Multipurpose Tool
Caulking Tips
Bottle Jack as Third Hand

Nothing It Can't Do

A 4 1/2-inch angle grinder is a multipurpose tool that is a must-have. I have both a cordless and corded version, along with grinding wheels, cut-off wheels and a diamond-tip tile-cutting wheel on my truck.

The grinding wheel is great to sharpen those self-feeding auger bits. I use the tile wheel to notch grooves in the tile when setting a closet flange, so that I don’t have to hammer drill new tile to anchor the flange. Also works great when you need to make a nice, neat hole in that old plaster, just a little dusty.

I use the cut-off wheel to cut copper pipe when even a minicutter is too big - like when the pipe is run along and strapped to a wall and you need to make a tie-in. Put a flathead screwdriver behind the pipe to bring it off the wall just a touch, and cut out the piece of pipe that is not needed.

I also use this wheel to cut off those old brass flush valves. After the tank is removed, I take it to my truck, lay the tank on its back, cut a slot at 9 and 3 o’clock almost all the way through the nut. This requires a very steady position using both hands so that you don’t hit the tank. Then put a large flathead screwdriver in one of the slots and twist. The nut should fall right off in two pieces. If not, you didn’t cut deep enough slots with the grinder.

This wheel is also great for cutting cast iron. When the snap cutters are too big, I cut as much of the pipe as possible with the grinder in two spots. I then cut two more slots with the pipe to create a window. Remove the window, which is about 6 inches by about half of the pipe. Then stick the grinder in the pipe to cut the pipe the rest of the way through, but from the inside out.
Kenneth Kahl
KBM Plumbing Inc.
Perry Hall, Md.

Caulking Tips

When caulking around fixtures with latex caulk, use a grout clean-up sponge to wipe the caulk joint for a smooth, clean finish.

When caulking with silicone, use denatured alcohol in a spray bottle to mist the caulk bead prior to smoothing it with your finger, it will allow the silicone to be worked just like latex caulk with water.
Craig Weidner
Weidner Plumbing
Franklinville, N.J.

Third Hand

When installing a disposer and you find you need a third hand to engage the locking tabs, try using a small bottle jack under the unit andgingerly(emphasis here!) crank it in place and lock it.
Leo S. Cussell
Leo’s Plumbing
Pompano Beach, Fla.

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 at, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.