DIY or ‘get a man in’

I’ve been ‘upgrading’ the kitchen in our home for the last year to improve the house as we want to move and frankly the kitchen was terrible. Anyway last year we improved the aesthetics no end with some cupboards and a new worktop from B&Q and this year I’m tackling the other side which includes the sink and cooker. We’ve needed a new cooker for ages as its falling to bits. (And I really mean falling to bits – panels coming loose doors falling off!)

Anyway, this part of the project involves joining the worktop as a right-angle, and producing a mason’s mitre so that its a seemless join. I was rather surprised that all my friends, who are not at all ‘chicken’ when it comes to DIY have elected to pay someone else to come and do the cutting of the worktop to the right size with the special jig. Well after adding it all up, I needed to spend about £10 less than getting a man in and I ended up with some nice new power tools and also a jig! So I decided to go DIY.

I now know why this was a bad idea! My son Jonathan came home to help, thank goodness; I had deluded myself that I would be able to do it on my own. The worktops are so heavy its impossible to pick one up on your own. Anyway, we got on OK with the sink bit, cutting out the hole by using the old worktop as a guide. We then came to the cutting out the mitre part and half way through discovered that the router (which I bought 2 years ago so didn’t come into the financial calculations) wouldn’t go down far enough to go all the way through the worktop.

So we were a bit stuck. Quick trip out in the car to the toolshop; “Oh you can’t do that job with a 1/4″ router, you need a 1/2″ one. we do them for £189.00!!! Fantastic! So off to B&Q to see of they do a long router bit for a 1/4″ router. No chance. Their cheapest 1/2″ router was £89.00. That’s what I had already spent on all the bits so far. So we travel Oxford in search of a cheaper 1/2” router. B&Q do one for £50 but they were out of stock. We finally bought a PBX one for £60 in Homebase. So we were back on track, or so we thought. After setting this new router up, it wobbles about. What a load of junk. The net result is that we couldn’t cut the mitre accurately so now it doesn’t fit properly. What a nightmare. The only thing I can do is use loads of filler. The truth is that you won’t particularly notice unless you know what you are looking for but after all this effort I’m very irritated. So as soon as I can its back to Homebase with this clearly badly manufactured router. I hope I can get my money back and I’ll find a better quality one to buy. – Update – Homebase were fantastic, they gave me my money back without question

This whole episode is compounded by the fact that I am ill at the moment, with a disease which requires me currently to be on a heavy dose of steroids to bring it back under control. Thes steriods are giving me the mother of all headaches, which is not helping!

On a brighter note, I’ve just upgraded to WordPress 1.5 and put a nice image at the top. Can you believe this is just 5 minutes from the centre of Oxford. It was taken last Saturday as Bridget and I went for a walk around Port Meadow. As I write this, I have’t worked out how to move the ‘Chris Sheppard’ bit to the bottom right hand corner.

Anyway, while we were in the heat of all the disasters, ‘getting a man in’ sounded like a great idea, but on reflection, I appreciate the experience. Once it is is finished, I’ll write it up properly so that there’s a decent tutorial on the Internet for doing this amazing mason’s mitre.