My reputation grows with every failure.
-George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes you (think you) do everything right, and it still fails.
Day 1: My boss (Mr. W) draws a diagram of exactly how we are to install an automated valve behind Boiler 3. I order the flanges, nipples, pipe dope, bolt kits, and gaskets required. A few days later I get a call that the parts are in, so I drive down to the pipe fitting store, Hajoca, to pick up the pieces.
It doesn’t take long to learn the basics of pipe fitting when I get back to campus:
- Have lots of very large wrenches on hand.
- Gasoila pipe dope is your friend.
- Keep extra people on hand to jump up and down on pipe handles, as necessary.
- Ignore blisters and hot pipes.
- Be as precise as you would be with a delicate twelve-piece quilt block, though you’ll use sledgehammers instead of thimbles.
At the end of the day, Mr. W inspects our work. We pass.
On Day 9, Mr. W decides to show us how it should be done and tightens all the fittings himself. They leak.
Day 16: We give up on the pipe thread and weld most of the joins.
Today is more or less Day 19. We’ve disassembled and reassembled Cashco Valve BL-24 somewhere near five times, trying to repair the leaks. We repeat the process with a different ball valve. The joins leak.
By the time Mr. W announces it’s lunch time, it occurs to me that if Valve BL3-24 ever works correctly, I’ll probably hug the monster. And. . . . burn myself on a steam pipe in the process.
Such is life.