Korky Flapper

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Winter weather brings winter water.  Reservoir water sitting out, like the porch cat’s water bowl.  Gets pert’ cold this time of year.  Freezes over, even.  What does that water do to plumbing system innards?  Not a whole lot, if you’ve got good materials.  One component you do not want failing?  The flapper inside your toilet tank.  The part that opens to let the toilet flush, and closes to let the tank refill.

In 1954 Korky invented the first toilet flapper.  This technology is still used today.  Their current reliability is so good, Korky warrants their premium product at 5 years.  Ten years for their double super premium ‘Ultra’ product line.

Last week my toilet flapper failed to drop over the flush valve.  It ‘stuck open’ and the tank tried to fill it self all night long.  After morning coffee, I didn’t hesitate.  Picking up a new radiator valve for Widow Baxter, I had Mike toss a couple of Korkys into the sack.  Replacement was fast and easy.  The old red Korky had an accumulation of minerals on it but the rubber was still pliable.  Yes, I probably could have cleaned and reinstalled it, but a few bucks for another lustrum or longer of reliability?  No brainer.

The Korky premium toilet tank flapper, made with chlorine resistant rubber.  This basic component of modern life has done as much to promote health, convenience, and conservation as refrigerated food.  Six Thumbs Up to Lavelle Industries of Burlington, Wisconsin!

Chlorazone® rubber is Lavelle’s proprietary family of elastomeric formulations that is specifically designed to withstand chemicals found naturally in water or added to it by municipal treatment facilities. Introduced in 1990, it was the first chlorine-resistant material made available for plumbing applications.  Lavelle

SureFire Headlamps

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Four years ago we eagerly put the spotlight on one of America’s finest headlamps, a SureFire variable output LED model.  This same headlamp has delved into dank dripping sub-basements,  explored maze-like warrens of cells within former workhouses, and camped along a raging Gardner River atop the Wyoming-Montana border.  We’ve even inched upon glutes and blades in such cramped quarters, a pipe or two had to be removed.

The only thing my 2012 SureFire Minimus has NOT done is fail to work perfectly.  A few blinks tells me the SureFire CR123 battery is ending its usefulness.  Dial down the output and prepare to swap its single battery.

My 2012 model has endured such intense duty, I had to acquire a new elastic adjustable headband.  The up-down swivel is getting a little loose in its carriage but is not yet an issue.  Without a doubt, this flashlight is one of the most useful items in my tool satchel.  What could be better than the Surefire Minimus?  How about a second Surefire Minimus.

The opportunity appeared to acquire a copy gifted in 2013.  While mine has gone through boxes of batteries, this one has consumed only one.  50 hours runtime maximum on this Minimus.  Its knurled aluminum clean, deep into the checkering.  Headband virtually unused.  Battery compartment has that new equipment smell.

There’s no excuse to clearly see problems and issues now.  Surefire lights my way.

The SureFire Minimus Vision Variable-Output LED Headlamp has been upgraded, replaced by a headlamp with FOUR TIMES the output while achieving even better battery life.  HS2-MV-A-BK  surefire.com

Mill-Rose Abrasive Cloth

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Back in the day, working with top quality materials was normal, an everyday affair.  There was demand for the best, local supply houses stocked the best, tradespeople used the best.  Then came the wave of Big Box Home Centers.  Pennies, and soon dollars, were pinched off every job.  Available materials became more generic.  But in doing our best, doesn’t that start with the best tools and materials?

A renovation job was going south.  Repiping a bathroom from below, I discover grout or thinset (the sticky mortar in which one sets tiles) followed a copper water supply pipe through its floor penetration.  The mortar was attached rock solid to the copper.  Tight quarters for polishing copper preparatory to soldering, the proverbial & literal ‘rock and a hard place’.  My assistant went at it with his ‘standard quality’ scratch cloth, but halfway materials produce halfway results.  Time to break out the good stuff.

MILL-ROSE

Into my torch bag I retrieved a length of blue scratch cloth.  Waterproof, for what is plumbing if not dealing with water?  Linen-backed, giving this 120-J grit scratch cloth long-lasting flexibility.  The same cloth I’ve trusted for decades.  Mill-Rose.

When it’s time to take it all off, I reach for the world leader in abrasive scratch cloth.  Copper oxides are but a memory to this durable abrasive cloth.  Paint is pulverized.  The mortar on our copper?  Back into dust.  (Yes, I wear a respirator on every job!)  The ability to overcome any obstacle, that is where the quality of Mill-Rose shines.

Leave nothing to chance.  When it’s time to replenish supplies,  don’t take what is offered.  Ask your supply house for Mill-Rose.

 

 

Yuengling Traditional Lager

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Serendipity.  A silly word.  Pretentious in all its syllables.  Plumbers and purveyors of ice cream think of “dip wells”, where an ice cream scooper rests under a perpetual flow of water between customers.  The office staff had their ideas:  Pink Oxford, plaid pants.  Croquet on the south lawn with Buffy and Trevor”.  Whatever all that means.  Maybe its time for their tea and biscuits.

Our glorious local library, stocked with DVDs from world-wide TV series, recently acquired 800 Words of New Zealand fame.  The word serendipity came up.  With an actual definition (according to their editors). 

Serendipity is a word coined over 250 years ago by the English author Horace Walpole from the title of a fairytale in which the heroes were always making discoveries by accident.  –  George, 800 Words.  Season 2, Part I, Episode 4.

While taking a break from convoluted inter-cabinet quad coiling during the installation of a T&S Brass glass filler at a local college *hic* institution, I strolled the aisle between bar and beer merchandiser.  And upon the morning buffet table spied a new, most impressive wall clock.  “The kids broke the old one.  Brian just got this.  We have to hang it”, explains Bonnie.

A beautiful, brand new Yuengling neon wall clock manufactured in Perryopolis PA.  The same clock company featured last week.  The beer of my formative years.  No ATB article yet on tap.  Content drops onto my mental keyboard.  “Order up“,  I imagine Hanif calling through the kitchen window.

America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling, of Pottsville PA, buys their promotional clocks in Perryopolis.  Yuengling Traditional Lager, elixir of the Gods, a perfect mate to pizza, pretzels, and stuffed Italian hoagies, immortalized upon a beautiful 20″ neon clock.  Logo expertly screened onto sheet aluminum.  Powder coat exterior finish.  Optical glass – will not “yellow” over time – secured to the bezel with industrial epoxy.  A real gem of a clock.  Magnificent craftsmanship.  The picky plumber finds not a single hair out-of-place.  SIX thumbs up to all!!!

What about this serendipity stuff?  I’ve almost forgotten myself.  It was having no piece completed for deadline, installing one American-made product, and seeing another which worked better for the article.  Sort of like desert to last week’s main course.  Discovered in a fine 5th generation restaurant.  Cheers!

Image Time • Perryopolis PA

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You never know what can be learned with eyes open to your surroundings.  So many people bury their faces toward sophisticated electronic gadgets.  Do they escape opportunities to exercise imagination?  Prepare for the future by exploring the past?

A typical service station waiting room appears the perfect nest of boredom.  Whip out “phones”, text furiously to important people, pace outside, shout into a line mic while gesturing animatedly.  Yes, you ARE important, you tell the world.  But maybe time waiting is time to think?  Introspection has its rewards.

Full circle was I rewarded recently by keeping the phone in its pocket.  With phoneless pacing at the tire shop I’m able to admire this handsome wall clock from all angles.  Smiles as its origin is discovered.  Right here in the Keystone State!  Pics are snapped and filed.  The thought of an article?  Not yet.

“Don’t Give Up the Ship”

But what is this Perryopolis?  Surrounded by the finest Greek pizzerias outside Italy, I’m confident of the town’s origins.  WRONG!  Perryopolis was named for 28-year old Hero Of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry.  The town?  Laid out by George Washington himself, called New Boston at the time.  

Big SMILING thumbs up for making the finest marketing clocks, Image Time!  Continental / General Tire picked a winner!  Wow, more delicious history exposed.  Uncle Jerry worked at a beer distributor his whole life, bringing home plaster Rolling Rock displays and the occasional wall clock.  Bet the clocks were made by Image Time!

Behlen Behkol Solvent

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Whiskey is for drinking.  Water content is for fighting over.

When it’s time to booze up, we have many choices.  Clyde stocks gallons of generic hooch.  With adult-proof lid, can rust, and drippy spout, we may buy in desperation or ignorance but regret our choice.  Acquire in haste, repent in leisure.

We’re dabbling into the arcane world of spirit varnishes and stains.  After the tool sharpening guy from Southern Italy insulted me, it’s likely I’ve transcended the hobbyist.  Genuine need for solvent worthy of a professional spurs investigation.

Internet research brings to mind Fido chasing his tail.  More opinions than the autumn leaves we crunch across during an evening stroll.  To filter flow & clarify consumption, we contact National Finishes Expert Phillip Pritchard and confirm what we suspect.  Hunches are backed with facts.  Myths dispelled.  When it is time to get our Varnish On, there is only one choice.  The professional choice.  Behkol.

We ask Phillip the advantages of Behlen spirit solvent over 190 proof hooch or hardware store quality denatured alcohol, when working with spirit varnishes.  We cannot possibly paraphrase Phillip’s wisdom;  an excellent quote you will have! – ATB

190 PROOF HOOCH IS 95% ethanol and 5% water.  It is designed for drinking purposes, best enjoyed after applying your finish.  Off the shelf denatured alcohol, sold primarily as a cleaning solvent, is a high concentration of ethanol and enough denaturant to prevent human consumption.  Alcohol is hydroscopic and naturally draws water from the environment; in a general purpose cleaning solvent it should pose no harm but there’s no telling how much water it contains.  

Behlen Behkol Solvent also contains a high concentration of ethanol, but it’s carefully sourced and controlled for minimal water content.  The denaturant used is less toxic than other common choices.  We add a stabilizing solvent to provide a greater shelf life for your dissolved shellac.  All solvents used in Behkol are alcohols and are carefully selected for better shellac compatibility.  This does add cost to Behkol Solvent, but it is purposely formulated for use as a shellac solvent, eliminates solvent related issues and provides higher performance when finishing with shellac.  –  Phillip Pritchard

Hartz Flea Collars

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Some like a consistently predictable & conforming life.  With bouts on the wild side.  My porch cat is an example.  While bucolic autumn afternoons beneath the maple out front are his norm, he is up to something other times.  Despite an inflated show of chasing cats off his patch, there is evidence he may be hanging with the wrong crowd.  He wouldn’t be the first cat to take a trip under the fence.

When that happens, FTIs can follow.  The dreaded transmitted feline issues.  A rare case of fleas, it seems.  Rare, because he gets the liquid on his nape.  As a Russian Blue -he identifies as Ossetian- his thick fur offers protection.  In general, he keeps his snout clean.

But fleas there were.  Banished outside for a spell, I went on attack with 20 Mule Team Borax about his crate.  And collared his condition with the name everyone trusts.  Hartz.

Back to the laid-back loafer lifestyle, his significant belly swings with a little more amplitude.  Even more cool on block patrol.  A Hartz collar is a status symbol.  His prosperous look provides him envious stares, but his Hartz collar sends a message.  He’s got health care.