OK, it’s not from Hell, and you probably wouldn’t like to brush your hair with it. But if there are hairbrushes in Hell, I imagine they would look something like this. Basically it’s a nail sandwich on the end of a stick, which is really useful when laying carpets.
Sometimes known as a ‘Knee-Kicker’, and costing around £30.00 to buy (in the UK), this tool is invaluable for properly stretching carpet to give a tight and ripple-free surface. I recently re-carpeted my dining area, and priced one of these animals in my local tool-stores – I could find none under £30.00, so came home and had a rummage through the scrap box. I came up with the ‘design’ described below – which was hacked together in just over an hour. To make the kicker, you will need the following. Naturally, alter/change/substitute for/with items from your own scraps:
- 2 pan-head screws M5 X 60mm
- 2 M5 nuts and washers for above
- 4 pan-head screws M4 X 25mm
- 1 pan-head screw M4 X 30mm
- 5 M4 nuts and washers for above
- 2 pc Aluminium angle 20 X 20mm, 42mm in length (length to match planed softwood width below) (You could use wood spar for this – I had the angle to hand in my metal scrap-box)
- An old mouse-mat or similar stout foam-rubber, cut to 130 X 80mm pieces (to suit next item)
- 1 pc 20mm thick fibreboard 130 X 80mm
- 1 pc planed softwood spar 42 X 20mm, 345mm in length
- 24 Flat-head Aluminium Roof nails 30mm in length X 2.8mm diameter (or similar) Why Aluminium? These nails are less likely to tear your carpet, and probably just as important – your hands.
- 2 pc 10mm thick plywood 120 X 75mm
|Clamp or set in a vice the 2 aluminium angle pieces back to back, and drill through the centre (see photo) to clear the single M4 screw.
Release, then re-clamp so that the other surfaces are back to back and drill out the two holes to clear M4 screws.
Stand the piece of planed softwood on end and offer up one of the angle pieces so that the single hole side of the angle-piece is against the widest face of the softwood spar, and mark through the angle-piece hole onto the spar with a pencil. Drill to clear M4, then fix both angle-pieces to the spar, as in the photo.
Now offer up the spar end with the angle-pieces to the centre of the fibreboard and mark through the 4 holes.
Drill the piece of of fibreboard (or whatever you have decided to use) to accept the 4 M4 screws. Then counterbore these holes to the diameter of the screw heads. The counterbore should be just deep enough that the heads of the screws sit below the face of the board.
Mount the board to the spar end as shown, tighten all screws and glue on your knee cushion cut from the old mouse-mat. You may find that multiple layers glued together will save pain in your knees when using this fiendish device.
|Mark out all of the hole positions on one of the pieces of plywood (I’ll call this the ’sandwich bottom’), and then clamp the two pieces of plywood together and drill the six holes that are used to clamp the sandwich together, plus fixing it to the spar. These should be drilled to clear M4 screws. Unclamp, then drill the nail positions on one of the pieces, blind to a depth of no more than 2mm, 90 degrees to the face of the board. This is to give some purchase for further drilling through at 45 degrees. Now clamp/set the board at an angle of 45 degrees and drill each hole. The holes should have a diameter that allows you to push a nail through with your thumb – not to tight and not too slack.
Push a nail into each hole. (I made sure the grotty, splintered underside of my drilling, would be the hidden ‘inside’ of the sandwich – see photo)
|Bolt the two pieces of plywood together, capturing the nail-heads in the middle of the sandwich. Ensure that the screw-heads are not too prominent, and counterbore if necessary. Offer the top of the sandwich to free end of the spar, and mark through the two fixing holes with a bradawl. (or sharp screwdriver) Drill the two holes in the spar to clear M4 screws, and bolt together.|
You could tidy yours up – I couldn’t be bothered, and went straight ahead with the carpet-laying job.
Brownie Points? – At least +4 – after the carpet is laid.