We all know the four standard Elements used in home maintenance and repair:
1st Home Repair Product: Duct Tape
Duct tape is the Number One product used in home repair. Whether you’re a carpenter, a mechanic, a plumber or housewife, duct tape is your friend. You can use it to wrap leaky plumbing or a water hose in a pinch; use it to cover a tear in a bag; make it into a wallet; hold your car bumper together with it; tape a broken windshield in an emergency—you name it. From the extremely practical to the ridiculous, duct tape is a Must-Have Element for any home repair kit.
2nd Home Repair Product: Wire
Wire is another Must Have Product for your home repair kit. Bend the end into a hook and use it to fish hair (or other semi-solid gunk) out of pipes in plumbing jobs; use it to hang a curtain or laundry. In places that you can’t use duct tape, use it to hold car parts together. Fashion a gate latch out of wire. Again, just a very useful, multi-function product.
3rd Repair Product: Contact Cement
The Third Product is contact cement. This is my favorite adhesive for home repair and craft projects. Glue shoes back together with it. Glue weather-stripping that’s lost its stickiness. Use it to add non-skid tape to the edge of your steps. It’s good for plastic, fabric, leather. In the craft department, this adhesive worked great for making a muppet out of foam. I don’t know if plumbers use this, but if I ever use it on plumbing project, I’ll post about it.
4th Product: Plumbers’ Epoxy
The Fourth Product, and my favorite until this week, is plumbers’ epoxy. I first saw this product in use in Brazil in my mother’s kitchen. I don’t think Mom knew this was supposed to be used for plumbing. She repaired things with plumbers’ epoxy. If a stainless steel sauce pan losts its handle, Mom would rather make a new one with plumber’s epoxy than buy an aluminum replacement pan. Broken cup handle? Mom would mold a new one in five minutes and stick it right onto the porcelain. Easiest repair product ever.
Taking my mother as an example, I once made a car part out of plumbers’ epoxy. Saved me a bundle. And this week I fixed a tiny hole in an irrigation pipe with this product.
The 5th Element in Home Repair: __________ (?)
Like I was saying, this week I discovered a product that could supersede plumbers’ epoxy as the best stuff to use in home, auto, and human repair. I was about to throw the stuff away because it didn’t serve its original purpose, but then lemonade happened.
See, I’ve been wanting to find some way of giving my mother (who has advanced Alzheimer’s) a nice smile, and my kid sister in Texas suggested getting Flippers.
Flippers are dental veneers that little beauty pageant girls use when they’re missing their front teeth. They attach to the teeth with a curious molding substance that softens in hot water, gets shaped to the person’s mouth, then hardens as it cools. Same stuff they make DIY mouth guards out of that you can buy at most pharmacies.
Long story short, I bought the veneers, tried them on Mom, and she about choked trying to eat them.
I had in mind to throw them away when I noticed the rubber plugs at the end of each leg of my tripod were gone. The metal often slid out of place when I tried to set it up.
You know where I’m going with this, right?
I heated a cup of water and threw the magic repair beads inside. After a minute, the beads were a soft, clear blob.
I removed the blob and pinched it in three pieces, molding each piece around the tip of the tripod legs. Ran the new plugs under cold water, and voilá, I had me a new tripod.
Now I keep thinking of ways this stuff could be used to repair or build things. It certainly could be used in plumbing jobs, but it could also be used to make a splint for a broken finger. Unlike plumbers’ epoxy, this Element does not get brittle and crack, and it can be softened again with hot water! Thinking back on the part I made for my car out of plumbers’ epoxy–this stuff would have worked better for the repair.
My challenge to you: find a new way to use mouldable mouth guard plastic in a repair job, and come back and tell me.