Friday, February 25, 2011

A Slide Hammer

[NOTE -- SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2011: I've added an important safety feature to the end of this post.]

I have an elderly Moen wash basin faucet that I mean to restore to pristine condition. Moen faucets are a 'cartridge' design -- there's a single element that does all the valving. It ought to be a fairly easy thing to deal with -- just pull the cartridge straight out once you've removed its retainer -- but the cartridge didn't want to budge. A slide hammer came to mind as just the thing I needed.

I have a slide hammer, but it's a great brute of a thing with a five pound slide on it. It's pictured below along with the faucet.

The phrase 'disproportionate force' comes to mind. I could have rigged a means of attaching this hammer to the faucet's stem and used it for the job, but it struck me as a clumsy way to go about it.

So I gave some thought to the matter of what a slide hammer fundamentally consists of, and it turns out that there's a very simple way to construct a light slide hammer.

A 3/4" iron pipe 'tee' is a sliding fit over 1/2" iron pipe -- there's your 'hammer' slide. Put a cap on one end of a length of pipe for a strike, and you have the makings of a slide hammer. Here's the completed hammer having just done the job.

That's an eighteen-inch length of pipe from the Home Depot. I would have gone with only a twelve-inch length for this, but eighteen inches was the closest they had.

I added a plug to the 'tee' to give the 'tee' a little more mass. A cap drilled through to accept a 10-24 screw provided the means of attaching the hammer to the faucet's stem.

It worked beautifully. It couldn't have worked any better if it said "Snap-on" or "Crescent" on it. The corporations don't own the fundamentals of physics.

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Safety Feature -- SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2011

If you make one of these, I strongly advise you to add the safety feature pictured below.

It's a 2" I.D. x 1 1/2" I.D. exhaust pipe coupler, and a 1 5/8" clamp. Position the clamp so the bracket portion of the clamp straddles the bulge at the tee's opening, and the U-bolt is centred on the bulge. Tighten it very securely, taking care to maintain alignment of the tee and coupler.

This will prevent you from getting your little finger pinched, like I did earlier today. A bonus is that it adds mass to the slide.

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