Tommy’s Tips: Oak Floors & American Fridge Freezers


It’s been a strange week, at the beginning of it, I was in my local butchers buying our meat for the week,  it’s one of the best butchers around, Alan Wells of Well Street Hackney, been there for three generations.  While I was standing in the queue, I noticed the floor had some problems, and asked Alan what had happened. He had a new oak floor laid 18 months previously at great cost, and it slowly started to buckle up, and the company that fitted it wouldn’t come back, so in a temper he took a chain saw to it, so I stupidly said do you want me to try to fix it? Obviously he said “yes”. So there I was for the next couple of days trying to sort out the floor while the shop was still trading.  This was a classic case of not leaving enough expansion room between the new flooring and the walls.  I lifted the last six foot of the floor, re-machined and narrowed the boards he’d hacked with the chain saw, on my table saw, and re-grooved them, with a router, and cut some lengths of thin birch plywood to create “loose tongues” then re-fixed the boards.

To ensure the floor would stay fixed, I counter sunk half a dozen surface fixings per board, and glued and screwed them down, then cut some oak plugs with a plug cutter from a spare piece of scrap flooring, and glued them on top of the screw fixings,. Once dry I pared off the excess oak plug, and sanded them down (ensuring the grain matches) and you’d never notice. Also using special fixings I was able to fix the boards directly to the supporting R.S.J’s in the sub – floor.  I left a 20mm gap between the flooring and the wall, and covered the gap with stainless steel angle, which allowed the floor to expand and contract under the steel angle.  As a shop with the public walking rain and snow in off the street, the builders who laid the floor should have known the flooring would “buckle and cup” finally bursting up like a mountain range!

Alan knew I wouldn’t take any money for the floor repair so he dropped off the biggest and tastiest joints of beef and gammon I’ve ever tasted!

American Style Fridge Freezers

It’s been a week of repairs, I called an engineer out to fix an American style Whirlpool side by side fridge freezer, which was leaking water onto the floor from below the freezer door!  It cost me £120 call out fee to be told the appliance was knackered, requiring replacing, even though it was only six years old, he said it couldn’t be repaired, I was annoyed at the rip off!

Now these appliances may look great, giving ice and water from the door, but they’re tremendously heavy, big and awkward to fit.  I had to take the kitchen door off, and the appliance handles to get the old one out, with help from my son, but then had to remove the doors of the replacement, rather than risk damaging it to get it into the house!  Unfortunately it hadn’t been the best measuring tape day when I purchased the replacement fridge freezer, because obviously I wasn’t going to buy the same make again after only six years use, the replacement was 35mm taller than the old one, and wouldn’t fit into the unit I’d built for it when I made and fitted the oak kitchen, so I had to remove the platform completely to get the new appliance to fit.

I had to cut off the plug and wire it into an electrical spur, re-connect the water supply to the cold water feed, then critically level the appliance perfectly to ensure it functioned correctly.

All this took about 3 ½ hours, and a lot of aggro, where are the days gone when you bought an appliance from a shop, put it into the back of your car, carried it in easily, and plugged it in, and didn’t have to worry about it for the next twenty years! –

Why don’t manufacturers make the appliances separate that could be bolted together, so if one fails, that section can be replaced without throwing the whole thing away, a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater!  Manufactures beware, people power will prevail, you must be greener, and profits must not be the priority, the environment is!


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