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  • Old style faucet washers + wicking

    I was going to send this question to Ask This Old House,but then I discovered this forum. The old timers have died off around here, and the youngsters have no clue. Normally I would have asked the old time school plumber who used to wipe lead with his bare fingers. However he has long gone.

    1) On the old style faucet washers from 50 years ago, there were numbers and letters = 3/8L and 3/8N and OO-N and 1/4R N. Now someone had to make the molds or dies to put those numbers ON the washers. WHAT DO THEY MEAN ? All we ever did was match up a washer.

    1A) Some washers were cone shaped or tapered vs flat = were the SEATS shaped differently. In an emergency you could use any washer that works. Old timers who were cheap would REVERSE the FLAT washers.

    2) What is it about BRASS pipe that it will leak if you don't use WICKING - expecially on larger size pipes such as 1 1/4 up ????

    I see Rich Tretheway on Ask This Old House and he uses wicking that is like a thread while the stuff I have is more like BUTCHERS' TWINE.
    Any rules on how much of this to use ??? Tretheway claims the wicking SWELLS to fill gaps.

    When I installed my Weil McLain home boiler, I had to remove the feed connection - about 1 1/4 inches a couple of times to get rid of a tiny leak. I had used only Teflon tape and it leaked. MORE Teflon tape did not work. I finally ended up with the old gray pipe dope and wicking to stop it.

    3) Can wicking and pipe dope be used along with Teflon tape to seal or might there be a reaction between the Teflon and pipe dope such as the Teflon gets dissolved if that is possible ???

    Answers to any of this would be appreciated.
    My first post

  • #2
    Re: Old style faucet washers + wicking

    Originally posted by RaginCajun View Post
    I was going to send this question to Ask This Old House,but then I discovered this forum. The old timers have died off around here, and the youngsters have no clue. Normally I would have asked the old time school plumber who used to wipe lead with his bare fingers. However he has long gone.

    1) On the old style faucet washers from 50 years ago, there were numbers and letters = 3/8L and 3/8N and OO-N and 1/4R N. Now someone had to make the molds or dies to put those numbers ON the washers. WHAT DO THEY MEAN ? All we ever did was match up a washer. Good question, I never questioned it, just equated it with a size

    1A) Some washers were cone shaped or tapered vs flat = were the SEATS shaped differently. In an emergency you could use any washer that works. Old timers who were cheap would REVERSE the FLAT washers.

    I would never reverse the washer, you would have to be real cheap. Beveled washers are "cheater washers" people use them when they dont want to change the seat.

    2) What is it about BRASS pipe that it will leak if you don't use WICKING - expecially on larger size pipes such as 1 1/4 up ????

    Any threaded pipe will leak if you dont use some sort of sealant. I for one happen to use quick wick when I install a boiler. I just dont like the look of the teflon tape beyond the joint.

    I see Rich Tretheway on Ask This Old House and he uses wicking that is like a thread while the stuff I have is more like BUTCHERS' TWINE.
    Any rules on how much of this to use ??? Tretheway claims the wicking SWELLS to fill gaps.

    The stuff you have is used on drainage tubing, called wicken, lamp wick, ball wick or whatever you choose to call it.I still use it occasionally with a P.I.T.A. drain. The stuff used on threads for sealant(along with dope) is called quick wick.

    When I installed my Weil McLain home boiler, I had to remove the feed connection - about 1 1/4 inches a couple of times to get rid of a tiny leak. I had used only Teflon tape and it leaked. MORE Teflon tape did not work. I finally ended up with the old gray pipe dope and wicking to stop it.

    3) Can wicking and pipe dope be used along with Teflon tape to seal or might there be a reaction between the Teflon and pipe dope such as the Teflon gets dissolved if that is possible ???

    You can but its overkill. You may have wound the teflon the wrong way or something. Wicken will swell when it gets wet and therefore seals better then teflon...in my opinion.

    Answers to any of this would be appreciated.
    My first post
    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Masterplumb; 07-08-2008, 10:11 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Old style faucet washers + wicking

      And just for the record, I'm not dead yet. Thanks
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Old style faucet washers + wicking

        Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
        And just for the record, I'm not dead yet. Thanks
        Show me your hands

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