Mend-day

Want to save the world today? I do, so I’m mending.

There is such a lot of waste in the UK and such profligate consumption, that one of the best things we can do to reduce our impact on the environment is to buy less. This means that we need to make the things that we already have last longer. So, buy good quality things that can be repaired… and learn how to repair them.

My first job today involved a pair of fingerless mittens… both of which have worn around the thumb. The mend is simple – just a few stitches – if undertaken now as soon as I have noticed it, but it would be a much bigger job if I left it. If I’d knitted these mitts in sock yarn, it wouldn’t have worn nearly as quickly (although I made them about 4 years ago). They were knitted in some left-over 100% wool yarn, which was going spare, so I don’t feel they’ve done badly and this repair should extend their life somewhat.

Then I moved on to a new material: Sugru. This is a mouldable glue that sets to the consistency of silicone in 24 hours. I had two repairs that I thought might be suitable – the first, involved providing some reinforcement to the point where the jack plug joins the cable of my earphones. This mend was quick and easy and I know it will work.

The second mend may not be successful. In this case I needed to re-attach the winding handle to the body of one of our wind-up torches. I think it was originally glued on, but the glue was not sufficient and so the handle has come adrift. The problem is that it’s not simply a case of fixing the handle in place – it must only be fixed to the point in the centre, so that it can continue to rotate. If the glue attaches itself to the surroundings, it won’t be possible to wind the torch to charge the battery and so it won’t work. There is an alternative, more complicated fix for this – Mr Snail could construct an external way to charge the battery (there is a socket to charge from the mains) for example by solar or a separate winder, but I’m hoping that the Sugru will work and it won’t be necessary.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Sugru works – it comes highly recommended.

So, remember, you don’t need to be a super-hero to save the world, you can do it with glue and a darning needle!

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18 Comments

  1. This is so refreshing. Often when I tell someone the age of a piece of clothing or shoes,which involves repair and maintenance, I get puzzled looks. Since I never buy something I don’t REALLY like, I want it to last as long as possible,keeping me out of stores.

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    • Good for you! Like my 20 year old work boots, now on their third set of heavy duty soles. Why don’t I buy a new pair? Well, I could, but why? These are perfectly good, perfectly comfortable, and still perfectly useful.

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      • Absolutely. My father had a pair of sunglass frames he used for more than fifty years. Once after he’d had a new prescription put in them, I asked where he’d bought them (they looked unbelievably cool) and he said at a jewelry store in Chicago after he’d come out from an eye appointment where his eyes had been dilated. He was pretty desperate, apparently. “I paid $12 for those,” he said. At a time when he was making about $60 a week, that was a lot of money, but given he got 60 years of use out of them, I think he did pretty well.

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      • Absolutely. My father had a pair of sunglass frames he used for more than fifty years. Once after he’d had a new prescription put in them, I asked where he’d bought them (they looked unbelievably cool) and he said at a jewelry store in Chicago after he’d come out from an eye appointment where his eyes had been dilated. He was pretty desperate, apparently. “I paid $12 for those,” he said. At a time when he was making about $60 a week, that was a lot of money, but given he got so much use out of them, I think he did pretty well.

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    • Now I have finally found a brand of clothes that actually fits me, I’m going to wear every single garment I buy until I can not longer repair it! Actually, I’m currently wearing a cotton top that I bought when I was a postgraduate, so it’s at least 24 years old and still going strong.

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  2. Aha, welcome to the sticky world of Sugru addiction! Seriously, you can carve the stuff off with a sharp knife (think scalpel, box cutter, etc) if it sticks to something it shouldn’t, so a small stray bit sticking to the wrong part can be removed and the remainder will keep its integrity. I have high hopes for your torch fix.

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    • I’ve now got half an open pack left and I’m busily looking round for things to mend!!

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      • Put any unopened bits in the fridge. I replaced a foot on my Kenwood Chef which had broken off, put a ‘bumper’ edge around something sharp on the motorbike that was scratching paintwork, and made a larger knob on the visor of my helmet to make raising and lowering it easier wearing gloves.There is NO end to the talents of this substance…

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  3. Well now, I’ve never heard of sugru, so need to follow this one through to see if it is available here. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I often sit and mend stuff – I know it’s a dying art and enjoy seeing something become usable or wearable again. I also spend one evening a week mending Siddy’s fetches. Fetches are his pile of donated and presented soft toys, some of which belonged to my children as children and are therefore antiques. Most of his fetches now resemble soft toy versions of Frankenstein’s monster – but are still loved and played with by an enthusiastic little puppy.

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  4. I’ve been intrigued by this ‘sugru’ but more to the way loads of people want to mend and make do rather than discard.

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  5. Sometimes it’s great to give an old friend a new lease of life rather than replacing it.Shoes especially after they’ve molded to your feet.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

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  6. I believe!!!

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  7. I’ll be getting some of this the next time my headphones go on the blink! I’ve been on the lookout for a fix for them that doesn’t cost as much as a new pair, and sugru may be the answer. Thank you!!

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  1. Of words and wool | The Snail of Happiness

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