Category Archives: DIY

Wound up about a spring washer.

A reader recently wrote to us all wound up about the cost of a spring washer. The problem was that he was being charged $6 for a washer on a mower repair job and he was not at all happy about it – especially when he checked out the price elsewhere and found another company […]

Roberta, Cape Town.

When removing a lid from a can of paint, squeeze cling wrap into the groove. When done painting, remove wrap and replace lid. No messy groove filled with paint!


I need to share with your readers my experience with a tradesman (plumber). I had some work done on remodeling a bathroom. The cost included 5.5 hours of labour at $39.50 an hour (which was fair enough I thought), but what I had not expected was the $653.06 charged for materials. When I queried the […]

Two DIY prices, yours and theirs.

Here’s an interesting story sent in by a reader. “It can’t be, it must be a mistake, they must have overcharged me” – I thought as a raced out the door of my local hardware store. “They stuff I just bought was on special. They’ve charged me the full quid!” “No, it’s not a mistake” […]

Thrifty, Hamilton.

Gain extra storage space under a bed base that is too low by placing 5cm blocks of wood under the legs. This enabled me to fit 3 plastic under-the-bed storage boxes beneath a single bed. Boxes measure 800mm by 400mm by 170mm deep and there is 20mm clearance gap with that under my bed. The […]


When using paint in spray can, do not turn the can over to clear the nozzle. This wastes the paint that is in the tube and uses the pressure to do so. Take the spray nozzles off and keep it in a small jar with turps. Re-attach when needed again. I use a lot of […]


Learn how to do basic repairs. First step – read the manual! It is amazing how much money the do-it-yourself-dunce wastes by not knowing how to do some of the basic stuff. Jobs like repairing a broken window, fixing a toilet cistern, replacing a light fitting, and so on. If you still find you are […]

Stacey, Dunedin.

Many service manuals are available free online. I recently diagnosed and repaired my very geriatric F and P smartdrive washing machine by finding the service manual and engaging in a bit of problem solving and DIY. The Service Manual is different to the User Manual that you get given when you buy a machine. The […]

Handy Fred, Blenheim.

After partially using a pale of paint, paint a stripe on the outside of the pale. That will show you how much paint in left in the tin, and also the colour!