As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls, but we also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.
FIRST, A QUICK CORRECTION AND THANK YOU – out to the The Pond Gnome Paul Holdeman for being the REAL source for the nifty little Liner Cutter featured in the last blog. Although Susan had purchased them for me and the boys on a scrapbooking site, Paul showed it to her at a charity build he graciously donated his and his crew’s time and tools for at the Virginia C. Piper Cancer Center of Phoenix in 2014. Thanks Paul!!! It was a pleasure working with you!
And here’s another big Thank You, this one to Sean Cudmore of Pond Creations by Sean, for turning me on to our next Tool That Doesn’t Suck. Let me set the stage. I had driven up to Boston from Long Island with everything needed for New England Grows, the Northeast’s largest horticultural and landscaping show. The F-250 was in the shop, so I made the 6-hour drive in a Chevy S-10 piled high with basins, spouts, scuppers, Colorfalls, pumps, plumbing, lights etc. literally a foot over cab height. It was snowing (surprise) so the giant hump of equipment was shrink-wrapped, tarped and strapped down with straps, bungies and ratchet ties. There was a lot of heavy stuff on that load, including a 300 lb. tiled Colorfalls display, and I was worried that stuff would shift on the way up. Sure enough, when I arrived at the convention center and started to unload, one of my favorite displays had broken.
The “skeleton” style display had two Spouts mounted one on either side of a Stainless Steel Scupper, right on the plumbing pipes that supplied them with water from the basin they were attached to. The center pipe supporting the Scupper in the middle had snapped, right at the junction of two fittings, leaving no room to piece in a coupling. I was fit to be tied. I would have to cut the whole thing apart and start over with all new plumbing. Then Sean piped up from the other side of the booth, where he was setting up a thousand-pound boulder on a FB4600 fountain basin.
“Why don’t you just ream out the fittings? Save you a ton of work, not to mention materials. Pretty sure I’ve got a 2” plastic fitting reamer in the truck.”
HUH? Really? 15 minutes later there were white shavings everywhere. And it was FIXED, good as new.
Simple tool, not expensive, comes in various sizes. LIFESAVER! A disc the inside diameter of the section of pipe you want to remove guides a pair of blades that shave the old pipe right out of the fitting, leaving it ready for a new piece of pipe. Search for ‘plastic fitting reamer’ to bring up professional models that can get quite pricey or “socket saver” for an adequate, inexpensive tool that won’t last as long but will run only you $15-$30. Fast, easy, effective and what a time saver!!!! This is a real TTDS, thanks Sean!
About the Author:
Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.