Fix It and Flaunt It

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About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-p...

Usually when we set out to fix anything broken our goal is to make the repair invisible. We take great care to match the wood grain or paint, to sand down the seams and make the item good as new.

It doesn't have to be this way.

When I saw this chair in the trash I could tell it was brand new: not a scratch was visible and the original box was folded nearby on top of a stack of cardboard. Cursing our society of waste (while blessing my lucky star for the incredible find), I pulled the chair out from the pile of trash bags only to discover why it was there. One leg was missing, probably broken off in shipping. Since it was made of molded plastic, it could not be fixed. 

I tried to walk away, but I couldn't do it. Even broken it seemed like too much of a waste. I grabbed it and hurried home, ignoring the looks of passers-by who obviously considered me the worst kind of crazy-lady-trash-hoarder.

It's important, when collecting trash for recycling purposes, to use the momentum of your discovery and transform it immediately into treasure -- otherwise you will have just another piece of rubbish in your home and you run the risk of turning into a real crazy-lady-trash-hoarder. That very night I rummaged through my closet and pulled out a piece of steel, a pre-drilled angle iron left over from a broken equipment rack I had saved*. I cut the metal at the right height and at a slight angle, to match the existing curved legs. I drilled four holes in the plastic and used assorted recycled nuts and bolts to attach the heavy prothetic leg to the elegant plexi body. To avoid scratching the floor I molded a piece of sugru around the steel foot. In under an hour and at no out of pocket expense (sugru was courtesy of instructables -- thank you!) I had the perfect entryway chair.

This chair is better than new. The repair gives it poignancy and meaning it didn't have when it was just a pristine, pretty little chair. It stands there bravely in the entryway, challenging people to sit on it. Though at first strangers can be hesitant the chair is strong and has never failed. "See?" it says "I'm not trash!" This chair is not ashamed; it flaunts its repair.

Don't hide your repairs, be proud of fixing your stuff!


*if the closet is neat and organized and you can access salvaged items when needed it's not hoarding

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    11 Discussions

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    drewscreen

    2 days ago

    Sometimes people say "that can't be fixed" when what they really mean is "that can't be fixed easily". When we lived in San Francisco, someone in my building threw out an Aeron Chair because the glass-filled nylon seat frame was broken. I recognized the chair and took it, then disassembled it and brought the seat to the model-making shop where I was working at the time to ask my boss for advice on how to fix it. He explained that due to the nature of the materials it couldn't be glued, and that it had to be able to flex in use. I decided to bolt it together and cover the crack with color-matched ShapeLock (Polycaprolactone), which made for a very strong fix. I then used that chair every day for 5 years without a problem, eventually giving it to my cousin when I relocated overseas. If you look closely at the photo you can see that there is a bump on the far side of the seat -- that's the ShapeLock covering the nuts and heads of the 2 bolts pinning the cracked frame together.

    Salvaged-Aeron-Chair.jpg
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    Jonathan42

    3 years ago on Introduction

    looks like a copy of a Roth "Ghost Chair" which sells for $400.00

    While I think this was fun and a great idea, the main point of the chair is to disappear so you look through it and see the room. Iapplaud your efforts regardless.

    When you sit in the chair, if it hits you in the kidneys it's the copy. If it is super comfy, it is the Roth.

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    agulesin

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice article! But please don't forget there are some non-lady "crazy-lady-trash-hoarder"s out there! :-) Also I like your comment ending "it's not hoarding" :-)

    1 reply
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    belseyagulesin

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    True... in fact there's a guy in my building whose apartment needs to be emptied out every few years by court order for fear of the structure collapsing...

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    mclare50

    5 years ago

    Coolio!!!! Nice job!!!!

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    Ysabeau

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea and I really love the idea.

    I totally agree when you say "It's important, when collecting trash for recycling purposes, to use the momentum of your discovery and transform it immediately into treasure -- otherwise you will have just another piece of rubbish in your home and you run the risk of turning into a real crazy-lady-trash-hoarder. "