedge, squeak) - Plumbery, taps, flushing, replacement of sealing  - Water sparing
"manufacture" informs you there is basic work on wood or metal.

Repairing/fixing has always been indispensable. It is a question of survival, economy or simple attachment. Poor peoples repair with a great skill. Here after are works on an African gourd and a statuette. Sewing or staples is used where the glue is not known. A gardener recommended staples to repair a broken pot!  I also saw, in the south, an old wooden shovel all seamed and reinforced throughout with metal plates stapled on the wood.

A gourd stitched

  magnified detail of the
sewing of the gourd. It must be pretty sealed. Nice work with rvery basic means.
 Here staples on a statuette (click !). Polynesians even stitched sheets of wood to form their canoes!

On répare de moins en moins. Is repaired less. Prices but above all the technical things are that it has become too difficult or unnecessary. However, we do not like to throw, and I propose to examine "the thing" before throwing or repair. A sophisticated device is often out of order for some mechanical deformed or broken, a switch, a bad contact or an internal fuse and there are often beyond repair.

Watch straps, umbrella ribs: with a safety pin or sewing one - the latter has a smaller diameter but is more easy to bend - you can replace a small pin  lost with. A small short nose for modeling pliers are essential (see basic tools)
Example of an umbrella: we see hereright hand the head of a safety pin and rod that passes through, recalled by the red line, then was bent round (previously cut to the right length by successive folding if you haven't got a cutting plier. If the rod escaped was only pinched by fitting (without hole), make a small hole with a hand drill. I temporarily repaired by this method and a bracelet, the axis connecting the case had been lost (we can achieve something discreet by folding the two ends of the rod improvised)

- Chock the rub, falls, gigouille.
Furniture should be held away from the wall or propped against ? cut a slice into a cork (champagne if you have, it's bigger). Also to keep a wire hidden behind a furniture.

toaster (on the left). The cable length surplus is hidden under the toaster, but it esapes easily. l cut out a cork plug holding it in place. I partially colored it in yellow for a better visility.
Note: we could have just as easily stuck with an outdated piece of card, folded once or several times

Note : we could have as well used an outdated credit card bend to fit in

The stopper of cork or plastic.
wedge-cut, it will better entering in the neck, but sliced up, it will keep the back of a chair away from the wall ; sliced in thin chips, it will protect furniture from scratches (pasted under objects).

The stopper can be used to fill in a small hole (wall, camera, audio tape or video hole record protective flap broken, and so on.
Also stuck all that vibrates, that is flawed, or holds in place what does not stand.
In other cases, it is likely to think at this  yellow or white paste to glue, pre-cut into square chunks on a sheet of paper. The consistency is that of chewing gum, but it does not dry and does not harden. It is reusable, but its adhesive power (medium), is better fesh.
Odd usages of a credit card, at home but also while travelling scrape, wedge, but also fix. Free your own imagination. here are some examples.

CARS sparkling plugs..

Use a credit card to adjust the gap between the electrodes of your car
Hooks to suspend a bunch of keys (eventually dissimulating them), or a hand bag..

Soap cup

At the hotel or rented flat ; the soap soaks most often in a cup. Bend a credit card.

On a trip, putting away a clothing, drying a towel ..
Hooked at the top of a door, it stands the weight of a jacket !

Detail of the left hand hook. To better bend it, mark it strongly using a knife blade.

Coil of string, rubber bands..

Hook for retrieving a cord escaped back in its sheath (bath suit, short..)

The hook can be extended by sticking another cut out band, with a cyanolite glue.

Threading a cord in the sheath. Can be lengthened just as the hook.
see Items, pots, ware broken - also glues and gluing

- To fix, to repair
observe attentively :  the defect is sometimes apparent ; example : the small mural vacuum cleaner was doing a bad noise and my friend thought replacing it ; after inspection, I found a stopper of dirtinesses in the turbine ( one can sees it well by removing "the nose" containing the mini pouch filtering the dust. Once the "package" removed, everything get back in good conditions (explanations : the bag filter was not in the right place and the plastic ring which maintains it was missing : dust passed thus directly in the turbine of aspiration.
The zip fastener of the trousers was jamed : look at the closed end (at bottom), where the slide stops ; there are often metallic staples or moulded plastic ; remove it or cut it, which opens the bottom and allows you, with a little patience, to put back the side jumped in the slide ; a little higher replace then the staples or stitch up transversely in replacement (the defect remains and it should be eliminated).

- My own tuner-amplifier was dumb : after disassembling, I found inside a burned fuse. I replaced it (small tube of glass with two ends out of metal). Idem for my microwaves
- Fuses : amperage is engraved (0,2 - 0,5 - 1 - 1,5 A .. for "sensitive" apparatuses (électronics) one finds fuses "ultra quick" which are not sold usually in shops : put on a regular fuse or repair it with a copper thread taken off from a piece of electric cord ; weld it in replacement or bond it as you can (wedge it with the old one into the springs or coil it around.

- Hair dryer ; the hair dryer stops during usage :  see "Electricité" and check the plug and the cord . It can probably be the thermal circuit breaker which is out ; it is a very small mechanical component, composed generally of two tiny blades fixed on a white ceramics body ; a blade deforms itself and cut a contact when the apparatus is too hot ; check that air freely enters by the back and leaves by the front (no hair plug). Put the hair dryer 5 to 15 minutes into the freezer (I did it) ; that deforms the blade in the opposite direction and can improve enough the defect (if it jumps again, 2 to 3 mn of congelator will do and you will save time).
- The hair dryer does not function any more : it is probably the electronic thermal fuse of protection which is out of order ; if you can dismount the apparatus, seek a few millimetre small brilliant metal tube, or something else, grey and round (olive shaped) ; repair like for the fuse above (make a short cut with a copper wire. Only a good handyman can replace it, if it can find a spare part (it is why I advise to keep on these components when the apparatus is to be thrown (dismount and take them, as well as coals of the engine).
Disadvantage : it will be necessary to supervise that the apparatus does not overheat, when one places it for example too close a fabric, because it is the heating resistance or the engine which then will roast.

- Batteries: see " Electricity ". If your remote controm device does not work suddenly, before replacing the batteries, make rotate them in their box and make sure they are well tight between the contacts and springs, especially if the remote fell. The same remark is right for everything that runs with batteries: check their compartment, scratch the contacts, re-bend the springs or place a piece of rubber underneath to give a stronger pressure. I just so fix a travel alarm clock. Remember to remove the batteries in a device that won't work for long, and check those which works for a long time; one yera or more (clocks..).

Notice on the attempts at repairs : your apparatus is rotten because repairing will be surely too expensive ; if that blow out, so much the worse, at least, you will have tryed and maybe learned ! see also : Electricity

- Disassembling : Most of the time; it's now not obvious. Find the screws which make it possible to open the apparatus : if they are not apparent, look in the housing of the batteries (remove them), or at the bottom of deep holes, which can be sometimes hidden by plugs rubber, cap (as the red and blue of a tap), plastic of the feet or under decorations, plates or labels ; but sometimes there are not any because the plastic is simply "pinched" and its a long way to come. See also to dismantle

- Screw that does not hold anymore (sink drains tubes, top of bottles, garden sprinklers .. that jump when tightening them). Use a greasy or plastified paper like this one the ham is wrapped in. Fold it several times to form a strip thick enough to suit the need and coil up around the thread, then hold it while screwing the top. Change the number of layers or the length if necessary.

Wash basin drain cleaning. to cleaning the wash basin drain, use a hook you have made ourself see with an iron wire (hanger plastic coated). In the purpose to clean thoroughly, unscrew the U-bend which is under the basin (put a bowl first under).

- Taps. If water runs slowly, first of all check the filter which is often screwed at the end of the nozzle of the tap (unscrews, cleans with vinegar, an antiliming product, pierces the holes with a pin or replaces it (do-it-yourself stores ).

For any other intervention, expect yourself going to unscrew various kinds of screw (with slit, in cross) and of nuts (diameters 12, 17, 21, 22, 28, 30 cm (I don't know exactly in inch) ... and there, you will need a little courage ; first of all, close the water arrival.

- Traditional standard garden tap in old style: there is one or two nuts : one, smaller, if existing, is used to regulate the sealing and the operating toughness : if that leaks there, it is necessary to unscrew and put a little film (or oakum for the large ones) or joint-sealing compound ; the other is closer to the body of the tap, is that which interests ourselves more particularly ; nowadays, the oakum can be replaced by a "toric" sealing (round like a ring) ; unscrew (with adjustable wrench, adjustable open-end wrench...) you then take out the whole thing and at the tip of it, there is the rubber seal to replace (with hole or without). Look at the bottom of the hole (the body remained on the wall) while drying with paper or fabric, to check the state of the crown on which the joint is pressed. if it "is pitted with acid", it will have to be milled (one sells this type of tool, not very expensive) but you can try to sand it with a disc cut out in abrasive paper Number 80, then 120, then 180, that you stick on a round piece of wood of the same diameter.

Kitchen tap, bath room : they are in general equipped with more beautiful buttons and one does not see a screw nor of nut ; to remove the coloured cabochon/stud (blue, red or both), use the blade of a knife. Cabochon can be deep and furred (you do not discourage) in any case, that can be only there. Behind the cabochon/stud, there is a screw, which can be deep (with slit, in cross) ; unscrew it because it holds only the head of the tap ; the nut appears then, (which can reach than 30 mm for a mixer tap/mixing valve, but which appear sometimes inaccessible "into a pit" : look at well because the pit is in fact only one kind of a cylinder which can be removed easily by unscrewing it (limestone can make believe that it is bond). When you unscrew, you will see all the mechanism as for an ordinary tap;

Ceramic tap : no rubber seal, but plates out of ceramics, openings, which slips one on the other under the action of the lever, which discovers holes of cold or hot water arrival ; nothing to do excepted to look at what is damaged and order the parts if it is possible (in particular plates ceramics).

Traditional thermostatic tap (not ceramics): starting as a regular one (see above) but after there is still a cylinder to draw, because it is this one which, cut out of holes, lets enter hot or cold water in moving under the effect of a spring which is behind. It can be difficult to remove this cylinder for if the thermostat does not function any more (always cold or irregular water), it is it which is blocked by limestone ; it thus should be removed by making it spinning while pulling at the same time (is not screwed since it moves). Check the spring behind (it must be clean and "free"; push it to verify. Then clean limestone cautiously both in and on the cylinder, O rubber rings of the cylinder and put on some silicon grease. The adjustments of temperature are surely to be done again because there are grooves that allow to adjust the head.

 flushing leaks. There are two main models : side water arrival and water bottom arrival in A and B. 1 / water filling system : remove the lid of the tank (the tank can be embedded in the wall) and check if water overflows by the central tube; if it is the case, it is necessary to adjust the water level while operating a screw located on the side, in A, close to the axis of the float, aside of pipe of water arrival (read : arrivée d'eau); there can be two screws for the  high and low level of water ; screw that of the high level, a quarter or a half of turn. For other models, with vertical sliding float along the tube of arrival water, there is also a screw on the side (B). Empty a little amount of water, then let fill in again ; if it is sensible to let the last setting in observation for one day because an old model does not stop at once. The current models works with a rocking system which cuts the water arrival instantaneously ; in this case, you can put the lid immediately. If water never stops, it is necessary to re-examine the joint or the water valve. Try to take it apart after having turned off the water, check the washer and replace it if necessary. It is not too much difficult (an adjustable open-end wrench is enough).
2 / system of water draining ; the leak can come from the cylinder (read: cloche) which shut the tank drain at the bottom ; clean under the sealing rubber C) and the base on which it leans, because there must be sealing when the tube falls down after being operated. It is this bell-shaped part (cylinder) which, equipped with an auxiliary float, makes it possible to differentiate drainings (water savers with two buttons, complete or partial). To change this part, it is a little longer because it is necessary to remove the tank from the seat (thus to also unscrew the water arrival).

A system of bent pipes and fittings run down the water from sinks, bowls, bath tubes etc.. The tub has usually a removable panel near the faucets. If the leak is not obvious, locate it by wrapping bands of paper. Tighten the nuts connecting the leaking pipes - help with a cloth, non skid gloves etc. Any improvement? everything must be unscrewed. Observe the elements - screw threads, narrow joints rings -  that seals when wrenching and clean (bold, limestone). Coat the fittings, including pipes, threads and rings (inside and outside), a joint compound. Also think at the rubber sealing under the sink that seals the drain (current shop sale). The large screws diameter can get them very difficult to unscrew ; a special wrench exist for that (photo).

Doors which squeak.
This comes from the hinges and the temptation is to put oil ot grease; of course it will be better, but best is to grease with graphite, which does not run. You don't have any graphite powder ?  scratch a pencil a little fat (HB) on a piece of paper and push it on the hinge with a small brush.  Yes, but you are to lift the door a crack first  (making oscillate the door while pulling up it makes this easy. If necessary, use a lever. A prybar is a good lever, but there are accessories specialized for doors. One raise gradually while placing a small wedge (piece of wood, book..) as soon as the door is raised enough steps by steps. One can also simply rub the lead pencil against the stem.
- Door that rubs without having to dismount it, nor to plane it, one can very appreciably reduce the friction of a door on the ground : 1/ if they are a little stone, drive out it with a long blade (knife, saw blade, eventually by putting the foot above and by operating the door);

2/ if the door itself rubs, try to put an abrasive paper (coarse grain sandpaper or disc), that you stick on the ground at the place that rubs, with adhesive doubles face for fitted carpet. Pass the door above as many time as necessary. If it is too hard, move a bit away the sandpaper aside the place that rubs to reduce the effort and bring it closer to the default gradually. Another possible difficulty is the direction of the effort : may be you can push the door on the sandpaper, and then being enable to get it back towards you ; that is due to the application of the forces (see the wheelbarrow in daily physics). It is then necessary to make as for any door which wedges, not to push on the level of the arms, but with the knee or foot (a good kick opens in this case, it is well known, but that can also damage the door ! Simultaneously try to relieve a little the door while raising it by the handle. In the worst case, pass on other side and start again.

Fixing things ourselves

Uses of out-of-date credit cards keep those which are out-of-date and those of same characteristics or thinner (found sometimes in magazines); use them for vibrations (as a wedge), wobbly chairs, for scraping, repair a plastic part, blocking a lock and many other uses which you could imagine yourself. Examples : hooks to suspend a bunch of keys or a bag, a clothing at a top of a door, hook to retrieve a cord of shorts escaped back in its sheath. - Use also the plastic paste in grain to make holds : nuts rings bases (fossil, stones of collection) or other parts ; disadvantage : this material is sensitive to heat ; see photos in adaptation, repairs.
See also repairs
, Replace a broken element

- Safety locks seized up . Not to lubricate the safety locks with oil  (that get dirtinesses and can solidify). One must put in a little graphite powder you can buy for this uses or are going to produce yourself by scraping (fine) a lead of  pencil (HB).

Introducing the the graphite into the lock. It should be scraped one a sheet of paper folded into two and cut bevel in order to place the tip in face of the keyhole. To blow then to make it pass in the lock.<="#008000"> 

To unwedge a clogged lock if you are at home, enter the key half the length and make run alcohol above so that it runs a bit inside. Possibly, pass a thin hook inside to withdraw the remains (hook kind broidery works). Or push with the hook a piece of fabric soaked with alcohol . Agitate the hook, then the key in all the directions to make play the pistons of the lock. Or inject alcohol with a syringe (you don't need a big one, but for other uses there are big sized ones in Do-It-Yourself shops). Be patient, it could take time.

Cans of oil for general purpose deliver in some cases too much amount of oil that spread around, are dripping semselves or don't allow to reach the right and tight place. A syringe lang="fr" align="center" href="brico%20outillage,%20restauration.htm"> with its long needle will satisfy the need because one can drive the little tip on the right place of the mecanism, while regulating the quantity. The serynge allows to get the oil in the tank too; plug the tip of the needle in a soft matter like a rubber. - Glue seeDo it

- Sticking tapestries< ungluedor "blisters": inject woodworking glue - water diluted -  using a syringe. Valid also for platings pieces of furniture. Preference for the vinyl adhesive glue "outside" if there is moisture. A larger syringe can be get in do-it-yourself.store.

History of water. Our rich countries are aimed at consumerism. Visiting a country where water is sold by the glass in the street, and where a man is praying making together her ablutions with a tin of water, makes you shudder, but also awareness.
Our ceramic valves and lever "quarter turn" open fully the water and are difficult to be controlled. Some models now have a notch half way. Flushing toilets with two buttons are not truly decisive and the best - I just saw one - allows to stop the flush as you want .
The shower is a disaster. One can reduce the water from 30/40 litres per shower to 20 or even 15 litres, by wetting quickly and cutting off water while washing oneself. Rinse by wiping with a glove. In the garden, no magic recipe, only reduce the watering and collect rain . The storage is quite anecdotic, for it is few facing the needs of a garden during dry periods. (calculate the cost of 500 gallons of water ..). Only a large swimming pool, could be a very substantial source !  they are used occasionally by the firemans in the South of the France.
Leaks and savings water. We are told on the TV about any water leaks. "A dripping tap can fill a bathtub hundred liters a day", in which case, the valve doesnt drip, it runs ! a tap that loose a drop now and then fills a bottle or two. The sensible way is to test oneself in order to appreciate the urgency of the intervention. These are flushings that leak the most, seeping continuously. We have to look at the surface in the bowl that must be still. If not, the top of the tank must be removed  before flushing to assess the losses.

Showers, taps; there are "water saving" things, a mere disc with a hole (diaphragm), nbsp;that is inserted between the shower hose and the flexible pipe, or for a tap, in the nose with the diffuser. The passage of water through the reduced hole is slowed down. This feature is useful if you have a very high water pressure.

Toilets. There are two-buttons water saving system : they generally limit the amount of water but not its height in the tank, or should do because it is the height  that gives the pressure (see " La pression"). To reduce the amount in preserving the height, put one or two bricks inside the tank. check they are not interfering with the mechanism; one can also  hang a large plastic bag filled with sand or water, assuming the same precautions are applied !
Two bricks remove two liters of water.

Do not reduce too much the amount of water (1/4 or 1/3 because the flush could be in short supply of energy.
Special case: the toilet bowl cleans better with a low pressure (it is the case for one of our two toilets at home), don't put bricks but set the water level lower. To be observed.

To improve, restorate

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