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Comments on Saturday 12 January 2008:
I would like to propose a ban on electric screwdrivers and/or their users. Trying to operate stripped screws is no fun.

Relatedly, the lesson learned over the past several months is that DIY is so named for a reason. You should not pay someone else to do your DIY. At least not without first checking that they aren't an electric screwdriver jockey. D'ing it Y is easier than you think, and re-D'ing it Y after it's been botched is more difficult than D'ing it Y in the first place would have been. Or in some cases, such as tiling, pretty much impossible since you can't take poorly fitted tiles back off without breaking everything.

Top tip for fitting natural stone tiles - don't just take tiles in the order they come and fit them left to right, top to bottom. Instead try to select tiles that are similar thickness to go adjacent to each other, and use cracked or particularly lumpy tiles as the edge pieces where you can cut off the weirdness. This goes double for fitting them over underfloor heating, where taking up tiles would mean probably wrecking the circuit. This top tip is brought to you by the association of recognising the fucking obvious. [15:08]

Shamelessly Sinful
Is DIY the reason for you not posting a new blog?

RavenBlack
Not really, except in that it leads, to some degree, to not having seen or done anything of note.

Shamelessly Sinful
So, indirectly, that was a yes?

Shamelessly Sinful
Also, on a semi-related note that I'm sure will bore you, I need your opinion. My family hired a painter for three days and he didn't show up for two of them, making up excuses that were completely implausible. On the third day, he ended up doing horrendously on the large basement bedroom, the three regular size bedrooms, and the bathroom. Now, do we say that we'll only pay him if he comes back and fixes it, or do we tell him that we'll give him half of the original price, take our paint, and do it ourselves?

RavenBlack
If he can't do it the first time, you'd be daft to think he can do it the second time. Half the original price for three days, for doing one day, also doesn't seem just. If TV-based small claims court is anything to go by, you should take pictures of the shoddy work, refuse to pay entirely, and do it yourself. (My guy wasn't *that* bad, I'm only going to deduct the materials I had to buy to replace botched areas from his price.)

Shamelessly Sinful
That seems to be the only logical decision, but my parents happen to be best friends with his mother and step father. They donít want to "screw up their relationship" with them. Therefore, I have to sit back when the practical side of my personality is screaming that this isn't right. Also, he was supposed to call us today and still hasn't. This guy is just awful. I knew I didn't like him for a reason. He gave off bad vibes...

RavenBlack
Actually, how does one screw up painting? Is it missed patches? Not enough coats? I can't think of any way to screw up painting that it wouldn't be ridiculous to not see while you're at it and fix right away.

Shamelessly Sinful
Well, what really bothers me is that he lied. He said he put on two coats, but it was obviously just one. It's impossible to paint five rooms with two coats in six hours. Anyway, it was streaky and patches were missed. You could see paint rectangles around the electric sockets. They got paint on my TV. It was just awful. I could take pictures, but I'm not sure if it will show up that well.

RavenBlack
Five rooms with two coats in six hours sounds plausible, but it would be a stretch, and, well, it's the results that count - if it doesn't look like two coats then it might as well not be.

Shamelessly Sinful
You have to keep in mind that this person is not a good worker. He personally could not do it in six hours and we knew that. My parents are thinking about having him come back even though he's lied to us FOUR times.

RavenBlack
Well, at the point of bringing him back again you can't really blame the worker any more, can you? (Which I should say to myself as well really, given how much my guy did poorly. But at least he started out well.)

Shamelessly Sinful
I don't want him here. I realize that he won't do the job right. It's my parents who are trying to avoid confrontation at the price of $1,200.

Shamelessly Sinful
Just to clarify things, I'm still a minor. I'm not a freeloader who is living in the basement rent free.

james
Enh. An electric screwdriver is like any other tool. Use the stupid thing properly and it works just fine without stripping anything. Just ban stupid people.

RavenBlack
But do you know anyone competent who uses an electric screwdriver? All the competent people I know who work with screws are happy to turn it manually, since it takes about two seconds more than an electric screwdriver would and gives better control. The most technical screwdriver I've seen a competent person use is a ratchet screwdriver.

Perhaps electric screwdrivers should be nominally allowed, but attempting to buy one results in you getting disappeared. It'd be a good test.

walrus
I protest! When I'm in mechanic mode I'll waste a large portion of my time "screwing around". When I was younger and working in my father's shop he'd come by and berate me for not taking advantage of air or electric powered devices, and instead using "Cave-man tools. This is a modern shop, stop chipping flint".

You must fit the tool (and fastener) to the job. Snugging a single wall plate? Fine by hand. Re-installing a half dozen? Hand my my mini-driver. Screwing down underlay for tile at the rate of one screw per three-to-four in grid spacing? Pass me the roll-fed power driver with the three-foot extension.

RavenBlack
Yeah, okay, for cars you're allowed power tools, the screws and things are longer and made of sterner stuff. For kitchen assembly, the screws are short and made of crappy soft metal. Not that a competent person couldn't still use a powered driver without stripping them, but the advantage is so minimal that it'd hardly be worth it.

james
Ah. "short screws made of crappy metal". I understand now. This feels very similar in spirit to my desire to throttle anyone who approaches a printer with a #1 phillips instead of a #2. Bastards are just making my job harder.
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