Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

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 do not 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 is how:


Repairing the handle of a Coleman Cooler.


First, I assembled 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 did not 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 did not 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, this project is done, and it is 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 likes Millard's dog Sam.
They are buddies sharing Beef Jerky treats.

Skipper and Sam

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 am 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"?

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

  • The capcha is case sensitive.


2014, 2023

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

Organizing Humbug ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ Manatee Moves

First Mate's Gallery now open ~ Crew photos welcome via Email.


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  We've been doing so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to accomplish the impossible with virtually nothing for an indefinite period.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty via
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.

My Buddy, and his girlfriend...

Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |