How bad nuts can destroy good furniture

Today Shana and I dismantled an old double bed. I say old, but it was less than nine years old (I don’t recall its exact age, alas) and, on the whole, fairly well constructed.

The old bed had, however, developed an excruciating repertoire of squeaks and creaks, and, on finally taking it apart, we discovered what seems to be quite a common flaw in modern furniture.

Without getting too technical, the bed had a central ‘spine’ ie, basically a long plank, running from the headboard to the footboard parallel to the bed’s side rails. This central plank was attached to either end  with dowels. So far, so good.

Underneath the central spine were three shorter pieces of wood that stood upright, attached at one end to the underside of the bed by two bolts. These support legs had been troublesome for a long time, often just falling over and failing to stay attached below the bed.

Here is how they were held in place. Two bolts went into a pre-drilled hole in the topside of the central spine, through into a corresponding hole bored into the support leg.


The bolt had no problem fitting into the nut, like so…


But it eventually lost its grip on the place it should have fitted in the top of the support leg.


The white residue in the picture above is where we tried, quite a long time ago, to pack the fixing hole with filler, in a vain attempt to get those dratted bolts to hold.

The culprit, it turned out, was this little fellow.


Shana found out that this is called an ‘insert nut’. Some insert nuts are screwed into wood. This type though, is hammered in and grips fast with those barbs or teeth round the nut body.

Here’s the problem with insert nuts. If, for any reason, you need to dismantle any item of furniture containing these (and we moved the bed to a different room a while ago, and might have moved it just once prior to that) they can rapidly fail after being loosened and retightened. Those teeth, which are meant to grip, can actually eat away some of the wood they are supposed to be embedded in.

We first came across one of these insert nuts in a piece of furniture we bought for Smoky, our lunatic three-legged cat. It is a set of three steps and a round seat at the top (which we dubbed ‘the crow’s nest’). The steps are still fine and are in daily use to enable Smoky to reach a high window seat. But the round seat became wobbly, and we were so worried that he would fall from it that we decided to remove it. However much we tried, it just refused to tighten up properly.

The cat seat, which was made of MDF (commonly used with insert nuts) had the required hole underneath where the insert nut should have held firm. But it was clear that the chipboard had been eaten away after only a few small adjustments on odd occasions, and it was equally clear that nothing would hold the seat in place well enough for it to be safe for our cat.

So, if you have a creaky bed, you might be able to solve the problem with a metal angle bracket or some such improvisation.

But do take extra care if you are putting together any cat furniture, and watch out for these insert nut blighters. Your kitty, I am sure, will be most appreciative 🙂


Sunday Dinner

I had one of those deep nostalgia moments earlier, I remembered all the way back to the early 1960’s, specifically Sundays. We always went out on a Sunday, but not until the afternoon. Before then I had to endure the ritual of the cooking of Sunday dinner, it drove me nuts, and is probably why I still hate Sunday dinner!

As soon as we’d had breakfast, the oven would be lit, the meat and all the veg prepared. At the same time ALL the windows would be opened, sash windows so lots of cold air came rushing in. That was the problem, the house never had any heating, or running hot water, but I digress, back to Sunday dinner.

I would sit curled up in the chair, freezing to death, the smell of roast beef wafting through the house, my stomach growling like I hadn’t been fed for a month. It was torture. Starving, cold and bored to tears, I just wanted to go out on our Sunday outing!

When dinner was finally served, I then had to learn the art of balancing on a cushion while nit-picking my way around the plate. The only veg I would eat was peas and potatoes, didn’t like much meat either, Yorkshire Pudding was the best bit, especially as some were kept warm to have with syrup after dinner…but only IF I ate all my dinner!

And this is how miserable I looked after having suffered the Sunday dinner ritual!

Shana eating dinner
Shana eating dinner

Delivery Blues

I’ve just got to have a moan.

If I order something from the Argos website, delivery is £3.95, same day delivery, or a day of my choosing. It works well and makes me a happy customer.

If I order something from Tesco Direct, delivery is cheaper, only £3.00. When can you expect delivery? No idea. I put an order in a few days ago, it’s still being processed. I could have paid £5.95 for express delivery, but that’s £2 dearer than Argos, so I stuck with the £3.00 option. Not a happy customer.

The question is this, if Argos can offer such a damn good delivery service for only £3.95, why can’t Tesco? Their delivery service is without doubt, one of the worst.

So dear reader you may be asking why I didn’t order from Argos, well they don’t take Tesco Clubcard vouchers!!

The BIG Pizza Crisis

It’s never easy ordering groceries online, you can never be sure exactly what the size of a product may be. Just because it says 14″ Pizza, it’s not easy to visualise, ok maybe 14″ should have rung alarm bells, but it didn’t, and I ordered it *facepalm*

When it arrived I nearly fainted, it was about the size of a small dining table and there was no way it was going to fit in our Halogen oven. At this point I should have handed it back and said I’d ordered the wrong size, but I’d been drooling over the idea of a pizza for days and there was no way in hell I was going without.

So dinner time arrived, I looked at the pizza, measured it against the oven…yup, several inches too big. I could fold it in half…not an option, so I cut it up into pieces, then some more littler pieces, and finally I created a patchwork of pizza…result!

With a bit of jiggling up and down to ensure all the pieces were cooked, I finally served the pizza…in pieces…lots of pieces…but damn it tasted good 😛

BIG pizza

Dongle Burnout

Our dongle died this morning, quite tragic, the poor little thing had a meltdown, it was so hot I could have fried breakfast on it!

I’m not technically stupid, but I didn’t realise that the fading signal strength on our wifi was due to the dongle malfunctioning, as usual I blamed it on the weather, dust, cat interference…anything but the dongle having problems.

So I’ve just bought two new mini wifi usb dongles, and I shall be more mindful in future of dongle failure, be warned dear readers, if your wifi signal ain’t that great, your dongle may be close to expiring!!