Throw away or repair.


Colin

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Hi,

I get asked to do lots of jobs because I've got a decent workshop. Our neighbours gardener Paul visited us and asked if I could weld a tool he had broken? Looking at the tool I said if I weld it the tool will only break again but leave it with me and I'll see what I can do.

The tool only costs about £3 new but I know Paul working on his own has to make his money stretch out; a simple butt weld would quickly fail so I welded on a pair of splints and tidied the welds using an angle grinder; Paul was delighted when he saw what I had come up with. The job took about half an hour but cost nothing monetary wise and I enjoyed tinkering around using my arc welder.

Added just for a bit of interest; most people would dump such a broken tool. ;)

Kind regards, Colin.

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alp

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And they go and buy a new one, just to find out that the quality is not there.. Nowadays, things can be cheap, but the quality very nasty and when they are of good quality, they fetch quite a hefty price .. All the poundshops and bargain stores sell stuff like this. Bought a hand fork and use for 2 hour and part of it is already bent .. A spray bottle fell to the floor and the spray top broke.... Scissors won't cut..
 
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How good of you to spend the time and effort to make a proper repair to Paul's tool! He is lucky to have you for a neighbor, and not only because you can fix most anything (good neighbors are hard to come by).
I'm using my grandfather's garden rake, hoe, and hedge clips, which are pushing 100 years old. Other than sharpening the clips and hoe, and keeping the wooden handles oiled, nothing else needs to be done. These tools are heavy, and the hoe is about 2/3 of its original size from being repeatedly sharpened over nearly a century, but they work, are sturdy, and fit my hands.
I have found a source of good garden tools at our local hardware store, and have bought a digging fork, a cultivator, and an extra garden rake which I'm pleased with. Alp is right--so many tools now are too light, too poorly made, or just not fit for the job.
 

alp

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That's why I advertised in Freelywheely, a recycling site and this lady gave me tons of pots, a scarifier manual and an electric one. Her pots are much sturdier than those sold in bargain stores.

I saw a very sturdy hand fork and asked her if she could spare that. She knew I was a discerning scavenger .. The quality of that fork spoke volume.. I knew I was pushing my luck, but if you don't ask, you won't get. She's moving and she wanted to shift years of hoarded articles. Any way, even she knew it would cost a lot to buy that one these days. Mother in law bought a pair of stainless steel fork and spade in the market for us. After one use, the handle broke. Thank heavens she got the money back!
 

Colin

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Hi,

Thanks for your replies alp; I couldn't agree with you more; I believe the most expensive tools are those bought at pound-shops for the reasons you rightly give; the cheapest tools are the ones initially costing a lot more money then going on to last over 100 years giving first class service and being taken for granted once the cost is forgotten. It's unrealistic though to expect a tool costing £1 to be of high quality but the pound-shops sell lots of them.

Thanks marlingardener; I've just responded to an advertisement on a free site and will collect the first load of well rotted horse manure next Tuesday; all I have to do is to arrive with shovel and bags and take as much as I like; Sally who advertised is glad to get rid of it free of charge and I'm glad to collect it free of charge so we both help each other; I'll be taking along a big box of Black Magic chocolates to give Sally as a gift as just a token of thanks. I'm unsure now how many of the old companies survive in Sheffield where the best tools in the world were made using the best quality steel on the planet; Bron and I only live 20 miles away from Sheffield and its heartbreaking to see the demise of our once world beating steel industry; I think the largest surviving company is Forgemasters and even this company was on the brink of closure at one point. Lots of our old companies survive in name only; their products being made abroad but still sold bearing their brand name although the quality is much diminished. I was brought up and apprentice trained in the 60's when "Made in Great Britain" was something to be proud of; much of our heavy industry is now abroad and the only growth industry appear to be mini supermarkets or fast food takeaways. A truly sad thing to happen especially when Great Britain was the center of the industrial revolution.

I can only wonder who is to blame for for poor quality tools; the customer who wants something for nothing or the manufacturer who has had to reduce the quality to a bare minimum for the company to survive? If people stopped buying the cheap flimsy tools and would be prepared to pay more then things might change but greed seems to rule these days.

Thanks also marlingardener for your kind comments; it was a pleasure to help Paul who is our neighbours gardener by doing the simple (to me) repair on his gardening tool; Paul is self employed and will be struggling to survive so I was happy to give an helping hand. Well done in finding such a good source of gardening tools; support the seller and buy whilst you can; I too use old gardening tools; when Bron and I moved here a number of old gardening tools were left by the previous owners and I'm using these a lot and have been using them for the last 30 years; as you say the quality speaks volumes; buy cheap and buy twice?

I like to buy old cast iron machinery at virtually scrap prices then I enjoy getting my hands dirty and fully restoring them back to original or even better condition. My Union Graduate lathe is such a machine that I bought from an academy it the lathe being in very poor condition with parts missing; I'm an old fashioned mechanical engineer who can make the missing parts and the pictures below show the tailstock locking cam; as bought this was missing the cam it being crudely replaced by a set screw which was simply a bodge job; I turned the new cam in my metal lathe and added a new handle; the handle is a length of bright mild steel (BMS) with a nylon end that I also turned; this Graduate is now better than new because I upgraded it to variable frequency drive. Unfortunately many of us older people are dying taking our hard earned skills along with us because focus is now on university rather than practicality; I know quite a few people with honours degrees who would struggle to knock a nail in? The bottom picture shows the new cam greased ready for installing; I enjoy such work.

I've rambled on enough and have other threads to reply to but I'm pleased I went into mechanical engineering which has taught me so much.

Kind regards, Colin.


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alp

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I think countries must insist on having quality stuff and recyclable parts. As it is, the world is being clogged up with big fridges, air con units, all have to stored somewhere! All the stuff I bought from shopping channels have been rubbish. A rotisserie with the knob broken. It's not entirely dead, but a non-working knob is not exactly what we want to use. Trouble is people want to buy cheap stuff and countries like China produce stuff according to the money given and with built-in obsolescence, too many items are now in the tips!
 
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