When does tinkering become a bodge?

For me “tinkering” has no negative connotations.  Some see it as messing around, perhaps without the necessary knowledge.  Not for me – I see it as a learning process and having a go.  I have diverse mechanical interests and I’ll never be an expert in all of them – more likely none of them!  But I like to have a go, and the internet has made the acquisition of advice far more obtainable.  Every job I do I learn more and that makes the next job easier.  It might take me twice as it should the first time I tackle something but the knowledge keeps building.

The line between the fix and a bodge is always a close thing.  By definition bodge means to make or repair something badly or clumsily.  Its still a fix – just not done in the ‘correct’ or ‘normal’ way.  It often comes down to not having the right material to hand or the skill set.  I’m not adverse to the odd bodge – as long as it’s not dangerous and doesn’t negatively affect the functionality.  I’ve recently finished a rebuild of a Land Rover Defender, switching it across to a galvanised chassis.  The rear tub had seen many modifications over the years.  Various bench seats and tie downs for god knows what had resulted in the tops of the rear wheel wells having a multitude of holes.  Nothing structural, just a lot of holes which were too big to use body filler on without some sort of backing.  Electrolytic corrosion is always an issue with Land Rovers so during the rebuild I’d been conscious to isolate any steel to aluminium contact.  So for the repair on the aluminium tub what I wanted was some thin ali sheet – which I didn’t have.  Solution – a couple of Coke cans with the top and bottoms removed and flattened out to form some very nice thin repair patches.  Most definitely a bodge but one that I will remain proud of.  My sort of recycling. 

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