A Home-Hardware Project Has Begun.

People often ask me, about the numerous toys I buy for myself, whether I have been getting any use out of them. And until now, my typical answer has simply been, that ‘I have no projects right now,’ meaning No.

Well as of today I have a project, in an unexpected field: Home Hardware.

The previous owners of my Condominium had put screwless faceplates on many of their wall-switches, and additionally, had it as part of their preferences, for some of their wall-outlets to be switched off from these switches. This included one outlet into which I had later started plugging an air-conditioner, which meant that every time my then-girlfriend absentmindedly operated the wall switch, she would turn my A/C off for 5 seconds, and then – oops – turn the current back on. Most technically-inclined people understand, that this is just about the worst thing anybody can do to an A/C, and worse, I hate wall-outlets that are controlled by switches.

So what I did years ago, was just to duct-tape this switch into the ‘On’ position, so that when my girlfriend saw the duct tape she would have to remove first, she also stopped tripping the A/C.

But that was an ugly solution. What I had always meant to do in the back of my mind, was to remove that wall-switch completely, and to wire the leads to be permanently On. I planned to put a blank faceplate where the wall-switch faceplate was. But I had always put off the chore of carrying out this project.

Just today I felt it was time to get started with that. And so the first thing I did for now, was to remove the faceplate.

There exist screwless faceplates which have a trick to remove mechanically. But apparently, despite my best efforts, I was only able to wedge this one off, after applying enough force to destroy it. So I am committed to completing this project.

I also made sure to know which breaker in the panel corresponds to that switch.

And, I measured a few voltages, with switches in different positions, just to confirm what I could see visually, about how the wires run.

It is a faux-pas, to connect wires deliberately, but mistakenly in a wrong way.

Also, the duct tape I had been using extended past the edges of the old faceplate, meaning that over the years, gunk from the duct tape had become attached to the wall around the faceplate. So what I have also gotten off the table this morning, was just to repaint a small patch of my bedroom wall, around that opening, where the wall-switch used to be. The correct time to do that, is before installing a new faceplate.

Now my plan of action is, to take the actual switch out, and to twist the 3 phase-wires together. But, because my home has solid copper wires, doing so by itself would not ensure good contact. So what I plan to do after that, is additionally to solder the phase wires, using my soldering gun. And only then do I plan to put an electrical cap on the result.

Then I will reapply house-current, and hope that sparks and fire do not erupt from the breaker-panel, and test the wall-outlet voltages again.

Last of all, I plan to screw in a new, blank faceplate.

Continue reading A Home-Hardware Project Has Begun.

Paint Touch-Up after installing Doorknob

Today I proceeded to do a paint touch-up around my newly-installed doorknob.

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The previous owners of my condominium had left me an extra can of paint when I moved in, in 2007, and the main color used to paint my interior walls was called “Eggshell White”. But since 9 years have gone by, that extra paint has dried up. And so I needed to go out and buy fresh paint, which I was hoping to get in exactly the original color.

It used to be that when we went to a store to buy paint, there was an entire department concerned with matching an exact color choice by the customer. In fact, the attendant behind the counter would often mix paints he had, to hit a color which the customer was asking for, but which was not in stock.

But the way it works today, the Economic Apparatus has decided that this is no longer to be a part of our standard of living. Instead, each store today only sells paint in a small number of fixed colors. And the closest approximation to ‘Eggshell White’ which I was able to find, was “Cotton White”. And so there is no more way in which paint touch-ups in my home, will match the previous color exactly, unless I decide to repaint my whole home, in an officially enabled color.

Dirk

 

I replaced a doorknob yesterday.

When the condominium was purchased which I have been living in since 2007, the doorknob to the storage room was partially defective. Later on, it could happen that this doorknob would simply fall off the door.

This was unaesthetic, as well as presenting a possible danger, of my not being able to enter the storage room, under the wrong circumstances.

I had made numerous attempts to repair the old doorknob, but doing so would have required spare parts, which the previous owners did not leave me.

I got the impression that this one doorknob had been installed by the previous owners, but that they had already botched the job, and that they had only left me with doorknob components which were unusable.

And so while already having made the trip to the hardware store yesterday, I decided that I could also pick up a new doorknob.

I also installed the new doorknob to the door yesterday without much ado. The only remaining problem is in the fact that the new doorknob isn’t centered exactly as the old one was. This can be common, as long as the hole into which the doorknob has been installed never shows. But it also means that in order to look professional, the door surface around the doorknob needs to have its paint-job retouched.

The new doorknob will never become loose again.

I have not retouched this paint yet.

Dirk