This feels like planned obsolescence
March 30, 2012 9:32 PM   Subscribe

My Bodum french press is broken and I need a replacement part...but it isn't the carafe.

I have a standard Bodum Bistro french press, which is in great shape expect for the plunger itself. The whole of the apparatus (screen, coil, etc.) is held together and onto the steel plunger rod by a small, black plastic piece which threads onto the steel rod in much the same way a nut would, although it is not shaped as such. It seems that the threads in the plastic piece have worn, so that when I press down, the piece slips and the screen, coil and everything slides up the rod and the grounds are everywhere. It defeats the purpose of the press.

I called Bodum USA today and got a message that the mailbox I was trying to reach was full and that I should try again later. Hm. Any replacement searches I do online lead me to the UK site and whole plungers which do not look like mine. I cannot glue the piece in place as then I can't clean the screen properly. It all seems so wasteful anyhow since what is broken on the press is a tiny piece of plastic.

Has anyone had this happen before? Have you been able to successfully either 1) locate this little black item, 2) use a more traditional nut, or 3) some other thing I am not thinking of? Thanks.
posted by oflinkey to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I took mine apart to see if I can help, but the part where the plunger and screen assembly join lookalike this, which is to say that both sides of the connection are metal? Yours doesn't look the same? I guess I don't know what to do since yours and mine don't seem to match.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:44 PM on March 30, 2012

Response by poster: I only wish mine were metal! Here is mine.
posted by oflinkey at 9:49 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by DarlingBri at 9:57 PM on March 30, 2012

Best answer: I have had older- and newer-model Bodum french presses, and it seems that at some point they switched to a metal nut. Could it be the plastic ones are prone to breaking?

In any case I don't think there's anything about that nut that requires it to be tall and skinny. I bet if you head down to a hardware store you can find a perfectly adequate "normal" nut that fits the plunger shaft's diameter and thread pitch.
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 10:01 PM on March 30, 2012

Best answer: Same thing happened to mine. I have a feeling Bodum knows about it (or should!) Anyway, I sent an email to them via their contact page. They replied back from , so you might try using that email directly. I didn't get a response from my initial email, and then sent a followup after waiting about 2 weeks. A few days later they replied and sent a replacement metal shoulder nut, instead of plastic. So far so good...
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 10:02 PM on March 30, 2012

Response by poster: Mr. Papagiorgio, what was the email? I just sent one through the regular contact page, but perhaps a more direct route would be good as well. If not, a plain nut it is.
posted by oflinkey at 10:17 PM on March 30, 2012

I sent it through the regular contact page, but you might need to follow up if they don't respond in a week or two. I sent you a MeFi mail with the email address they replied from.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 10:19 PM on March 30, 2012

This happened to me. I replaced it with two metal nuts. It ended up better than before it got broken. Take it to the hardware store and just check metal nuts until you find the ones that fit.
posted by pmb at 10:43 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also: don't bother calling Bodum. The two nuts will run you less than 50 cents, which makes any official response a pretty tough sell.
posted by pmb at 10:46 PM on March 30, 2012

I have that same problem on my Bodum "3 cup." I solved it by buying a Freiling stainless steel 25 fl oz french press. I still have the old one in my office, so I'm going to be taking the above suggestion for getting those nuts. What a design flaw.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:03 PM on March 30, 2012

Best answer: Bodum seem to recognize that this is a flaw. They sent me a steel "sleeve nut" (as they call it) for free when I emailed . Took four or five days to arrive.
posted by oliverburkeman at 7:52 AM on March 31, 2012

Best answer: Definitive blog post on the subject.
posted by oliverburkeman at 7:55 AM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I at first thought you couldn't do this due to the way the shoulder nut applies force on the upper plate. Just getting a simple replacement nut at the hardware store wouldn't work. But I think you can go get that simple nut and either a small tube or another bigger nut that acts as that tube.

I would bring the mesh assembly and shaft to the hardware store and find one small nut that fits the shaft threads. Then find a second nut whose inside diameter is wide enough that it fits over the barrel the shaft screws into. This nut is acting as a spacer and applies the compression force to the mesh stack. It doesn't thread onto anything. It also needs to be taller than that barrel so you might need to buy two. You'll need to assemble the mesh assembly and shaft with the new parts while you're in the store to make sure it all fits and applies the stabilizing pressure to the mesh assembly.
posted by chairface at 8:48 AM on March 31, 2012

« Older The Relegation Zone   |   Dream house or money pit? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.