Plastics in one form or another are employed extensively in the whole business of DIY. Pre Second World War, the trend was to employ professional tradesmen for decorating and home improvement projects. In post war Britain, fashions and trends changed rapidly. New affordable products came onto the market and magazines were published extoling the virtues of DIY. You could be on trend without spending a fortune and stores selling everything you might need began to flourish. Commercially available polyurethane paints advertised improved performance, and colourfully patterned and textured vinyl wallpapers which claimed to be easy to hang abounded. The tools with which to do these jobs also became more readily available and affordable. Mass production of thoughtfully designed power and hand tools meant that even the more specialised jobs were now within the grasp of most ‘handymen’.
Improvements to the functionality and design of everyday products associated with DIY are on-going. The traditional paint ‘tin’ has been replaced in some cases by the lighter tamper-proof, cheaper, easy to recycle polypropylene paint pot (1). The comfort grip polypropylene handles of the paintbrushes (2 & 3) incorporate a metal lever with which to remove paint pot lids and the bristles are shaped to improve performance.
Ergonomics and safety have always been major considerations in the design of hand and power tools. The Black and Decker ‘Mouse’ (4) has been designed to fit into the palm of the hand, and has textured finger grip areas. The handles and housings of the drill improve balance and grip and are made from polycarbonate and ABS materials which have low heat and thermal conductivity, are strong and are impact resistant (5). Simple hand tools benefit from the use of appropriate plastics in their manufacture. Insulation is the primary function of the casing and handle of the electrician’s screwdriver (6), and the handle of the claw hammer (7) is made from glass-reinforced plastic with the addition of soft and textured comfort grips.