The Edinburgh Remakery.

Here’s a grand undertaking, and one desperately needed all over the place. We have become so accustomed to living in a consumer driven throwaway manner, and even when people want to be thrifty, or would prefer to fix something, there’s often no option to do so.

The Edinburgh Remakery is a social enterprise that teaches repair. The shop sells refurbished computers and furniture, and hosts workshops where people can come along and learn how to repair their own things. There’s a big vision behind it: “we want to generate a repair revolution. This means changing the way people use and dispose of resources, encouraging manufacturers to build things to last and to be fixable, and making sure the facilities are in place to allow people to repair and reuse.”

Films for Action has the full story.


  1. blf says

    These sort of places are apparently springing up all over Europe (albeit I’ve yet to see of one myself). They are generically known as Repair Cafés. The first(?) was in Amsterdam (the link says in 2009, which means they have been around longer than I realised). There is at least one website, Repair Café. The world-wide map at that site indicates there are over 1250 now in operation, on every continent (except Antarctica).

    It is entirely possible this paticular Edinburgh project is not (directly) related to Repair Café, which is neither here-nor-there, as they are similar (if not identical) ideas.

  2. Kengi says

    Something like this is seriously helpful. Many of my friends live in small apartments and, even if they had the skills, don’t have anywhere to store the tools and materials needed for repairing items. Having a place to go with tools, material, and people there with the skills to guide repairs seems ideal for cities especially.

    I always thought public libraries should fill this role, complete with machine tools and 3d printers.

  3. says

    I had a customer come in the other day who suggested I should throw away all the rubbish lying around. I promptly told him off for his description of my hoard. I told him it was people like him that were responsible for trashing all the good old stuff and replacing it with cheap Chinese made unrepairable junk. Long live the recycling culture.

  4. rq says

    This is an excellent idea. Me, I know things, but I don’t have a lot of the little skills to fix things, even if I wanted to, so this is something useful to me (I mean I can do basic repair and maintenance on a bicycle, but other household items like toasters are beyond me). What Kengi said re: tools, too, it’s amazing how many different tools you need even for relatively simple things, and unfortunately nobody’s invented the collapsible all-size wrench and screwdriver yet (and even if they did, I doubt it would be much good).
    What I do wonder is how much of the newer stuff can be fixed -- there’s a weird point in history after which it became cheaper to buy new, but it wouldn’t last as long (with respect to washing machines, at least), and the cost of buying something new and durable that would also be fixable down the road became out of the reach of many people.
    Anyway, yes, reusing, fixing, repairing old things -- more of this, definitely.

  5. rq says


    I had a customer come in the other day who suggested I should throw away all the rubbish lying around.

    That is just plain rude. Obviously, as a customer, they are coming to you because they can’t do it or fix it themselves -- how dare they judge what is or isn’t necessary in your hoard, no matter how useless it looks to them?

  6. blf says

    collapsible all-size wrench and screwdriver

    Better known as a hammer.

    Actually, tools somewhat like that do exist. The ones I know about are carried by some bicyclists. I never found the one(s?) I had too useful, and generally carried a real (if small) adjustable wrench plus an “Swiss Army knife”-style set of Allen Keys and screwdrivers, in addition to a genuine Swiss Army knife (commercialized version, not the actual army version), one of those (small) “grip everything” tools I can’t now think of the name of, &tc.

  7. says

    I do have a small multitool with pliers…

    In Germany there are “rentable workshops” for people who are interested in fixing things but don’t have tools or space or expertise. Often there are also actual mechanics who will help you.

  8. rq says

    I know about multitools, but they’re often limited by size or the number of things you can put in/on them -- generally useful, yes, but sometimes they just don’t have the right Thing. I was thinking of an all-inclusive, all-tool collection (remember: collapsible!!) that isn’t a hassle to store under the kitchen sink.

  9. kestrel says

    rq: I think you mean the sonic screwdriver carried around by Dr. Who! :-) That thing does all KINDS of stuff!

    I think this is a wonderful idea and I’d love to see people try and think of fixing things. More than once I have fished something out of the trash, asked the person if they *really really* don’t want it, and fixed it. I have fixed things I don’t know a darn thing about, all because I’m willing to take it apart and look very carefully. Of course sometimes I’ve been stumped but often I can see what is wrong and fix it. But to not even try is what is bizarre to me -- so I’d love to see more people thinking this way!

  10. says

    I *love* fixing things. Often, when I find a difficult job that requires a special tool I discover that the tool costs less than paying some else to do the whole job. This applies especially to modern bicycles. Sometimes I make a tool myself, if I have suitable materials at hand.

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