Sunday, September 21, 2008

A New Tool In My Plumbing Toolbag

This past Tuesday morning I had just finished shaving. I pushed down on the nob-and-rod (my super technical term) to raise the plug to release the water in the sink. I did not hear the normal water-gurgling and slurping sound of a sink-full of water going down the drain pipe. Instead I heard the sound of water splashing onto the bottom of the bathroom cabinet.

NOT a good thing! I immediately pulled on the nob-and-rod to stop the draining of the sink and opened the door to reveal the inside of the cabinet. Sure enough, everything was soaked. About six rolls of toilet paper had to be thrown away. I used the trash can to catch the rest of the water so that I could drain the sink and then turned off the water to the faucets - I did not have time to investigate as I had to shower and dress for work.

That evening I came home and gave things a closer look to see if something had become loose. It turns out that the plastic drain pipe had sheared off where it met the sink - no amount of twisting was going to fix that. So, after the kids were in bed, off I went to Lowes, where I procured the replacement parts, this time in metal (don't want this to happen again).

Due to the way the pipes are under the sink, I had to cut off a couple of inches from the end of the new tail piece. I don't know if was due to the stress of being cut or was a manufacturer's defect, but once I got the new parts installed and tested, I discovered a leak. The leak was not any any of the connections I made, but where the tail piece entered the pipe body through which the plug lever enters (anyone have a more technical name for this?) - i.e. that's the way it came of of the box.

I couldn't believe it. Well, that was it for that evening. Since I had sawed off a portion of the tail piece, I couldn't return it. As I saw it, I had three options:

  1. Call a plumber: That would be expensive.
  2. Buy a new part and try again: That would be less expensive than a plumber but I hated the idea of having to buy another brand new part, with no guarantee that it would not leak too. I would also have to take everything apart and install it.
  3. Fix the leak: In my mind, on this night, that was taking off the part, cleaning off all of the pipe dope and plumber's putty on it and trying to solder the joint so that it wouldn't leak. The problem with that option is, again, I would have to take everything apart, solder it, install it again, just so I can test it.
I slept on these three options, and came up with option 3B. What if I could fix the leak without the fire and heat of soldering, which would mean that I could fix it in place. I started running through my mind all the things I new of that could be used fix it, such as super glue, plumber's putty, and epoxy.

I settled on epoxy. Something like JB Weld aught to do it. While at work, I did some on line research at Lowes and Home Depot, to find something I could pick up on my way to work. That's when I made the discovering that there was such a thing as plumbing epoxy.

On my way home, I dropped by the Lowes' plumbing section and picked up a tube of Oatey's FIX-it STICK, all purpose bonding putty (epoxy). Here's the three bullet points on the outside packaging:
  • Plugs & Seals Leaks
  • Mixes In Your Hand
  • Hardens Like Steel In Minutes
Sounded like just what I needed. And it was. In the tube is a stick of epoxy resin and hardener, one wrapped around the other. You break of the amount you need and mash it together until it is a consistent color (reminded me of the stick of gum in Mission Impossible, just not with explosive properties) and then have about three minutes to put it in place. I pressed the putty around the joint, making sure all sides were thuroughly covered. The instructions say that it will be fully set in 15-20 minutes. I went ahead and waited half an hour. Then I gave it a test - success! No leaks. Problem solved. And the putty was indeed very hard, though I cannot say if it was as hard as steel or not.

I wish I had know about this product several years ago. I can think of at least two plumbing projects that would have been a lot easier if I could have used the FIX-it STICK rather than the Replace-the PIPES option. This definitely goes into my plumbing toolbag.

Besides what I used this bonding putty for, the instructions inside the tube has a list of other uses:
  • Sealing leaks in sink traps, pipe joints (I know that), hot water tanks, damaged water pipes, bathroom fixtures.
  • Seals leaking downspouts.
  • Stops leaks in gas tanks and oil pans.
  • Fills rust holes and dents in autos.
  • Repairs fiberglass or wood hulls.
  • Attaches auto and boat trim for good (means you have to break the trim to get it off).
  • Mending toys, furniture, broken handles and resetting bathroom tiles.
  • Stopping leaks in oil and water tanks, air conditioning coils, air ducts.
  • Patch floors, walls and castings.
  • Restoring stripped threads.
  • Thread locks.
  • Attaching machine tags.
  • Anchoring rods, bolts, screws, machines.
  • Filleting compound.
  • Part fabrication.
Quite amazing stuff. I like the last one. Anyone want to build an engine? I've included some pictures below. I apologize for the fuzziness. The camera had a hard time focusing.

My new tool in my fight against pipe deterioration.
Small print reads: All purpose bonding putty

The epoxy putty is that grey ring in the middle of the silver pipe.

A closer view of the sealed joint.
It ain't never gonna leak there again.

Kingdom Koolness

This is just a small but neat thing to share, about how God works in little ways.

As part of our bedtime routine, we read the Bible together as a family (except for Ellie because she's not quite old enough to sit still through the reading). We have chosen to read straight from the actual Bible rather than a children's Bible. We are currently working our way through the gospel of Mark and should be done fairly soon.

Stephanie and I decided that we wanted our kids to be involved in worship services with the adults at an early age, rather than having them in children's church. So, when one of the children turns three, that means they start to stay in with us during the worship portion of the service and then go to children's church. When they turn five, then they start to stay in through the whole service with us. This means that Will now stays in the service with us and listens to the sermon.

Well, today our pastor mentioned that he would be finishing our current series in 1 John next week and that next series, to be given by another man in the church, would be about the life of Jesus, in the gospel of Mark! How cool is that?!

God has worked it out so that we as a family will have read over the material that will be covered on Sunday mornings, giving Will a foundation upon which the sermons can build upon. Isn't God awesome?

Second Annual Backyard Camping

On Friday, the boys and I had our second annual backyard camp. Here's the link for the first annual backyard camp. After I arrived home and changed clothes, we proceeded to set up the tent. Since the tent we have is a small two-person tent and was cramped last year, I borrowed a larger tent from some friends.

After supper, we lit a small fire in an old charcoal grill we have. We brought out the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars, and fixed ourselves some good s'mores. The boys played with flash lights for a bit and gathered sticks to throw onto the fire. Then it was into the house to brush teeth, put on pajamas, go potty and read the Bible.

Since we were only camping in the backyard, as a special treat for the boys, I ran an extension cord out to the tent and we watched one of the boys' videos on the laptop. Once the video was done, so were we. We all snuggled into our sleeping bags. For the boys I had brought out a large seat cushion each to sleep on. I slept on two thin camping pads. That was more than I had last year, but still was not that comfortable. If we start doing this a lot, I may have to look into either an air mattress or a camping cot. Anyway, we slept away the night, undisturbed by any night critters, unlike last year.

Around seven a.m., Ben wakes up, sits up and declares, "It's morning." I told him yes, it was, but that it was not time to get up yet - it had gotten quite cool (around 40) during the night and I was all snugged in my sleeping bag. That lasted about thirty minutes until Will declared that he had to pee, at which time we donned our sweatshirts and shoes, and headed indoors.

The boys really had a good time and so did I, despite the few aches I came away with :-).

Setting up the tent.

Will, Ben and Ellie in front of the tent.

Around the camp fire.

Will in his sleeping bag.

Ben in his sleeping bag.

Here's a link to the post my wife did on the camp out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quote of the Day, 09/23/2008

I'm laying in my bed this afternoon, taking a nap, half in and out of consciousness. I hear Ben open the door of his room and go into the bathroom. The sound of tinkling reaches my ears, followed by a declaration from Ben,

"That's a lot of bubbles."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"The Knowledge of the Holy"

This is a book review on The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer.

Synopsis: A.W. Tozer presents the attributes of God in a concise and easy to understand way. He starts off by laying the foundation as to why we, as Christians, should seek to truly know who God is. He then proceeds to discuss each attribute.

Review: This is an excellent book! I highly recommend it and strongly think every Christian should have a copy. It's not a long book, only 117 pages, so Tozer moves quickly through each attribute. That does not mean it is necessarily a quick read though. I had to digest each chapter and sometime re-read a section to try and really understand the truths being taught.

If you don't have a copy of this book, go out and borrow or buy it today. This is a keeper for my library and one I will re-read many times I'm sure.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Out of Islam"

This is a review on the book, Out of Islam by Christopher Alam, which I stated I would do last November. I've tried to do this two or three times, but have gotten into too much detail each time. I have to keep in mind that I'm doing a book review and not a book report. Hopefully, using a section title of "Synopsis" will help keep me focused.

Synopsis: This is an autobiographical book about Christopher's upbringing in a strict Islamic family in Pakistan. How belief in Allah, who never answered any of his prayers and abuse by his father and step-mother led him to the point that his greatest desire was to die. It was at this point he heard the gospel and became a Christian. Through persecutions and trials, fleeing Pakistan and being granted asylum in Sweden, he learned to trust in God, the God who answers. He went to Bible school and got married. He began to get involved in ministry. Christopher also began to question why he did not see the power (i.e. the miracles) in the present day that was depicted in the New Testament. He got involved with Kenneth Hagin, went to the USA to study at Hagin's school and now holds gospel crusades around the world, in which baptism of the Spirit occurs, healing and other such miracles.

Review: First of all, let me start off saying that when I picked this book up in our one local Christian book store, I thought it was the story of another Muslim turned Christian, Daniel Shayesteh, that I had seen advertised in my Answers in Genesis magazine. I was disappointed to figure out that it was not.

I was very involved in the story, reading how God changed this man's life so completely and met all of his needs, only to read that he got involved with Kenneth Hagin and the Word of Faith movement. That sent up red flags and produced disappointment. I don't want to get into a whole theological debate here, but from everything I've heard and read on Kenneth Hagin and the Word of Faith movement, they don't line up with the whole counsel of Scripture. I've provided links at the bottom if you want to do some more reading on your own.

Christopher Alam has made some excellent observations about Christianity and life that I agree with. It's hard to deny someone's stated experience, but things like the quote below (from page 160 and 161) certainly give me reason to ask, "Is this really from God, and am I just uncomfortable with this because it is out of the realm of my personal experience as a Christian?"
I stripped off my jacket and tossed it into the crowd. "The power of God is upon my jacket," I shouted.
The healing virtue of the Lord Jesus was so powerful upon my jacket as it was being passed around through the crowd that people were being healed the instant they touched the jacket.

There are Biblical, New Testament examples where clothing was involved in healings, but this has a sensationalism ring to it, that makes it suspect in my mind. Anyway, that's just my opinion.

The book is a pretty good read, if you know what to expect. It will never be a favorite and definitely not one I will read over and over again.