Semi-OT: Plumbing sucks or the innate animosity of inanimate objects


    Not totally OT because that's what kept me out of the shop Saturday PM and this afternoon. You know how there are some things that you have to do that you're really glad you don't do all the time? Plumbing is like that for me. We have some bathroom faucets that have seen better days; handle twisted off the son's sink yesterday so it was finally time to do something about it. Got replacements all around and started installing last evening. Son's sink went OK except I didn't have plumber's putty for the drain -- found out today that you can't use plumbers putty with marble or plastic. Since what I have is both (cultured marble, i.e. marble powder mixed with plastic binder) I had to use caulk instead. Got the son's sink done and curing then started in on the master bath, sink #1. Fought me every step of the way. Taking out the old was an exercise in frustration, nothing would come loose, I couldn't see anything, basin wrench kept slipping, etc. Finally wound up bending the drain on top till it broke so I could get it out. After many happy hours, merrily chatting with myself and the sink components, inquiring into the components' ancestry and forebears' marital status with a few similar asides for the sink and cabinet installation's ample clearances and access room, I finally got it all together, only to find that the elbow trap is now 1/4" short of engaging the new drain pipe. I know when to admit defeat -- that problem is going to have to wait until another day.
Tomorrow I get to find out if the sink, supply lines, and drain in the son's bathroom will hold water. Can't wait.
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There are extension pieces for just that problem...... :)
NOthing worse than old metal pipes, fittings, etc. When I put stuff together, I dab on waterproof grease on all threads, metal or plastic. Makes like better later when you need to pull something apart. Been there, done that.....
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On Sun, 21 May 2006 21:47:22 -0700, Mark & Juanita wrote:

LOL! Takes me back ...
SWMBO and I had been in our first house, a 25 year old rancher. Water was originally supplied from a shallow well, and we had just made the change-over to city water. The plumbing, all accessible in the basement, had been rearranged before we moved in, and that wasn't very well done. I decided it would be a good time to completely redo it. It took me the better part of Saturday to rip everything out, cut and hang new pipe, and solder everything together. Just around dinner time, I turned the water back on. There was a small leak at one lousy copper "T" fitting. So I shut off the supply, drained the pipes, and proceeded to try to re-sweat the thing. Wouldn't you know it, I ran out of gas for my propane torch. This was before we had borg-style stores. There was just nowhere to go to get a propane bottle late on Saturday. Sunday was Easter, and the hardware stores would be closed on Monday as well. We had to spend the weekend at my parent's place. We've laughed about that every Easter since.
--
Art Greenberg
artg AT eclipse remove-this DOT net
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Art Greenberg wrote: There was a

LOL.. I've always feared that would happen to me. I always make sure I have extra of everything before I start a plumbing project. I still end up occasionally missing something at 1 am.. but at least usually it's a major planning mistake (as opposed to forgeting 1 elbow or running out of propane.)
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On Mon, 22 May 2006 08:07:48 -0700, bf wrote:

I think there are a couple of truisms:
"Any project requires one more trip to the hardware store before completion."
"Any given trip to the hardware store will end with the part out of stock or unavailable."
I'm sure there are more.
D.G. Adams
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Plumbing is always troublesome, old rusted stuck pipes. I've started buying the "contractor packs" the borgs call them, basically a bulk bag of parts because I always mess up one or two and always grab an extra roll of solder before I start. Our portable grill uses the same tanks as the torch so I have plenty of spares for that. I've given up on trying to take the old stuff apart just pull out the reciprocating saw, saves a lot of time and frustration because I'm going to have to use it sooner or later anyway. Of course its always fun when the builder of your house didn't believe in shut off valves, it takes quite a while to drain everything when the only valve was the main. But I, having worked on servers all day long with all their redundancy built in, end up going overboard and putting shutoffs in various places. I've almost gotten to a triple redundant load balanced dual core plumbing system.
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If you are going to be either a pipe fitter of a plumber, remember the following to be qualified:
1) Friday is pay day. 2) Crap doesn't flow up hill. 3) Never bite your finger nails. 4) Never eat the yellow snow.
Lew
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wrote:

... snip

Thanks for all the responses. Got home from work tonight, turned on the supply lines to the son's faucet and it worked with no leaks. Feeling bolstered by success, tried the same with the master bath sink. Found the problem with the drain fitting and got that fixed, then tried the leak test. The supply lines held up well, but had some leakage from the drain. After a bit more fiddling, finally got that leak cleared up also. So, two sinks down, two to go. Gosh, I just enjoyed the heck out of the first two, can't wait for the next two. :-(
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Amen and hallelujah, brother, yer' preachin' to the choir. Plumbing sucks. I'll happily work on anything else in a house, including live electrical, before I dick around with plumbing. It's the kind of thing that I don't do often enough to get good at it, so the first few joints are always troublesome. Usually, by the time I get to the last (i.e. the second) joint, it goes really well, and I feel all proud. Then I turn on the water, and the first one leaks, and there's woodpile words used in the house, tossing of tools, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and so on.
On a similar note, is it just me, or is "tight enough not to leak" inevitably an RCH shy of "tight enough to break it"?
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Tim wrote:

Earlier this year I had some 220 outlets installed. The electrician arrived with his "assistant" -- his 60+ year old father. I was watching the electrician first wire the outlet, then attach a powercord to the saw when his father called out "Going live!". I looked up to see him finish installing the breaker. He had never once turned off the power. Gave me the chills something fierce.
dcm
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electrical,
It's a very common practice to install a breaker in a live box. If it's in a main panel it's quite impractical to kill the panel just to install a new circuit. Once one gets accustomed to doing it there really is no reason to kill a sub-panel either.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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When I was a teenager I was installing a new light over my father's workbench. I removed the fuse, started to walk away, and in one of my more intelligent moments, went back and put it in my pocket.
Ten minutes later, with my hands up in the wiring, my father comes up to me and asks, "Did you see a fuse from the fusebox anywhere?"
Boy did I learn a few lessons that day!
- Owen -
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Owen Lawrence wrote:
> > When I was a teenager I was installing a new light over my father's > workbench. I removed the fuse, started to walk away, and in one of my more > intelligent moments, went back and put it in my pocket. > > Ten minutes later, with my hands up in the wiring, my father comes up to me > and asks, "Did you see a fuse from the fusebox anywhere?" > > Boy did I learn a few lessons that day!
Basic reason to have a non fused safety switch mounted on the machine with the ability to have multiple padlocks installed, one for every trade, every one keyed differently.
Only when the last trade has signed off on a job and removed their padlock, can the machine be put back in service.
Lew
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Oh, you definitely know exactly what I'm talking about.

Yeah, and sometimes I'm not sure if it isn't on the other side of that point.
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Thanks for the laugh. Boy-o-boy have I been there! Just recently, in fact. I had sold this lady a banjo-shaped vanity top with a solid surface sink mounted to the bottom of the countertop. She had also bought some quality taps from my friend the plumber-supply who informed her that they wouldn't be able to get to her hook-up for another 3-4 days. She bats her eyes and asks me if *I* can do such a hook-up.
In a fit of insanity I agreed. It had been a long time since I had seen the site, but I recalled that the sink cabinet was quite spacious and the farmhouse didn't appear that old....sooooo
#1 There was a stile blocking my access into the cabinet. #2 There was a filtration system occupying that portion of the cabinet which was not occupied by: #3 a set of small drawers inside the sink cabinet. #4 The drain went from copper into a massive cast iron trap. #5 NO shut-offs. #6 The house main shut-off had a pipe wrench lying beside it as the valve handle had been worn to a nub. (AKA "go ahead, Rob..break the frickin' thing!")
I billed her 6 hours. She paid. I'm back on solid food again.
Now... about the nightmares...
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... snip

OK, you win. My problems pale in comparison to that. I somehow feel better now. :-)
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I'm glad you feel better now.... my agony wasn't in vain.
I actually like plumbing new stuff. It's kinda fun. I found a huge improvement when I went to a torch on the end of a hose with a stubby propane tank away from the work. Benzomatic makes a cheap kit for working in tight spaces. Torch on a hose...cheap too.
I keep one in my kitchen because I like burning the skin off peppers, then I rinse them off and what's left is uncooked, skinless pepper flesh...which I then quick-fry lightly in a little olive oil and salt, and slap it on bread....major yummyness.
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This is the one: http://tinyurl.com/86j9k
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