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Why Not An Allen Wrench?

I was reading the May 2005 issue of Plumbing & Mechanicaland was very disappointed with the first place winner of the Tool Tip.

They make allen wrenches specifically for that “internal hex opening.” The winner should also know that they also make lengths of keyway stock in different sizes that can be used on seats that require a square wrench. These usually are available at the local hardware stores. If you can't find them there, a local industrial supply house should have them.

We have come up with several different “tools” that aid in completing our plumbing and drain service work. We don't think they are that big of a deal. For example, when using a cable machine on a drain line (either a main line or sink drain), and we are unable to get the machine next to the drain opening, we use a piece of poly pipe or even PVC drainage piping to guide the cable between the machine and the clean out opening.

In some cases, where the clean out for a main sewer opening is down in a crawl space, we have “piped” from clean out opening to the crawl space opening. That way you can get the machine right next to the remote drain opening, eliminating the danger of the exposed cable.

Robert Herman
Herman Plumbing Co. Inc.
Grand Island, Neb.

Brigham Beeson replies: Robert had a good point. Why didn't I just use a hex wrench? I compared my little wonder tool with my hex wrench set, and there's one that matches it perfectly. I must have been in full-blown invention mode. Maybe I'll take it to the machine shop and have it chrome-plated so it can be considered a legitimate tool.

Blue Collar Bias

I'm sending a copy of Jim's editorial about service trucks in driveways to my idiotic homeowners association (“Blue Collar Bias Revisited,” June 2005). Many thanks.

Nora DePalma
Building Profits Inc.
Cumming, Ga.

Know Your Costs

Ellen Rohr's preaching goes beyond running a contracting business. While I am a contractor, she has also helped in fundraising for the California Waterfowl Association.

By using Ellen's mindset, I have raised $10,000 in extra donations and plan to have the net from our South Bay Banquet go from $38,000 to $50,000 this year. We will do this by knowing our costs and what we need to make the goal. Simple.

This is a more professional approach. Thanks to Ellen, we lowered ticket prices to $65 from $75, but included an $800 Hunting Heritage Table for eight, or special individual seating for $100. These people get linen tablecloths, napkins and silverware, upfront seating and a few special perks. Our extra cost, not more than $10 dollars per guest. And we should net $25 more per guest.

Get this. Almost all the tables for eight sold and ticket sales are up from last year. Last year, we sold a total of 225 tickets at $75. To date, we have sold 300-plus tickets with 120 being the $100 Hunting Heritage Tickets - and we have one week to go selling tickets.

Fred Worrell
California Waterfowl Association
Sacramento, Calif.