Garrett (garote) wrote,

Minor household ownership adventures! Starring: Andy!

My pal Andy has a long history of making hardware behave. It can be a kitchen appliance, a motorized transport with any number of wheels, some electronic fiddly bit, or a gigantic industrial machine - he knows how to troubleshoot it or hack it. (He will also very helpfully inform you when you should run away to avoid a fireball or flying shrapnel!)

By comparison, I’m a neophyte. It sometimes feels strange that I own a house, and am responsible for all the things that could go wrong with it, and all the maintenance, and yet I know so little about how to actually do these things. At least I’m aware of my ignorance... Which is why, when my bathroom sink came unglued from my countertop, I went yodeling to Andy for help, plying him with free dinner and dessert for visiting Oakland and helping me out. The internet supplied me with clear instructions on what to do, and I had all the right parts purchased beforehand - or, mostly the right parts - but I just didn’t feel confident enough to head up the operation alone.


So I called this guy. He’s great.


This is the patient we operated on.


One of the things we had to do was remove the old glue from the rim of the countertop. It was very, very hard stuff, and a thick coating of it. Sandpaper would have taken forever. So we busted out the Dremel tool, with a titanium bit on the end, and slowly ground the glue away.

A Dremel tool is a fun thing to have around. The first thing I did with mine when I bought it 5 years ago was cut a bunch of plastic into triangles, for an LED-covered mohawk bike helmet. Quick and sloppy!


The noise was deafening in the bathroom. Little dried flakes of glue fell down into the cabinet below the sink, like a toxic snowdrift. So of course I stuck my arm in there with the phone on the end and took a dynamic-looking photo.


... Then we applied a new ring of glue. That large tool stuck through the sink is a clamp, to hold the sink in place while the glue sets. I’d never used a clamp like that before. It’s got a trigger-grip so you can tighten it with the force of your arm, and the end is reversible so you can turn it into a spacer as well. Now that I’ve used one I can see how it would make a whole lot of jobs easier.

Like keeping my brain inside my skull!

The whole reason the sink detached in the first place was because it had never been braced. Modern building codes say you’re allowed to glue a sink of this size without bracing, but after a few years the glue on this particular sink failed. We decided to brace the sink - but how? There was nothing pre-installed under the counter to help us.


Andy found a piece of cardboard and measured for a chunk of wood we could use, with some spacers, to brace the sink. We got most of the way through cutting that shape out of an old piece of wood I had laying around, then realized that we didn’t have screws long enough to install it. So we went to the hardware store.

While there we found some metal strips that are usually used to clamp large pipes together, and realized they would work much better than the wooden piece, and also be easier to remove if necessary.

Once Andy had them installed, he played a happy tune on them:

Victory! He earned his dinner and ice cream for sure.


One item off the to-do list, several dozen to go…
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