Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So Much For That Plan

Attentive readers1 will remember that the plumbing in New Bog was discovered to be not up to snuff design-wise when inspected by Jeff The Kung-fu Accountant, and that I had resolved to fix things later. This is the tale of later.

Gritting my teeth I fabricated a back-board of plywood from the too-thin floor material left over from the reflooring triumph. This would be what I would attach the external piping to. My plan was to take the place the pipes emerged from the wall as a starting point and to run an extension to the cold water one along the wall, so that the little shut-off tap would be closer to the actual place it was needed. Recall that it isn't possible to extend the pipes inside the wall due to lingerie drawers. Then I would reconfigure the waste-pipe in a manner yet to be figured out.

Accordingly, I drew a scale plan of the corner vanity on the floor2 to aid in pipe geometry estimation and got on with draining the water from the system. I shut off the water, opened the downstairs bath taps and the little shut-off taps and redied Mr Compressor for the task of ridding the pipes of the solder-defying water. Stationing the Stevieling at the downstairs bathtaps I pumped air into the lines.

"Is water coming out of the taps?" I shouted.
"A bit!" came the reply.

The Stevieling is a genius with her pencils and can melt the hardest heart with her singing but is pig-useless sometimes when it comes to offering useful quantitive information. "A bit" could easily refer to a trickle or a reasonable flow. I chose to assume the latter and removed the compressor nozzle from the shut-off tap, receiving a facefull of pressurised water for my trouble.

Eventually I got the pipe empty enough that I could cut it. I then realised that the hot water pipe was going to be in the way of my planned route, and unless I wanted more Moustrap-Game plumbing I would have to move it as well. More fun and games with Mr Compressor ensued. Then there wasn't enough room for my full-size pipecutter and I had to use the miniature one that takes twice as long to do the job. Then the large pipecutter fell apart. The anti-handyman demons were making themselves known that day and no mistake.

Eventually I got the pipes cut and built new sections of pipe to run along the wall, with a short vertical run to the T-joints3 and the shut-off taps. Of course, the pipes originally fitted were too long and so I hed to remove a few inches from the middle of them. Nothing is ever easy. I turned the water on and cringed as I bled the air out of the lines. those T-joints had been sweated on and off and rotated one too many times for my liking, but for once the evil anti-handyman spirits were asleep at the wheel and there were no leaks at all.

Feeling smug I approached Mrs Stevie about lifting the sink unit up to the bathroom so I could figure out the angle the wastepipe would have to be set to for it to actually work. This was accomplished with only minor temper lossage and upon adjusting the vanity to allow for the missing walls, two thing became obvious. First, the wastepipe would have to erupt from the wall at 45 degrees rather than the customary 90. Second, the bloody hot water shut-off tap was too close to the vanity superstructure to be opened and closed, and attaching the riser for the faucet would be damn near impossible too. Three things.

I seriously contemplated cutting a slot in the vanity, but the real answer was unavoidable: The hot water pipe would have to be drained again and the joint heated and twisted around by about 15 degrees. I maganged to do this, using a metal plate to deflect the heat of the torch from the now well-screwed-in plywood back-board thereby preventing the house burning down (although to be honest I was rapidly approaching the state of mind in which burning down one's own domicile is seen to be the easiest route out of one's woes). I turned the water back on. No leaks. Smug Mode On.

I wanted to crow my manly superiority over all things pipe-shaped, but it turned out the women had decamped to a hotel for some overnight girly thing during my struggle for dominance over the plumbing in a World Gone Mad so I couldn't without looking daft. I did a little jig of manly pride anyway, then noticed that the bloody hot water shut-off valve was no longer watertight.

I must have cooked the valve seat (again) although I could swear the heat wasn't that bad that far away from the action. I got the original taps at Arse Hardware which was closed by then, this coppery battle having consumed several hours and taken me into the not-so-early evening. Home Despot had a different style of tap and I wanted matching ones. I eventually got one at Blowes. By that time it was well past 9 and so in a trice I returned home, fitted the tap thereby fixing the leak, took a shower and pigged out on quiche. I love quiche.

Sunday had me worrying that New Bog might not accomodate the new elongated-bowl commode we had decided to use in place of the standard on that floated off in Domestic Flood Xena.

I unpacked it and put it in place over the flange and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did everything fit, but we had plenty of space to spare. The original Corner Sink Theory of More Bathroom Space was demonstrated irrefutably! For once I was vindicated in the eyes of that vile harridan, Mrs Stevie, who had voiced the most slanderous questions about my sanity when I first laid the tentative framework for the theory back before Domestic Flood Xena.

It's good to be vindicated.

  1. One of you must have been paying attention at some point during the saga
  2. It will be covered by non-wax flooring when I'm done
  3. Reference to the pictures of the original rebuilt plumbing might be useful here to see where the breaks had to be made

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