Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Did You See What I Saw?

Ok, this should have been simple. daisy_knotwise told me that the hinge on the toilet seat in the master bathroom had broken, so it was time to replace the seat. It had been wobbly for a while and had been stubbornly resistant to any attempts to tighten the nuts on the bolts that held it all in place. So when I was at Home Depot a week or so ago, I bought a new seat. And after the girls went to bed last night, it was time to install it.

The little plastic nuts wouldn't budge. Fingertip inspection (as in, my fingertips turned orange) suggested that the bolts were badly rusted. I popped the seat off its hinges and tried applying pliers above and below. No joy. Nothing would budge.

I called Gretchen for help. "You hold this, I'll turn that." Nothing would budge.

I sent Gretchen to the basement to fetch the See Snake lightpipe camera she'd bought me for Christmas for just such occasions while I continued to fight with the bolts. When she came back, I took a look and concluded that I'd been right -- this thing was rusted badly. I couldn't manage to break the plastic nut, having no suitable tool. The tin snips were too big and nothing else had the necessary torque. I went back to using the pliers on the hinges.

Right until the hinge broke off leaving a stub sticking up from the toilet, too small to grab, but big enough to make sure the bolt was going nowhere. Damn.

I went to the basement and grabbed a tool that was basically a hacksaw blade sticking out of a handle. Maybe I could saw through beneath the loose hinges from the top of the toilet. This looked to be making some progress until the blade bent double. Damn.

Well, that was enough for Saturday night, as all the hardware stores were closed. So this morning, we got up and went to Lowe's. I called samwinolj to get his suggestions -- he suggested a fine toothed hacksaw blade and some oil for lubrication. "Yes, it will gum up the teeth. Just wipe it out. It'll work better." Ok, that seemed reasonable. I grabbed a package of blades and a new Kobalt handle with three blades, one hacksaw, one reciprocating saw, and one for cutting off stubs.

I suppose that the "cutting off stubs" blade might have been a reasonable choice, but I decided to start with the hacksaw blades. The ones I'd bought were too long and flexible, so they wanted to bend badly. I decided to try the shorter blade that came with the saw. It basically tore into two pieces in a few minutes.

I headed off to Home Depot, calling Sam back on the way. When I explained that the new handle would take a reciprocating saw blade, he was delighted. "Get something from DeWalt or Milwaukee that will cut metal. Call me when you're looking at the display." I did so and bought several blades, because this was already a three-trip project and I didn't want to make another trip if I snapped a blade off.

I stuck the blades into the Kobalt handle and went back to work. Before too long, I had sawed through one bolt. The rusted end dropped off with a satisfying thunk. Now for the second bolt.

Except the blade started trying to fold over, because the handle was bending. What the heck?

Apparently the metal bit that holds the blade on the Kobalt handle is held into the plastic beneath by two tiny screws. They'd given up and had eaten a hole in the plastic as they tried to escape from their assigned task. Basically, the handle was no longer a handle, but rather a hazard.

So I went back to Home Depot and bought the Stanley handle that I'd seen there when buying the saw blades. Sam concurred that this was a better choice than the Kobalt handle. And I took it home (trip number four for the project), attached the saw blade, and -- before too much longer! -- had sawed through the second hinge. Yay!

I cleaned up the WD-40, the rust, and everything else that I'd messed up. I then installed the new toilet seat, lubing all of the screw connectors with white lithium grease at Sam's suggestion. "You might have to tighten it more often, but at least you should be able to turn the nut." I tightened things up as best I could by hand, then called in Gretchen to look at it.

"Looks ok." She wiggled the seat. "It's still loose."

"If you want to tighten it, you're welcome to. Watch out for the lithium grease."

After I cleaned up, we went back to Home Depot where I returned the excess saw blades, then off to Lowe's to return the POC Kobalt handle. The lady at the Lowe's counter didn't even think about arguing when she looked at the destroyed handle.

Which was a good choice. :)

And then we had dinner at Sweet Baby Ray's.

Because I deserved it.
Tags: home, musings
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