Thursday, May 1, 2014

Carpentry Techniques : How To Make Coped Joints

Most contractors and carpenters learn the basics of mitering joints when learning the trades. Mitering is the fundamental carpentry skill : It gives a finished and professional look to most remodeling projects. However, when installing crown moldings, baseboards and casings, cutting 45-degree miters can become frustrating when the joints do not intersect correctly. The problem is that most walls aren't square ; sometimes they move out of alignment when the house settles, it could be a possible framing error or an excess of joint compound. Joining two 45 degree miters may give you a square joint, but a perfectly square joint will not fit in the corners that are out of square. Even a correct miter joint can develop gaps when the wood expands and contracts during the seasons. Coped joints, unlike miter joints, have one piece butted against an adjacent wall at the corner. The adjoining piece is cut to nestle against the profile of the first piece ; these joints eliminate the " out of square " problems at corners and they are less like to show gaps when the wood contracts.

Making Coped Joints.

To Begin, butt the first piece of your molding into the corner and nail into place. The adjoining piece of molding should be cut a few extra inches longer than it's final length. On the intersecting end of the adjoining piece, cut a 45-degree inside miter. Then using a carpenter's pencil, run along the edge of the mitered profile making sure to mark the shapes and curves for better visibility. Clamp the second piece of molding securely to a work bench and use a coping saw to cut along the pencil line that marks the shapes and curves of the profile. The secret is to angle the blade in order to "back-cut" the molding : keep the blade about 1/16 inch to the waste side of the cutline.When most of the wood material is removed, Use a file ( called a rat-tail ) which has a round and slender shape, to finish up the cut and clean the profile to give it a shaped edge that will intersect with the butted piece. Remove all the wood from the front of the profile, that will create a "socket" that fits over the face of the butted piece. You can also use a flat file, which works well for flat edges.

Installation method.

Test-fit the molding against the first piece. Check for any gaps and sand/file away any high spots for a snug fit. Next, cut the molding to length cutting the uncut end square and butt it against the far corner to join another coped piece on the next wall. Nail the molding into place and caulk the seam. Proceed around the room to finish the installation. For the best-looking installation, begin on the wall that is opposite the door and install a piece that is square at both ends and flush between the two walls. On the side walls, cope the joints where they intersect with the installed first molding, cut the opposite ends square where they will butt against the door wall. Finally, the molding on this last wall should be coped at both ends, the joints on " the door wall " are the least noticeable in case of minor errors. This way, anyone walking into the room will only see the best sides of the joints. Coping, like mitering, is an acquired skill that takes practice, but once mastered, it will enable you to install all types of molding with a minimum of time, errors, and cursing ! (=^_^=)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Frozen Pipes ... What To Do

This weekend is set to be the coldest in the past few years with temperatures dropping to the single digits overnight.  While we know to bundle ourselves up to keep warm many people forget to check to make sure their pipes stay warm as well.

Ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs.  Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream -- between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end.  Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed.  

Here are some tips to help avoid this common cause of winter property damage:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Pipes that have frozen in the past or near exterior walls are obvious candidates for special attention.
  • Insulate areas where vulnerable pipes are located.
  • When insulation isn't enough, consider pipe wrappings embedded with electrical coils (heat tape) that provide an outside source of heat.
  • Remove hoses from outside yard faucets. The faucets can't drain properly with a hose attached and will freeze and break if the hose is left attached.
  • During severe cold weather, resist the urge to lower your thermostat to save money while you are gone for the day.
  • Open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under your sinks so heat from the room will help warm the pipes.
  • Running water does not freeze very readily. During severe cold weather, keep a stream of water trickling out of faucets or spouts attached to vulnerable pipes.
  • If you have a sprinkler system, drain all outdoor pipes and turn off the water supply to the system.
  • Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located.

 Winterizing Your Home If You'll Be Away For An Extended Time

  • Turn off the water supply at the main shutoff valve by the street.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets and open these faucets to drain them.
  • Drain the water heater. Turn off the pilot light on gas water heaters and be sure to turn off the electricity to electric water heaters before you drain them.
  • Use an air compressor to blow any trapped water from the water pipes. Open all faucets and leave them open. This will help keep condensation from freezing and bursting the water lines.
  • Flush all toilets (to empty the tank) and every faucet (to drain water from pipes) in the home, including outdoor faucets.
  • Empty all toilet bowls by siphoning or bailing and sponging. Pour a mixture of food grade antifreeze and water into all toilet bowls and traps of all sinks, showers and bathtubs. Don't drain these traps. The water in them keeps sewer gases out of your house
  • If your water supply is from a well, switch off the pump and drain it along with the above-ground pump lines and the tank.

 What To Do If A Pipe Freezes

  • To prevent a frozen pipe from bursting, open the faucet it supplies with water. Then add heat to the area where the pipe is located.
  • Turn off the water supply to that line.
  • If a pipe does burst, immediately turn off the water to your home.
  • Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located.

Stay warm,

Be safe during this winter season, and think reasonably, not dangerously.

Your friends at Cameron Group, Inc
Brian, Elizabeth, Donna, & Monika

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Cameron Group, Inc
55 Old Turnpike Rd., Ste 602
Nanuet, NY 10954
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

How To Install/Replace A Toilet

One Of The Most Common Plumbing Jobs In A Home Is Replacing A Toilet That Has Stopped Working, Or Has Inadequate Flushing Power. If You Own Your Home, Eventually This Is A Project That You Will Have To Undertake, And If There Is No Serious Complications With Your Sewer Or Water Lines That Require The Attention Of A Licensed Plumber, You Can Install Or Replace A Toilet Yourself By Following A Few Simple Steps. So Roll Up Your Sleeves, And Let's Begin !

1. Remove The Old Toilet. 

First, Turn Off The Water Supply Valve And Flush The Toilet, Getting As Much Water Out Of The Toilet As You Possibly Can, Then Unscrew And Save The Water Supply Line From The Toilet And Cold Water Supply Valve. If You Are Saving The Toilet, You Have To Remove The Bolts That Attach The Toilet To The Flange. Commonly Known As Johnni Bolts, You Can Use A Wrench Or Pliers To Unscrew The Bolts From The Base. Often, And Especially If The Johnni Bolts Are Rusted, The Bolts Will Spin Around Or Otherwise Will Be Difficult To Unscrew. In That Case, You Can Use A Hacksaw or A Cordless Mini-Hacksaw To Cut Through The Bolts. You Can Then Take The Toilet Up By Gently Rocking It Off The Flange. If You Are Discarding The Toilet, You Can Simply Smash The Base And Pull The Toilet Up. Don't Forget To Remove The Johhni Bolts That Will Still Be In The Flange, And Scrape Off The Remainig Wax From The Wax Gasket On The Flange. Remove Any Plaster Of Paris, Cement, Or Caulking Used To Seal Down The Toilet. Check The Condition Of The Flange, And Make Sure It Is Secured To The Floor.

2. Install the New Toilet.

Assemble Your New Toilet. If Your New Toilet Is Pre-Assembled, Set It Off To The Side. Insert The New Johnni Bolts Inside Of The Ring Of The Toilet Flange, Then Place A Wax Gasket ( Or Wax Ring, As Most Plumbers Call It ) On Top Of The Toilet Flange. Next, Mix Plaster Of Paris Or Concrete To Create A Bed For The Base Of The Toilet To Sit On, Plumbers Usually Do This To Ensure A Leak-Proof Seal Around The Base Of The Toilet. Line Up The Johnni Bolts In The Flange To The Holes Located In The Base Of The Toilet, And Place Your Toilet Into The Bed Of Plaster Or Concrete, Pressing Firmly To Make Sure The Toilet Is Properly Embedded. Bolt Down The Toilet To The Johnni Bolts ( Do Not Over-Tighten), And Wipe Off The Excess Plaster Around The Base With A Damp Sponge Or Rag. Connect Your New Supply Line To The Toilet And Cold Water Supply Valve, And Turn On The Water Slowly, Making Sure All Of Your Bolts Are Properly Tightened Before You Turn On The Water Full Force. Finally, Check And Adjust The Water Level Inside The Tank To The Water Line, And You Are Ready To Use Your New Toilet !

Toilet Installation
Toilet Installation

If You Are Fairly Handy, This Can Be A Simple Job Which You Can Do In An Hour Or Less. This Method Only Applies To Residential Toilet Installations, Commercial Toilets Such As Flushometers Generally Require A Licensed Plumber To Install Due To More Direct Plumbing Connections Involved. Remember, The More You Do It Yourself, The More You Can Save !!