Welcome again Free Folk of Middle Earth, and others, to another edition of the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog! I hope this past week was a good one for you.
We have much to talk about but we’re just going to have to back up a bit and give you a quick update on the underwear situation which was quite disconcerting as of last week. The editor picked up said product for me. The editor wasn’t overly concerned with cost. She was more concerned with expediency. We won’t get into it here but let’s keep in mind that cost control is an issue….when I say I ‘m getting desperate for underwear that doesn’t mean call 911. Or head to the nearest store and spend crazy money . It’s more like when you’re running out of toothpaste but you really know that you can get a couple of good squeezes out of a tube until you find time to get to the store. Apparently I didn’t express that sentiment to the editor. That’s all I’m gonna say. (Editor’s note: You sounded desperate! As though money was no object and you just needed undies asap. How was I to know you could have waited ’til I shopped around for the best price?)
I’m still baffled by the stretchy waistband issue though. I actually did a side by side comparision of the old and new. I mean the old ones were over stretched by at least 3-4 inches….and I’m talking circumference here people. I mean so just imagine trying to wear something whose waist band was 4 inches bigger than what you needed.
Hmmm. Maybe I was getting desperate.
Oh boy, this blog is starting to get ugly. Good thing nobody knows who I am. Better keep it that way
Interesting title. We’ll get into the duck butter in due time. I was, however thinking about the dwarves over the course of the week. Okay so those of you who are not Hobbit fans can skip to the next paragraph if you like. Like I was saying Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves all show up for a secret meeting at Bilbo’s house and begin to tear into everything he owns….especially the food. They’re driving Bilbo nuts of course and at one point in the movie version he complains to Gandalf that the “confounded dwarves have practically destroyed the plumbing!”
So it being plumbing installation week at Hobbit Hollow I thought we’d just talk briefly on how to prevent the dwarves from destroying our plumbing as well. What they do to the bathroom and to the house is a different issue. But the short answer is ventilation and pitch.
Yes my friends, ventilation and the proper pitch. So simple yet more complex than usual because of our particular situation. Which as I said last week is something I’ve never encountered before. ( Underslab plumbing that is.) So my first foray into this realm of plumbing is going to be with a little trepidation and care if you will. I’m actually very excited to begin working on this. I happen to love plumbing work. I always liken it to putting a puzzle together. Challenging and somewhat relaxing at the same time if that makes any sense. So how do we go about this task?
Yes my friends the best way to really start is to draw an isometric drawing. For those of you who are not learned in the ways of the isometric drawings a word or two. An isometric drawing in the plumbing world is a 3 dimensional drawing that shows the complete layout of every plumbing fixture in the house and how they are all connected together. From this drawing you can do a take off of all the fittings you need to do the installation along with the piping of course. It’s tricky though. I used graph paper and what you have to do is draw that third dimension in there. I think it took me three tries to get what I wanted out of the drawing. But it does work….and if you need an extra fitting along the way you just go the store and pick it up. Not really a big deal. It happens all the time. Sometimes when you really start putting everything together you come up with a more efficient way to do things or you forgot that you need a tee-wye here instead of a wye. Oh yeah, plumbers of the world unite! I’ll show you what this stuff is as we go along. Not that difficult really.
Anyway, the real conundrum for me was the connection at the septic tank. It used to be that the line from the house to the septic tank had to be cast iron with a house trap and vent right before the line exited the house.
Cast iron is a pain the a….ankle. This is where I have to begin so this is really important. “Let’s go to the internet shall we?” I said to myself, I said.
The short version: After much searching and discussion with friends and a local plumber I got the low down. You can use SDR-35 pipe to the septic and you’re one and done. Problem is I have no idea what SDR-35 pipe is or how it gets connected.
Wait a minute Terence is getting bored and wants to see a picture so lets get one in there shall we?
So SDR-35 pipe is green pipe and is 4 inch diameter. Our main line under the slab is 3 inch PVC .So I went to the plumbing supply house by me and talked to the guy at the counter about what I needed. SDR-35 comes in 14 foot lenghts and has a compression type fitting to make connections not glue. We also needed a special transition fitting to go from 4 inch SDR-35 to 3 inch pvc which is shown in the picture above. So the guy at the counter says I need duck butter. I was like what? I’m not cooking anything I’m plumbing a house. No duck butter it’s a special lubricant you use to make these compression fittings go together easily. It actually worked really well. Put your gloves on and put a bunch of duck butter on the pipe and the fitting and then push them together. Needed a little help with a short 2×4 and a hammer as well but I got it on no problem. Did the same with the first piece of pipe going into this fitting as well. I put a 3×4 on the footing and then banged the pipe into the fitting in a vertical manner. Check it out.
Did you notice the opening through the footing. You forgot about that when we poured the footing didn’t you? Good thing I showed up. Like I said there’s a method to my madness.
So I made this 8 inches wide so I would have plenty of wiggle room for the pipe. I’m glad I did. (Used styrofoam for the opening by the way.)
I kind of forgot to mention but I had Terence and two of his friends cleaning the site Saturday as well. So I wasn’t really full time on plumbing Saturday there were a lot of little odds and ends I had to show them along the way. They got a ton done for me . I think one more long day and we should be in really good shape as far as the site is concerned. Here they are getting it organized first.
The site was really a mess. When I get to the site I really just want to move on and get the next step going. But it really is important to get the site cleaned up and organized. It’s just a safer environment. They did a good job. Worked hard.
So now we are ready to install our first pipe. Like I said before it really is all about pitch. So how do we get the right pitch? Well I don’t know how most plumbers do it but here’s what I did. We’re looking for a quarter inch in a foot pitch. That’s the optimal pitch for house drainage. So I cut two small pieces of half inch plywood and taped them to my four foot level. That is 1 inch pitch in a four foot run which is what we want. Check it out.
So when the levels bubble is in between the two lines I know I have exactly a quarter inch in 12 pitch. Here’s a picture of the first pipe installed with the proper pitch.
I used 2 inch styrofoam to shim the pipe up and I used a metal stake to hold the pipe in line with the footing. So just quick back to the method to my madness .What happens to the pipe when we put the gravel on top of it? We don’t want to lose our pitch because when the dwarves come home to roost we’re going to have a problem. So what I’m going to do is build a little concrete form around the pipe and pour concrete to support the pipe. I’m going to wrap the pipe with poly and then pour halfway up the pipe. You’ll get it once I do it. It’s really going to be a nice job.
Back to the boys.
So I set the boys up taking the scaffold down on the west side next. Tricky work and dangerous. Once they got the plan they were off and running. Man, it’s nice to have the hired help back.
One last shot.
Lunch:Paul had the usual. BLT on a toasted roll with mayo. Terence and Peter on the other hand…..this was a big decision. Eventually they both decided on something with grilled chicken. 5 minute feeding frenzy, at least 15 minutes to figure out what you want. Like I said this was a BIG decision. I also got the deli pickle quartered. Peter and Paul both said no when I told them about it at lunch and then both relented and took a quarter each. It’s just a pickle boys no more, no less. Went very well with my ham and cheese.
Oh yeah, before I forget. Steve calls me up after we’ve left. He was over at the house and was ranting and raving about how much it’s changed since he was last there and all. So I told him to stop by my house before he goes back home. I bring him in through my back door and he spies the duck butter.(It’s water based so I don’t want it to freeze over at the house.) He asks me if he can bring it upstairs and take a look at it. The editor put out a spread for us at the table. You know , crackers, cheese and the pepperoni. Okay so Steve opens up the duck butter and is like a kid in a candy store. He’s like: “We had this stuff back in the day when I was in the dungeons of the Barad dur. I love this stuff!” Then he …..well take a look.
He’s says it’s good for your skin. Yeah right. Oh and guess what? He dressed up for Halloween. He told us he bought those signature round glasses….and he was John Lennon. What was I supposed to say to that one.
Well I hope I gave you some food for thought this week. I did a few other things as well but we’ll save that for another day.
Enjoy your week! …and make sure you know what’s in those dipping pots this holiday season! It could be Duck Butter!
Hobbit Hollow Jim