My Bionic Hairbrush

by Katy on February 15, 2009 · 4 comments


Katy Wolk-Stanley's Bionic Hairbrush

Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.


Yup. Compacty.  As in finding a way to fix a broken object instead of automatically replacing it.

I bought this hairbrush in a swanky salon fifteen-and-a-half years ago. I paid some unholy amount for it — like $15. I was very happy with it for a year or so until I dropped it and the plastic back snapped in two.


I opened up a tube of super-glue and began the first of many repairs that would change this hairbrush from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

I would guess this brush has been repaired a dozen times since. Each time the brush looks a little wonkier, a little less the fancy salon hairbrush. But I love this brush a little more because I have been able to salvage it, to extend its life beyond the mere mortal.

When we repair instead of replace, not only are we saving money, but we’re also avoiding all the environmental consequences of unnecessary manufacturing.

And my hairbrush is better, stronger, faster. Bionic.


And yes, I have the technology.

Do you have objects that you have repaired beyond their natural life? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Wolk-Stanley February 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I like mending socks. When they are no longer mendable, or if they are “socks without partners,” they become potholders (I cut across to form loops and then weave them with a child’s toy loom). They are useful, attractive, make great gifts and, most importantly, are therapeutic to construct.


Pennie February 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I have a beloved hairbrush, too! It’s about 15-20 years old, nothing special–one of those 80’s models with the little knobby ends on spiky-looking prongs. First the gripper rubber on the handle fell off, then a few select prongs started to stay permanently bent over at odd angles. One day after running it through the dishwasher I noticed that the “fancy” decorator piece on the back had loosened from the brush body–probably the hot water over time weakened the glue.
Oh well. I still use it, because it still works–it’s the only one in the house that doesn’t make my hair all static charged when I use it.

I digress… back to topic!

The item that I have repaired the most is my electric range. I bought it new, a rarity for our household, when we did some simple updating in our farmhouse kitchen 18 years ago.

I’ve applied touch-up paint to chips on the enamel surface after heavy things have fallen from above and struck it, replaced burned-out range-top elements, replaced the oven element (twice), replaced blanket insulation from between the range top and the oven compartment when a mouse snuck in one winter and stole some of it to create a nest for himself elsewhere, and most recently I ordered a kit from online and replaced the broken door handle. Right now the oven light switch doesn’t work–something I did when I replaced the door handle broke a thing-a-ma-jig inside the door that makes the switch connect, but so far I’ve learned to live without the modern convenience of seeing what I’m baking!


Michelle February 17, 2009 at 12:00 am

Today I finished re-painting a vintage bedside table I aquired a few years ago from a fellow Craigslister. It went from a cute shabby chic that matched with my girls’ decor to a romantic masculine that I plan to use in the master bedroom when we move next month. I know a lot of people like to buy new furnishings when they move…We’re repurposing what we already have! And the paint? $1 from the rejects bin a year ago on a whim. Waste not!


Sue February 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

When I was little, instead of a security blanket, I had a small stuffed cat. It slept with me every night, either clutched in my hand or laid across my eyes. Over the years, it got threadbare, lost its tail, and developed holes. My mom darned the holes and replaced the tail, the final time with the fringe from the waist string of my grandfather’s pajama pants. One strand of the string still remains. Yes, I still have the cat, and the memories of two people who have now passed on.


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