BATH HANDLE
 
Our client with arthritis found it difficult to grip the front handle of the bath which was tight in to a moulded ledge.  A higher padded replacement handle was constructed from 22mm copper tube as used in plumbing, to produce the awkward angles of the original chrome handle. 20mm diameter solid copper bar was drilled, tapped, and soldered into the ends of the tube to take mounting bolts.  22mm pipe insulation was glued to the pipe, and large diameter heat-shrink sleeving was then used to cover the insulation to form a neat and comfortable grip.
 
The grip was then masked off, and the tubing spray painted in an ivory colour to match the bath.
 
This same construction method will likely find other applications but it's worth bearing the following points in mind from this project:
 
1. If the pipe is cut using a tube cutter as opposed to hacksaw, it will be necessary to grind the internal lip off the end before the 20mm copper plugs will fit. A Dremel is good for jobs like this.
 
2. Pipe insulation is difficult to glue as very little sticks to it. Evo-stik contact adhesive seems to be best, but this means having to contend with its immediate gripping properties.
 
3. Heat-shrink needs a fair bit of heat (e.g. from a hot air paint stripper) but needs to be gently heated by keeping the hot air source moving over the surface. Just a few seconds heat in one place, and the foam insulation underneath will melt.
 
4. Realistically, the properties of heat-shrink mean the overlap at the ends is limited to around 5-7mm, and heating this area so close to the ends of the pipe insulation was done very carefully with the exhaust from a butane soldering iron. i.e. it will not be possible to totally cover the ends of the pipe insulation as this diameter heat-shrink will simply not shrink that far neatly. The exposed ends of the insulation were left unmasked so ended up the same colour as the pipe.  
 
Practice is strongly recommended - it took three attempts to get the final result!
 
 
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Harrogate and Ripon Group