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  • Lost Art

    Hey Guys

    Starting to get the hang of this posting thing. I gotta notion thats been on my mind for a while. This is for the veterans who have time served ala, PLUMBER RICK , PLUMBERSCRACK, FLUX etc. My question to you guys and thoses alike. Whats your take on the lost art of soldering copper? As many may no the price of copper has been syrocketing and that cost is definetly showing itself at the Supply house. I feel that pretty soon, 5-10 years from now copper will be obsolete in HOMES. you may still have your restaurants and big commercial, Ill give you that. But your average everyday residential suburban home, will have either PEX or CPVC. Thats crazy to me, because I dont know about you all I love soldering(sweating) pipe. Its what I learned as an apprentice. I worked my a$$, excuse in school and on the job to become a, What my buddies and l like to refer to ourselves "Surgeon" We look at it being precise and clean like a surgeon. But pretty soon that craft will be gone, because of swelling copper prices and cheap plastic. I mean very seldom get to do a copper job, its like being a apprentice all over again. You know making sure pipe is clean, not putting a whole lot of flux, making sure you have the right amount of heat. And a true "Surgeon" makes sure he has no "dingleberries". For you novice thats solder drippings, dripping down the pipe and its not caked up on the pipe. I ask the question because as Im gradually going into my 11th year in the profession, Im starting to see the small transitions the older guys you talk about when they were "packing and pouring" lead joints. Its crazy to see the products and materials coming out. Like Sharkbites, PROPRESS,CPVC and so forth. Whats your take?
    Wise man said "Hot on the left, cold on the right,
    crap flows downhill, and checks come on Friday"

  • #2
    Re: Lost Art

    Copper is still the norm here
    I have seen miracle pipe come and go

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Lost Art

      All new homes here is Pex or CPVC.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lost Art

        Originally posted by Mr. Green View Post
        Hey Guys, Like Sharkbites, PROPRESS,CPVC and so forth. Whats your take?
        Here's my take, Mr. Green.

        About the time you got into the trade, I bought my first ProPress.
        Back in the 70's our shop was one of the first in Phoenix, to start using ABS. Initially, just on vents.
        A month or so ago I bought and used an 11/4" Sharkbites, with great success I might add.
        CPVC is now the norm on residential sprinkler systems here. While Pex is the norm on residential potable water.

        When my dad started out, his first plumbing experience at the age of 8 was digging a two holer out back.
        Water was carried by bucket into his house.

        Things change in this industry, and I'm glad they have. I shudder to think how we would make a living today without some of the most amazing plumbing innovations that I've witnessed in my 40 plus years feeding my family and dozens of others.

        I hope that before I leave this biz that I see hundreds more.


        There is whole lot more to plumbing than making a pretty solder joint.

        Just saying.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lost Art

          Your post reminds me of this old story;

          Back around 1905 there was a guy named Jethro McKinley. Ole’ Jethro lived in upstate New York in a little town that longer is around and who’s name has been forgotten. Jethro, however was considered one of the worlds greatest Buggy Whip makers. A craft handed down to him from his father, and from his fathers, father who brought it from the Old Country of Northern Ireland. The McKinley’s were known as the greatest buggy whip makers in the world. The craftsmanship was second to none. People would travel far and near to have Jethro make there buggy whips.

          Then one day, a funny thing happened outside ole’ Jethro’s shop. Everyone in the town was standing out on the sidewalks watching this crazy contraption with four wheel, and a single seat in the center, with steam bellowing out of it rolling up and down the main street. Jethro came out to, to see what the commotion was all about. He heard everyone talking under there breath about this new machine, called a horseless carriage. Jethro just looked for a moment, turned around and walked back into his shop mumbling to himself, "Horseless Carriage, .... Now I have heard everything... Just another crazy invention and fad that will soon pass."

          Over the next couple of years more and more of these Horseless carriages showed up on Jethros’ little town main street. He kept shrugging it off as a fade. Telling himself that nothing would ever replace the fine crafted buggy Whips he made.

          A few more years passed and the local street was now paved, with concrete sidewalks and electric lights and things called parking stales up and down the street. The old hitching posts had been removed, and it was now illegal to run your buggy up the main street, so the few customers that Jethro still had, were forced to tie up in back. Ole’ Jethro greated every customer with a smile and every day looked out his window and pointed at those Automobiles and declared, its only a fad, nothing can every replace my finely made buggy whips.

          When Ole’ Jethro finally passed away, it had been years since he had made a buggy whip, but under his dying breath he was heard to exclaim, "Dam Automobiles, I should have made leather hood belts".............

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lost Art

            stopped doing new construction back in 1995 and repipes in early 2000. all i ever used was copper. but that was when 6'' L was $20.00 a foot. now i think it's over $100. a foot.

            i can't see copper staying king, between the price of copper pipe, and fittings. not to mention the cost of solder and gas.

            honestly i see pex taking over the smaller bore jobs and cpvc the larger bore jobs.

            i was just talking to mark yesterday about a large ymca that asked me to install a new domestic heater and get away from the steam system they had been using with black steel pipe. the engineer/ project manager specked out 3'' sch 80 cpvc. all exposed in the mechanical room.

            i passed and recommended an x plumber/ contractor i use to work with.

            i'll be there in a couple weeks and see what the finished product looks like.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lost Art

              It's called progress. There has always been folks who complain and whine about change, that's normal. When you get used to something and get good at it you don't want to change.

              Old timers complained when switching from galvanized to copper, from CI to pvc or abs. It's progress.

              I live for this stuff and wouldn't have it any other way. I use propress, I use lot's of pex. I love the new stuff and can't wait to see what comes out next.

              Can you imagine someone still using all cast iron and galvanized water pipes today? Change happens so deal with it, learn it and have fun doing it. Believe me you will embrace the the latest changes after using them for a while. After 24 years in this trade I thank God every day I'm still able to get out there, and thank God for Propress and pex!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lost Art

                Amen, ironranger. And now that I think about it, we should drop the g in progress and replace it with a p.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Lost Art

                  Originally posted by ArizonaPlumber View Post
                  Amen, ironranger. And now that I think about it, we should drop the g in progress and replace it with a p.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Lost Art

                    My Dad was born in 1899. Wonderful stories about Grampa driving a one horse Paddy wagon for the Cambridge Mass. police dept.
                    On My fathers death bed ,He said the following " Boys, don't cry for Me, I've seen the horse and buggy,and Man land on the moon.
                    See You later Dad.
                    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Lost Art

                      Lol,
                      Great responses guys, I like it. Im glad Im not the only one out there. Believe, I am one for the changes as well. Dont get me wrong like I said before, I like soldering, the skill and technique that goes into it. But hey doing doing a job in half the time and still getting the same amount of money sounds good to me. It seems to me here what Im seeing is a lot of CPVC in residential houses. All new construction has including sprinkler pipe. I mean its a no brainer to the contracter/plumber. You pay 3 buck for a 1/2" stick of CPVC compared to a 1/2" stick of M copper 18 bucks. Thats just simple addition and subtraction gentleman. (common sense) tells us we are in the business to make money period, before anything. And with this economy you have to make your dollar where you can. The customer wants to save just as much also. So In order to even compete you almost have no choice but to go CPVC, at least in my area. The thing is that by going to CPVC. You take the art out of it. Soldering took skill, with CPVC, your average joe grew up glueing things together. Not to say that you still dont have to be skillfull with this stuff as well, but come on really, who are we kidding, This aint the most complicated system ever invented. Its definetly going to hurt the service side a little, but believe it will probably bring about another problem so it will eventually work itself out. Thanks again fellas for all your responses .
                      Wise man said "Hot on the left, cold on the right,
                      crap flows downhill, and checks come on Friday"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Lost Art

                        38 years now, I have seen products come and I have seen products go. The jury is still out on PEX. They claim over 50 years and going strong in Europe but only time will tell. Copper has been around awhile now but before copper there was galvanized and brass and lead before that. Times and materials do change. Nothing other than digging holes seems to get harder in this trade. But progress marches on and there is no going back. Have we paid a price for cheap, fast and easy? I think so. I think we have lost the mystery. Before all this DIY friendly stuff we were able to command high wages and respect because we knew things, could do things and had the specialty tools needed to get the job done. People complained bitterly about the bills we left behind but they knew that they had little choice because we were the keepers of the gate so to speak. Nobody knew how much we paid for a foot of copper pipe or a toilet or faucet. There were no big box stores selling plumbing products to the public at the same prices that contractors paid. Now they know how much a Wellworth toilet costs and they'll be damned if they are going to pay more for it than Home Depot charges. Very few homeowners were willing to tackle tying into galvanized water lines or hub and spigot cast iron and even if they wanted to they would have to spend more for the tools than the bill would have been. Now all you need is a utility knife and a pocket full of shark bites. You can defend progress all you want to but in the end, progress doesn't need your endorsement, it will march on with or without you laying waste to everything in its path.
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Lost Art

                          What a load a crap Re: Lost Art we haven`t lost the art of good plumbing we have evolved and thank God we have in the sixties when I started there was only lead flashings cast iron and clay sewerage pipes galvanised pipe and manual labor the average plumber dug the trenches by hand threaded all piping by hand they couldn`t afford Ridgid electric tools I remember masonary hammer drills were not around and the drill had no clutches and if the drill jammed you were thrown off the ladder when joining guttering there were no pop riverts guns it was all done by hand you drilled the hole inserted the rivert put a hammer under it and hammered it from above and then sweated the solder to make a water tight joint.
                          And not to mention lead joining of cast iron piping I thought I had seen it all but thankfully plumbing has evolved as everything else has and I have too and pex is just one part of this evolution and beng afraid of it is just crasy and no one has lost the art if there every was one and thank God I have seen as much as I have as you younger plumbers will see plumbing well into this century and what will be is what you make it

                          Tony
                          Last edited by AFM; 12-15-2011, 03:06 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Lost Art

                            Hey Tony, my mate recently pulled a 6" sluice off a fire service. Found it to be lead sweat joint. Had it hitched to a 7 tonner and nearly pulled the whole main from under the tram tracks. Just as well he was cautious and jumped in the hole to investigate. God damn thing weighed a ton and a half but.

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