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Three Quick Fixes

1. Magnetic lighter

My kitchen is blessed with nice gas hobs, but the ignition doesn't currently work. Until I get it fixed (currently job number 782 on the New House To-Do List) I use a jet flame lighter to light the hobs, but it's a pain to be rummaging around in a drawer for it every time I want to make a cup of tea.

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I roughed up the casing with a bit of sandpaper to give the glue some "tooth" to attach to, and then used a good blob of two part epoxy to fix a small neodymium magnet to the side of the lighter.

Now when it's not in use, I can just reach up and snap it onto the metal extractor hood and it's ready whenever I want it.

Side note: I discovered snapping on my little magnetic kitchen timers that bare magnets will scratch up a metal cooker hood - fortunately this is easily remedied by putting a sticker over the magnet, just large enough to overlap the sharp edges.

2. Freezer drawer repair

Still in the kitchen, like a lot of my furniture I bought my freezer secondhand, it was in good nick but with one drawer quite badly broken. It's a little unsightly and has gradually split further over time as part of it is right on the handle, and I knew sooner or later it would snap in half completely.

A replacement would be a ridiculous £40, but I'd seen articles and videos mentioning that you could glue a freezer drawer strongly enough with plastic cement, and it seemed worth giving it a go.

Based on this video from Hacked Gadgets I searched the drawer all over looking for a code to indicate the type of plastic so I could pick the right glue, but with no luck.

However, following some forum posts I discovered this stuff, which claims to glue almost any kind of plastic, and is available only online from Bulgaria which is how you can tell it's good.

Again on the advice of the Hacked Gadgets video I stood the drawer on end, put a weight on top to keep the cracks pressed together and painted a decent amount of the glue over them, allowing capillery action to draw the glue in.

This is the same type of glue used in building model aircraft, which actually dissolves the outer layers of the plastic and "welds" the parts together, but I wasn't really expecting it to be strong enough to hold the handle together through constant use.

To my surprise, given just ten minutes to harden the bond was incredibly strong - I couldn't pull the break apart again even with vigorous tugging, and it's held up for several weeks now as solid as if it was new. It's not pretty (particularly since I stained the mend on the handle black by forgetting the brush I used had previously been used for leather dye) but it's a rock solid mend and a nice saving.

3. Mini Lathe Clamp

Finally: I've posted before about my mini lathe, a fun little tool which I think has the potential to make some nice craft pieces.

The biggest problem has been fixing it firmly in place, particularly given that it vibrates a lot when in use, and last time I was working on a very unnecessarily complicated frame which would bolt to the table.

This week, however, I got it out again for a quick job (turning some rods for a tent for my nieces' Sylvanian Families) and realised that I could just hook the head of a bolt into the t-slot aluminium of the body and then screw it down through the holes I drilled in my bench to bolt down my vice.

Since I didn't have any 5mm nuts around that had a surface bigger than the bolt holes (or any suitable washers) I just drilled a piece of scrap MDF to put under the bench and put the bolts through.

The t-slot aluminium slides onto the bolt heads, and then can be tightened down to the bench surface by the nuts underneath.

And by adding some leftover silicone pads from the cinema seating project the whole arrangement becomes basically a padded clamp, which does a nice job of soaking up at least some of the vibration when the lathe is running.

Now I'm back into my posting rhythm, I'll once again be taking one week off in four just to ease up the schedule a bit, which will be next week. So I'll catch you again in two weeks time. Thanks again for reading and if you enjoy these posts and think someone else will too, please do share them.

See you soon!

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