two uses of Superglue
Monday, October 27 2014
I'd been thinking about this last night: the place in the wall where I wanted to run the PVC drain pipe in the Wall Street house was probably going to be blocked by the copper hot water pipe I'd run yesterday. Once I arrived at the house, sure enough, that pipe looked like it was going to be in the way. But I wouldn't know for sure until I drilled the hole to run the dain pipe. Since the drain pipe would be running through a double floor plate, a floor, and a subfloor, I wasn't sure how I'd be able to drill it out with a hole saw (which is limited to plunges of only two inches of depth). But it turns out that it is possible to drill much deeper with a hole saw if you periodically chisel away the cylinder of wood it has cut around. Doing this, I was able to go almost all the way through the floor from the top (more than five inches) before finishing it from the bottom. The hot water pipe was still in my way, so I was forced to reroute it. I tend to think of the fruits of recent efforts as "done deals" and not candidates for alteration, but sometimes the organic process of construction requires backtracking on recent milestones. In this case, redoing a section of copper pipe was trivially-easy (though my MAPP gas torch did momentarily set a section of MDF on fire).
I turned my attention back to the structure of the bathroom's walls and proceeded to install a thin sheet of galvanized steel to cover (and protect) the inch of styrofoam separating the house's exterior sheathing from the interior space near where the toilet will go. With that in place, I could cut out the pieces of drywall needed to fill in the hole where the radiator used to go. Once I had the shape of the bathroom fully-articulated, I could then put the toilet together and work out where it will go. But, being an old toilet, nothing about putting it together was easy. I removed all the ancient internals from it (including the big fitting containing the hinged rubber flapper valve; it was made entirely of brass and came apart extremely reluctantly). Like most toilets, this one consisted of two large porcelain pieces that bolted together, though (unlike most toilets) the two parts were held together by three (as opposed to two) brass bolts. I'd found a kit at Lowes for replacing these three-bolt attachments, but for some reason I couldn't get one of the bolts to line up. Only after much struggling did I look at the bolt holes and see that one of them was smaller than the others. It had a steel nut lodged in it that I could not pop loose. I would have drilled it out, but I only had a few drill bits with me, and none of them were sufficiently large. This sent me to Herzogs for my one hardware store run of the day. (I also got some caulk and 1.5 inch PVC, both of which I would soon be needing.) But when I tried to drill out the stuck nut, the forces were such that a chunk of porcelain busted loose. This dislodged the nut, but now I had a broken toilet to fix. Fortunately, the chunk hadn't broken off from a structurally, hydraulically, or cosmetically important part of the toilet, and it was easily stuck back on with my reliable companion, Superglue. This was my second use of Superglue today; this morning I'd had to glue Gretchen back together after she accidentally sliced into her finger while chopping cooked carrots with her brand new Japanese chef's knife. She's been taking an online vegan cooking class, which had inspired her to buy a few knives and other kitchen toys.
Once I had the toilet together (more or less), I could put it in the bathroom and then figure out where to drill the hole for the closet flange. After much measuring, I bored a tentative pilot hole through the floor, went downstairs and confirmed that it was 2.5 inches from the floor joist, and then started drilling with the big five inch hole saw. Unfortunately, though, that saw had already been ruined. I'd foolishly used it to remove circle-sized pieces of drywall, and something abrasive in that material sanded its teeth down to little nubs. That was a real shame, as that hole saw had cost me $40. But not to worry, I had a jig saw. And when its blade broke about half-way through, I turned to my trusty (if somewhat spastic) reciprocating saw. Eventually I had a hole for the closet flange, meaning I could put together the chain of PVC leading from the toilet to the rubber joint on the cast iron sewage pipe. That all went together quickly, though I decided along the way to move the closet flange a little further from the back wall so that the toilet's business end would be better centered in the flange.
All of that work took about eight hours in total.
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