Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Watering Can Repair

The old garage-sale-find watering can pictured is a nice piece of gear. There's a brand name on it; "Garden Club". It must be pretty old because it was made in the U.S.A., and the U.S.A. doesn't do that sort of thing anymore.

The body of it is still in fine condition, but the nozzle is past it -- embrittled and cracked in many places. The nozzle in the foreground is a good salvaged one that I can adapt once I get the duct tape adhesive muck off the can's spout. (I'm not a big fan of duct tape. I've spent quite enough time cleaning up what it leaves behind when it's removed, and I don't recall ever having enjoyed it.)

The difficulty here is that the replacement nozzle came from a can that had a considerably larger diameter spout-end on it than this can has. I could just slather the parts with a silicone gasket maker and assemble them that way, but it would be a poor job. The key to using adhesives and sealants is to never ask too much of them.

What's needed is a bushing of sorts to take up the space between the two diameters. That will minimize the amount of adhesive required, and make for a snug, sturdy interface. Sometimes you get lucky with these situations, and it turns out that some piece of standard-dimension thin-walled tubing is close enough to what's needed. But here, I'm dealing with a couple of very odd diameters, so I'll have to fabricate what I need.

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Here's what I came up with:

That band was cut from a scrap of 0.020" thick aluminum window casing material, and rolled around a 9/16" socket wrench to form it. The replacement nozzle can just be slipped on over the band with a bit of force applied, so I've succeeded in taking up the bulk of the gap with solid material. The 1/8" diameter holes perforating the band are key to getting the strongest possible outcome here. I'll be using epoxy as an adhesive/filler.

What the holes do is they effectively turn two interfaces into one. The epoxy filling the male thread on the spout, and the epoxy filling the female thread in the nozzle won't be entirely isolated from one another. When the epoxy has cured, at every hole there'll be a tough, contiguous span of epoxy through the hole. So, there won't be two epoxy-adhered interfaces; there will be one aluminum-reinforced epoxy-adhered interface -- big difference. In normal use, the repair should be near indestructible.

Here's a shot of the inside of the nozzle (the sprinkler head is a snap fit and can be pried off fairly easily). You can make out the edge of the filler band, and see that the epoxy has formed a full and reasonably uniform fillet all around. That nozzle's not going anywhere without the can.

I'll leave that to fully cure overnight, snap the sprinkler head back on and photograph the finished item.

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And here's the finished watering can out with its pals:

A good outcome. You'd never know to look at it that the can and nozzle weren't made for one another. And the purchase price was all of twenty-five cents, no sales tax.

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