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Not all Old Timers took pride in their work

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  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    The first two pictures of backpitched & poorly hung 2" Shower drain with backwards  Tee Wye is likely within lastb30 years (My Era).  The last two pictures, especially the Bell & Spigot Poured lead stacks are atrocious.  The Old timer was either drunk 🥴,  didn't care or both ha ha 🤣 😅 😂 😆. Mad Dog 🐕 
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 116
    Piping was fine when I installed it. House moved. (Stolen from the machinist trade).
    Mad Dog_2ethicalpaulCLambGGross
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    In my almost 40 yrs in, I rarely see Bell & Spigot poured lead joints that aren't plumb, level, neat & sqaured away.  The average plumber back then took alot of pride.  With the easier to install, plastic pipe & pex, that have come on the scene in the last 45 yrs, I find the converse: Craftsmanship & pride is not very common today.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    Long Beach Ed
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,836
    With all that No Hub they weren't the dead men, Newer lazy get it done no pride in workmanship men yes!
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesMikeAmannIntplm.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    It's hard to tell because they painted it but it could easily be 45 yrs old. That's just about the last generation.   Mad Dog 🐕 
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    pecmsg said:
    With all that No Hub they weren't the dead men, Newer lazy get it done no pride in workmanship men yes!
    New install. Nice and neat.

    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    PC7060Long Beach Ed
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,156
    edited March 3
    In my experience , there was no one era when quality was consistently high. Even now you see a high-quality new jobs just as often as the really bad ones; most are somewhere in the middle. 

    On commercial jobs, the electrical and plumbing workmanship is really nice for the first build. But I have to admit the quality of later add-ons is much lower especially if they ducked the permits/inspections.  
    ChrisJ
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    @Mad Dog_2 , I've seen the same with ProPress work.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Mad Dog_2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,510
    No hub hasn't been around long enough for old timers.

    Most of the good work was done in the 40s, 50s & 60s &70s. Those jobs were done by WWII vets and they held up well. In the 80s and up it's all about speed and saving money and all downhill since then.
    Mad Dog_2SuperTech
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    edited March 4
    You nailed it Eddie! I came in to the trades 1985.  I believe  No hub was being Installed 1980ish.  All my Foremen were hardened, Combat Vets of WW II & Korea.  Like Big Ed Holohan, Dan's Pop.  These men fought for their lives, many Hand to hand in The Pacific Islands and Mainland Europe. They feared no man, challenge, or deadline.  They were hard asses until you proved yourself. They knew their trade, their math formulas and held very high standards.  

    G.C.s didn't push them around. "Project Managers" weren't even a thing until the mid 1990s.  It's been all downhill since then as far as Craftsmanship. The Weenies 🌭 and bean counters are in total control now and ALL that matters is speed & bottom line.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    CLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    Nice work Del. Looks like he used inside and outside caulking Irons. I give the job and A.  If the letters on pipe were lined up, you'd get an A Plus! Mad Dog 🐕 
    delcrossv
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    This guy took the time to keep all the ball valves lined up, but never heard of using a 3 M pad to flick the grapes 🍇 off?  Schwein! 🐖 . I don't get it.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    clammy
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    i think now w pro press and pex is all thats used ,just about all solder skills aren't seen as much which may be a good thing being most soldering i see also is of a poor grade. What's the saddest part is the waste .There s no more re soldering just cut it out and press in new and add 2 couplings . i admit i use press and have gotten away from soldering basically because leadfree valves suck to solder and a leak on valves is the worse so unless leaded there press .
    As for quality i believe and know it has and always will be linked to the dollar and as w all things paying top dollar does not really guarantee that that's what you will be left with .What your left w is aside from the finished work is a showing of knowledge and craftsmanship that when done correctly washes away the amount paid and is not something that needs to be redone due to improper install done by ones w limited skill set . This will never change .
    it doesnt take much effort to do a wedding band solder joint ,clean pipe and fitting well ,apply small amount of paste to fitting and pipe,put together apply heat to pipe then hub then wipe excessive paste off apply solder to fitting rule of thumb 1/2 solder 1/2 pipe and on and on . wipe joints afterwards w clean wet cloth w some de greaser then clean wet cloth ,pressure test done . It also shows pride or lack of .
    The funniest thing is the nicest work always takes the back seat to what stands out on a job that is the garbage stuff now a days thats the stuff hiding out os sight . lol
    peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Mad Dog_2Long Beach Ed
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    No love for vets of Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia/Croatia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Niger, Syria? Those guys don't do good work?

    People who didn't go to war can't do good work? People who do go war can't do bad work?

    Sorry I don't buy it.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Mad Dog_2ChicagoCooperator
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    edited March 4
    Always love to stir the pot, Paul. Can't help yourself..can u..ha ha ... Mad Dog 🐕 
    ethicalpaulPC7060Long Beach Ed
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    I have never been in live fire combat. I am a vet. I do nice work.  There goes your pretzel logic . ....Mad Dog 🐕 
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Because you're a vet and you do nice work what does that mean? That all vets do nice work? Or that no non-vets can do nice work?

    I'm not sure I see the pretzel logic but OK, thanks for your service regardless. By the way, I don't stir the pot, I just notice when it's got weird ingredients.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 854
    I am not a Vet but have utmost respect for all of those that served. I think I understand your point about those that served in WWII, I would go as far to say that the work done by MOST people from that era did some of the best work we will ever see.
    SuperTech
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    edited March 4

    I am not a Vet but have utmost respect for all of those that served. I think I understand your point about those that served in WWII, I would go as far to say that the work done by MOST people from that era did some of the best work we will ever see.


    It's funny.
    My house was built in the 1860s. Some additions were done in the late 1800s, also good work.

    All of the bad stuff was done in the 30s-50s.
    And I'm not exaggerating, literally all of the bad stuff. Flat roof, cutting floor joists, putting pipes in outside walls. Copper pipes run 16 feet with no supports.

    Everything before a point, including plumbing was done reasonably well. After a point, absolute garbage. No idea if it's because the house changed hands etc, but what I do know the work is terrible.


    Actually, there was also some bad work done in the 80s but it didn't stand out as much as the older stuff to me.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Those War of 1812 veterans, they really knew their stuff
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    CLambPC7060
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,510
    If I did a job now and it was my choice with copper I would solder everything. What I used to do I would take all the fittings I was going to use in a day, or a morning or for the job I was doing take a fitting brush and cut the handle off and chuck in in a cordless drill and clean all my fittings first thing. Or if I had a helper (which was rare) they would clean them. You still have to cut the pipe ....same as PP. Cleaning the end of new copper is pretty quick. No more looking for the fitting brush. Hang the tubing flux a bunch at one time and grab the torch. The less time you spend looking for the cleaning brush, the torch handle, the solder, the flux and the rag the better off you are.

    All the contractors say PP is faster and it is but the fittings cost. They say it is a cheaper install $$$ wise then sweating.

    Downside to pp is rework gets expensive if you have to cut out a lot of fittings

    Upside to PP is if your fighting water on a repair

    Upside to PP is no fire watch. And that can be HUGE. We had one town in the Boston area we had to pay the fire dept time and 1/2 for fire watch any time we welded or lit a torch.

    Downside to PP is keeping long pipe runs reasonably straight.

    To each there own.

    I never have had a problem soldering no lead valves.

    To me the secret to soldering is get it hot enough but not too hot.

    I have turbo tips but stay away from them and stick to the old Prestolite tips unless I am on something 1 1/2 or larger. But that's just me.

    Maybe my hands move to slow for turbo tips. The more heat you use the faster you have to solder
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    Much of the poor & shoddy work I've seen from yesteryear, was done by working class house poor men who had some  very basic skills. They usually "procured" the materials at work. In many cases, you'd see glaringly obvious Commercial grade materials that looked very out of place.

    Examples:

    Huge lighting fixtures, way oversized pipe, 24" Ceramic tiles....looked ridiculous but..." I
    Got it from work, Bro...they were throwing it out...." 

    We were renovating a Inner City hospital 🏥 in Bed Stuy (do or die) Brooklyn,  mid 1990s.  I was the shop Steward.  We had all the Cast Iron and Husky Couplings ($$) neatly piled up in the morgue (empty) and would unlock 🔑 in the morning 🌄  and leave open all day.  Stuff was disappearing way too fast.  

    I had suspects in mind...6" Husky Clamps were and are  over $100 bucks each. 6" no Hub Fittings $150 a pop.  I knew exactly what we had and what was being Installed because I did the material takeoff & Ordering.  One 🌄 morning, I took an 8 foot ladder, climbed in to the partial drop ceiling pulled it up on this huge duct, laid down with a birds eye 👁 view and waited....

    It was one of the Laborers.  He almost fainted when a Voice from above said 
    "GOTCHA!"  He tried to play dumb and insisted it was his first foray in to our material shanty. I said, "Bro...why didn't you just ask?  What the H-- are you building anyway?"  He said, I'm doing my basement bathroom 🚻 over.. "  I said, "With 6" pipe?"
    Yeah!!  It's free right?" NO bro it's really not!!" 
      Back in the day, only Rats 🐀 called the Cops..All issues were handled on the job. Fistfight, payback, whatever  period.  I told the foreman and his foreman worked it out. But, this is one of the ways how out of place items wind up on shoddy, kooky installs.
    Mad 🐕 Dog 


    PC7060Long Beach Ed
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 278
    @clammy What's a "wedding band solder joint"?
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    Only as much solder as you see on a mans finger. Mad Dog 
    bburdSuperTechCLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    Zoom in on these joints...only a wedding ands width of solder.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    delcrossvCLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    Old Pete Russo was a WW I US Navy Vet.  He had the Battleship he served on across his chest with that old blue tattoo ink...Pete had 6 kids and toiled away at the Ford Motor Plant on Green Island Troy, NY.  Back then, a semi-skilled worker could buy a few acres on Saratoga Lake. 

    He built the camp from scraps and old nails and spikes he pulled out of old boards.  One summer he removed every nail from a discarded boat because they BRASS and saved them in glass jars. Pete was 5 foot 7 and built for his height. Pete Jr, his WW II Battle of the Bulge survivor son was 6 foot 2, so later additions had higher doorways and ceilings, he attached sheds, handyg well house, and a Bunk house & barracks for the relatives. 

    Ramshackle & shoddy, but dry & cozy..homey. Pete didn't hire nobody to do nuthin...and it showed, but it was Russo Acres, we cherished every August we stayed  on the property for The Saratoga Racing Season. Mad Dog 🐕 
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    Nice work Del. Looks like he used inside and outside caulking Irons. I give the job and A.  If the letters on pipe were lined up, you'd get an A Plus! Mad Dog 🐕 

    We call them "innies" and "outies". :)
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    Does all cast iron piping come painted or is it sometimes raw?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    edited March 5
    ChrisJ said:

    Does all cast iron piping come painted or is it sometimes raw?

    Always black. Raw CI would rust as you watched it. :#
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    ChrisJ
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,622
    So what are these inner and outer caulking irons? I assume different offsets on the handle?
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    edited March 5
    mattmia2 said:

    So what are these inner and outer caulking irons? I assume different offsets on the handle?

    Both are offset handles, but one has the wedge of the blade going in and the other has the wedge of the blade going out. 2 vs 3 and 4 vs 5



    Then there's a long flat ended one for yarning (poking oakum) and another for trimming the shoe on side pours.

    There's also a ceiling iron for when the bell is close to an obstruction (shaped like an S) but good planning usually avoids needing that one.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    I believe they are dipped in an Asphalt coating and then the letters are painted on. Mad Dog 🐕 
    delcrossv
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,658
    Mad Dog_2 said:
    I believe they are dipped in an Asphalt coating and then the letters are painted on. Mad Dog 🐕 
    That's kinda what I thought my stuff looked like


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    PC7060
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    I believe they are dipped in an Asphalt coating and then the letters are painted on. Mad Dog 🐕 

    The older stuff certainly is. The new Charlotte stuff is more like paint and doesn't get on your hands. (?)
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    ChrisJ
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,879
    In our first year apprenticeship, we had to cut 4" XH with a hammer 🔨 & chisel..Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,936
    edited March 6
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    In our first year apprenticeship, we had to cut 4" XH with a hammer 🔨 & chisel..Mad Dog 🐕 

    You too?
    A purposely blunt chisel. XH and DBL. XH CI on a pile of sand or a bag of sand when available?
    Mad Dog_2