Marti Attoun: DIYers are rock stars in my book | Lifestyles


I have a new respect for DIYers. I have just read about the successful repair of a 14th century church clock in the English town of Grimsby.

For 12 years, the broken clock had been stuck at two past twelve. Clock engineers made catering offers ranging from $53,000 to $67,000 while parishioners planned to hold pancake dinners and other fundraisers from here until the Second Coming.

Luckily a local cheese maker and a 15 year old boy decided to check it out. They removed several pigeon parts erasing the functioning of the clock and injected WD-40 into the dry bearings. Now the old clock works perfectly.

This is the most dramatic DIY project I’ve read or witnessed, although I’m also very impressed with the owner who was cited by his local homeowners association for having a row of brown bushes unsightly deaths. Instead of digging them up and planting new ones, the smart DIYer bought a few cans of cheap green spray paint and gave the bushes a full coat.

For years, DIYers have turned disposable pallets into tables and buffets, plastic bread wrappers into hand-woven mats, and coffee grounds into face scrubs. I marveled at dining room mirrors framed in worn horse-neck frames, tractor seats turned into bar stools, and chicken feeders turned into chandeliers.

Home interiors provide plenty of evidence that DIYers are alive and well. And also that some projects are more impressive than others.

Years ago, when I was attending open houses for my weekly entertainment, I marveled at a living room with new signs held in place with duct tape. I imagined he was hiding something even uglier – a crime scene, perhaps? Another house had an unusual floor plan with a DIY surprise. After walking through a skinny hallway half the width of a bowling alley, the door opened into an addition the size of a banquet hall. The owners had moved out of their tiny home phase and had doubled their square footage.

Rather than have a professional drill a hole in the wall to properly vent the dryer outside, another handyman snaked 20 feet of ductwork through a room and under a pool table before reaching output.

It worked and saved a few bucks, but wasn’t as miraculous as the old church clock repair. Or maybe it’s the WD-40 that really impresses me.

“Booth 186: My Secondhand Career in Vintage Corsets, Moose Heads and Other Moth-Eaten Antiques” by Marti Attoun is available as an e-book on Amazon.

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