Logo 1 #topThe Poor Man's Fix-it shop.[not for the proficient craftsman] . . . .Logo 2


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Kitchen sink




    From the time I moved to this trailer the kitchen sink leaked. The leak eventually got so bad I knew I had to fix it beyond trying to replace the washers that since had become nonexistent. 

    To add to the problem the sink board, made of fiberboard, had rotted away beneath the faucet to where the faucet was setting on nothing but a sunken piece of Linoleum (pretending to be marble). Repair of the sink in the conventional way was beyond question. It was time to put on the old thinking hat and tackle the problem the poor man's way, which is the only way I know.

    I took a piece of wood about as wide as the back of the sink board, between the sink and the wall (mirror in this case, I don't have two sinks back-to-back, though that might not be a bad idea for the future). I bought a new, howbeit cheap faucet that hopefully didn't leak worse than the one I was replacing, and drilled in it holes to match the pipes and fittings from the faucet. Wanting to be sure the water that was on the top of the counter did not find a path by which to reach the space under the sink, as it had in the past, I caulked the area between the counter top and the wall. Since I have many old bicycle tubes, I cut one apart and trimmed it to fit the bottom of the board I made, and with weatherstrip cement I glued it (the gasket I made) to the bottom of the board, allowing the smooth part of the gasket to go against the counter top. Then I cut the counter top holes large enough to allow the connecting fittings to pass through. After cleaning out all the rotted wood under the counter I could reach,  I installed the sink into its place. At the end of the boards, where the fiberboard hadn't rotted out, I installed two screws to hold the assembly to the counter.

    To keep the counter top from sagging in the back, behind the faucet, before I caulked it I took a piece of 1/4 inch plywood, long enough to reach the bottom of the counter, and long enough to fill in the space where the chipboard was missing, and set in a couple screws to hold it against the wall (under the sink). So far it's working beautifully.

    By the way, if you buy a faucet with one of those extractable spray do-dads, they can be worse than a pine board to try and extract through the little hole provided. To make the hose more pliable, soak it in boiling water until it's soft, then stretch it out and let it cool a bit. It then will not only be more flexible, but it will be free of the kinks it comes packaged with.

    You can see the result of my labor in the photo to the left. Pretty nice for a poor man's job, don't you think?

    There's another beauty about this kind of assembly. For one it raises the faucet up the height of the board, a great blessing for filling those large containers, and if you ever have to fix it again, it's a snap to just unscrew the board you made from the sink counter and everything pulls up to eye level for repair. Why don't all sinks come this way?

    Before you install the board to the faucet, make sure it's well sealed with a good coat of paint or varnish, then paint it to match the counter top.


    That pesky vent fan over the stove has a way of getting so covered with grease and fumes that it no longer wants to pull its own weight. Mine was so sluggish when I first moved to the place I was afraid of it freezing up and burning the house down. I don't know if they make fans like that any more, but where I live the chances of replacing it is nil to none. To rectify the problem I bit the bullet and pulled the obstinate fan from the wall, cleaned it and all the vents and other gadgets therein, and oiled the bearings. This worked, for a while, then it wouldn't start because of so much buildup in the bearings. I took a spray can of Gunk chain lube, bent the nozzle so it curved at a 90 degree angle, and with it I was able to reach through the vent slots and oil the bearing shaft. This works great and after ten years of my use (it's over 30 years old) it now gives me very little trouble. Besides, oiling it is as simple as one, two three (if you count real slow).







    For years I lived on the road, considering myself lucky to get to clean up once in a while at a service station sink. Now I have a tub and a shower, but no hot water. But in spite of the lack, I find what I have is a great luxury.

    For hot water needed to wash dishes and the like I bought an electric coffee pot that holds about a quart of water that I keep on the stove top that I don't use, using instead an electric skillet. A piece of plywood covers the stove top allowing me much counter space.

    Back to the shower. As you can see in the photo, I have a foot stool and a five gallon bucket sitting in the tub. There's also a small heater there I use to warm up the bathroom on those cold winter, and summer as well, evenings. On the footstool is a 30 cup coffee maker, in which I heat up the water I use for my shower. When the water is hot I pour it in the bucket and fill the bucket half-and-half with cold water (all I have) from the tap. I used to have a great little battery operated camp shower I used, sticking the one end in the bucket. But it broke and I can't find another to replace it. Instead I put the bucket of warm water on the foot stool (taking out the coffee maker) and do a sponge bath. To rinse off I use the lid of the coffee maker and dip it in the bucket.. Primitive to be sure, but a lot better than washing up in the restroom of MacDonald's


counter space

    I don't know about anyone else, but it bugs the tar out of me to have to work around, or clean around, a bunch of bottles and other things stacked on that little bathroom counter top. My aunt, who had a very large bathroom counter top, had almost no room on the counter because of the hundreds (or so it seemed) dusty and oily bottles of heaven knows what. When I would clean her counter, it took hours to wash all those bottles, the counter, and make sure the bottles went back in exactly the place she had left them.

   I want none of that in my house. The first thing I did, before I even moved in, was to purchase wire and plastic racks that hang from the wall so the counter is completely accessible at all times. I even have a special little tray where I put the toothpaste, brush and the likes. Everything not used on a daily (or weekly at least) basis is stored in a box under the sink. This method of making things findable I apply to all rooms. It makes life a lot simpler.

    Another thing I did upon moving in was to caulk all places in the bathroom and kitchen where water might pass through, such as around the counter tops, the tub, the faucets, and cause problems down the road somewhere. My house is completely veneered, other than the small areas in the bathroom and the kitchen, immediately over the sink and stove. There's veneer over the tub even. I bought a can of special varnish and put three coats on all the veneer in the bathroom, not having done so in the other rooms as yet as it appears it's not needed elsewhere. I believe in preventative maintenance. Trying to do what should have already been did is the pits.



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