A century after this opera & vaudeville theater opened, as spaces became repurposed, pipes tend to run in unpredictable directions. In this case, the offending pipe was not buried in a wall, but above a newer ceiling. A horizontal offset taking rainwater from the roof into the basement sewer, it was. Cracked along the top, one piece spewed water like a clam when thunderstorms and flash flooding occurred. How old was the pipe? A plumber had shoved a few risqué handbills into a dark corner for me to find sixty-five years later.
Getting another piece of cast iron service weight pipe 14′ above the floor into this area would be difficult; a second plumber, a helper, tools, lights, it was to be a festival of plumberly noises and smells. For now, a quick fix would protect the ceiling, walls, and floors from further damage.
I turned to the leader in plumbing materials, Oatey. Decades have I used their blue MEGALOC pipe dope after endorsement from the gas company. Oatey Plumbers Putty sets every kitchen sink within my hands. Had they a repair material for cast iron?
Sure enough, along with all the Oatey products I’ve used for years I found Fix It Sticks. Two part putty epoxy rolled together. I cut the stick in half, kneaded and rolled the epoxy into a consistent color, and began pressing the putty into the crack as the epoxy was heating up. Wow, I should first have read the instructions! It is ready to go 2~5 minutes after mixing!
The second half of the stick was all it took to complete temporary repairs. The epoxy will probably outlast the pipe, but being a concealed location, we’ll swap out the pipe in a couple of weeks when the weather is more cooperative. Perhaps another article on Charlotte cast iron pipe?