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R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK)

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Spares4less Bosch Washing Machine Rubber Door Seal
Spares4less Bosch Washing Machine Rubber Door Seal
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It fits perfectly in my old Bosch WFO2864GB/01, 9 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This door seal is an exact replacement for the old one in my Bosch WFO2864GB/01 washing machine. Time will tell how long it lasts, but the Bosch original survived for a decade before the first perforation appeared. My Pic 2531 shows a typical wear perforation.

After cleaning the mating surfaces, fitting is simple and straightforward provided a generous helping of silicone lubricant (NOT WD40) and a couple of tricks are used.

The outer clamp securing the seal to the door frame is a piece of wire with a short coil spring, with the spring located beside the door hinge. This is easy to remove and refit with the help of some slim pointed nose pliers.

Removing the fill-hose requires a pair of wide pliers to release the hose clip and move it up to park on the hose, and then the hose can be pulled out of the seal. It can help a lot when replacing it if the top of the machine is taken off to gain access to the other end of the hose. Remember to put the clip on the hose before pushing it into the seal and finally setting the clip, there is a depth marker on the hose to remind us not to push it in too deep.

The inner spring-clamp is more interesting. Removal is easy, just pull out the old seal and the full length coil spring surrounding it will come with it. But replacement could be fun: once the seal is pushed onto the drum (with the rim destined for the door frame temporarily folded inside the drum) the spring will need four hands to persuade it to lie in the groove; OR, much more easily, gently fit a couple of small G-clamps at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock to trap the spring in the groove, and then carefully stretch it down and around the rest of the seal, making sure it sits in the groove.

The silicone helps a lot with letting the seal AND the springs find the most relaxed positions. I also put 10kg of weight in the drum as a positional pre-load because the only time the seal might be rubbing is when it is working, loaded with washing and water.

Why did I do it? I needed to change the brushes on the motor and thought I had better check the door seal, just in case. Just as well I did!

Offered by D Pro Tools UK
Price: £93.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable tool chest for light DIY use, but not for professionals, 2 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a relatively light weight small to medium sized tool chest ideal for a DIY enthusiast, and the assortment of drawers will hold a reasonable amount of tools in a more accessible manner than two or three old-fashioned cantilever tool-boxes. The sliders are free running but also have a convenient friction stop to hold them closed when pushed in the last half inch. The castors work well and are secure when fitted.

The negative points.
1. The metal used in the boxes and drawers is just too thin and flimsy for busy use.
2. The carry handles for the top box are held by silly-soft-metal brackets fixed only by self-tappers into the paper thin metal of the top box. Any weight and these brackets are likely to collapse and/or pull the self-tappers out. Do not fit these unsafe handles.
3. None of the drawers extend all the way out, which can make it very awkward to get to something at the back in those hidden couple of inches.
4. There is no interlock to prevent all the drawers being opened simultaneously. This is dangerous and could cause the cabinet to tip over onto somebody. The instructions warn about this.

The drawers come in two heights, for a usable 35mm and 80mm internally. The overall width available for them in both top and base is the same at 540mm, giving 510mm and 148mm usable internally. Their usable internal front-back is 225mm for the top box drawers, and 304mm for the slightly sturdier bottom box drawers. The 35mm deep drawers feel just a bit too small, 40mm would have been a lot more useful, perhaps they all should have been 80mm (as needed by any normal socket set mounted on clip-strips). The really big problem with the drawers is that the back of the top box drawers is recessed by about 50mm and the cabinet drawers by 75mm.

I've fitted two shelves made from scraps of 6mm ply into the cabinet, these are a snug fit and sit on scrap ali angle bolted to the ends. Suddenly it gets useful for tools-in-cases such as sets of chisels, routing cutters, etc.

Top chest.
Internally, this has 60mm depth, with an opening of 240mm front-back and 585mm wide, and going up into the lid is a further 40mm of room. The lock only works on this, and drop bars are supplied to restrain the drawers.

These work well, as far as they go, and grip the drawer nicely when pushed fully home to prevent it simply falling open again. But, I'm thinking about replacing the sliders for the two drawers in the cabinet with some longer-reach items I have left over from a kitchen to allow full access to the contents.

It is OK for light duty such as DIY, but has severe limitations and is definitely not suitable for Professional use. Look at the weight of any similar sized cabinet before buying. This one was only 30kg. It should be almost double that to have enough strength for Professional use.

Addendum. 09 May 2014.
I've posted Pic 2532 to help compare its size relative to a 12" ruler and a standard old cantilever toolbox.

OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler
OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler
Offered by kitchen essentials
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent swivel peeler, stands the test of time., 27 April 2014
Originally bought from JL, our OXO Good Grips peeler is probably well over ten years old by now, and is showing signs of age; for example the soft frilly bits on the handle have long since vanished and the stainless blade is tarnished.

Fortunately it still works immaculately in its daily tasks of rapidly peeling potatoes, apples, carrots, in fact almost anything with a thin skin. And it survives regular immersions in the dishwasher, unlike all our previous swivel peelers where the blade always rusted away.

I fully expect it to last another ten years.

Oxo Good Grips Beak Ice Cream Scoop
Oxo Good Grips Beak Ice Cream Scoop
Price: £9.83

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Ice Cream scoop, but it is NOT dishwasher safe., 27 April 2014
I bought this articulated OXO Good Grips scoop from WR to replace our old basic scoop where the handle had disintegrated and the plating was pitted after about ten years family use.

It works well on our ice cream, the usual shop bought ordinary stuff and also some very stiff home-made given us by a friend. The handle is very comfortable, much better than our old one. The ejector also works well, having a relatively small area it does not hold on to the ice cream ball anything like as much as the scoop as a whole would.

The "non stick coating" on this OXO looks like standard Chrome or Nickel plating, and the instructions specifically say not to put it in the dishwasher (salt and similar chemicals will rapidly penetrate Chrome and eat the Aluminium core). There is even a warning etched into the body of the scoop, "HAND WASH ONLY". We wash it under the hot tap (softened water, could still be a problem later with the chrome) and immediately dry it on a kitchen towel. We never leave it to soak, only a stainless scoop would survive that.

It gets only four stars specifically because it needs so much care in cleaning. If it was stainless then it would deserve five stars.

Case Logic Luminosity Zoom Holster for DSLR
Case Logic Luminosity Zoom Holster for DSLR
Price: £38.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely made, holds DSLR and its two lenses, 26 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This holster is long enough to contain my Pentax K5 DSLR, its original 18-55mm kit lens, and the additional 55-300mm Telephoto lens, but it is not ideal. The partition and various pockets are as described in the Az blurb, with Velcro on the partition ends allowing it to be usefully secured elsewhere than originally intended.

The problem is that the possible arrangements with an extra lens sharing the bag are not always comfortable, and I am concerned about damaging the lens not fitted to the camera. There are two scenarios.

1. Kit lens on camera. There is not quite enough room to store the Telephoto lengthwise in the extension below the camera - they are all stacked and it feels too tight. So instead the extension is zipped short, and the camera goes in first, the partition is now placed front to back over the camera screen, and the zoom then lives in its original pouch and has to be stored lying crossways on the partition, so it is the first thing one sees when the lid is opened.

2. Telephoto on camera. Same problem with stacking. However here the kit lens lies across the bottom of the extension, the padded partition now lies on top of it and the end of the telephoto rests on the padding. While now the lenses are still separated by padding, this feels the least good because the extended case does not seem to offer as much protection against casual knocks.

Scenario 1 is less convenient, but offers better protection and has the more frequently used kit lens mounted on the camera. Scenario 2 is more convenient, especially when using the telephoto, but offers less protection to the kit lens now sitting on the bottom of the extended holster.

The waterproof cover is a nice-to-have, but my much simpler old Jessops camera case (alas not long enough for a Tele) has already proven to be shower-proof without needing an extra cover.

My ideal camera case would have a separate padded lens pocket living alongside where the lens fitted to the camera lies, so it is no longer looking like a tapered holster, but more like a simple rectangular back pack. However all the options offering this extra lens pocket that I have seen so far are all vastly too big, and offer laptop and tripod etc space as well. Still looking...

Addendum. 08 May 2014
I've found this SLRC-202 case is a more useful way of containing the camera and lenses etc. Still not ideal, and looks too much like a camera bag, but it is much more ergonomic than the 'holster'.

Finish Quantum Regular (Pack of 1, Total 60 Tablets )
Finish Quantum Regular (Pack of 1, Total 60 Tablets )
Offered by O.P Healthcare
Price: £25.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cleaning power, but can scour soft glass, 26 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We've been using all of the various types of Finish dishwasher tablets and powders for more than three decades in a couple of different dishwashers. They consistently perform very well in the Which? tests.

To my surprise, regardless of which of the many types of Finish tablet we use, the results are always much better than the occasionally tried "Own Brand" supermarket tablets. We always make sure the dishwasher has the water-softener and rinse-aid working correctly and the filters are clear. We usually use the shorter but hotter wash program. The machine remains clean and pong-free.

This Quantum Regular tablet offers the convenience of just dropping the tablet and its covering into the dispenser (no wrapper to be removed). But, there is a problem: the re-sealable pack does not reseal well after a while and instead we have found that it is essential to always store the tablets in a couple of old airtight Tupperware boxes to protect them from humidity - the larger one keeps the bulk of the pack dry in long term storage, the smaller one holds just a few handy for daily use. This is because most of the time our machine is only used on alternate days, and a pack of 60 tablets will last us as long as four months; but if these tablets are left exposed to normal humid kitchen air they will become sticky and horrible in maybe a week, even less if wet fingers were used to pick out the previously used tablets.

Beware, soft glass will be scoured, as happened very quickly with our Le Cafetiere Teapot, some of our older drinking glasses, and the glaze and decoration on the cheaper mugs - even though they may claim to be 'Dishwasher Safe'. And because of this we still always hand wash our most expensive glassware, crockery and cutlery.

We also never pay the ridiculously high 'full list price' and always look for offers on the opportunity to stock up cheap, usually at about a third of list.

BERGEN 10Pc 3/8 Drive 48mm Long S2 Tamper Proof Torx Bit Socket Set T10 - T55 BER1177
BERGEN 10Pc 3/8 Drive 48mm Long S2 Tamper Proof Torx Bit Socket Set T10 - T55 BER1177
Offered by Moon Direction (UK)
Price: £11.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice set of Torx driver bits using good steels, 26 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These nicely finished Torx drivers fit a 3/8" drive socket set correctly and also are an exact fit in all the Torx screws I have tried so far, including undoing some very stubborn ones. The pin hole for the security screws does not seem to have weakened the drivers enough to matter for my non-professional applications.

The socketed part of each driver is made of standard Chrome Vanadium steel but the tips are S2 steel which is significantly harder and stronger but also very slightly more brittle. The S2 alloy (Cr Mo V) was developed specifically for screwdrivers to resist wear and deformation during use.

However the extra hardness of S2 makes it slightly less suitable for impact drivers as there is a slightly increased risk of it shattering. I recommend that you use proper Eye Protection if you feel the need to use a hammer driver to undo a recalcitrant screw.

Carrying the Torx label should mean that the manufacturer has paid the license and the drivers meet the Torx specification for shape, materials and manufacturing. Time will tell.

The hard foam tray nestles the drivers neatly and firmly, and it fits nicely in one of the compartments in my ancient metal tool drawers.

Case Logic BOGD115K Griffith Park Backpack for 15 inch Laptop - Black
Case Logic BOGD115K Griffith Park Backpack for 15 inch Laptop - Black
Price: £61.06

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially useful medium size backpack, but ergonomics should be better, 22 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This backpack fits a modern slim wide-screen 15" laptop, but not my older (thicker) 4:3 (taller) 15" Dell laptop. The material is mostly water repellent, but not entirely waterproof and while the stitched seams are reinforced they are not tape-sealed, so it will shake off a shower, but not heavy rain.

The blurb is generally accurate when relating to how many pockets etc it has, but one aspect stands out and this is that the whole thing is a bit small. If it was just an inch or so wider it would be much better.

The padding is good, and protects the laptop/notebook well on both faces, and one's back. The slot for a slim-cased iPad or 10" tablet is only padded on the laptop side and not where it is in contact with all the other stuff in the general space further back, so watch out when stowing the tablet.

The clip-shut top cover opens to reveal an inner drawstring cover securing the contents; this is a real pain and takes forever to open. What is wrong with using a zip here too? This drawstring silliness loses it a star.

All the zips were very reluctant to move at first, either opening or closing, but a trace of candle wax worked into each has transformed them into being smooth and easy.

The two drinks bottle pouches are not quite deep enough to close their zips over the top of a standard re-usable bottle to prevent it from being knocked out. This is also silly, putting the zips just another inch or two higher on the case would have been so easy.

The reason it loses another star for me is that the well padded but stiff shoulder straps lie too close together on my shoulders and the hard edges rub my collar against my neck, becoming very uncomfortable after only the first few minutes walking; they need to sit at least an inch further apart at the neck for a normal adult male. They might be OK for a slimmer framed person such as a small woman or a teenage child. More as it/if beds in.

I guess for now I'll have to keep on using my fifteen-year-old Jansport laptop-rucksack; less customised in design, and leaking, tattered and slowly disintegrating, but at least its ergonomics are spot on.

Addendum. 5th May 2014.
The shoulder straps sit slightly better with a reasonable load (about 8-10kg of cameras, lenses, drinks, lotions, waterproofs, etc), but both of us found the bearing on the lower part of the neck and upper-inner-shoulder a bit much, and so we regularly swapped the two backpacks around between us on a recent couple of all-day walks. The straps might become more comfortable if they soften up to fit more easily with use.

Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Lens
Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Lens
Price: £319.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value weatherproof Telephoto DA lens, 21 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an inexpensive but durable and weatherproof Telephoto zoom lens for cameras with the Pentax DA mounting, and it has the benefit of a metal lens mount. The range varies only between 55mm to 300mm on my K5 and K30 cameras, and would be longer (85mm to 460mm) on a full format 35mm camera. All the standard DA functions operate as one might expect.

As one might expect with such a long lens, using a tripod or monopod makes it so very much easier to keep the images sharp and well composed, almost every take is useful compared with wasting more than half them when hand-held. On the longest shots not even the K5 image-steady can cope with the bigger wobbles likely from the wind or a racing pulse - my respect for archers and marksmen went up another big notch after using this lens on a recent country walk.

The aperture mechanism can be noisy and feels like it is rattling when trying to track a rapidly changing scene on Live View, but if used normally with the optical reflex viewfinder then it only kicks in for the take.

The auto-focus can get confused if left to its own devices with rapid or extreme scene changes. Fortunately, I've found that occasionally using the manual focus to keep the image nearly right most of the time gives it a big helping hand, and then for the take it is much quicker and very accurate.

The zoom tracks focus reasonably well when varied through the full range; once focused on the object it does not then loose the image in a blur, and it will give the rather slow autofocus a useful head-start on a take, but it does not track well enough for serious use as a video zoom lens. The nearest an image can be focused is about 1.2 metre away, but then this is a Telephoto and not a Macro lens, and the moon is quite sharp enough, as were some twigs on the top of a tree two hundred metres away in the park, and even the leading on the windows of a stately mansion more than a mile away on the other side of a valley. (See my pics, mansion 2462c and detail 2462d).

My sample works well with my K5 (weatherproof body and lens) and K30 (not quite as w/p) Pentax cameras, both of which only had a 18-55mm kit lens. In each case I found that the 'AF Fine Adjustment' was best in the middle of the -10...+10 range at '0', so I have left these camera settings on Off, ie Factory Defaults, for each lens in both. The moon was helpful in checking this; being an object at infinity, with night time requiring maximum aperture.

This lens feels slightly heavier than the older non-weatherproof Pentax 55-300mm lens I tried in a shop, but it is a lot lighter than most of the other more expensive professional 300mm/450mm lenses I have used in the past on 35mm cameras. I'm quite happy with it being not too big or too heavy.

The only thing I would have wished was different is that the nice little weatherproof bag the lens comes in should have had a belt loop. So I have sewn one on.

Oh yes, most importantly, this lens allows the camera to take excellent distant pictures without too much intervention or thought from me.

Draper 27017 Tx-Star Tamperproof Screwdriver Set
Draper 27017 Tx-Star Tamperproof Screwdriver Set
Price: £12.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Durable, comfortable, all the usual sizes, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This set of Black handled Tx-Star drivers has the central pin holes for security screws, as identified by the "Tamperproof" description. They are very tough, well made, and comfortable to use.

The pin hole reduces the absolute strength of any driver, however these seem to be strong enough for hand held use. Curiously they are called TX-Star and not Torx. The Torx name license sets a standard and costs the manufacturer money. I don't know if these drivers officially meet the standard, but they seem just fine in use with a good fit and completely compatible, and no casualties so far.

I've had a set of the (identical shape and size) Halfords badged blue handled standard (ie solid, no pin hole) Tx-Star drivers for maybe ten years now, and only was spurred on to buy this Draper badged set because I had lost the T25 driver, and thought I might as well get the security set.

The previous set looks like new despite having rattled around in my tool boxes all this time and have seen a lot of use, so I expect this new set to last just as well.

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