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"Outside The Box" Solutions

Richard Dean Anderson showed us outside the box solutions every week on his show MacGyver. What made us marvel was each solution combined unusual on-hand materials, but what really captured our imaginations was they really worked!


I am starting this thread under Paint, but it is really about products from every aisle across the store used toward creative solutions.


I'll begin ... but by all means pick up the thread and share your creative solution.


Here we go:


During a recent visit to the paint counter, a young lady ordered and received her color of choice in a quart container. Like every customer I serve, I asked, "Can I help you with anything else in the store?"


She held up her car key, on which the plastic key loop was broken from rubbing against the metal key ring. She asked, "What kind of glue is strong enough to fix this? This key has a computer chip and the dealer says it will cost $125 to replace!"


I explained to her that none of our glues were strong enough to hold, but thought we might find an alternative solution in the Electrical Department. In aisle 5 (in my store) we found the electrical cable ties and located one that was about as wide as the broken spine of her key. Next to the cable ties are black, heat-shrink plastic tubes used to bundle cables. We selected one that was only slightly larger than the broken spine on her key.


Back at the Paint Pit (desk), we cut two strips of black, plastic cable tie to match the length of the broken spine ... one for the outside and one for the inside. We also cut one piece the black, heat-shrink plastic tube approximately as long as the spine.


Assembling the pieces, we used the cable tie to reinforce the broken spine and slipped the heat-shrink tube over the spine of the key to contain all of the pieces. The heat gun at The Paint Pit provided sufficient heat to shrink the tube and create a firm, semi-permanent repair ... ultimately saving my customer $125 as well as a trip to the car dealer.


Gratitude bubbling over, she left the store with her "new key" and has been a regular ever since.


OK, I got it started ... Now let's hear your "Outside the Box" solution.


Go ahead, inspire me!!!

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Posted 2011-02-10T19:31:18+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL Pat_HD_ATL

I met a gentleman who had purchased a ladder from THD back when they first openned twenty something years ago. With plenty of TLC, his ladder was still going strong. He was a "handy-man" that generally worked for high-dollar customers in a few communities in South Florida. Even with all his care of the ladder, the feet had worn out and were starting to scratch the floors of his customers. He had tried using duct tape, but that left sticky residue as it wore away. The problem was he couldn't locate any replacement feet, nor could he contact the manufacturer because they had gone out of business.


I suggested he take a couple of old plastic containers and pour in some of the PlastiDip. With some blocking ready under the first rung of the ladder, he just set the ends of the ladder into the PlastiDip for a few seconds. Lifted them out and let it setup, repeating this a couple more times. He did the same procedure for the smaller support legs.

Best Answer

Posted 2011-09-03T14:28:26+0000  by Paul

I love MacGyver! Talk about creative solutions.


OK, I'll give it a try.


When my handyman tried to aerate my lawn, he hit the sprinkler system causing leaks in three of my islands. The water came up like a fountain when I turned the lawn sprinkler on.


A local "plumber" said he would fix the leaks for $450.


But the plumbing guy at HD told me how the PVC glue melts the two piece of pipe to form a solid joint. So I took several couplings and cut one third off the side so they would slip over the damaged pipe. I cleaned the damaged pipe, made sure the modified couplings would fit over and cover the damage, applied the PVC glue, coupled the repair and rotated the repair piece one quarter turn to help melt the two pieces together over the damage.


The result: with the information provided by HD, a functional repair with no leaks and no repair bill from the local "plumber."


I love this stuff!!!

Posted 2011-02-11T13:49:17+0000  by ELV

Fantastic Solution ELV!


I know you're not alone in solving a problem in a unique way.


Come on boys and girls, share those creative solutions!!!


You'll be inspiring thousands of your peers on the Community.


Here is another to help get us started:


My customer, Steve, came in looking for an extension he could put on a caulk tube. His problem was air flowing through a passage that was inside a contained area. The opening into the area was less than one-half inch wide and the repair was around the corner, slightly to the left of the opening. A traditional caulk tip simply would not turn the corner to reach into the area.


We talked about making an extension with the clear plastic tubing from the Plumbing Department, but he thought it might be too difficult to make the short turn around the tight corner.


We looked at several other options, but in the end his solution was not to use the traditional "tube" of caulk at all.


Instead, we decided to use the squeeze tube of caulk ... not cut on the tip, but turned around and cut diagonally across one corner of the opposite end of the tube. The narrow end of the squeeze tube would actually fit into the 1/2 inch opening and was flexible enough to bend around the corner. This allowed him to expel caulk into the air space and fill the opening, stopping the air flow.


When you are in the Store next, stop by the Paint Department and hold a squeeze tube of caulk in your hand backwards. You'll find that the wide body of the tube, adjacent to the tip, is excellent for squeezing and applying caulk. You will also see that opposite end of the tube is narrow and flexible. It will bend easily to fit into peculiar areas.


So there you go.


It isn't that hard, and everyone who has repaired anything has done it at one time or another.


OK, fellow DIYers, you give it a try now.


I can't wait to read your Outside The Box Solutions!

Posted 2011-02-15T20:26:38+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

Creative to say the least:smileywink:


Let me try one.


Strips of wood lattice were my tool of choice for completing the mold from which I made the hull on my homemade fiberglass canoe.


The mold frame was made of standard building materials and was placed upside down. I covered the frame by stapling lattice strips diagonally across the frame. I used wax to fill the small gaps and then applied a mold release material over the wax. Layers of fiberglass mat followed by and outer skin of fiberglass cloth completed the hull. When I applied water between the mold and the new hull, the release material did it's job and the new canoe popped free from the mold. I installed 1x2 wooden strips around the edge and two cross members for strength, then encased them in fiberglass cloth and resin to protect them from moisture.


The kids had a great time in the Gulf of Mexico "surfing" into the beach from the sandbars.


I always smile when I look at the photos.:smileyvery-happy:


Like ELV, I love this stuff!

Posted 2011-02-19T00:34:35+0000  by Glide2Fly

WOW Glide2Fly!


A fiberglass canoe made over a mold constructed of lattice strips and wax ... another creative use of everyday materials for a non-standard solution.


Thanks for adding to the thread!


I can't wait to see what our Community Members come up with next?


Since outdoor season is approaching, I've had several reasons to "create" solutions using unique products.


Here is one.


I helped a customer last week, who wanted to clean their cement driveway, but had no luck removing clay and rust stains with the standard pressure washer solutions and did not want to use stronger acidic solutions (muratic acid).


As he described the project, it struck me that Behr's 2-in-1 Wood Prep was actually a mild oxalic acid solution (less than 10 percent acid) that was also labeled "DO NOT USE HIGH PRESSURE" as well as "biodegradable."


This solution certainly met the customer's requirements and upon inspecting the label closely, also said it could be used on masonry surfaces.


I encouraged my customer to wet the grass and plants near the driveway before beginning, and then apply the solution using a scrub brush to spread the material. The instructions for decks said, "Do not allow the product to dry." Following that concept, I encouraged him to work in the cool part of the day and flush with water, using a garden hose, before the solution had a chance to dry (approximately 10 minutes).


He returned to the store the next day and said the solution did an excellent job removing clay and rust stains. He said, "My driveway looks like fresh, new concrete ... and it didn't appear to damage the grass."


So, there you go. A product not commonly known as a concrete cleaner produces safe, clean results.


I can't wait to read the next creative solution from the Community!

Posted 2011-03-01T15:51:08+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

A flooring contractor approached me one day and asked about green caulking. At first I thought he was talking about a low VOC product, but noooo... he wanted caulking in a green color! and he needed it yesterday!


Well their are companies that specialize in custom coloring caulking and THD does sell products like the QUAD series that comes in over 220 colors, but those two solutions required ordering something and waiting for it to arrive.


The solution: Tints-All, a universal tint. In this particular case, the contractor wanted to use a silicone product. We took a tube of clear GE Silicone II window and door caulking and squeezed it into a heavy duty Ziplock freezer bag. In a separate container, we mixed up the tint to achieve the color he was after. The tint was then dumped into the Ziplock along with the caulking and kneaded to distribute the color into the caulking.


Now how to get it out? Well, snip the end off one of the bottom corners, drop in a Wilton cake decorating tip, apply a bit of MacGyver's magical duct tape around the tip and bag and SQUEEZE.

Posted 2011-09-04T03:36:24+0000  by Paul

Fairly common practice in woodworking is the use of hot melt glue to tack parts together for whatever task needs to be done. It easily knocks off when your task is completed. Can be used in craft work the same way. You can hot melt glue a piece to your work bench to help hold it in place till you get all your clamps in place. Becomes a third hand.


For painting, if you're one those that don't use tape for edging, a dab of hot melt glue from your cordless gun will hold those screws to the backs of switch and outlet covers. Once the cover is off, you can put a dab over the screws that hold the recepticle or switch into the box in the wall.


I've also seen it used to hold things apart, like a freshly painted door. Hot melt glue a small square dowel to the inside of a hinge to keep that door from shutting all the way.


While you can't make a purse, wallet or poncho out of hot melt glue like you can with duct tape, it's almost as useful for holding stuff together or apart.

Posted 2011-09-20T19:09:39+0000  by Paul

Here's another one for you Pat.


Ran into someone the other day and we were discussing moisture build up in his toolbox and how it was causing some of his tools to rust. A passerby overheard the discussion and offered this solution. Crayola Chalk. After doing some reading, it is indeed a solution. Just take a piece of cheese cloth and tie up a few pieces of chalk and set it in your toolbox. The chalk will absorb moisture in the area, helping to reduce the likelihood of rust.


That got us all talking and they shared more useful ideas. Using a cardboard tube from your toilet paper roll or paper towels as a way to deal with slack in extension cords. Just loop it back and forth with outlet on one side and plug on the other. Simply pull out or push the cord back in to adjust the length. I can't remember them all, but I do remember my favorite one. Repurpose that Heinz ketchup plastic squeeze bottle to dispense pancake batter! No more batter drips all over the stove top or counters. 

Posted 2011-09-24T21:20:17+0000  by Paul
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Posted 2015-12-03T17:15:17+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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