Monthly Archives: September 2010

More Pottyology!
>>>>>>>>>>>>Update 06/03/12: The design I like the most and have used the longest is apparently still available at Grainger: CLICK THIS LINK OR THIS LINK for two different sizes!<<<<<<<<


So I am in the market for a water powered drain bladder to clean a four inch rain downspout.

Naturally I want a design similar to the bladder I have used to clear sinks successfully for many years.

It features a nozzle with stop valve closed by a compression spring which opens the valve at the appropriate pressure.

This generates a nice steady percussive pressure which is remarkably efficient clearing clogs

My first stop: the big box lumber supply store.

They have a rubber gizmo with a high pressure jet hole, but no metal nozzle.

Okay, I believe in innovation, maybe this will do the job.

Wrong. I can not even get the bladder to expand to seal the pipe.

Off I go to the hardware store. They have essentially the same design.

Okay,what I really need is the giant canvas bladder deal the sewer rooter guys used a few weeks ago.

Off I go to the Mom-and-Pop plumbing supply.

They have only the rubber gizmo as sold by the big box lumber supply and the hardware store.

But I am nothing if not tenacious.

The super big box official plumbing supply is bound to have what I need.

Wow! They do! It looks EXACTLY like the canvas thing the sewer rooter guys used!

And it costs $$$$$$$$. Did I say it costs $$$$$?

I meant it costs $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

But I get one.


I hope it is defective. Stay tuned. I will report back tomorrow.

Today, the Sales Guy at the super big box official plumbing supply and I tried to figure out if my Drain Flusher was defective or suffering from operator error or what.

We took it to the loading dock and hooked up a hose and doggone if it worked substantially better than when I tried yesterday (in two different locations).

Whether it was the "powerful jet action" promised on the package seemed doubtful to both of us, but it certainly was not the weak pressure I videotaped here at the house.

Before we foul up his inventory, I said I would talk to the company- General Wire Spring in PA- and see what they said.

Stay tuned. The saga continues.

Update 10/12/10

The replacement arrived from the factory as promised and within just two or three days. I eagerly opened the package and connected it to the garden hose to try it out. Deja Vu all over again. It worked no better than the first one. I will make a video and post soon. Bottom line as per the package: the super powerful jet action is no more powerful than the garden hose to which it is attached. A brass hose nozzle boosts the spray more than this canvas bag gizmo. Anyone with comments or suggestions is welcome to post in the remarks section.


This video demonstrates one of the most basic scroll saw operations – a continuous curve cut.

To do this does not require a fancy upper end scroll saw or exotic material.

This is a simple asymmetric heart shaped medallion cut from vintage plywood salvaged from a 1950’s-1960’s era door panel.

The authentic stain patina came from the door.

These medallions will be inscribed with a calligraphic ink pen and attached to a ribbon to make a unique wall memento.


Youtube has certainly given me a healthy respect for Hollywood!

The very idea I can make videos with little more than a desktop computer and a VHSC (yes, VHSC!) camcorder got my engine revved up.

But boy, what lessons I have learned!

First, if I do all the production work- director, producer, photographer,editor, writer, actor,et. al. I can no longer just go out and do whatever job I had scheduled.

A good example is the simple three minute video I made up on a roof for the field cut fascia miter. (Link here)

It literally required twice as much preparation as the actual job!

The actor must not block the shot of the work, the director must take care to make sure the actor is still safe when he stands on the ladder, the photographer must make sure the camera is on, none of the standard grips or positions or tools can be as they would be if there were no camera present,all must be interrupted and stopped to see if the picture developed as it should have.

And there are no retakes once a significant portion of the job is complete.

Today’s video was more of the same. The task was to demonstrate a simple scroll saw cutout.

There are examples all over Youtube.

However, to keep the glare from the table top from ruining the shot required multiple experiments with camera and light, the patience of Job not to make even the smallest slip in the cut and then to go and wrestle with an edit program that seems to change every time I use it.

My hat’s off to all the guys on Youtube who have hard wired their shops with cameras to make dozens of videos.

It soitanly ain’t as simple as it looks! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!


You have got to hand it to wisdom, education and experience.

A long time ago I watched a man with an engineering degree back his big old 1960’s era Plymouth partly into a drainage ditch.

Naturally, he was mad as all “git out” and in no mood to call a wrecker to get his car back on the road.

He went over to a lumber pile and got the longest 4×4 he could find-about 10-12 feet.

He took the 4×4 and a cinderblock over to the rear end of the car and BY HIMSELF made a simple lever/fulcrum setup to pivot the entire back end of the car onto the road.

It was the most amazing demonstration of simple mechanics I have ever witnessed.

The guy in today’s video obviously comes from the same school of common sense self reliance.


To blog or not to blog, that is the question.

Whether ’tis better to fill the world wide web with my share of stories and
pictures of wildly improbable tales from the fields and woods and jobsites of
the city or post news of only the most perfect pristine occasional project,
that is the conundrum of the age!

I have been told I should post to my blog more often. Realistically, there is
not always much about which to post.

I hardly have a hidden fortress in the frozen Arctic North from
which I emerge in Red Cape and Blue Tights to save the world and then write
about my exploits!

What is there to say about changing light bulbs and air filters and doors
that stick because of weather fluctuations or equipment maintenance and my
truck oil change or other mundane tasks?

Or is there really anything important to reveal when a long time client calls
me to help build a batting cage and we discover from a Google search a
batting cage is little more than a variation on a camp tent easily purchased
second hand on EBay and resold when no longer needed?

These activities and tasks are barely worth the trouble to Twitter(Tm) about.

No, the life of a maintenance guy is not necessarily filled with the
excitement of red carpets and good cigars.

But I digress….

Remarkably, this Saturday past was the exception to prove the rule.
I drove the Handymobile to an office complex with a chainsaw and the intent
to clear-cut some overgrown shrubs whose roots were slowly eating a
building foundation.

When I arrived the office campus was swarming with Police.
Crime had reared an ugly Medusian visage in my neck of the woods!

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