Send usyour Tool Tips for the chance to win $200 worth of RIDGID tools.

Color Coding

First, we must give credit to my son, Peter Yavaldakis, who developed our “color-coding” system a few years ago when he was just 16.

We have been using the system of color coding the chain links of our cast-iron soil pipe cutters. This has been very helpful, especially with new apprentices who mistakenly jam the tool. We use regular spray paint colors - red, green, yellow, orange, etc. - and paint the chain link that corresponds to each pipe size. Once the ratchet is set, it is very easy to switch from one pipe size to another.
Nick Yavaldakis
NYCO Plumbing & Heating
New York, N.Y.

Different Bait

When adding thermostats in building with internal cinder block walls, pulling wiring through the walls can be frustrating. My fish tape will not work because the curve of the blade keeps catching on the inside of the mortar joints. Now, I take a length of string, tie about a dozen 3/8-inch nuts on the end (actually only one is tied, the rest slip on the string), and lower that from above. If it lands on a mortar joint, all the nuts won't fit there and the weight will pull it on down the wall. Then, you just connect your stat wire to it and pull back up through the wall. So far it has worked every time.
Richard Lorimer
Modern Piping Co. Inc.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Case Closed

Being a service plumber, I use my inspection mirror quite often. Because it always seems to get broken, I have found that using one of my wife's used cosmetic compact mirrors works best. Because it has a cover that closes, the mirror stays in better shape. I keep one in my solder tray, brazing kit and gas leak detection kit.
Vaughn Carlson
Meridian Plumbing
Meridian, Idaho

Send Us Your Tool Tips

If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers. You can e-mail your idea directly to PM editor Steve Smith, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.

Our first-place winner will receive the following from Ridge Tool Co. The RIDGID® Prize Package consists of eight professional hand tools and has a $200 total value:

  • 14-inch and 18-inch HD RAPIDGRIP™ Self-Adjusting Wrenches for easy, one-hand operation.

  • One-Stop™ Wrench, a compound tool for installing compression couplings.

  • 10-inch Wide-Mouth Adjustable Wrench featuring tapered jaws for tight areas.

  • 10 1/2-inch Plumber's Tongue-and-Groove Pliers with extra-wide opening jaws.

  • No. 117 Midget Tubing Cutter for use in confined areas.

  • No. 151 Quick-Acting Tubing Cutter for smoother operation.

  • 6-in-1 Multi-Purpose Screwdriver with two Phillips heads, two flat heads and two nut drivers.