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The DIY thread

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The DIY thread

18 Jun 2016 16:47

I'm not a particularly handy man, but I'm trying to learn to fix and improve things around the house. There's something appealing to being able to solve your own problems without having to call a plumber or carpenter.

Let's share DIY tips experiences, tips, questions and answers here.
Check 'em!
User avatar CheckMyPecs
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18 Jun 2016 17:12

While it can be icky I like to fix my own plumbing, plumbers cost way too much for something you could most likely fix yourself. (It's not the parts that cost so much, it's the labor that will cost you a pretty dime.)

My latest project was replacing a kitchen garbage disposal (such as this one) Image

... it's kind of a pain because the working space is usually very small, and the disposal units are pretty heavy. (You have to go against gravity and actually lift the unit up to secure it under the sink.) But what the hell, I had nothing to lose so I thought might as well give it a try.

I am very happy to report the disposal works just fine (I didn't electrocute myself in the installation process), and I am even more happy to report that I saved about $40-$80 in plumber labor cost.

Btw., reading instruction manuals (which nobody likes to do), and watching some DIY clips on Youtube are your best friends. :)
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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18 Jun 2016 18:38

Wow, that sounds great. I hope I'll have this kind of skills someday. Right now I'm learning of the very existence of certain tools, or seeing them used for the first time in a DIY context when I'd always thought they were only used by specialised craftsmen.
Check 'em!
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18 Jun 2016 18:57

I've always been a little handy, but a lot of time gets burned just figuring things out the first time. YouTube is fantastic for helping skip past the figure it out stage (I wish it would have been around when I remodeled a house 20 years ago), and providing "tricks". I agree with TR, plumbing is mostly pretty simple. You can also save a ton on electrical work if you do all of the grunt work, and just have an electrician do the final hookups (to meet code etc.). As with anything, having the correct tools makes things much easier, but the down side is that many of those tool$ won't get used very often, if ever again so look on craigslist for used stuff or rent them.
jmdirt
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18 Jun 2016 19:23

High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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Re:

18 Jun 2016 19:33

Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

So do you think it would be a bad idea if I tried this at home? :(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTAUupMxT1U
Check 'em!
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Re: Re:

18 Jun 2016 19:42

CheckMyPecs wrote:
Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

So do you think it would be a bad idea if I tried this at home? :(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTAUupMxT1U
lol... wouldn't it be just cheaper to get a new cable?

Or, more importantly, find a way to keep the pet in question away from it?
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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Re: Re:

18 Jun 2016 19:50

Tricycle Rider wrote:
CheckMyPecs wrote:
Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

So do you think it would be a bad idea if I tried this at home? :(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTAUupMxT1U
lol... wouldn't it be just cheaper to get a new cable?

Or, more importantly, find a way to keep the pet in question away from it?

Sure, I just thought it would be a relatively easy way to get started in DIY.
Check 'em!
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18 Jun 2016 20:05

Plumbing - warning !
Some plumbing can look deceptively easy ... use a wrench to remove the bad part, and then reinstall a new replacement - what could go wrong?

Trouble is all the other joints and connections near the bad part have been happily corroding together, and have not been moved for many years. As soon as you start wrenching on a part, all the others are affected and unexpected leaks and breakage can happen.
I suggest FIRST using some penetrating oil (or kerosene) on the threaded joints that you need to disassmble, and let it soak in for at least a few hours. And when doing the 'wrenching' use other wrenches or clamps to prevent other pipes from moving. Also when reassembling, use 'joint compound' or teflon tape on the threads. If there are rubber washers or O-rings, lube them a little with food grade vegatable oil. Double-check all the connections for leaks after you're done.

If you need to work on your back inside a cabinet, rig-up some sort of low support the same height as the floor of the cabinet - otherwise it's a killer on your back. If at all possible, have a helper who can hand you tools etc. w/o your having to get in and out of the space.

I like to buy my 'parts' at a store that has an easy 'return policy' for item that have not been opened or used.
Buy everything you might need so you have it IF you do need it, and then later return the unused stuff.

For working in tight quarters, a 'stubby' adjustable wrench can make things much easier. Learned that the hard way in last few days - will buy one soon.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
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18 Jun 2016 20:07

Right, so what does your car battery voltage run on at the mo'? (Not trying to compete, btw., just wondering.)
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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20 Jun 2016 20:12

Right, so today's project involves changing my '67 VW Bug's motor oil... I've done it many times before, so I'm reasonably sure I know what I'm doing. (Ya'll can probably do it yourself on your fancy new cars providing you have the right equipment, and providing you take the necessary safety precautions.)

Image


There are three main things you want to be absolutely sure of no matter what car you drive -

1. Make sure your car is properly secured so it won't roll back (or forward) on you and run you over!!

2. Don't spill any oil on your sidewalk, or where ever you happen to be doing this. (I usually use an old plastic shower curtain (or some such) to cover the ground so I don't end up with oil all over the place.

3. Make sure you use the right oil for your car and current weather conditions - I like to use the good pricey stuff, which is partly why I don't want to have a mechanic do it for me so he can add to the cost.

As usual read your owner's/instruction manual (which nobody likes to do), and you can find all kinds of info on the interwebs as to how to change the oil on your specific car.

PS - If anyone has more tips to add please be my guest - I only know my car, I don't know everyone else's. :)
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Re:

20 Jun 2016 21:30

Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

I just run the wires and let the electrician do the parts that could lead to fire. I can't justify paying a guy $65 hour to pull wire when that's pretty easy to do myself. I feel OK about changing out electrical parts without a pro (outlets, switches, light fixtures...).

Jay, very true about any plumbing, but especially old plumbing. Instead of using food oils, you could also buy silicone that is specifically made for plumbing (~.99 for a small container that will do about 10 jobs).
jmdirt
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2016 21:45

jmdirt wrote:I just run the wires and let the electrician do the parts that could lead to fire. I can't justify paying a guy $65 hour to pull wire when that's pretty easy to do myself.
:cool:

See, I don't even feel comfortable pulling the wires through seeing as I don't have the electrical "blueprints" for this particular house. (If I stick a cable in, well, who knows where it will end up?)

The other stuff you mentioned (outlets, switches, light fixtures...) that I'm pretty okay with as well.
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20 Jun 2016 22:12

I must confess to ya'll now, I am absolutely terrified of car batteries. But I have learned the hard way that sometimes it's a good thing to know whether they are charged, or whether they can even BE still charged. (My last one was so old and dead not even the AAA guy could save it with a jump.)

I'm performing this test on my mom's old '89 Honda Civic with this handy dandy tool, while terrifying I think the battery is still good.

Image
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2016 22:15

jmdirt wrote:
Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

I just run the wires and let the electrician do the parts that could lead to fire. I can't justify paying a guy $65 hour to pull wire when that's pretty easy to do myself. I feel OK about changing out electrical parts without a pro (outlets, switches, light fixtures...).

Jay, very true about any plumbing, but especially old plumbing. Instead of using food oils, you could also buy silicone that is specifically made for plumbing (~.99 for a small container that will do about 10 jobs).
that's a reasonable 'electrical' approach but you can still run into troubles/fires/shorts by changing out electrical parts w/o a pro. I am not a pro but took care to learn the trick. It is called the component current
rating. for ex, i once replaced a switch previously rated for 10 amps AC with the one rated for 1 amp. the result was carbonizing the underrated switch which luckily did not cause any fires...

i am a huge fan of diy. diy just about anything - plumbing, electrical, cooking, learning more languages, software, our cars, our bikes, our taxes... for me, it's not so much about the savings, but an opportunity to learn and apply it to reducing my household's waste. not wasting $$ is a welcome coincidence... i am only limited by the available time and the permissions form the significant other when my drives become more than personal.

today i fixed an old bike computer, a cat eye) instead buying new (if i even could find a replacement for the 20 yo part). there were 2 problems: a disintegrating mounting bracket handle bar band and the broken anti-slide plastic computer latch.

to be brief, i stitched the disintegrating plastic bracket with steel wires, then epoxied the surfaces. the latch was a more involved fix... i extracted a springy metal plate from an old electrical outlet, shaped it (bent, cut to size, drilled holes) and attached it (with the stitching wires) to the repaired handlebar band just about where the broken plastic latch was. tested the the thing today. the computer is not sliding out when i manipulate the buttons.

etc etc
DJPbaltimore:'John Kerry is an honorable person and would not call out the Russians if there was not evidence', 'the 2 of you are russia stooges'
in foreign policy there are no eternal friendships or eternal enemies, only eternal interests
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2016 22:47

python wrote:
today i fixed an old bike computer, a cat eye) instead buying new (if i even could find a replacement for the 20 yo part). there were 2 problems: a disintegrating mounting bracket handle bar band and the broken anti-slide plastic computer latch.

to be brief, i stitched the disintegrating plastic bracket with steel wires, then epoxied the surfaces. the latch was a more involved fix... i extracted a springy metal plate from an old electrical outlet, shaped it (bent, cut to size, drilled holes) and attached it (with the stitching wires) to the repaired handlebar band just about where the broken plastic latch was. tested the the thing today. the computer is not sliding out when i manipulate the buttons.

etc etc
No pictures available of what you're speaking of? :(
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2016 23:36

Tricycle Rider wrote:
python wrote:
today i fixed an old bike computer, a cat eye) instead buying new (if i even could find a replacement for the 20 yo part). there were 2 problems: a disintegrating mounting bracket handle bar band and the broken anti-slide plastic computer latch.

to be brief, i stitched the disintegrating plastic bracket with steel wires, then epoxied the surfaces. the latch was a more involved fix... i extracted a springy metal plate from an old electrical outlet, shaped it (bent, cut to size, drilled holes) and attached it (with the stitching wires) to the repaired handlebar band just about where the broken plastic latch was. tested the the thing today. the computer is not sliding out when i manipulate the buttons.

etc etc
No pictures available of what you're speaking of? :(
i understand the concern.

i don't normally take the pictures both b/c i am terrible at that and b/c i don't imagine anyone would be interested in my stupid, little projects. also, taking pictures, downloading, commenting on them etc takes time which i see little reason to invest into considering i don't care about sharing on the social media anything personal.

but if you or anyone is specifically interested in how i fixed my ancient cateye, i can come up with something.
DJPbaltimore:'John Kerry is an honorable person and would not call out the Russians if there was not evidence', 'the 2 of you are russia stooges'
in foreign policy there are no eternal friendships or eternal enemies, only eternal interests
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20 Jun 2016 23:44

Super easy DYI that I did two weeks ago was to PlastiDip the wheels on my Toyota Tacoma. The 11 year old steel wheels had become amber (or is that rust:) color. I took the wheels off, scrubber the **** out of them, and then put four coats of PlastiDip on them. I didn't mask the tire on the first one, but did on the other three. There are lots of people on Youtube who do this without taking the wheels off, but I wanted to do the back side as well (for protection and appearance). I was expecting them to look better obviously, but I was really happy with the results. It made the entire PU look better.
jmdirt
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2016 23:46

python wrote:
jmdirt wrote:
Tricycle Rider wrote:High-five, jmdirt - I hate the electrical stuff...

Not just because it needs to meet code, but also because you can very well burn your house down if you didn't get it right.

So for the electrical stuff, by all means, hire a pro.

I just run the wires and let the electrician do the parts that could lead to fire. I can't justify paying a guy $65 hour to pull wire when that's pretty easy to do myself. I feel OK about changing out electrical parts without a pro (outlets, switches, light fixtures...).

Jay, very true about any plumbing, but especially old plumbing. Instead of using food oils, you could also buy silicone that is specifically made for plumbing (~.99 for a small container that will do about 10 jobs).
that's a reasonable 'electrical' approach but you can still run into troubles/fires/shorts by changing out electrical parts w/o a pro. I am not a pro but took care to learn the trick. It is called the component current
rating. for ex, i once replaced a switch previously rated for 10 amps AC with the one rated for 1 amp. the result was carbonizing the underrated switch which luckily did not cause any fires...

i am a huge fan of diy. diy just about anything - plumbing, electrical, cooking, learning more languages, software, our cars, our bikes, our taxes... for me, it's not so much about the savings, but an opportunity to learn and apply it to reducing my household's waste. not wasting $$ is a welcome coincidence... i am only limited by the available time and the permissions form the significant other when my drives become more than personal.

today i fixed an old bike computer, a cat eye) instead buying new (if i even could find a replacement for the 20 yo part). there were 2 problems: a disintegrating mounting bracket handle bar band and the broken anti-slide plastic computer latch.

to be brief, i stitched the disintegrating plastic bracket with steel wires, then epoxied the surfaces. the latch was a more involved fix... i extracted a springy metal plate from an old electrical outlet, shaped it (bent, cut to size, drilled holes) and attached it (with the stitching wires) to the repaired handlebar band just about where the broken plastic latch was. tested the the thing today. the computer is not sliding out when i manipulate the buttons.

etc etc

I always take the old part to the store with me to avoid (hopefully) getting the wrong thing. The more DYI I have done the better I have gotten at identifying the correct parts.
jmdirt
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Re: Re:

22 Jun 2016 13:50

jmdirt wrote:
jmdirt wrote:I always take the old part to the store with me to avoid (hopefully) getting the wrong thing. The more DYI I have done the better I have gotten at identifying the correct parts.
I think that's the most useful tip yet... if possible I always take the old part with me, that way I'm not stuck describing the part as "that thingy" to the salesperson, and I can get an exact (or close) match.

Case in point - the latest part I took in was a vacuum cleaner belt... mine broke, so instead of having to pay someone to replace it for me I took the vacuum apart and put a new belt in myself. (With the money I saved on labor I can buy myself an inner tube, or six.)

How's your vacuum cleaner situation, btw., jmdirt?
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