Product Review

3M Personal Safety Division

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La sécurité n’est pas un accident.

I gear up for another season with that famous French proverb ringing in my ears.  Safety is not an accident.  Eye protection?  Check!  Uxex for me.  Ears?  Hoppes plugs are always within reach and used, even if drilling only one or two holes in concrete.  Lungs?  As they say, when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. 

After several apprentice seasons struggling with disposal breathing masks, I took advice from safety experts at Graingers.  North/Honeywell or 3M are the usual offerings when safety is your top concern.  Decades later, I have and use both brands.  Honeywell for light dust and all day comfort, and the 3M “half-mask” for more involved irritants.

The 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series.  Interchangeable cartridges for protection within different contaminants.  While this unit will not provide oxygen, with the right cartridges, muriatic acid can be handled safely in a well-ventilated area.  With the pictured P100 Particulate Filters, I’m protected against anything the typical construction site stirs up.

Healthy body, healthy mind, restful sleep.

Oatey Pipe Thread Sealant

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Decades ago while hand-threading five stories of 1″ steel pipe, a gas company employee shared a great product with me.  His fancy blue pipe dope to apply to pipe threads before screwing everything together.  Back in those days, I used grey pipe dope, or more often, white dope with teflon.  The blue stuff?  An expensive specialty item.

That gas company guy said they used only the blue stuff.  It was the best.  Pipes never leaked.  You did not have to tighten pipe like Hercules to get a good seal.  After my gifted can was empty, I bought another.  Two decades later I still buy the same pipe dope, Oatey MEGALOC.  Sometimes an even stronger product, Oatey Block, for larger or irregular pipe as well as specialty applications.  Made in the USA for professional plumbers worldwide.

MADE IN USA / HECHO EN EE.UU.

Even if you are not a professional, just a guy who knows a lot about pipes, do yourself a favor.  Get an edge on every project.  The upper hand on potential issues.  Oatey MEGALOC and BLOCK, their Blue Wonders.

MEGALOC cleans up with water.  BLOCK requires isopropyl alcohol.

alcoholics anonymous

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SINCE ANCIENT TIMES  grain and fruit have been allowed to ferment into alcohol.  Fermentation is the process in which yeast breaks down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Whether your pleasure is okolehao, scotch, or makgeolli, every culture has a drink to cure ills, relax nerves, mark occasions, and calm stomachs.

When things get a little too calm, alcohol works the other way.  So it seems.  Then there’s the “Thank God it’s Friday” excuse to consume mass quantities.

After all commercial exaltation is exhausted and peer pressure ignored, an acceptable vintage port by a crackling fire with a nice book is probably good for the mind, body, and soul.  But when this (almost) all-natural beverage becomes a destructive force?  Who do you call?

Since the 1930s Americans have turned to Alcoholics Anonymous.  An approach to manage an addiction through abstinence.  Now an international fellowship, membership is one of America’s more constructive exports.

Surrounded by creative types all day, every day, we see eight sides of the issue.  In the end, one phrase sounds more true than all the others.  Sobriety brings clarity.

Nelson Wood Shims

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In today’s iPhone age most forget simple tools which make our lives comfortable.  Lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, screw.  Archimedes got it.  A few millennium before him with these simple tools Pyramids were build.  Two+ million years ago stone scraping tools, precursor to the wedge, were made and used before humans were around to criticize its design.

Banging pipes within a wall had me turn to this tool invented before humans roamed the land.  With a wedge of wood I cured a sick installation, relieving stress and worry from countless users of this plumbing system.  A simple shim of wood inserted between pipe and metal stud eliminated an issue which existed for decades.  I made sure to “reconfigure pipe within wall” when no one was looking.  Can’t share all my trade secrets.

When it was time to shim, I turned to Clyde.  He in turn points me to the rear of his store, where both loafer and curmudgeon gather around a re-screening table for coffee and lies.  Just past these antiquarians lies a trove of shimming choices.  Six flavors of Nelson Wood Shims.  Today, a thin package will satisfy my needs.  Plus a few extra for the toolbox.

Mohawk Leather Protector

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mohawk-finishing-products-leather-protector-wipes-aWhen you buy well made items and take care of them, they will typically last.  A mid-1990s leather jacket makes good example.  Lands End, expert stitching, made in Korea, a solid product.  I had to have one!  At $157, the most expensive article of clothing I’d bought to date!  Who would have known I’d still have it?  Glad I ordered a size larger!

After two+ decades my coat remains perfectly serviceable.  Garnering accolades from all, the well-worn leather garment has been a solid investment.  Life, however, is not without maintenance.  A button resecured.  Pete expertly replaced pocket linings ~ I scratch my head over his magic.  The leather?  Dry here, cracked there, discolored in areas.

I tried a few reconditioning products.  Foam had its chance.  Expensive and uneven.  A couple of years later, liquid spray.  Well, that was a mess.  Oversaturated, gummy, plus the spray gets everywhere!

mohawk-finishing-products-leather-protector-wipes-bPete inadvertently provides the solution.  I repaired his bouzouki and was most happy with Behlen’s nitrocellulose spray finish used on the instrument top.  An American Toolbox article ensued.  Behlen parent company Mohawk became aware.  Their social media guru reached out with thanks and offers of sponsorship and product.  Banner ad?  Sure!  Product?  You bet.

I chose products for which I had use.  Mohawk dropped them on my doorstep.  No strings, no expectations, no editorial review.  Except badgering from their legal eagle, who wants me to stress I received FREE PRODUCT FROM MOHAWK.  A subtle reminder I pass on to you.

Mohawk leather products come different ways.  Leather Protector Wipes are chosen.  At this point, keep it clean and let it age.  The protector is delivered via pre-moistened towelettes.  Easy to apply, good coverage, nice smell.  Perfect amount of wetness.  Very neatly done, Mohawk!  

Wow, WHO KNEW the leather was so filthy!  My jacket gratefully sheds misapplied waxes, dirt, grime, and oils.  Absorbs the Magic Mohawk dose of goodness.  I’m GENUINELY pleased with the reborn look and feel of the leather.  Maybe I’ll wear it one more time this season.  Soon my beloved coat shall pass to the next generation.  My nephew will look so cool in it!

By popular request, a few words about Pete the tailor:  

Pete the tailor has been a friendly acquaintance for years.  The first time?  Bringing in a treasured garment for repair, I politely ignore his “No new customers, please” sign.  We share bonds of musicianship and craftspeople.  I fixed an old guitar his kids trashed, two hours on a $5 guitar.  He was ecstatic.  He’s Greek, from Greece, and owned a genuine bouzouki bought in the home country decades ago.  I was asked to fix his treasured bouzouki after years of hinting and delay.

So Pete, he finally let me give it the old college try.  Unlike college, I did finish the bouzouki.  With its cracked top requiring a new lacquered finish, I tried a  nitrocellulose spray made by Behlen.  Parent company Mohawk came into my orbit while I spread the word on social media.  Then came more product after, actually, I wrote a second materials-related piece, Behlen Hide Glue.  Then came Buffer’s Polish, Fingerboard Oil , and now, the leather conditioner.

ATB’s coveted “Six Thumbs Up” is proudly bestowed upon Mohawk. pete-havertown-tailor-bouzouki

Mainline Plumbing Products

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ml2l2155-drawing“Jed, gimmie two toilet seats, elongated, open front, less lid.  Please.”, I tell the shuffling counterman at our venerable plumbing supply.  He reaches under the counter and PRESTO there appears before me one of America’s finest.  All plastic, ADA compliant, stainless nuts and lock washers, ready for my 9/16″ hollow shaft nut driver to bring it all home.

Nothing says “I love you” to a new toilet like a new toilet seat.  Some customers want a newish old seat swapped onto a new toilet.  I am not a “seat jockey”, but I keep that to myself.  Easier to explain of buggered threads, damaged hinge, unsanitary practices, or if all else fails, It’s on the bill already.  I can leave it here for later if you like. 

With features I want and an American flag on the box, I know I’m installing a great product as well as keeping our economy rolling.  For an item which gets as much use as this, buy the best.  Mainline. 

mainline-toilet-seat-ml2l2155-specifications

Uvex Safety Googles

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uvex-logo

In 2010 Honeywell, the American multinational conglomerate, made one of its best business decisions.  They acquired the French firm Sperian Protection, thus adding to the portfolio of Honeywell superiority an amazingly designed and constructed set of eye protection, Uvex Safety Goggles.

uvex-stealth-googlesTough enough for the professional, inexpensive enough for Harry Homeowner, Uvex Stealth go into every house-warming gift I give, a stocking stuffer at Christmas, and an anytime gift for the masses of kids in our extended family.  Mud-flinging games, Tinker-Toy battles, tobogganing with reckless abandon, favorite kiddie pastimes made more safe with Uvex.

hoppes-3085Digging out a crusty wall to expose fractured cast iron pipe, dropping a weak ceiling, Estwing demolition or Craftsman grinding, none would be complete without Uvex safety gear. After all, we live by the motto – and Rule #3 of Plumbing:

Safety Is Not An Accident

north-safety-standard-4200-cfr-1-half-mask-respirator-assemblyAlong with North respirators & Hoppes ear protection, a trilogy of safety always with me.  This bag of protection with spares, easy to store and carry, treated with as much importance as any tool in the box.  Replacement Uvex lenses always available, new eyes, not so much …