SHEDNOTES 63: Talking tools

Lately, The Shed has mainly been making cups of tea for proper builders; painting behind them; and, of course, cadging tips.
Some notes so far …
Old builders carry an old-fashioned bristle broom for dust. It is much more densely packed than most nylon brushes and picks up better.
Professional painters rarely wash a tray or a bucket. Just spread the last of the paint evenly and let them dry. You might have to knife out a few flakes but generally you can get a few goes before you need to chuck and start again.
Makita is in for power tools, although a few years ago it was De Walt and they are coming back strongly. Everybody, electricians, builders, plumbers and fitters, carries thousands of pounds worth of kit. The Shed loved a Makita saw guide which just sits on the surface of your sheet material and grips it with rubber feet. Used to cost thousands, still costs hundreds.
A cheap silicone sealant is a waste of money. A lot of tradesmen swear by anything with Sticks Like S*** in the branding, for all kinds of cartridge-gun fillers, including the original glue.
There is a man in Torbay does nothing but bathroom finishing. He carries a bucket of sticks to press home his sealant runs.
Eggshell finish is a bit tricky. You can’t just slap it on, like matt emulsion. You need at least one top coat all properly knitted and laid off.
The Shed was especially impressed when the main building team broke through from the extension and made a dead-level transition to the floor inside. Trade secret, according to the lads. But other sources suggest the trick was probably a length of clear plastic tubing, fed out from under the house floor. Fill it with water and jiggle it until nothing is spilling from either end. Line up the water level with the top of your existing joists at one end and make a mark by the water level at the other end and that’s what you have to come up to.
Close-fit toilets and ultra-low-profile shower basins and flat switches are all very well but they are tricky to fit and you might regret the choice when you have to fix a joint. The Shed has ended up with a wobbly toilet seat, for example, and no way humanly possible, as far as we can see, to get at the retaining nuts without uncoupling the whole basin.
morelater …
PS: Apologies to all concerned, but The Shed has learned that the problem of access to the underneath of close-coupled toilets has been considered – and there is usually a way. In this case, two tiny lugs, holding the seat onto the retaining bolts, could be removed with a hex key (and surgical levels of care). Then the cover plates on the bolts flipped off, revealing a screw which could be tightened from above.
morelater …

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