He mentioned that there was an increased interest in repairing things as opposed to throwing them away, and that if a quick fix was available, it should be made accessible to the customer.
They mentioned the various things that were being repaired in Fixit or Repair 'Cafes' and these included lamps, and alarm clocks.
I respectfully disagree on both of these subjects, and I'll tell you why.
With lamps, especially old lamps, or any old electrical appliance, you do need to have an electrician do the repair.
Because if anything at all goes wrong and your house burns down, guess what your insurance company will say?
That is why we don't repair any electric or electronic clocks. The old Hammond clocks are very interesting, but the motor is encapsulated in paraffin, and when it overheats, the capsule may leak or burst, and voila,it is an incendiary device. If your house has up to date breakers and wiring, they may trip in time to prevent any problem, but they may not, and then you may be talking to the Insurance guys, and they have no reputation for letting things slide.
Which brings me to alarm clocks.
Sure you can attempt to disassemble an alarm clock, but bear in mind that a fully wound mainspring can and will turn a gear into a buzz saw and take your finger off. Pieces can be launched at your face and eyes, and in general, it is likewise a safety issue. In addition, if you bring me a bag of parts or a clock damaged by tinkering, chances are there is going to be a bigger repair bill. Not always, but chances are.
But alarm clocks are invariably disposable items. There are exceptions to this, but the vast majority of these are tin cans, with sheet metal 'plates', and when the pivots oval their holes, the clock jams. Short of disassembly and bushing these thin plates, and a dozen other procedures, the clock is done.
This is not to say you can't do it, as long as there are a minimum number of riveted components. You can grind off the rivets, drill holes and tap them in some cases, but this is a lot of work.
Clock overhaul, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, involves quite a few repair techniques to be done properly. There are a lot of ways to do it improperly as well, and Michael Gainey has a 'Wall of Shame' on his Columbus clock repair site, if you want to see how bad it can get.
One of the methods we see often is the 'dipping' of clock movements, which is a viable technique to help identify a problem, but this must always be followed up with a proper overhaul or at the very least, complete disassembly and cleaning. Dipping washes away some of the dirt, but also allows some to collect exactly where you don't want it. Dirt will accelerate wear or congeal with lubricants and stop the clock at any rate. Soaking the movement down with WD40 (NEVER do this) will do much the same thing, and you absolutely do not want any lube (Of which WD40 is not a good example) on the gear teeth. It will also contaminate your friendly neighbourhood clock repairman's Industry Standard cleaning baths, and this stuff ain't cheap.
Alarm clocks are really not designed to be re-built, but in certain cases it can be done. It will cost far more than the clock is worth in most cases, but we are sentimental beings, and this is why we want our heirlooms looked after.
I encourage anyone who is interested in clock repair to take some courses like those offered by the NAWCC or the AWCI here in North America.
So while it is a good idea to affect repairs to many things around the home yourself, I wouldn't say alarm clocks are the best example of one of these, much less lamps and appliances.
Here's that Hall of Shame I mentioned: