A new shop in the making #19: Gas is hooked up??? and cabinets are ready for the install

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Blog entry by Bob #2 posted 08-17-2008 12:27 AM 1585 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Cedar scalloped siding on and light hooked up Part 19 of A new shop in the making series Part 20: Moving the machines and sorting the hand tools »

Progress on the shop over the last couple of weeks has been relatively slow so I did not bother you with an update.
My gas fitter finally appeared this Thursday and completed the installation of my infrared heater.
My wife conveniently dropped the barbecue lidon our gas quick disconnect and I was in the process of replacing the broken nipple when the gas fitter took over…..
To my surprise he tested the seal of the new parts by running the barbecue lighter along the joints to see if he could produce a flame. I have heard this done but it is my custom to use soapy water and a brush.

I paid him off and thought nothing of it until I went into my shop this morning to clean up and discovered that the connection coming through the wall was on fire.!!!!
This guy apparently tests all his seals with a Bic lighter.
If the flame had been pointing toward the wall instead of into the room my shop would have been cinders.

This “flame” had been burning for the last 24 hours!!!!

I’ve been thinking about this all day quite frankly, I’m sick to my stomach .

There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behavour it’s laziness coupled with complete stupidity.

On a more positive note, I have nearly assembled the cabinets I bought this week.

They are originally IKEA kitchen cabinets and will do quite nicely for storage in the shop.
There are no doors or shelves but they can be purchased separately .
At an average of $13 each to simply could not turn them down.

They will be quite attractive and save me a ton of time which I simply don’t have right now.
In the meantime, I put up one of those tent garages beside the house to store lumber and materials over the next few months what decide what stays and what goes.

The eavestroughs are installed in the downspouts are on so now I wait for rain to test my installation.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

18 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3185 days

#1 posted 08-17-2008 12:42 AM

I get so frustrated every time I hire an “expert” to help me out! I am glad everything turned out okay. Great score on the cabinets. The shop is really progressing nicely. Thanks for the update.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3162 days

#2 posted 08-17-2008 12:52 AM

Won’t be long now, Bob. And no doubt just in time, since I’m sure the snow will be flying in about 2 weeks, in your part of the country. Everything is looking good. It’s always nice starting fresh and having things laid out the way you want.
I’ve run into a few of those professional experts myself. Joe’s Roofing, plumbing, electrical, chiropractic Company.
Know enough about everything to get themselves (or you) in trouble every time. Glad nothing was set on fire, except your temper.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3233 days

#3 posted 08-17-2008 01:49 AM

In my profession leadership hires people called “consultants” who they have never met but who are supposed to be able to tell them what we are doing wrong and give brilliant recommendations regarding how to fix things. For that the consultant gets paid more than twice what staff get paid. Most of them exhibit the same sort of trouble shooting skills as your “Gas Fitter”.

When I look at their recommendations all I can say is “Dohhhh”, wish I had thought of that! (Believe me, I usually did) Then we have senior leadership running around talking about how much value they got out of the consultant.

I have never seen one come in and say “Wow, I can’t think of a thing I would change”. It’s always, “Everything is broken and only our firm can fix it”

BTW, the cabinets look like a great value. I always get a kick out of terms used in other countries. down here we call em “gutters”

-- Scott - Chico California

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3397 days

#4 posted 08-17-2008 02:07 AM

HI Bob;

That hole through the wall looks like it was “drilled” with a chain saw.

I just don’t understand how one guy can have so many bad experiences with “professionals”.

It is amazing.

On the plus side the cabinets look real nice. Great find.

The shop is looking good.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4010 posts in 3482 days

#5 posted 08-17-2008 02:20 AM

Jiminy Christmas! – What a horror story. I’m glad the shop was spared this bonehead’s malfeasance.

Reminds me of our experience with a seized up main water shutoff valve. The “expert” said we would have to excavate out at the street connection, shut off and replumb the cock inside the house…to the turn of thousands of dollars.
We called another plumber who managed to free up the valve in about five minutes.

Keep pluggin’ Bob!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3406 days

#6 posted 08-17-2008 02:31 AM

Well, at least you got your shop to fit out now, huh?

Good deal!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Betsy's profile


3333 posts in 3314 days

#7 posted 08-17-2008 04:18 AM

Looks great Bob. I think you made a great deal on those cabinets. You could not make them for that price and they will do nicely for the shop.

Glad the bonehead did not screw up the whole shop.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3056 days

#8 posted 08-17-2008 06:29 AM

Between Betsy’s wiring and Bob’s close call with fire, I think I’ll spend time tomorrow rethinking some of my garage fire hazards.

If Lumberjocks has been inspiring for me in any way, it has helped me refocus on safety.


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Tony's profile


978 posts in 3448 days

#9 posted 08-17-2008 01:43 PM

It looks like another cowboy trying to be a professional. I personally would report this moron, for his dangerous practices and lack of care and get his license pulled. You were lucky, the next person may not be.

I did the same as you for most of the cabinets in my shop, they are ready made and they are cheaper than the cost of the equivalent raw materials – you could always practice your cabinet door making skills and have a nice selection of different doors on the front of each cabinet .

The small finishing touches take the time, but it worth it in the long run – your wife is going to enjoy her new work room when it is finished!

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3439 days

#10 posted 08-17-2008 02:17 PM

I guess if I have learned anything from this experience it is that contracts must be let for each sub on a job and the details laid out specifically for each task.

The other thing that I have / had no control over that is critical is the competency level of the people I hired.
There is no question that the framer and the plumber should not be allowed to work unsupervised but there was no way of telling that at the outset. I could have asked for references but that process is flawed too.
There is such and extreme shortage of skilled workers here that they are not fast tracking immigrants to the country with who knows what kind of credentials and skills.
I really think the gas fitter is going to hurt somebody if they don’t get that Bic lighter away from him.
There is something dreadfully wrong with the licensing system in this country and there is no re qualification requirement in place either. Tony, oddly enough I notice the cabinets where manufactured in Slovakia. I wonder how far from Martin’s home town? Chico:
“BTW, the cabinets look like a great value. I always get a kick out of terms used in other countries. down here we call em “gutters”
We use that term especially for the drainage along side the road next to the curb. Lee:
“That hole through the wall looks like it was “drilled” with a chain saw.”
If you look carefully it was also steered into the stud!

Thanks all who responded .
I fully intend to list a set of pitfalls in subcontracting when I’m finished this blog. It should help somebody.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3818 days

#11 posted 08-17-2008 03:38 PM

Bob: Glad that everything is OK. If the idiot used a bic lighter and then didn’t see or feel the heat of the flame. Then he is a double idiot.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3295 days

#12 posted 08-17-2008 03:45 PM

That guy is scary, where you dealing with the owner of a company or an employee? What a dangerous practice, he was to lazy to carry and refill his soap bottle.
There is no re qualification requirement here either. If there is a problem with a contractor it needs to be reported for any licensing body to be a where of it. It is a long process with much paperwork and people usually give up. The licensing body has limited personnel, in 33 years I have never seen anyone from the contractor board until this year. He was driving by my work site and stopped to check my license and contract, he was with thier fraud unit. All my paperwork was in order and he gave me his card to report any activity from unlicensed people.
One homeowner I was dealing with had a problem with her prior roofer, not only did her roof leak but he laid tile flooring on the outside balcony that did not drain towards the drains. After discussing what is involve to report a problem, she stated she had the time and money to pursue a complaint. It took almost a year, however she followed through and got results.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3311 days

#13 posted 08-17-2008 04:04 PM

Good golly Miss Molly

Unbelievable but then again my FIL lives with us and nothing surprises me anymore.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3408 days

#14 posted 08-17-2008 05:05 PM

[Shock and Awe]

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 3454 days

#15 posted 08-19-2008 06:14 PM

Bob, he might have just left that burning for easy access to light his cigarettes. Experiences like yours are just too common here these days, and we have no recourse in dealing with total incompetence. shrug The shop looks pretty bloody good though!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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