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stan_der_man

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This is a subject SocialBFly and I discussed a while back which I thought would be a good topic of discussion for all large sized folks and the people who admire them...

How to reinforce and fabricate household items, furniture, beds, or anything else that needed to support the weight of a heavy person, or be enlarged to comfortably fit a large sized person. This is the thread to ask questions or give tips on things that you have modified, reinforced or built from scratch!





I'll start with this tip...

Nylon insert stop nuts!

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One of the greatest problems heavy people have with items designed to support weight isn't so much the strength of the item or it's ability (or inability) to hold their weight, it's that the nuts and bolts rattle loose from the item (chairs, car seats, whatever...) These nuts are designed not to rattle loose over time and can be purchased at any typical hardware store.
 

Ho Ho Tai

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It's perhaps an overkill for us, with a combined weight of about 450 lb., but it is sturdy enough to use as a grease rack for your pickup. Best part: made right here in Minnesota.

The company, Room & Board, has many such, of different styles



Room & Board platform bed
 

Risible

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Stan, you've seen my rolling kitchen stool. I have two of them, actually; they're pretty nifty. We started with regular dining stools and Chuck added heavy duty casters onto each of the legs. That worked okay for a few weeks, then the JB weld on the casters failed and the wheels started to fall off. Put some more JB into each of the legs, put them back into service and first one, and then the other stool crumpled while I was sitting on them - Epic Fail.

Chuck brought them in to a weld shop; the guy there fabricated like this steel plate to reinforce the legs, then welded the casters on.

I love my stools now. They're very sturdy. :)

View attachment resize466.jpg
 

Carl1h

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That's excellent. I have been thinking about something like that for a while now.

Stan, you've seen my rolling kitchen stool. I have two of them, actually; they're pretty nifty. We started with regular dining stools and Chuck added heavy duty casters onto each of the legs. That worked okay for a few weeks, then the JB weld on the casters failed and the wheels started to fall off. Put some more JB into each of the legs, put them back into service and first one, and then the other stool crumpled while I was sitting on them - Epic Fail.

Chuck brought them in to a weld shop; the guy there fabricated like this steel plate to reinforce the legs, then welded the casters on.

I love my stools now. They're very sturdy. :)
 

stan_der_man

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Very nice bed Ho Ho Tai! That is the beauty of many of these sort of designs. Simple, welded steel, square tubing is incredibly strong.

Stan, you've seen my rolling kitchen stool. I have two of them, actually; they're pretty nifty.
...
I love my stools now. They're very sturdy. :)

They are great stools Risible, I have to admit, I tried one of them out when you guys weren't looking... they glide very nicely across the kitchen floor! I'll take some pictures tomorrow or within the next day or so...

That's excellent. I have been thinking about something like that for a while now.

I actually use something like Risible's stools in my garage and scoot around on it when I work. No matter what weight a person is, having to repeatedly stand up and sit down when doing a chore can be rough on the knees. And again, like Risible's stools the design is simple and sturdy (but my utility stool isn't nearly as cool looking as Ris' stools, but it was very inexpensive to build...)

Beside the stool, I will also post some pics of the handle I reinforced on our camping trailer. Instead of simply bolting the handle into the wood backed paneling of the trailer with a wood screw, I drilled a bolt completely through the wall and reinforced it with a medium gauge aluminum plate, which wasn't that expensive. I also used the stop nuts mentioned above to hold the handle in place. I can't emphasize enough that using proper washers or nuts can really make a difference in holding things together.
 

Risible

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That's excellent. I have been thinking about something like that for a while now.

Carl, if you need more details, drop me a PM and I'll get the hubby to followup with you.

...
They are great stools Risible, I have to admit, I tried one of them out when you guys weren't looking... they glide very nicely across the kitchen floor! I'll take some pictures tomorrow or within the next day or so...

Ah ha! Saw you! :p
 

musicman

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Great idea for a thread, Stan!

Modern toilet seats are not designed with adequate support, i.e. not enough little bumpers underneath. This is what usually causes them to break and/or loosen up. But you can buy extra bumpers at almost any hardware store and put them on. They will make the seat last for years, rather than months.

I have found two types of bumpers. One type is made of rubber or soft plastic with nails embedded in it. It is designed for use on a wooden seat. See picture below. To install, you should take the seat off, mark where you want to put the bumpers, drill tiny pilot holes (smaller than the nails; about 1/16 inch diameter) for each nail, and then hammer the bumpers in place. If you don't drill the holes, I have found that you will not be able to hammer the bumpers all the way down to the wood, because the softness of the rubber will "push back".

View attachment 196915_front500.jpg

The other type is made of a harder plastic with screw holes molded into it. See picture below. Installation is similar, except you drill holes and use screws. If you have a plastic seat, you will need this type, but it will probably also work on wooden seats. (I've never installed this type.)

View attachment 195354_front500.jpg

Most hardware stores should sell toilet bumpers. I have bought them at Home Depot in the past (but I can't find them on their website right now). I usually put 4 to 6 extra bumpers on each seat. If you can handle a hammer and a drill (or know someone who can), this is an easy job and it will greatly extend the life of your toilet seat.
 

stan_der_man

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Great idea for a thread, Stan!

Modern toilet seats are not designed with adequate support, i.e. not enough little bumpers underneath. This is what usually causes them to break and/or loosen up. But you can buy extra bumpers at almost any hardware store and put them on. They will make the seat last for years, rather than months.
....

Great find Musicman! I know with my wife, we've had trouble with toilet seats cracking and breaking between the bumpers of the seat. Having more of these under the seat would distribute the weight better. The seats we've had usually cracked between the bumpers (typical seats only have 4 to 6 bumpers at most...) And again, I highly recommend tossing the bolts that come with the seats (especially plastic ones...) and replace them with snugger fitting bolts, plastic or rubber washers and nylon ring stop nuts. I also recommend the real wooden seats as opposed to the white fiber board toilet seats.

I'll post more specifics and photos about that, but first I wanted to post something a bit more off the wall to show that building things sturdy can apply to all sorts of things, not only the necessities...

Here are some pics of a swing I built for Mtmaiden a while back. It is all bolt-together construction so anybody could make something like this with typical household tools (a hack saw, hand file and hand drill with typical metal drill bits... aluminum is fairly soft...) I would estimate this swing could hold around 400 - 450 lbs. The swing seat is 32" wide, with 28" usable seating width. (81.3cm wide - 71.1cm usable) It could fairly easily be modified to hold more weight but that would require welding. This swing cost around $50 - $60 to make (depending on the price of aluminum of course...) The important thing about building such a swing is having sturdy brackets that bolt through wooden supports (and sturdy wooden supports of course...)

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rainyday

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Quite a while back I posted this explanation of how to make your own office chair. Works great.

I've since killed one of the casters, but I went to a caster shop and explained the problem and bought some even heavier duty ones the store guy said should help. I just need to get a tap bit to drill out the stump of the broken caster so I can put them on. Zero problems with the sturdiness of the seat structure though.
 

stan_der_man

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Quite a while back I posted this explanation of how to make your own office chair. Works great.

I've since killed one of the casters, but I went to a caster shop and explained the problem and bought some even heavier duty ones the store guy said should help. I just need to get a tap bit to drill out the stump of the broken caster so I can put them on. Zero problems with the sturdiness of the seat structure though.

That link to CoolCasters is great Rainy!

http://www.coolcasters.com/

I've noticed that the plastic casters on office chairs where the wheels are split into two parts usually aren't that sturdy. There were some very nice casters on that website. The metal casters with polyurethane wheels on them should be very sturdy, we use those types of casters on some of our utility carts. The only thing is that if you are using a chair (or rolling anything) on a carpet, narrower wheels will tend to dig in more and not roll as well as wider wheels.

This isn't the prettiest chair in the world but it's sturdy, was easy to build and is a basic design that is very stable and has a place for strong casters to be bolted to the bottom. It's sort of the same idea as you posted Rainy... a utility chair with a box frame underneath. I pieced this together from an old fiberglass seat (which could be substituted with a wider padded bench and additional supports...) Excluding the seat, this only cost about $40 (including casters) to make.

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rainyday

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When I first looked at that chair I thought you'd welded it onto an old BBQ grate lol.
 

stan_der_man

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I'll 'fess... It's actually welded to a drainage grate... much stronger than that of a BBQ... ;)
 

olwen

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Stan this is an awesome idea for a thread!

I bought a queen sized pine (with a veneer) platform bed from gothic cabinet craft a few years ago and asked if it could be reinforced. Well they put extra boards in the hollow base. So like if I unscrewed the top portion I could use the base as a bookcase if I wanted to, and I have to say, I've had sleep overs with my other fat friends over the years and with a combined weight of at least 600 - 800lbs this bed has never broken down or warped, cracked or anything. The reinforcement cost about an extra $65.
 

stan_der_man

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Thanks Olwen and very nice bed! The emphasis of this thread as you also noted Olwen, is that many times these modifications to existing products really aren't that expensive and can be very simple. Beds or couches can be reinforced or propped up with wood beams (2x4s or 4x4s) or cinder blocks at a very low cost amongst many things.

I'll get pics of the handle reinforcements posted soon and I also plan on posting some pics on the modifications I did to our toilet seat.
 

biodieselman

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Stan, you've seen my rolling kitchen stool. I have two of them, actually; they're pretty nifty. We started with regular dining stools and Chuck added heavy duty casters onto each of the legs. That worked okay for a few weeks, then the JB weld on the casters failed and the wheels started to fall off. Put some more JB into each of the legs, put them back into service and first one, and then the other stool crumpled while I was sitting on them - Epic Fail. ...

Ris wanted me to 'redneck engineer' a kitchen stool she bought online because they were 'retro' looking. The first attempt was done on the cheap & wasn't well thought through.
redneck.gif
What do you expect for 'redneck engineering' on the cheap?;)

Ris liked the look of the stools but they weren't designed to have wheels, & they were too tall to sit comfortably on for any length of time. I cut the thin wall tubing legs down to the height she wanted. I bought four of these heavyduty casters rated at 280 lbs per wheel from Grainger. The four 1/2" all thread couplers we (at work) use to hang heavy piping were cemented into the thin wall steel tubing of the stool & the 1/2" stem of the caster screwed into the coupler.

What I didn't anticipate was Ris tipping the stool because the center of gravity was too narrow. The weight of a person applied at the end of a 16" long lever puts tremendous strain on the thin steel tubing. After a few weeks, the walls of the tubing became deformed, wallowing them out to a greater inside diameter. When the stool tipped up on two wheels, the caster, coupler & JB Weld simply slipped out of the legs, causing Ris to fall.
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Thank God she wasn't seriously hurt.
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There were several problems with the stools. The most critical problem was the narrow center of gravity. The straight stool legs & light construction weren't designed for scooting around. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on a stool, but I knew the only way to make it strong & stable was to take it to a weld shop. I found a local one-man shop willing to do small jobs as I wanted to do one stool at a time so that Ris wasn't without a stool. The guy taught welding at Mt. Sac community college.

I told him that Ris is a very heavy woman, had a damaged ankle from a car accident & couldn't stand for very long. I told him I wanted the wheels bolted to a steel frame wider than the legs & gussets to strengthen the legs. It wasn't until I returned to pick up the first stool that I realized I had made another design error, one I should have known from brewing biodiesel. I had bought a cheap four-wheel 55-gal drum dolly to wheel around heavy barrels of oil & fuel. My driveway is sloped & once when rolling a full 55-gal down the slope to fuel my truck, two wheels got stuck on an expansion joint & the barrel almost tipped over.
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I bought a five caster drum dolly for safety.

If you think about it, have you ever seen a modern computer chair with 4 wheels? All modern chairs have five wheels because the extra wheel makes the chair far more stable. As you can see in the photo, the second chair has five wheels rated at 280 lbs/wheel, the center of gravity has been widened for increased stability, the thin wall tubing has been gusseted & the 1/2" wheel stem has a nylon locking nut to prevent loosening. Try & bust this stool, Ris!

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When I asked him how much I owed him, he said all repairs for the handicapped were free. We argued politely for a few minutes but he wouldn't budge. Hearing the Christian radio station in his shop, I gave his young daughter a $100 bill & told her to put it in the offering plate. There are still good people in the 'big city'.
 

stan_der_man

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Great stools Bio! Also, it's nice to know there are still kind people in this world... and an instructor from Mt. Sac even! I almost took a welding class there, unfortunately it didn't fit in my schedule. Granger is the ultimate hardware store, my place of work gets parts from there.

Here are photos of the back plates I used to mount the handle on our camping trailer. As with the stools Bio posted, anything you build is only as strong as it's weakest link. In the case of Ris and Bio's rolling stools, the thin tube steel the stools themselves were made out of is what is going to be your limitation. With the handle I mounted to our trailer, the thinness of the trailer walls and the aluminum handle were the weak links. But in the case of dealing with a flat surface, spreading out the weight that is pulling on the wall gives you greater overall strength. Also, having bolts go all the way through the wall with a backing is exponentially stronger than using wood screws of any type, even if I were lucky enough to hit a stud (which aren't that sturdy in a trailer anyway...)

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Notice in all the projects mentioned so far that stop nuts were used. Not only will they hold things tight, they are very useful in this case because of the softness of a hollow wall. You can't tighten the nuts all the way, they can only be tightened enough to create tension, not torqued down enough to keep them from rattling loose.
 

SocialbFly

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Thanks for starting this thread Stan, i had forgotten we talked about it...a couple of things...i love to swing, i am so jealous of MtnMaiden...and when Ris isnt looking....um, one of those stools is going MIA...teasing Ris, just teasing...awesome ideas everyone...
 

stan_der_man

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...and when Ris isnt looking....um, one of those stools is going MIA...teasing Ris, just teasing...awesome ideas everyone...

So if that rolling stool goes missing they won't blame me for taking it for a joy ride now... ;)

Here is the long awaited dissertation (with photos of course...) on how to bolt down a toilet seat! :p


This first image is a picture of the bolts holding down out toilet seat. As I mentioned before, bolts don't necessarily have to be brutally tight, or strong for that matter. What is important is the bolt fits snug in the porcelain (i.e. the bolt should be the biggest that will fit through the hole in the toilet...) and the head of the bolt should seat as exactly in the fitting on the toilet seat as possible. What often ends up causing the seats to break isn't necessarily sheer weight, it's from a heavy person causing the seat to slide around when they sit down and get up (which in and of itself is very annoying...)

DSC02963.jpg



As you can see, the head of the bold caps the toilet seat fitting almost entirely and the inset of the toilet seat fitting is beveled at such an angle that the bolt properly seats into the fitting. Also notice that the hinge and toilet seat fittings are made out of metal (brass in this case...) Don't get a toilet seat with a hinge made out of plastic. You get what you pay for...

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What is important with bolting a toilet seat to porcelain is not to over tighten the bolt because of the possibility of cracking the porcelain, but you want the bolt just snug enough so that the seat fitting can't move. This is where a nylon (or plastic... but nylon is less likely to crack with age...) washer is needed because it is soft enough to absorb some pressure from a tightened nut, but won't squish (or deteriorate over time...) like a rubber washer. A slightly beveled plastic washer (with the beveled part fitting into the porcelain hole...) helps but isn't necessary. The nylon ringed stop nuts will hold in place and not rattle loose over time.

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As Musicman mentioned above... you want to have as many bumpers under that toilet seat as possible (certainly more than the typical 4 they usually come with...) Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the underside of the toilet seat, but ours has six bumpers to support the middle part of the toilet seat from bearing too much weight. The other thing I'd like to point out is that we used a real wood toilet seat. The paste board (fiber board) toilet seats (typically painted white) don't support weight as well as real wood. The fiber of wood is much stronger than fiber board or paste board. I suppose it can be said there are more ways than one that fiber is good for a person's tush... ;)

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SparklingBBW

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Here's a question that feels a bit embarrassing, but if we can talk about how to bolt the seat of the "throne" down better and prevent breaking the seat, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to reinforce the base of the throne. I've had problems where there is some leakage of water from the bowl getting into the surrounding floor (read under the linoleum) and causing squishiness. I'm half embarrassed to call a plumber and have to tell them my weight is causing this problem, so I'd like to have a solution in mind to fix the problem before I make that phone call. Thanks so much in advance for your genius ideas and help for this SS problem!

Gee
 

stan_der_man

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Here's a question that feels a bit embarrassing, but if we can talk about how to bolt the seat of the "throne" down better and prevent breaking the seat, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to reinforce the base of the throne. I've had problems where there is some leakage of water from the bowl getting into the surrounding floor (read under the linoleum) and causing squishiness. I'm half embarrassed to call a plumber and have to tell them my weight is causing this problem, so I'd like to have a solution in mind to fix the problem before I make that phone call. Thanks so much in advance for your genius ideas and help for this SS problem!

Gee

Just curious... Is your toilet on a wooden floor (an upstairs bathroom, or if your house has a build-up or hollow foundation) or is your house built on a concrete foundation?
 

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