Using the right tool is important

2011-10-07 by . 2 comments

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One thing that always seems to ring true, usually in hindsight, is that you should use the right tool for the job.

The reasons are varied but usually amount to reducing the amount of effort to get a job done (e.g. frustration) or ensuring you don’t damage your work surface or yourself (e.g. patience).

While recently replacing my kitchen faucet with this model by American Standard , I came upon two black discs which were threaded very tightly onto the old faucet to the point that no amount of force by my hands could loosen these black discs.

Never having to replace a kitchen faucet before, I figured it would all be straightforward: turn off the water supply, undo some nuts, pull the old faucet out, and put the new one in.

Unfortunately for me I have no formal plumbing training and I have not read any plumbing books.

After fussing with the old faucet for about 30 minutes and trying to get these black disc-like nuts off, I managed to break the plastic fins off to the point that I could not even attempt to turn these discs anymore without cutting some blood vessel in my hands.

I did get it off albeit messily using my dremel.  Hot, black pieces of plastic flew into my face.  Here’s another tip: Wear safety glasses.

While I do wear prescription eyewear normally, they are no substitute for real safety googles.  A few black hot pieces came inches from hitting my eyes. Ouch.

At any rate, I did get off the old faucet and installed the new one with all the right teflon tape on the joints and had no leaks.

As it turns out, there is a tool called the Basin Wrench that I should have used.  The Basin Wrench would have allowed me to remove these plastic disc-like nuts from under the sink easily to install the faucet.  My 1 and half hour job could have been just 45 minutes had I used the right tool for the job and I wouldn’t have created a huge mess to vacuum up later.

How to Use a Basin Wrench

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  • auujay says:

    The more work I do, the more I realize how true this is. I recently replaced the entire plumbing stack in my 2 ½ story 1926 house. It was cast iron that was starting the rust through. Having heard horror stories about how long it can take to cut cast iron pipe with a reciprocating saw, I opted to rent a soil pipe cutter from home depot. Probably the best $20 I spent, it made short work of the pipe and allowed me to cut it without ripping even larger holes in the walls.

  • Absolutely true – and like auujay pointed out, you don’t need to buy every tool out there, a lot of these specialty, one time use tools can be rented for extremely reasonable rates. I spent hours one time trying to form flashing by hand, using 2×4’s, 1×3’s, I even tried making a wooden brake – what a waste of time and wood and hinges that was!

    Finally I gave in, and rented a proper brake for about $30, and got my flashing done in no time. Same thing with drywall and ceilings – rent the panel lifter! It makes it so one person can hang a whole ceiling in a couple short hours.

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