Monthly Archives: March 2012

Forever jobs

I have an expression for certain jobs — I call them ‘forever jobs’.

These are things that you can carry on doing with a continual improvement but you never really know when to stop.

Here are some examples of forever jobs.

Scarifying a lawn. This is the process of scratching out the moss and breaking down the lawn thatch (matted grass) and no matter how much you do there is always more that you can rake out.

Jet washing a drive. You get it pretty clean but you can always get it just a bit cleaner.

Paint stripping/preparation. When do you stop getting old paint off and rubbing down before you start putting on the new paint?

Do you have any forever jobs?

Designers v fitters

As a handymen I have to fit a good many things. Accordingly, I am well-placed to comment on how the designers of various things patently never have to fit them or they would realise what a bad design job they did.

Some notable things include—

1) various types of back-to-the-wall toilets, bidets, etc where you cannot check after they are fitted that there are no leaks because by fitting them you have covered your only means of getting round the back to check.

2) many light fittings which you find will need to be fitted by people who have three hands or ideally four. For example you make an electrical connection usually by poking a wire into a connector block …so one hand needs to hold the wire and another the screwdriver. In this instance, one more hand is usually required to support the weight of the light fitting (which is not yet attached to the ceiling) and another hand to steady yourself at the top of your step ladder.

3)  also with light fittings many require the final fixing to be done with two stupid little screws which come in from the sides. So the same as above applies with the need for three hands and the additional joy of trying to screw horizontally with the ceiling in the way.

4) door knobs (as opposed to levers) with the screw holes around the fixing rim. The supplied screws are usually slotted but due the the relative size of the knob it requires either the screws to go in at an angle (which looks a mess) or the screwdriver to offered to the screws at an angle so they can’t actually be done up easily at all. Additionally, there will usually be a latch of some kind under the surface of the door where you are fitting the knob so having the usual three screw holes will make it very hard to position the knob in such a way as to avoid penetrating the latch with a screw.

Nb. door knobs are regularly fitted by people who don’t care about their knuckles being banged into the door frame as they shut the door while still holding the knob.

5) flatpack furniture irritates me where you can only turn a machine screw using the supplied allen key about a sixth of a turn at a time due the dubious location of the fixing. Hence doing it up to fully tight, takes about a hundred insertions of the allen key, tiny twist, then reinsertion infinitum.

WordPress blog spam

The internet is a strange place full of opportunistic idiots.

This blog now receives at least a dozen trash comments a day from people who say next to nothing in a bland statement which they post in the hope of gaining a free back link. None of them will appear here so they are wasting their time, doubtless even this post will get such comments like ‘cool post man I agree with what you say.’

It’s a bit like spam emails and I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world plagued by emails about my erectile dysfunction or my pressing need to consolidate my loans    ….or was that emails to consolidate my erection and my dysfunctional loans?


Worried about loft boarding

I’m about to board out my loft and I’m worried about compressing the ample insulation that is already there. Will it loose its insulating properties by being compressed?

Gutters keep leaking


My plastic guttering is forever leaking does it need replacing do you think?



FreeIndex the UK’s leading web directory now lists over 3000 handymen in the UK.

Marks on basins

The white stuff most toilets and basins are made out of is known by several names—vitreous enamel, vitreous china, porcelain enamel, etc. It is pretty tough stuff but it can be marked quite easily with some metals particularly aluminium and titanium. Okay, so titanium is quite rare but my watch is titanium coated so I know this problem well and now always remove my watch when I’m fitting bathrooms.

The snag is these little grey marks (which look like pencil lines) are the very devil to remove. They look as if a wipe with a damp cloth would remove them easily but after trying various robust methods like a pan scourers and products like Vim you can quickly realise it will take something more serious to remove them and might even panic that nothing at all will shift them.

What is needed is a plumber’s rubber. They are not cheap or particularly easy to find but do a web-search for Cramer Bath Rubber and you’ll find what you need.

I have heard that T-Cut also works but I’ve never tried it.