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physics
jwg

Kettle repair engineering

I have this kettle that looks nice, pours well, doesn't burn your hand, can be filled without taking off the lid, and doesn't whistle. The problem is that the screws inside that hold the handle come loose. There is one small phillips screw at each end of the handle and it is almost impossible to hold a screw driver inside and tighten the screws which I have to do every few weeks. Fortunately, I do have a very nice small screw driver that fits in.


When bratman was harassing visiting he suggested buying a new one and we even saw some nice ones except that they whistled. I don't like the sound of the whistling and even worse, the sound of rsc complaining if he heard it whistling so that option is out.

I decided to add a tooth washer and therefore removed one of the screws. I discovered there was a lock washer but it was compressed and therefore it wasn't doing any good. Then the big problem was how to get the screw started because there is only room to get one hand inside (no, I wasn't going to wrap pancakes in the kettle) and to hold the screwdriver and the screw was impossible.

● First I tried rubber cementing the screw to the screw driver. That didn't work since it fell off quite soon.
● Then I tried some magic tape to tape the screw to the screw driver. It worked better, but not well enough and the screw fell off.
● Finally I had the brilliant idea of taking a slice of an index card, placing a small hole in it and screwing the screw into the index card. I then used scotch tape to hold the index card to the underside of the kettle top. It worked. I got the screw in. There was a bit of problem removing the index card because the screw was in too tight, but a pair of needle nose pliers yanked it off.

I won't try the second screw until I see if the first one stays. And reminder to me: the one I did is the one not near the spout.

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Three cheers for gas stove-tops!

Death to electric!


Oh, absolutely. I don't think either of us would ever voluntarily live in a place that didn't have a gas stove. I even feel that way when I discover that I've turned the flame just that much too low and it went out.

you know, what jwg really needs is an electric kettle. Not a non-powered kettle that sits atop an electric stove, but a stand-alone kettle with an electric heating element in it, + a power cord. It can sit on the counter, and I've never ever seen one that whistles. Most of them these days have automatic shutoff devices so they don't boil dry if forgotten.

and they're much more energetically efficient (ie kinder to the planet) than stovetop kettles, because 100% of the heating energy goes into the water, with no energy transmission losses, which are inherent in stove-top kettles.

I understand they're not widely distributed elsewhere on the continent, but electric kettles are more common than non-powered ones in Ontario.

One problem with that solution is that our kitchen is quite small. It is about 8 x 10 1/2 and contains a stove, a sink, a fridge, several counters, built in shelves along the walls and under the counters (no doors or drawers), a table that seats 2 or 3 in a pinch. 2 peg boards in the wall over the stove and dish drying shelf.

An electric kettle would occupy counter space or have to be put away each day.

But you have enough space in your kitchen for your current kettle. doesn't it have a footprint?

Put IT away, and put an electric kettle wherever the old one sits now. The trick may be remembering NOT to light a burner underneath it. Or it could sit atop the stove but not on a burner head.

I suspect that you don't use all four burners on your stove very often, so you can have an electric kettle sitting on the stove. And on those occasions when you do need all four burners - well, you'd be putting the old kettle away on those occasions too.

your kitchen is not as small as my kitchen. I have one or two counters depending on how you count. You say you have several. And I have a (non-whistling) electric kettle that I use all the time.

Well, as a matter of fact the kettle does normally sit on the stove, and gets moved on the rare occasion when we do need all four burners. So I supppose an electric kettle could be kept in the same place, although there would be the cord to deal with.

What John really needs is a magnetic screwdriver.

Or a sonic screwdriver.

Or possibly a screwdriver without the orange juice.

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