Friday, March 13, 2009

fun with power tools

Anyone visiting the re-Cycles shop will see two rooms; one being the front "sales" room, and the other the work room. Some folks might even get to see the basement, where the largest room holds all the donated bikes that have come in (which at this time of year have mostly been made ready for sale and are awaiting the Spring rush).

Then there's the smaller basement room, where we store scrap metal for eventual recycling, dead tires awaiting recycling, supplies, spare parts, etc. This room also contained appliances that had long been taken out of use but never removed, such as the building's furnace (each tenant now has their own furnace) and water storage tank (for the old hot water radiators). These things took up a lot of room that we really needed. So we got the landlord's permission to remove them and hired a contractor.

And Mr. Contractor actually showed up. Once. He had quoted two nights to shut off services and disconnect, and then cut things up enough for us to add to our metal scrap pile. Well, he got as far as shutting off power and gas and some of the water and left things to drain. Then he disappeared, as contractors so often do.

By the time the Christmas Holidays rolled around a month later we figured the guy was gone, and somebody had to finish the job. The shop had recently bought an angle grinder with a nice cutting disk, so I thought what the hell I'll see if I can do the job.

The furnace was pretty straightforward. A few pumps had to be disconnected, and I could tell they had been put on not long before the furnace had been decommisiond, as the bolts came undone easily (and the old dead pumps were lying nearby). The pumps were taken by HPVOoOer Mike Watson for a project, so nice to see them reused and not scrapped when they were perfectly good.

The big water tank was another thing. It had cut-off pipes sticking out of it so I presumed it to be drained and started cutting into the bottom pipe. And water starts spraying out! Just what I want when using power tools... (the tank had water, but obviously not enough to overflow the upturned open pipes.)

A quick clamping repair was made using a section of innertube and a hose clamp. The tank needed to be properly drained, and fortunately fellow HPVOoOer Charles was upstairs working on his winter bike. It was off-hours, but I was glad I'd let him use the shop while I was downstairs, because he was able to scoot the few blocks back to his place and get a garden hose. This was attached to the tank's drain plug and left overnight. (He also took the above photos of me.)

The next day the remaining pipes were cut and the tank was waddled out of the way. The furnace consisted of a sheet metal top resting on a core of metal and fire bricks. That core was extremely heavy, and I could only heave it aside by squatting and putting my shoulder to it.

The various cut pipes were sorted by metal type for our scrap removal guys (copper being the most valuable), and then all taps and fittings removed.

The grinder was a fabulous tool for this project. It certainly would not have been a fun task to do all the cutting using only the shop's hacksaw...

A little while later the scrap guys came and hauled most of it away, and it took three people to get the furnace core and big water tank up the stairs.

1 comment:

Daniel Nielsen said...

Always fun to read about people having fun with power tools. Would have liked to see you face, when you found out wthe water tank wasn't empty :-D