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Date: 13 April 2014. Cooler Handle Repair.

A few years back the Kidlet called and asked if I wanted a drink cooler for Seaweed. She knew mostly I buy ice because I love iced tea -- that it keeps food chilled is secondary to my summertime Lipton tea addiction. I was delighted and have carried it back and forth to shore for ages.  But after a time the handle developed a crack.

It was one of those "little things" that needs fixing, but until it's broken... Finally last week the doggone thing split all the way. The Nerve! And really I don't know why I was surprised, but I was. (sigh)

Of course I am woman, raised in an environment where things are replaced not repaired so my first thought was to take it to the dumpster and buy a new one.  But then "Budget Boater" raised her head and I realized that if I had spotted a cooler with a broken handle I'd pick it up, bring it home and fix it. 

So I did, and here's how:
 

Repairing the handle of a Coleman Cooler.
First, assemble the items required. In this case:
  1. Drill (and in my case I had to recharge the battery too)

  2. Drill bit (broken but the end is sharp enough)

  3. Two nuts and bolts (two sizes, from my scrap collection, and one was a hex head) thus a hex tip to tighten it down, in addition to the wrench to hold the lock nut in place for both.

  4. Also, one serrated knife (my saw blade needs replacement)

  5. And, one pair of large Vise Grips

  6. Splint (a piece of hard plastic I had on hand with holes already drilled.

I measured that the plastic piece would fit in the handle edges -- it did, barely.  Then I sawed for a while on the plastic. I wanted have a screw hole in both the bottom and top of the handle -- not too close to the edge because I didn't want to split the plastic.

 

I cut about 1/3rd of the way thru, then clamped on my vise grips and stood on it. A bit of wiggling and it broke.  Good enough. Done.

 

The part closer to the top of the handle was a bit tight.  Honestly it didn't fit well but I knew the nature of plastic would allow a bit of a bend so I tightened it until the black plastic piece snugged down.

Properly done, a bit of sanding would have been perfection.  Also I probably could have bought a pair of matching nuts and bolts, the perfect size and had a tip-top job. However, it's done, and it's good enough.

Perfection is the enemy of good enough; often good enough will suffice nicely.


The cooler now has a handle that works. That was the important part and reason for the whole process.

So today I went to shore with my newly repaired Coleman cooler and voila: the Ice Man filled 'er up.  Millard works at the marina and he has been both my ice man and more recently, propane supplier.  At the rate I burn thru the little bottles, Millard has been a real blessing to my budget.

Thanks Millard!
 

Millard and Sam Skipper and Sam

Skipper likes Millard's dog Sam.
They are buddies sharing Beef Jerky treats.

Life continues on the river... the engine is in but the exhaust system and shifter need fixing. Ditto the old exhaust must be capped off. The Volvo runs beautifully and so quiet too. I'm looking forward to it running inside my boat.

Soon enough I'll be underway and seeing new sights, making friends and enjoying waterfront living on a limited budget.  If I can do it, why not you too?

When something breaks what is your first thought?  Replace or Repair.
And at what dollar amount does "replace" get changed to "let's try to fix this"?

COMMENTS:
 

Categories: Characters, In the Bilges, Money, Pets, Recommendations

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