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Getting to the seat of the problem

Q:How do I clamp a round object until the glue sets. I have a wooden toilet seat that is separating in one place and the little fingers that hold it together have come apart. Also, what type of glue should I use?

A:This is not an uncommon problem with wooden toilet seats, especially inexpensive ones. The easiest way to clamp a round object is with a belt clamp, also known as a band clamp or strap clamp. It is a nylon ribbon about an inch wide on a roller than can tighten the belt with considerable force around the work piece. Use a waterproof glue such as Tite-Bond III that requires no mixing and dries to a joint stronger than the wood itself in 24 hours. It is ready to use after being clamped overnight.

That said, you probably can put glue into the finger joint of the seat and squeeze the joint together with a traditional bar clamp. In the case of a toilet seat, the finger joints which provide more area for glue to hold, won’t need much pressure to hold the pieces together until the glue sets. The band clamp may just slip off the rounded edge of the seat.

Now, pay attention. Here’s today’s lesson. When you buy a toilet seat, bring along a refrigerator magnet. If the hardware on the toilet seat is steel, walk away fast. Steel will corrode in a couple of months and the screws and bolts will be rusted on to the point you may have to take drastic steps to remove it. There is nothing fun about lying on your back trying to remove the bolts from the toilet, even when they don’t fight you. Buy a toilet seat with nylon or other plastic hinges and nylon mounting bolts. They work just fine and won’t corrode. If you are buying a wooden toilet seat, make sure it has brass hardware, not just brass plated. Use your refrigerator magnet. If it sticks to the hardware it is steel. If it doesn’t, it’s brass.

A final word about band clamps. If you pop for one, you can get it for about $13. Check first before you go shopping because it may not be stocked at all hardware stores and home centers. The belt clamp is also great for assembling picture frames and regluing stretchers in chairs.

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If you have a question or comment, send to About the House, 18 First Ave. S.E., Rochester MN 55904. Or e-mail questions to Jerry Reising at reising@postbulletin.com. You also may call 289-7864.

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