• Make your own 'Plunge Plate'
  • Use for a dentist's pick
  • Diamonds are best


  • Worth The Effort

    My Tool Tip requires a bit of labor to construct, but it is worth it.

    This is regarding plunging a stopped-up bath drain. We usually remove the waste and overflow faceplate, stuff a wet rag in, and plunge away. Many times, as careful as we are, this can loosen the gaskets and piping and it can be difficult to create an airtight seal.

    Here is what I did to make a “Plunge Plate.” This will work with the two-bolt style waste and overflow mechanisms. I purchase a solid brass waste and overflow plate, available through Wolverine Brass for about $16.

    Disassemble it, file the chrome off the lever and the opening that the lever goes through, and then solder it. This makes a handle. Then grind off the overflow cutout and file by hand to finish off so you have an even surface all the way around.

    Obtain a waste and overflow gasket, the kind that grabs the overflow, and put it on your modified plate. The final step is to obtain two small (beveled seem to work best) tank-to-bowl gaskets and two brass washers. Place the brass washers on the brass bolts that came with the plate, then the tank-to-bowl washers.

    When you are ready to plunge, just remove the existing waste and overflow plate/linkage and screw in your unit. This makes an airtight seal that holds the existing overflow and piping so you can plunge away to your hearts’ delight without the rag blowing out and spraying your face and shirt with that lovely, black, smelly water, usually accompanied with a slimy hair ball.

    Happy Plunging!

    Kurt S. Born
    Born Brothers Plumbing & Heating Inc.
    Trenton, N.J.

    Open Wide?

    I have discovered a new tool to carry in your tool box. That shiny pick the dentist uses to clean teeth has other uses. It works great to remove “o” rings, install seats and springs, and remove faucet washers that break off in fixture stops. Check with your dentist!

    Terry Jensen
    Jensen Plumbing Co.
    Muskegon, Mich.

    Time Saver

    When you need to cut a cast-iron stack, especially when in a tight spot, I’ve found that a grinder with a diamond blade is much easier and just as fast. Plus, you don’t need your helper to hold up the chain on the chain-cutters.

    Sam Matson
    Thos. H. Matson & Son Plumbing
    Cincinatti, Ohio

    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.

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