THE PLUMBING TASK from last week was to clear up the sink drain. But there was a problem. The drain was routed such that there was NO way to get a snake through it. Nothing I did would restore flow.
I could have broken into a wall to install another cleanout plug, but I decided to bypass the clog instead, which posed a new problem: a gas pipe in the way made it impossible to plumb. I’d need… a 15-degree elbow, which nobody makes. So I decided to make one. This was literally the only interesting part of the job; everything else was boring, profanity-inducing, and filthy.
I did some geometry and cut a 1.5-inch hole in the floor for the new drain stub. But did you know that 60-year-old timber gets REALLY hard? Especially if there’s a knot where you need to cut.
But how to bend the pipe?
I had never bent PVC drain pipe before. So I made a 15 degree jig that would allow a gradual bend. Because where plumbing is involved, kink-shaming IS a thing.
Then I set a large brick on a heavy aluminum plate, and started turning the pipe against the brick, painting on heat from the torch. Once the pipe became a little rubbery, I set it against the bending jig, held it there, and let it cool. Then I cut the pipe to length and installed it in such a way that it could be removed if necessary.
Then I had to modify the floorboard of the sink cabinet. I drilled a hole then cut it across the middle of the hole. Then I designed a 2-piece flange and put it on the 3D printer. While that was printing, I painted the damaged floor under the sink with some polyurethane.
The modified drain works like a champ; sink drains better than it ever has. And it can be serviced much more easily. But it was a diversion I really could have done without.
In the spring when I replace the 20-foot drain section in the basement ceiling, I’ll add further modification for better venting and flow. But the whole works is going very well now.