Tom King

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Everything posted by Tom King

  1. Yeah, I know. The 27 years just doesn't seem like that long ago now, and it seems crazy to me that little house would be worth that much. A racing term. Wide F___ing Open.
  2. I built one new spec house a year, for 33 years. 1994 was the year that Virginia Beach was going to start pulling a million gallons of water a day out of the lake, for their drinking water supply. It was the only year, recession, or booming economy, that the local economy wasn't running WFO, and came to a standstill. After it became apparent that the water withdrawal didn't amount to anything, it's been WFO ever since. By then, I had been building 3,000 square foot homes, with basements. I decided that year to not buy one of the best lots, and build a small house, just in case I had to sit on it for a while. I built a 1400 sq. ft. house on a mid range lot on a cove. That lot has no view of anything but that cove, but has a decent low slope to it. I paid 35k for the lot. Last Summer, one of the steep lots, that we thought no one would ever buy, sold for $265,000, that had sold for 10k back in the '70's, and they built a giant house on it-just for relative changing values to the times comparison. I built that house, and added a large addition onto our barn that year for 130k. I decided to put a price of 265 on it, and put my For Sale sign at the road. It sold that weekend after I put the sign on it. It's a well built little house, with custom everything, and a large, 30x32 two car garage. I always built the garage first, to use as a shop. The guy that bought it was another builder. He bought it to live in himself. He said he'd never seen a house that well built. He ended up dying after falling off a ladder building a shop for himself, and his Wife sold it 20 years ago. I don't know what it sold for that time. Anyway, fast forward to a few weeks ago. A Realtor advertised it for sale, with viewing on Saturday. Cars lined up in the street near it, and offers started coming in. They had listed it for 825. They had offers of 850, and 885. It sold that afternoon for $890,000. I'd like to say that it was because it was built by me, but I think it's just a crazy market, in general.
  3. I guess that small diameter kit is no longer on the market. It's in a clear plastic tube, but any name brand is long gone. I'm glad I have it though, as a lot of times the object is so small that the hole would otherwise need to be enlarged to use a regular tie plugging tool.
  4. There are different types of plug tools. Some have a slot on the end, and some have a closed eye. I like the ones with a closed eye. The ones with a slot sometimes will pull the plug back out, rather than the tool only coming back out, leaving the plug. With the closed eye, you push the plug all the way in, pull it partially back out, and cut the ends of the plug. It works every time. With those, you have to cut the plugs short enough that they don't come up past the end of the handle, so the plug can go all the way inside. I also keep a little bottle of rubber cement in the kit. The plug is dipped in the rubber cement before inserting it in the tire. It lubricates it some going in, and I feel like gives it a little extra security. There is also one particular type of kit that has a very small diameter insertion tool, and small diameter plugs. That tool has a slot on the side of the shaft, angled down. I've never had any trouble with that one pulling a plug back out. I'm looking for that one online, but haven't found it yet. I'll try to remember to look at the kit in the truck today, and try to find them by the company name. On cars close to the ground, I do find it easier to take the tire off, but on trucks, I can plug them while laying on the ground. It's no fun taking a 1 ton truck tire off on the side of the road. The cheap, auto parts kits will work, but the tools bend easily. Blackjack tools are not exactly cheap, but I've found them strong enough for the Load Range E tires, and have never bent one. A spray bottle of Windex is kept in each vehicle, not only for cleaning glass, but for finding leaks in tires. Spray some around the tread of the tire, and it will blow a stream of bubbles where the leak is. You will read that plugs are temporary fixes, etc., etc., but I've never had to redo one, and tires run until they were worn out, more times than I can count.
  5. Here is the one I bought, but I paid 50 bucks for it at Autozone, less than a year ago. I don't know what they go for there now. It's been used a bunch of times, because one of Pam's car tires had a little piece of wire in it. The low tire light would come on about every three weeks. I finally had time to plug the tire, but that pump was well worth having, until I could get the car in our shop.
  6. And moved it two sheets at the time!!
  7. I bought a $50 Slime one, to keep in Pam's car, that works fine, with an automatic cut-off. It's slow, but does the job, and doesn't take up much room in the car. The one in my truck is probably 20 years old. A Truck Air, that is getting tired. I'll look at yours to see about replacing it. When we get something in a tire, so that it needs plugging, I don't even take it off the vehicle to plug. That's the main reason I keep kits, including a compressor, in each vehicle.
  8. Try a Mr. Clean sponge, and water. We have a rental house that had 40 years of something sticky on the cabinets, and countertops. That was the first thing we found that could take it off. I've also found they're great for cleaning glass. For glass, wipe after the sponge with microfiber cloth, and it finishes crystal clear.
  9. Topsoil, on top of red clay subsoil. The topsoil has a lot of beach sand in it. We're right on the edge of the transition from Coastal Plain, to PIedmont (where hills first start). This used to be the edge of the ocean. We're right at 200 feet above sea level. From here, to the coast, is almost flat. To the West of here, hills start getting bigger. Below the red clay subsoil, which can vary in depth a Lot, is the large block of Granite that is under most of the surrounding states, and beyond. I get along great with that Rental Company. They know I'm not going to tear up their equipment, and will bring it back cleaner than when I picked it up. That excavator was the last one they had on the yard. Kevin, the owner, told me the nut that kept the keeper bolt in for changing buckets needed to be replaced, because the threads were so screwed up in it that they couldn't get the bolt back in. He said they had been too busy to cut the nut off, and weld another one on. I told him to stick a 12" bucket on it, and leave the bolt out, that I'd fix it. It was a 5/8" nut. I have taps up to 1", from a tractor repair job, so I just re-tapped the nut, and it worked fine. They'll let me pick up whatever I want, and pay when I bring something back, because often I don't know how long I'll need it. I picked it up late that evening, used it 8 hours the next day, and carried it back the following morning. He just charged me for one day rental.
  10. It passed Inspection today, so now we'll see how long it takes the power company to get here. I did get an email from them that they had received notice of the inspection. Overall, that seems reasonably fast, because I think it was just last Tuesday that I met with the power company Designer about it.
  11. I know we have at least one member not far from there.
  12. I don't write notes, but I come up with some of my best solutions about how to do something in my sleep. I know not to worry over such, and that I will wake up tomorrow with the answer. I do a fair amount of walking away early, some days. When I used to have helpers working with me, they knew what the deal was when I said, "Put the tools up, and let's go home". It would always come easier the next day.
  13. Just notified that two platform ladders I "bought"/ordered from Lowes, Nov.16,2020, on a Black Friday sale are at the store for my pickup. They tried to cancel the order last July, but I didn't want to cancel the order. The sale price, for both of them, was less than the current price for one. The person at the Customer Service desk had to get the Store Manager over, and they decided not to cancel the order. I told them I didn't care how long it took. I wanted the ladders. A 6 foot aluminum platform ladder, and an 8 foot platform fiberglass ladder. My feet get tired standing on regular step ladders if the job takes more than a short while, and the sale prices, that day, were too good to pass up.
  14. I took pictures of the ditch, this morning. The power company wanted it 24" deep. I got back with the walk behind saw at about 4:00 the day I met with the designer. I had planned to carry it back in the morning, and bring back a mini-excavator. I called the rental place, knowing that they close at five, and told them that I was cutting butter, downhill, in the shade, and to leave a key in an excavator if I didn't get back before they closed. The cutting really was that easy. They had closed when I got there, but they had left a key for me, so I brought the machine back on my trailer. Digging the ditches was the easy part. I worked the excavator for the full 8 hours, before I carried it back the next afternoon. I had a lot of other work around the farm to do with it anyway. The ditches didn't take over a half hour. I wheeled 487 feet down to the little bathroom house on the point. I'm going to put at least a 100 amp subpanel down there, and probably run 150 amp wire, because of the distance. From there, it will power that building, including a mini-split, and continue to the not yet built boathouse, and dock complex, and run a sprinkler pump, boat lifts, and lights. The saw cost $73, and the excavator $286. The worst part of the job was, by FAR, getting that chunk of concrete out of the way. This morning, I feel better about coming out for my work. The dirt that came out of the ditches will be filled back in with the tractor with front end loader. I just dug the ditch going down the hill far enough to get through a few Pine trees, and the rest will be done with a trencher. I did dig an access hole at the little building with the excavator, to make it easier to get under the wall with water, and power. The old power pole will come down, out of sight. The designer told me they couldn't touch it because it still had an old phone wire on it, even though that wire hadn't been used for decades. I pulled the wire down with the excavator.
  15. People ask me why I still work. I tell them that if I didn't keep working, I might actually be 71 years old.
  16. An Electrician told me I saved a couple of thousand dollars. It was worth that. Next time, I'll go rent the right kind of saw, but since I was into it that far, the couple of wet hours, sitting down, were probably worth it. I'll try to think to take a picture of the ditch tomorrow. It probably did me some good to get a workout with the 20 lb. sledge hammer. I doubt many over 70 do that. I did have some sore muscles that I haven't felt in a long time, which will help with my golf game later.
  17. I'm changing a low, overhead 200 amp Service Entry wire service, to a 400 amp underground. I met with the "Designer" from the power company, and planned together how they wanted it done. I went that day, and rented a walk behind saw, cut the asphalt driveway where the wire needed to go, and brought a mini-excavator back when I carried the saw back. I had other work to do with the excavator anyway. They wanted a 24" deep ditch from the transformer pole, to the house, below the new meter. They furnished the meter base. I had enough leftover parts from years of other building, that the only thing I needed to buy was one, of the two, new ground rods they wanted. One of the conduit sections is a bit weathered, but not worth a trip anywhere to get a new piece. The ditch digging went easily, and it looked like it wouldn't be too bad of a job. It wasn't, except for one step. The old building has brick veneer that was laid on top of a footing separate from the main footings, and a slot needed to be cut out of the protruding edge of the brick footing. Normally, I'd just break that out with a 20 lb. sledge hammer. I've never seen any concrete that wouldn't yield to a 20 lb. sledge hammer. This wouldn't. Not At All. I drilled holes all around the cutout I needed with a 1-1/4" SDS-MAX hammer drill. It was the Hardest stuff I've ever drilled any hole in. It was over 8" thick where I needed to cut it. I got tired after that a couple of days ago, and left it for another day. The next day, I hit it some more with the 20lb. sledge hammer, and not only would it not break, I couldn't even crack it. I cut some slots in it with a diamond blade in a 4-1/2" side grinder, with a water hose for dust control. I'm not going to tell anyone else to do this, but I buy the cheap grinders for this, and have done it many times. I don't cut masonry with a blade enough, ever, to be worth buying a dedicated gas powered saw for this. The last time I cut masonry with a portable blade was 6 years ago, and that only for a couple of chimney flashings. I cut a slot a couple of inches deep, all around the backs of the drilled holes, and hit it some more with the 20 lb. sledge hammer. Couldn't crack it. I walked away for another day. Today, I decided to just start cutting away with the little grinder, and breaking out small chunks. I put on a swimsuit, and say on a board to keep out of the mud. After a couple of hours, of cutting, prying, and hitting with a masonry hammer, the job was completed. I went, with everything I had on, and jumped in the lake to wash off. I was covered, back to front, top to bottom, with wet concrete mush. If I'd known it would have been this bad to start with, I would have wasted the half day it takes to go rent anything. The $27.95 Skil sidegrinder, and blade that was in it, was tossed right in the trashcan. It was complaining enough, by the time the job was finished, that I knew it didn't have much life left in it. Any wires seen cut in the pictures don't matter. They are not in use for anything anyway, and I had already unhooked them in the old panel. The old meter was where the cutoff to the left is. This type of 400 amp service splits it into two 200 amp branches. The box to the right will serve a few more subpanels, down the hill on the point, and around the lakefront side of the house for a deck. I don't want to get into adding anything to the old system, or I will have to get into adding arc-fault circuits, which I don't want to do on an old electrical system, that I'd bet money has shared Neutrals. Glad this one is behind me. The power company is charging 1717.38 to run the wire from their transformer, maybe 75 feet away, if I dug the ditch. They said it would be a LOT more if they had to do the digging. Maybe it was worth it, but I'm glad I don't have to do it again. edited to add: Ross, I didn't get over to the old house today.
  18. I use a number of different epoxies, for all sorts of purposes, including West Systems. I used the silica filler for decades, but always respect it enough not to breathe any of the very fine dust. You Don't want silica in your lungs. My current favorite is the High Density filler, mainly because it doesn't hang in the air like the very lightweight stuff does. It's harder to sand, but not really that much harder. Working with epoxy carries its own skill set. I use thicker than the thin disposable gloves, and put something down on the floor to catch the inevitable spills. Have Acetone on hand for cleanup of wet stuff. Babysit it, and catch it before it sets up hard, but after it's past the sticky stage, and you can clean up excess, and close to finish shape it easily with sharp chisels. Don't do any sanding of it without Really Good breathing protection. I use Supplied Air.
  19. I have a number of smoothing planes, that get used a lot. Those include only one 4-1/2, that almost never gets used. I think that's the case with most. I would suggest getting a 4 as the first one.
  20. Tom King


    I'm throwing away the standard insert. I've seen pieces go down beside the blade, but nothing ever came of them, other than aggravation to get them out. A good excuse to end the possibility.
  21. The first thing I do with those kinds of tool cases is throw them away. Most of them take someone smarter than me to get the tool back in them anyway.
  22. Thanks for the info on the anchors. Saved to favorites folder. I mainly use Greenlee ones that set flush with the surface, with a special Greenlee tool, but sometimes it would be better to set them deeper. The ones you used would be ideal for those situations. The good things about the ones set flush with the surface are that the hole does not have to be an exact depth, and you know what fastener lengths you need to start with. I never got on good with the pound in type. The hole needed to be the exactly correct depth, and you needed an assortment of different length machine screws to get a job finished. Using a machine screw for the insertion tool makes perfect sense. With something thin, to hold it at the depth you want, the exact desired depth should be easy to get. I was first thinking about using a piece of foam under it, but the machine screw to start it is better.
  23. Plastic ones work fine for removing tires, and won't damage the rims. With the tire off, turn the bike upside down to sit on the handlebars, and seat, and spin the wheel to see how true it is. Tighten spokes while truing the wheel. If any spoke protrudes to the inside, past the nut, grind it down, or it will puncture the tube.