Ecodyfi organises several Repair Cafe's in Machynlleth every year. The two main ones are at the Cymhorthfa Repair & Share Fairs - one in Spring, and an indoor only event in Autumn/Winter. The others are on the third Saturday of every other month, in the Owain Glyndwr Institute. Next one - January 2020..... probably 18th. What do we repair...... Domestic appliances, garden tools, teddy bears, computers, small furniture, clothes, socks and more.
To read all about the international Repair Cafe Movement Click here Read about Repair Cafe Wales Click Here
Repair Cafés are all about repairing things. Visitors bring their broken items from home and are matched up with a Repairer. This is however a 2-way thing, and ideally you are involved as much as possible with the repair. However, if you have no practical aptitude, it is OK to simply look on in wonder. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee or you can maybe lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY. Be it clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, etc. You’ll find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.
We will have a small team of menders who can cover basic mechanical and electrical repairs. Just bring your things along. If you have time, you could email us with a brief description of what you would like to bring so we get a rough idea of what to expect. Note - we (ecodyfi) plan to hold a Repair Cafe in Machynlleth on the third Saturday of every other month, in the Owain Glyndwr Institute (Note, these are not on a Sunday and not in Y Plas, as the Cymhorthfa Repair & Share Fairs are).
What to bring? What things are fixable? There is a whole load of information to read on the link above, but the following are notes and thoughts more specific to our Cymhorthfa Repair & Share Fair. There are many levels of fixability - some procedures are easy, some are more complex. Many years ago, most things could be mended relatively easily using standard old methods that could include - glueing, sewing, soldering, welding, drilling, and screwing. These techniques are still used, but as time goes on, repairs can become more and more tricky. Now that digital electronics are integral to many things, and as 'cheaper' manufacturing techniques evolved, there can be little hope of fixing some modern low-cost items. That said, there can be creative ways around certain problems.
So… What can be mended?(Note: not everything happens at the smaller 2-monthy Repair Cafes) Garden tool handles. New wooden handles can be bought or a suitable Ash branch could be cut. These can be trimmed and fitted to old forks and spades. Many old forks are made of FAR better metal than new ones. Sharpening. We should be able to deal with garden shears, Secateurs, scissors, chisels etc. Lawnmowers, strimmers, Vacuum cleaners etc. Pot luck here. Good quality items are usually easy to take to bits. Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not. (Note – spring recoil mains cables can be tricky and dangerous to deal with…. Take care). Bicycles. Generally, bikes are easy to fix. (We will have a separate bike section) Toys. We are planning a Toy Hospital. A friendly consultant will be on hand to match the toy with the most suitable repairer. Ask for the Toy Hospital at the Repair Café reception desk. Table lamps. Broken lamp holders switches etc. are usually easy to replace and are fairly universal. (You might need to buy parts. The Store (near Spar) can help, though not open on Sunday) Kettles and toasters As time goes on, these items become harder and harder to repair. Older ones might be easier. Radios and audio items. Again, some items are almost impossible to mend but occasionally it is a fairly simple wiring problem. Older items might be more repairable. Crockery and china. Broken items can be glued with araldite (not rapid type), but time is required for it to set, so maybe not an ideal item for a repair café. There are however techniques to learn, and maybe you could do it yourself. We might have a crockery repair expert at the fair who is willing to pass on her experience. If you have a broken item – wrap each piece carefully in tissue to keep the broken edges clean and sharp. Jewellery. We expect to have a jewellery repairer on the day. Batteries in toys, phones and other. The batteries in rechargeable items will ‘tire’ over time - they will only take so many charge cycles. Some things (phones) have easy-to-replace batteries, others are hard-wired in. It can be possible to break into the old battery compartment and solder in new ones. They are available in a variety of sizes with solder tags. The type (NiCad, NMH etc.) is important. Someone at the Repair Café should be able to advise. Beware of substandard cheap batteries. Furniture. Chairs can suffer wobbly legs, and can be repaired. If glueing, it’s important to use the right glue, to clean it well, and to clamp it (or ratchet-strap) well. We hope to demonstrate some upholstery techniques. USE OF MATERIALS. Most repairers will have some consumables like glue, screws, fuses, solder etc. It would keep things simple if the repairers are paid cash to cover their materials costs.
Here are a few tips and thoughts Tip 1. You might see unusual 'security' screws on your item. This does not mean that you cannot take it apart and mend it but it may imply - 'we are not going to make it easy for you to fix this'. Most repairers will have a selection of 'unusual' screwdriver ends. Tip 2. It can be worth (if appropriate) searching the internet for the model number/name of your item. If any spare parts are listed, this could give a clue to serviceability (i.e. spare parts are available whether you need them or not).