Recently the emergency call went out from Francis Salon. Inexplicably a rinse hose at their shampoo station periodically sprays into the room! A mystery worthy of Star Trek but sorted out soon enough. Of more intriguing interest is a blow dryer headed for the rubbish bin. Dropped on its tail, backbone smashed, its destiny the American cure. Throw it out and buy another.
In the business of fixing anything, the dryer is rescued and queued for table service. Bill’s centenarian violin shipped, an 1860s trade violin pushed aside, the fractured Francis Salon blow dryer takes its eager place. The same temporary cure to a cast iron rain pipe last year becomes a permanent cure for Alma Pané. A piece of Oatey two part epoxy is sliced off the roll, kneaded for a minute within nitrile-clad hands, then pushed into the hair dryer’s fractured handle. In minutes the epoxy cures, becoming harder than the plastic grip, a chemical Forever Bond.
Payment via Greek salad fresh from Alma’s garden settles nicely in my belly. I’m wondering how to record this on my accounting ledger as gratuity is accepted. At least I’ll be presentable at the IRS audit, with trim hair and shaven neck.
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?