Four fixes

Creativity in the shop took a dive this week, with most of my productivity geared to repairing things. I hate that.

The problem with repairs – or their close cousins, replacements – is that they nearly always require as much work or money, or both, as creating something new. But when you’re done, you’ve created nothing new to show for all your efforts.

Repair #1 – Remember that P.O. box bank I told you about last week? I cut it open to salvage the door. I decided to more-or-less “resaw” it open near the back side, and did so carefully enough that once I accessed the back of the door and got the combination, I manage to glue it back together. A bit of sanding and refinishing and you can’t even tell.

Repair #2 – Remember that ruptured water heater from last month? With the subfloor thoroughly dry in the little room where it’s located, I was able to install a new laminate floor. But because I had to cut this flooring around the water heater, water softener and a dozen PEX pipes that go down through the floor, the process of laying a floor in this tiny 3’ x 7-1/2’ space took two full days.

Repair #3 – I finished a decorative box a week ago that came out fantastic, but I wasn’t happy with the finish. I stripped and sanded the box, used a different stain and refinished it. Much, much better, but it was still just fixing something I’d already created.

Repair #4 – What happens when you carry a case of laminate into the shop and accidentally whack a low-hanging fluorescent light fixture with it? You break the fixture, requiring another trip out to the Big Box store for a new fixture, followed by yet another repair job.

Sure, all four repair jobs were warranted, and some, like the finish on that decorative box and my new floor, look much nicer now than they did originally. But still, these kinds of tasks simply put things back pretty much the way they were before things broke. Yeah, they’re all better for my efforts, but it means I created nothing at all new and original for all the work I did.

Except, of course, a topic for my blog.

Till next time,



  • Jeff Fliss says:

    How many dollars where you able to keep in your wallet by being able to do all those projects yourself? I get a sense of satisfaction from being able to repair almost anything by myself. because of our skills we are able to live in the old school world of quality built items that need to be maintained, instead of the disposable era that we see today. I say kudos for you! You have accomplished much more then you give credit for.

  • Jim Allen says:

    I occasionally fix something for sombody that can’t get it fixed anywhere else.
    A lady prevailed on me to fix a bowl that her Dad bought her years ago. It is a nice walnut bowl turned from a built-up block of smaller pieces rather than from one large block. Recently her husband decided to wash it in the dishwasher. Yep, two blocks fell out. i said I could glue them back for ten dollars. unfortunately, the heat and wet distorted things slightly so edges didn’t match up well, so I sanded those areas to match and filled some cracks. Now I had a little bare wood, so I added some salad bowl finish. Never dried completely because of the old finish. So I had to strip it completely, resand, and refinish. Came out very nice, but that ten bucks sure didn’t cover all my fun.

  • Bill Golden says:

    You think you’ve got troubles. I’m smack in the middle of those Christmas presents that I ran my mouth and said “I’ll MAKE those” I also just looked at the calander.

  • A.J. Hamler says:

    Yikes, Christmas presents… I knew there was something I was forgetting. But that’s not till next month, right?

  • Christmas is this month. LOL! We all wind up fixing things at the most inopportune times; but we should be glad that we can. Paying someone else to do it can be expensive. I save my family lots of cash because I can fix many things myself. And even if they don’t say it, I know they appreciate it. I believe in quality, so I produce quality. That always goes a long way. So fixing stuff might seem unprofitable; but in reality, it is very profitable.

  • A.J. Hamler says:

    Ya know, you guys are right: Having the knowledge, talent, tools and materials to fix things like these is an incredible asset. I never really think about that kind of thing very much, but when a lot of other folks have something break/fail/need replaced or whatever, they check their bank balance and pull out the Yellow Pages. Since I can do all that stuff and have the knowledge and the means to do it, when something goes awry my thought is what I’ll do to take care of it on my own. You’re right, that is something special.

    Still, it DOES take away from creative pursuits…


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