Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Digit Damage and an Oil Leak

 It's summer time so the little Hibachi I built eleven years ago gets a good workout .

Lamb Kabobs on this occasion .

After eleven years of hard use there is not much left to the old ashtray

Then I remembered I had the old stainless steel casing from a microwave that had crapped out a few years ago , so why not build a new one out of that material . Should outlast the old galvanized one .

Scheming things out . . .

Cutting and bending , fat , dumb and happy thinking this may just work out .

 When the thing jumped out and bit me , reminding me to not get to smug , as nothing happens without some blood sacrifice .

Seems a corner of the box sprung back while I was attempting to make a bend and stabbed me right on the top of the knuckle right down into the joint . It did not really hurt all that much but did start pouring blood quickly . After ripping off my gloves I realized this was going to take a bit more that a Band-Aid to patch up . I hosed it out with copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide and it was evident it really merited a couple stitches , but having gone through the routine several times before , the hassle of all the wasted time and insurance BS at the clinic convinced me to find my own solution . I applied some sulfa powder to stem the flow and some crazy glue to hold the split together and managed to carry on clumsily without an operating opposing thumb .

And actually finished making the ash tray before the pain set in .

And made use of the Hibachi after all 

After running the torch for about five minutes we have good hot coal and can remove the flue pipe

Give it another five minutes for the flames simmer down enough to cook on .

And managed to have a nice meal

After five days the thumb had improved enough to clean off the crust of sulfa powder and crazy glue , but not quite enough to be able to make enough force with it to hold a wrench .

 When the furnace service company sent over their junior mook to do the annual service on the furnace and he decided the flare fitting on the furnace oil line coming from the filter on the tank needed tightening . The next day I noticed it was dripping badly . Given that he had given me a bunch of BS about how my installation was not to code and I needed to install a new double walled five thousand dollar tank , I really did not feel like having him back for a repeat .

The drip was about a quarter cup in volume over twelve hours so I needed to do something more permanent than a catch can under it . Yet I did not have an operable opposing thumb to cut the line and remake a new flare .

When my good buddy Scott , a retired oil tanker chief engineer , came to the rescue .

With one of these hot-shit twenty eight dollar , oil tanker approved , stainless steel double ring compression fittings .

And had us back in operation in about twenty minutes flat .

Postmortem examination of the old flare fitting we cut off showed a copper bur had crushed the shoulder on the brass fitting enough to allow it to leak .


  1. The next time I have to replace anything major with my oil furnace I'll probably replace the whole thing with something better. Sick of dealing with the oil people.

    1. The quoted figure from the oil company last year was close to four grand for a bog standard old fashioned 275 gallon tank. I did the job myself and have somewhere around $1300 in replacing the oil tank. There is no doubt it is to code. Any other major changes would imply exponentially greater and unreasonable expenses. I have a single flue chimney and can't do much about that given the configuration of the house. So I don't have a choice. The service guy a couple weeks ago was telling me new code requires a double lined stainless steel tank at a price of five grand. And that was abject fabricated bullshit. Only required if you are on a well or near a public water supply like a lake. Additionally we never heard him run a vacuum. This was the second year in a row the same guy was here. The first time I dismissed the fact that I never heard his vacuum to my own absent mindedness. This year we kept an ear peeled. A few days later we reported this to the service supervisor and he sent one of the old timers over within the hour and indeed found the furnace had not been cleaned. He did not have any issue with my oil tank installation and indicated it was a good job and met code. I told him he could report back to his supervisor as he saw fit. I know that first guy will not be coming here ever again.

    2. Thanks for the background. Looks like the young guy was running a scam on you -or trying to at any rate.

    3. I am sure their cost to install a new standard 275 gallon oil tank is not more than what I spent plus whatever their labor rate is . Where they really stick it to you is the disposal of the old tank , especially if it's full of fuel oil . They charge you to empty it an then sell you the oil back when they fill the new tank . Since they label the empty tank a "hazardous waste" they tack on a couple thousand to the bill for that disposal . If you do what I did and use all your oil up and then cut it open and dump three sacks of Speedy-Dry in it and clean it up , it's no longer hazardous waste . The oil soaked Speedy-Dry goes back in the sacks and closed with a zip-tie and it goes out with your regular trash . This is 100% legal as its no longer considered hazardous waste . And then you get you local Sanford & Son to take away the clean scrap metal for free . So yea , its a scam any way you look at it .

  2. Mike, glad you got the leak squared away, "a retired oil tanker chief engineer" can't get any better for working pipe and knowing his fittings! You can't get service now-a-days, always the up-sale and fear mongering. Had that been a little old widow lady, she would have fell for that and been out $4000 or $5000 or more on something she doesn't need and ill afford to pay for it. I would contact the oil company and giving a little of that blood sacrifice to tell the owner he has a lazy shyster in his employee.
    Good job on that wound care and I know my wound care. That is what I would have done. Crazy glue isn't any different then surgical glue we used in the hospitals. I use it. I a was a nurse and I hate going to hospitals and doctors, they don't know anything anymore and just are there to mulct your wallet and insurance companies.

    1. Hi Kevin, Scott is a good man and I am glad to count on him as a friend. He saved my bacon when I was down and taught me about those two ring compression fittings I had never seen before. Met him at one of the antique car show events a couple years ago. Like us he is to the right of Attila the Hun. He has that mint 53 Ford in the background of that photo. Been in his family since it was new when he was three years old.
      The trick with the wound care was the sulfa powder. In addition to being an antibiotic It's very fine and helps stem the blood flow. People rarely use it these days but I love the stuff if nothing else cause I am always doing stupid things that result in blood letting.

    2. Nice thing about sulfa powder, you don't develop a resistance to it like so many of our modern antibiotics. And it is cheap! Why pharma companies and hospitals don't use it anymore, can't make a gazzillion dollars off of it. The same reason for Ivermectin.

    3. Back in Venezuela we used the stuff to purify water. We had a device called a Tinajero. An upright wood frame piece of furniture about about two foot by two foot and six foot tall with a cage all around it. Top had a large bowl carved out of sandstone that held about five gallons. Fill it with water and a golf ball size of sulfur rock. The top bowl would filter impurities out of the water and drip it into a lower terracotta recipient. Cleanest and best tasting water you could drink.

  3. Mike, wanted to ask if your friend Scott and you grant me permission to use that pic of him in that T-shirt? I do occasional T-shirts on my blog.

    1. Yea no problem go ahead....he's a good deplorable... He'll be happy to know he's hit it big time when he gets published on Bustednuckles. He's got a couple other good irreverent and self deprecating T-shirts. I'll try an get a photo of them some time for you.