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Thread: Instruction

  1. #1

    Default Instruction

    I am seeking instruction and re-assurance on my first plumbing project (copper). I want my project to succeed the first time as does my family. If you are license plumber with an interest to teach, this experience would benefit both of us. I have a few more fixes to do, and I want to do them myself. This project is first up.

    I have the equipment & materials and the project is today, Saturday (or Sunday) April 5th. Late notice I know.

    I am preparing the copper lines and fittings.

    Seattle Eastside. We can negotiate the fee. Respond here or directly to ALPACAS77@hotmail.com. Leave a number & name.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    This is not the flea market for handyman, but if someone calls you up, then so be it. But if you could post some pictures and some questions here, you can get millions of dollars worth of instruction....for free!!!!

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default plumber

    The plumber should already know what he is doing, so if he teaches you, you will be the beneficiary. He should gain nothing but satisfaction. If it were I, the fee would not be negotiable because it would be what I would normally charge, and your learning would be from watching me, because it would cost you more if I had to wait while I told you what to do and then you tried to do it, possibly taking more than one try.

  4. #4

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    I always was particularly fond of the " bring your kid to work day."



    Just think, there could be a ... bring your customer to work day.

  5. #5

    Default Thank you for replying

    No, I do not mean to turn this forum into a market for consumers and providers.

    No, watching isn't practical instruction. Its interesting and I learn. I'm past that point.If you feel you can teach only by showing, then we are not a fit. And how to entry-level people learn? By doing under empathetic supervision. (I don't have ambitition to enter the trade even casually).

    The guidance in this forum is worthwhile and I thank all. Reading the code, reviewing the site, the practical - its made me appreicate the art of application.

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpac View Post
    . And how do entry-level people learn? By doing under empathetic supervision.
    A lot of people, myself included , have learned a lot things the hard way over the years....by reading up on something, then doing it, then read some more to find out why it came out wrong! This may not be the smartest way, but it does work. As long as you start out knowing the possibilities of problems, and with a willingness to accept the consequences!

  7. #7

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    When I got married my husband didn't know anything about fixing a house. It was ok when we lived in a apt but when we bought our first house my dad came to his aid. I still remember my husband saying, " if it weren't for your dad I wouldn't know anything." He used to always tell me about when my dad taught him how to sweat pipes, hang drywall, and such. My mother gave him his first ladder and hammer. And, when we did the kitchen and bathroom we worked along doing this as we could afford to buy the neccessary tool. For Father's Day, I bought my husband a book, The Readers Digest Handyman book. If it is still out there, it is a fantastic book. It is a hard back, bright yellow, with not only lots of words but pictures as well, demonstating what " it " should look like when done fixing what ever it is. If you are lucky enough to have a kind father in law or even, brother in law (I do) I bet they would help. If you got kids, you could learn together.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member seaneys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpac View Post
    No, I do not mean to turn this forum into a market for consumers and providers.

    No, watching isn't practical instruction. Its interesting and I learn. I'm past that point.If you feel you can teach only by showing, then we are not a fit. And how to entry-level people learn? By doing under empathetic supervision. (I don't have ambitition to enter the trade even casually).

    The guidance in this forum is worthwhile and I thank all. Reading the code, reviewing the site, the practical - its made me appreicate the art of application.
    * Get a few books. Well, get a LOT of books. Read as much as you can. Work you way toward actually reading the code books.

    * Use forums such as this to throw out ideas and take abuse from pros and serious amateurs.

    * Make friends with local plumbers who you can ask questions. Find a few people you work with who would also rather do stuff around the house than go to a game or watch TV.

    * Start with a few simple projects. Figure it will take you up to three tries to get it correct. I would recommend sweating pipe in the open before you try it out in an enclosed area.

    * If you are really luck, you'll find someone in a professional plumbing store who will help you. I also used to have luck at a big box store who employed a retired plumber part time. Unfortunately he is really retired now.

    * It would take a very special plumber to help you. They would have to basically be a little bored and somewhat masochistic.

    * If there are any plumbers like that in the Chicago area let me know. I'll set you up with a few cub scout pack you can do demonstrations for.

    Steve

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    What is it you are going to try to learn how to do?
    I'm just curious in CT.

  10. #10
    DIY Member enosez's Avatar
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    this thread sounds like it belogs on craigslist.

  11. #11
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    When I was fifteen, I got a job assmembling and repairing bicycles.
    For the expensive bikes,, I would have the customer leave the room while I worked on it.
    I could fix and repair in seconds, useing very basic tools, but mainly what I used was my expierence.
    Since I work in the land of engineers, whom I've learned to love, for who they are, they couldn't be present to see how easy and quck some things are.
    Better to let them think that every thing is hard.

    Much of plumbing is that way.
    To explain how plastic fittings go together quickly with glue, takes a lot of time. Most start by learning to run water. If a mistake is made, you can pull the fittings apart before soldering.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpac View Post
    I am seeking instruction and re-assurance on my first plumbing project (copper).
    This is a fun way to practice and learn on your own. You will spend about $15-20 on materials, and have a bit of practice to show for it.

    Go buy eight 45-degree elbows (not street), a five-foot length of pipe, a tee, and a female pipe-thread adapter. All in copper, all 1/2". You will also need a brass female garden hose thread-to-male 1/2" NPT adapter.

    Cut eighth short pieces, equal lengths, of the 1/2" copper. Four inches is sufficient. Lay the Tee, roughly centered, next to one of the pieces. The perpendicular leg of the Tee (think of the post of a stop sign) should point away from the copper tube.

    Mark the piece of tubing at two points, one at the depth of each of the two parallel hubs of the T. Cut at these two points (this will yield three piece of copper: two are useful, the middle is scrap).

    Lay all your pieces out in an octagon. The perpendicular leg of the tee should point out of the octagon. Ultimately, the thing will look somewhat like a garden sprinkler with no holes in it. Dry fit all the tubes to the 45s to make sure everything lines up. If it does, take it all back apart.

    One at a time, clean a 45 and the two tubes that go into it. Take your time--good prep work can prevent irritating re-work. Clean the outside of the copper tubing with a wire brush (a 4-in-1 brush has tubing and fitting brushes for 1/2 and 3/4, all on one tool); do likewise for both hubs of the elbow. This is probably the single most important step in sweating copper, and the most frequently overlooked by those new to the process. If the metal is not clean, solder cannot adhere properly.

    At this point, you should be working on a flameproof work surface. Out in the driveway, with a ceramic tile underneath, is a decent place to practice.

    Apply flux liberally to the inside of the elbow and the ends of the tubing. Insert the tubing into the elbow. Now you get to practice the fun part. Unroll a length of solder from the spool. Hold the spool in one hand, your torch in the other. (I use a Bernzomatic TS8000 MAPP torch. The one-button quick start and auto-off make life much, much easier. They are only about $50.)

    You will pull the trigger of the torch and apply heat to the hub of the elbow, moving the torch back and forth to heat the joint evenly. When the flux begins to fizzle and bubble, back off the heat and immediately feed 1/2"-3/4" of the solder into the hot joint. If everything is cleaned and fluxed properly, you will see the joint actually suck the solder in. Repeat for the other hub.

    Wipe around both joints with a damp terrycloth towel. Be careful not to burn yourself. After a few seconds have elapsed, wipe both joints dry with a dry terrycloth towel, being sure to remove any surplus flux from the tubing.

    Repeat this process all the way around the octagon. Work slowly, getting a feel for the proper amount of heat (too much will discolor the copper-ugly-and boil the flux away-bad). The T will be soldered in place between the two short stubs of tubing.

    Cut another short piece to go between the T and the female threaded adapter. Likewise, clean and flux it and solder it into place.

    Once all of the joints are finished, you should be left with a female 1/2" NPT adapter feeding into a closed loop. Once it has cooled comes the fun part.

    Wrap the 1/2" NPT male end of the brass adapter in two full spiral counterclockwise wraps of pipe tape. Thread it into the female port at the base of your octagon. Put a washer in the female hose-fitting end, and screw the contraption onto your garden hose.

    Turn on the water. If you have done everything properly (particularly cleaning the pipe ends and fitting hubs), you should be leak free. If not, you get to try again.

    If you can build one of these things successfully, you know how the basic mechanical skill of soldering copper. Better to play in your driveway for an hour or two first and have your neighbors wonder what the hell you're doing, than to dig into a project indoors and run into trouble.

    The biggest difficulty you're going to run into indoors, other than working in close spaces next to flammable things (necessitating a heat shield, a bucket of just-in-case water, and some basic caution), is water in the pipes. One drop of water at a joint will keep it from getting hot enough to melt solder--you could apply heat from a MAPP torch for 3 hours and never be able to solder it.

    You will need to drain your house well, and engage in some creativity if drips emerge. I like the little gelatin ball plugs; others prefer bread (aye!); still others prefer the jetswet and similar devices, where they can be used. An air compressor with a blowgun can also come in handy. Be careful with using a shop-vac to suck the water out of piping; I have seen these create a deep enough vacuum that they draw water out of the water heater.

    Good luck. Clean the joints thoroughly, flux them liberally, and practice a lot before working on anything important. Sweating copper is fun, and truly an art form.

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