Trailer restored

It was one of our bigger repair and restoration projects. Last Sunday this all-steel box trailer rolled back onto the road after a year long refurbishment.

Originally a drab red oxide colour, after a lot of welding on the underframe and some repairs to rusty holes in the wheel arches, it now wears a smart blue and cream livery inspired by Sheffield’s pre-war trams.

New Landrover light fittings have been installed and everything has been completely re-wired. The re-wiring even extended into the towing van to rectify an annoying intermittent fault on the cable to the towbar. Nasty and unreliable plastic crimp connectors have been replaced wires which are now held together with a ‘Nasa splice’ and cables that were only just long enough have been extended to make them easier to work on in the future.

The paint was applied by brush, using traditional coach painting techniques. A layer of rust inhibiting red oxide was followed by white undercoat, then two or three top coats of gloss and finally a protective layer of varnish.

A new wooden deck for the front end was made from an old piece of plywood, stained with mahogany wood stain then varnished witb a high gloss yach varnish from the pound shop.

Finally a new brake cable was fitted and adjusted.

Further work will include the fabrication and fitting of a roof rack and the painting of the inside.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report from the 4th Virtual Repair Cafe

Our 4th Virtual Repair Cafe took place last Saturday. We will be continuing with these weekly events until the current UK lockdown is over. If you would like to join us, you can get involved by opening the Zoom app and entering meeting number 806 999 4444 from 11am onwards every Saturday morning.

Below is a recording of what happened last Saturday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report from the 3rd Virtual Repair Cafe

Our 3rd Virtual repair cafe took place last Saturday. Sewing took something of a front seat for this one, with Jess finding a new use for old socks and Andy discovering more about a vintage tin full of sewing machine attachments he got in an auction lot some time ago. You can watch the full video below.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report from the 2nd Virtual Repair Cafe

Our second Virtual Repair Cafe took place last Saturday. It turned out to be a day of clocks and mobile phones, proving that our team of fixers are as busy as ever, even during the lockdown. See the video from the event below. Also, remember you can join our next Virtual Repair Cafe on Saturday 18th April from 11am.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report from the 1st Virtual Repair Cafe

Our first ever Virtual Repair Cafe took place last Saturday. It proved to be quite popular, so we’re going to keep doing them, every Saturday, at least until the lockdown is over. Click on the video below to see what happened.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Virtual Repair Cafe goes weekly

Following the success of our first ever Virtual Repair Cafe last Saturday, I’m pleased to announce this online event will now become a regular feature, which will take place for at least an hour every Saturday morning from 11am (UK time).

To join us, all you need is the Zoom app, running on either a computer, tablet or smartphone. You will also need a microphone (and possibly headphones)  together with a webcam if your device doesn’t have built in camera.

All you have to do is join the meeting on Zoom and get involved. There is no password, just enter neeting number 806 999 4444.

So show us your broken stuff and our team of fixers will advise you on how it can be repaired. We can even help you to fix your stuff live while you’re with us.

If you can’t wait until Saturday for your fix of fixing, then we will be uploading the recording from our previous Virtual Repair Cafe very soon.

Posted in Latest news | Leave a comment

Virtual Repair Cafe SATURDAY 5th APRIL

We are pleased to be able to announce our first Virtual Repair Cafe will be taking place online this Saturday on the Zoom app between 11am and 12 noon. To join us you will need a computer, tablet or smartphone with the zoom app installed (get it at Once you have the app installed on your device simply enter the meeting number 8069994444. You don’t need to enter a password. You can connect to the event by voice only or can join us by video call. We hope to be able to record the event and make a video available afterwards on our website and both and

The idea is that out team of fixers will be able to give you advice on doing your own repairs and teach new skills. We also hope it will be a great social event, so please feel free to join us even if you haven’t currently got anything that needs to be repaired.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us here.

See you on Saturday,

The Repair Cafe team

Posted in Latest news | Leave a comment

January 2020 Repair Cafe Report

We were back at Heeley City Farm for our first Repair Cafe of 2020 and it turned out to be another bumper day. After a record number of Fixers turned out for our post-Christmas event at Strip The Willow in late December, this time it was a record number of customers who came along with aproximately 36 different items receiving attention throughout the day.

Our textile department has been enjoying a rapid growth recently, with both new volunteers and more customers than ever before. Here’s an action shot of the lost art of darning taking place.

We had all kinds of items in for repair, including a disproportionately large number of DAB digital radios. These always seem to give problems, with at least one being brought along to almost every Repair Cafe in recent years. They must be particularly badly made for such a high number to appear for attention. The faults seem to vary, but a common one is that people don’t always realise they sometimes need re-tuning in a similar way to how ‘Freeview’ TVs often need a re-scan to pick up the latest channels. Sometimes these radios can be fixed and sometimes they can’t. ‘Pure’ and ‘Roberts’ seem to be particularly troublesome brands.

Our next event is a last-minute extra Repair Cafe, which will see us return to Abbeyfield Park House on Saturday 1st February. Then we will be back to our normal calendar with an event at Strip The Willow on Sunday 16th February.

Fairy wings are a bit of a departure from the usual items brought in to be fixed. However I’m pleased to report that thanks to our magical team of Fixers, they are now set to continue flapping into the future.

Posted in Latest news | Leave a comment

November Repair Cafe

The November Repair Cafe at Heeley City Farm was particularly busy, with lots of people bringing items along to be fixed.  As always, there were a lot of electrical appliances brought in. But there were some more interesting vintage items too.

John found himself transported back into the land of 90’s TV to do some emergency surgery on a pair of teletubies. Meanwhile Peter got to work on an old transistor radio.

Thanks to Emma for taking the photosand thanks to everyone who came to help fix things. The next Repair Cafe is later than usual because Christmas gets in the way. However we will be back, this time at Strip The Willow, on Sunday 29th December.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report from July Repair Cafe

We had a great Repair Cafe at Heeley City Farm yesterday. We were unable to use our normal room due to a power failure, so we moved across the farm site to  the Energy Centre.

As soon as we were set up in our new temporary home the repairs started rolling in. A steam mop, a kettle, a stick blender, a vintage record player, some fairy lights and a clockwork radio were just some of the items to come through the door.

We always like a vintage challenge at the Repair Cafe and one soon arrived in the form of a 90 year old telephone, complete with an even older bellset. Unfortunately the wooden bellset, which contains many of the components needed to make such an old telephone work, was not the correct one to be paired with this particular ‘candlestick’ phone. So it was a case of removing all the internal components and reusing some of them while fitting other genuine and equally old spare parts. After around 4 hours the bellset had been totally re-wired, an induction coil (a key missing component) fitted and this piece of communications history was fully working again ready for the next 90 years of service! Thanks to Phil and his wife for bringing it along and also for donating a brilliant PABX system, which is essentially a telephone exchange in a box, which will enable us to test other telephones in the future.

As always, thanks to all thevolunteers who came along to help, including a few new faces who were taking part in their first Repair Cafe.

We’ll be back, this time at Strip the Willow, on Sunday 18th August.

Posted in Latest news | Leave a comment