mold forms on cords, knobs, and tool handles

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On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 09:40:54 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

Wow. The real Jeff Liebermann (two n's and i-before-e) on alt.home.repair.
I'm impressed. You're the expert in the SC mountains for wireless radio. Glad to have you here.
I am VERY FAMILIAR with this persistent "white stuff". I have no idea WHAT it is - but I have it too.
It's either a chemical coating or it's a mold-like growth. It does seem to be hugely persistent, in that if you don't scrape it away, it will last (seemingly unchanged) forever.
I remember segregating my white-coated tools a while ago, but I no longer do that once I manually scraped them (mostly) clean.
I seem to remember that the white stuff "infected" other tools, but, it's no longer doing that (after twenty years). But, that white stuff you see in this photo is easily twenty years old!

It had coated that screwdriver handle with a white persistent but powdery on the outside surface coating just like the picture the OP posted over here:
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/drivel/plastic-rot.jpg
I considered throwing the screwdrivers away, but, my sense of tool preservation had me soak that screwdriver maybe 15 years ago in all sorts of horrid solvents (acetone, bleach, acid, etc.) in my attempts to clean it off.
If anyone actually KNOWS what this white stuff is, I'd be curious!
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The original message was crossposted to sci.electronics.repair, another of my hangouts.

Not much wireless happening lately. alt.wireless.internet is essentially dead. Wireless has become a commodity after about 15 years, which is a good thing.

I do. However, if you want a microscope photo, I'll bring the "moldy" screwdriver from home, put it under the microscope, and take some photos. I assure you that it's plastic, not spores.

Yep. It doesn't grow. Therefore, it's not mold.

My early Craftsman tools, when they were made by Miller Falls, do not collect plastic rot. <http://oldtoolheaven.com/history/history.htm The later Craftsman tools, probably made in China, have the plastic rot problem.

Grumble. That's my picture and I'm NOT the OP. The tools with the acrylic coating are kinda rough, but plastic rot. The two with plastic rot may have been added after I coated the others. I don't recall.

The only things that actually directly attacked the white stuff were mild plastic solvents. However, anything that dissolved the white stuff, also attacked the plastic handle, so that's not a good fix.

Send it to a pathology lab and see what they say.
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On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:18:08 -0800, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

Well, you're famous for having the right answer in the electrical realm, so, I would have to give you the benefit of the doubt in the mechanical.

True. It just sort of sits there. Minding its own business.

Ooops. Sorry about that. Your picture, as always, was perfectly apropos! Too bad the OP didn't have the skills you have for Internet nntp work.
Come to think of it, VERY FEW people have your skills. You've helped me quite a few times (under various nyms) on the wireless side, what with that lousy set of WISPS in the SC mountains (yea, Brett, you know him as I do. He's nice enough - but he's too busy and harried to give you the technical time of day, and Dave, well, I'm glad I dropped them).

I seem to remember I soaked mine in a variety of nasty solvents, none of which worked - and then - about 10 years ago (or so, as I don't really remember), I just scraped them clean. Have been that way ever since.

a) microscope b) oscilloscope c) telescope
:)
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Bad idea. I jumped into sci.electronics.design with my ancient and obsolete experience. It appears that some things have changed in the last 20+ years. After shoving my foot firmly into my mouth several times, I've decided that I don't really know everything. Try not to assume that I'm always right, as I've made some rather spectacular technical screwups. However, it appears that I know more about management than many engineers, so I'm not a total loss.

Answering questions is easy. The real problem is that most people are not really well versed in the art of how to ask a proper question. Most of what I do rather well, is decoding such questions, reading between the lines as to what this person is really trying to accomplish, and then answering the questions they didn't ask. If I control both the question and the answer, it's all quite easy.

I wish you wouldn't do that.

You're not getting my microscope: <http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/drivel/slides/Olympus-BHC-Microscope.html I have far too many oscilloscopes. I was about to fix some of them and put them on eBay. Make me rich and you can have one of them. <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/crud/scopes-to-be-fixed.jpg
I do have a crappy 4.5" Celestron reflector with a few eyepieces that is cluttering up my bedroom. Can't see anything through the trees and I don't feel like freezing on some mountain top.
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On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 20:55:34 -0800, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

Heh heh. That's a nice microscope with a nice oscilloscope in the background!
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Huh? Because I chose not to post a picture, I don't have the news skills Jeff has? That's no wayi to draw conclusions.
You should learn to praise someone without having to run down someone else.

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That's only because I crossposted to alt.home.repair and sci.electronics.repair. If you want more of him, you have to go to the second ng.
I've long wished there was an easy way to tell which ng someone is posting from. I once put in my .sig, "probably posting from nnnnn", "probably" because I also read the other group directly sometimes, but it disappeared with a liater installation of Agent.

Wow, I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't crossposted.

Interestingly, I don't have to scrape mine off. I can brush it off with my finger, or a paper towel iirc. Of course that doesn't apply when it's in a crevice or crack.

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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/mold-forms-on-cords-knobs-and-tool-handles-738618-.htm DA wrote: Jeff Liebermann wrote:

*Plastic* dust that grows? Sounds like a new life form! :) The OP did not say what exactly is he doing in the workshop but I am pretty sure if it was something that creates a lot of dust of any kind, he'd mentioned it.
Perhaps it's technically not mold per se (not fungal) but it's still biological - you've touched the handles, you've left some residue behind (sweat, skin flakes), bacteria are thankful for it, eat it and multiply. Still the same type of concern as with mold - something grows in your basement that you don't want. I would think some air movement and dryer air, just like with mold, would help and perhaps introduction of UV light in there wouldn't hurt either. Like those disinfecting lights in hospitals.
Also, I would think that just wiping the handles with alcohol would do pretty much the same thing as spray-painting Krylon on them - it will kill most of the bacteria that's on in now (though not all of course) and will simply delay its growth until some later point in the future when bacteria will inevitably catch up if they still have something to feed on.
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On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:44:02 +0000, DA

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/mold-forms-on-cords-knobs-and-tool-handles-738618-.htm

Read what I scribbled again. The alleged mold does NOT form colonies and does not grow.

Rumor has it that there is intelligent life on this planet. I have yet to find any. Perhaps plastic life is a good start.

Mine shop has very little dust, is quite dry, and still manages to create plastic life.

I didn't try the UV, but I originally tried to kill the "mold" with X-14 cleaner and Chlorox bleach. Neither would touch it.

I tried alcohol, which sorta cleaned off the handle. However, it was mostly aggressive scrubbing, not the alcohol that did the cleaning. I got better results with paint thinner and soapy water. Even so, I still had to scrub hard. The last time I ran into this stuff, I just used sandpaper, which removed everything almost instantly, deglossed the surface, and left a few pits. I probably could have returned the gloss with a hot air gun or propane torch, but decided to use clear Krylon instead. Next time, I'll try the torch.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/mold-forms-on-cords-knobs-and-tool-handles-738618-.htm DA wrote: Jeff Liebermann wrote:

I'm sorry to say that but fossil record shows pretty convincingly that in the epic battle of Jeff vs. bacteria, Jeff is not going to be a winner. Not in the long run anyway :) I think taking a torch to your tools might damage perfectly good tools and only slightly delay the bacterial world domination.
I'm wondering what dumping the tools into a tank with infusoria culture might do to the growth. At the very least should make for a great show with awesome battle sequences, provided by you have a strong enough microscope :)
Unless the handles become slippery (and that would definitely be mold), I think I would just live with slightly less shiny tools and perhaps wipe the handles with alcohol every once in a while when it bothers me too much.
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On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:44:02 +0000, DA

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/mold-forms-on-cords-knobs-and-tool-handles-738618-.htm

what exactly is he doing in the workshop but I am pretty sure if it was something that creates a lot of dust of any kind, he'd mentioned it. I am creating life. So far, I only have dust-like life, but it grows.
My next step will be to give it arms, legs, and a head.

- you've touched the handles, you've left some residue behind (sweat, skin flakes), bacteria are thankful for it, eat it and multiply. Still the same type of concern as with mold - something grows in your basement that you don't want. I would think some air movement and dryer air, just like with mold, would help and perhaps introduction of UV light in there wouldn't hurt either. Like those disinfecting lights in hospitals.

much the same thing as spray-painting Krylon on them - it will kill most of the bacteria that's on in now (though not all of course) and will simply delay its growth until some later point in the future when bacteria will inevitably catch up if they still have something to feed on.
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wrote:

The white rot is plastic, not mold. So it is written, so it must be.
I scraped some of the white stuff from the plastic handle and put it under a x100 microscope. <http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/white-plastic-rot/ Not the best photos but I'll try again after yet another Friday night customer crisis. The photos show absolutely no structure, self simularity, or colonies characteristic of mold. <https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=mold I also heated some of the white stuff on a microscope slide. It melted like plastic (burning my fingers in the process). The white stuff also disolved nicely in acetone.
Drivel: Besides the Mercedes fuel pump, todays repairs were a Bernzomatic trigger start propane torch (cold flow PTFE igniter wire), an iPhone 4 with a non-functional standby push button (I gave up), yet another HP LaserJet 4250 printer with sticky relays (replace felt pad), and helped mount the landlords bicycle rack on his SUV. Sometimes, I wonder what business I'm in.
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wrote:

The nutdriver is yellow!!

And so I gather will the nut driver handle.

Yes, you certainly deal with a wide range of stuff. What business ARE you in? :-)

For a while my home phone was broken and my cell phone was lost (in the house) and I was using Skype to call out.
I didn't sign up for a Skype phone number yet, however. If someone calls when I'm not there, can the caller leave a message, or at least his phone number??
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wrote:

Is this a problem? In my drawer of rarely used nut drivers, blue is also affected. <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/drivel/plastic-rot.jpg


That's a tough question to answer. Basically, I separate my customers from their money by providing a wide variety of services. It usually involves some form of electronics, but also includes oddities such as sewing machine repair. <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/crud/Kenmore-sewing-machine.jpg
It is not unusual for me to repair appliances after fixing their computers. As one business wanes (I was once in the calculator repair biz), I expand into adjacent businesses. I find it helpful, but not necessary, to know what I'm doing.

Many cellular vendors allow you to activate a new phone, on an existing number, via their web page, or via the phone. For example, with Verizon, you dial *228. Buy a spare qualifying Verizon phone on eBay for a few dollars and throw the spare where you can find it (i.e. your vehicle). When you lose your phone, just activate the spare until you find it. Also, make sure that the spare phone you purchase is "clean". <http://checkesnfree.com

No. Incoming calls from the PSTN cannot be received without a Skype account that includes an incoming phone number. Without a phone number, there's no way for anyone to dial your computer from a POTS phone. What I've done is purchase a minimal account for a few dollars, and use it only for emergencies. I've had about $15 on my account for several years, with no monthly charges.
Similarly, Skype also charges for voicemail storage. However, if the incoming caller uses Skype to originate the call, the PSTN is not involved and your Skype client will show that you've received a call from some person. The catch is that if you allow anyone to call your Skype account, you open the flood gates to getting spammed and solicited at your account. I have mine set to only allow calls from people in my Skype address book.
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Jeff Liebermann wrote:

That's pretty obvious to those that follow you here.
About three years ago you retired, but like a character in an M. Knight Shamalan movie, you refuse to notice.
:-)
Geoff.
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On Sat, 2 Mar 2013 17:04:03 +0000 (UTC), "Geoffrey S. Mendelson"

Well, the standard answer is that I'm in business to do business. When about 30% of my gross income is tangled up with taxes and 50% in overhead, the business end of the repair biz is far more important than the individual repair jobs.
Many years ago, when I was still pretending to listen to advice, I was warned against over specialization. 40+ years later, I've noticed that my classmates, that entered into overly specialized areas, have either priced themselves out of the market, have had their specialty simply disappear, or have been outsourced into oblivion. I'm not suggesting that one should try to learn anything and everything, just not to become overly dependent on one particular skill. Were I still an RF engineer, designing various radios, I would either be simultaneously doing 3 peoples jobs for a tolerable pay, or standing in the unemployment line awaiting my government entitlement.

Not quite. I retired in 1983, but didn't know it. I had just been laid off from an engineering position and decided that engineering management and my abrasive personality were mutually exclusive. Since then, I've experimented with numerous businesses and professions, with the usual wide variations in success. Unfortunately, I'm getting sufficient old and tired that such changes and product ideas are not going to work well in the future.
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On 3/2/2013 2:54 PM, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

There comes a time in a mans life where he becomes so intolerant of being in the employ of actinic sphincters that the he fears life in prison for stomping the asshole until he quits twitching. I've had to hide my crowbars whenever some of them got around me so I decided the risk was too great and abandoned the corporate world for a life of independent contracting. ^_^
TDD
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On Sat, 02 Mar 2013 19:03:47 -0600, The Daring Dufas

Sorry, but I was somewhat ambiguous. My phrase "that engineering management and my abrasive personality were mutually exclusive" refers to me, not corporate management. At the time, I had been functioning simultaneously as both an engineer and a manager. I soon realized that I had to choose one or the other. Since my personality tends to piss off everyone within range, I chose engineer, where prickly personalities are common. In effect, I refused promotion, which was at the time considered a capital crime. When the economy took a dive, and the first round of layoffs occurred, I was one of the first to be laid off.
I did the independent contractor, consultant, and hired gun thing for a while, but didn't like all the travel that was required. I also seemed to find situations and products that were beyond redemption or salvage. In several cases, I was setup for a failure, and then dutifully blamed when I failed. I had made a pile of money on stock options and speculation, so I was able to loaf while I decided what to do next.
I floundered around between 1983 and mid 1986, continuing to do consulting but also building up the repair biz. I was about to setup a local consultants exchange, when my father settled the issue by having a severe stroke. I found myself running his lingerie manufacturing business for several years until it could be sold and commuting back and forth between Santa Cruz and Smog Angeles approximately twice per month. I don't want to get into details here. Incidentally, I am still on good terms with all of my former employers. I had plenty of disagreements with them, but none of them were ever allowed to become personal. It was quite common to engage in heated technical arguments with them, followed by a calm lunch discussion over politics, sports, or other non-work related interests. After lunch, the arguments would resume.
I find it odd that you would pass judgment on your employers. It's not nice to bite the hand that feeds you. I have worked for crooks, liars, politicians, and marginal incompetents. I have been on good relations with all of them. If you cannot get along with even your worst enemy for the achievement of a common goal, you're doing something wrong. Even the worst employer can be trained.
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On Sat, 02 Mar 2013 19:03:47 -0600, The Daring Dufas

Was "actinic" the word you wanted? If you meant "flaming"... It's not really a synonym.
"Jeff Liebermann" wrote in message

That's odd, because your postings are almost always good-humored.

Your point is well-taken, but there are certain people one would not like to work to, simply because we dislike them as human beings. I'm thinking particularly of a certain person on "Gold Rush".
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On 3/3/2013 7:50 AM, William Sommerwerck wrote:

I meant it to be a play on words since "actinic" is closer to "glowing" than "flaming". Many unpleasant people are anything but brilliant and full of light. ^_^
It appears you were responding to me and JL at the same time.
TDD
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