Removing Rusted Bolts with a Torch - Fire it up!

The old diving board must go. Unfortunately, the weathered, rusted bolts holding it down were frozen tight. I'd tried WD-40 in the past with no luck. I didn't want to spend a lifetime burning through reciprocating saw blades trying to cut through them. This was the perfect project to try a new technique, fire.

We're probably not going to replace the board during the pool remodel since it's a basically an inevitable trip to the emergency room, just waiting to happen. As fun as it is, we've had some close calls with the kids over the years. Now that the pool is empty, anyone that walks on it isn't just risking falling in a nice pool of water, they're risking a nine foot swan- dive onto the concrete below. Now that's a trip to the emergency room.


Since we're currently enjoying the horrors of Arizona summertime heat,and there was absolutely no shade on the diving board area, I waited until after dinnertime to head outside as the sun started to dip towards the mountain. 

Not only was the diving board an injury magnet, it was in horrible shape. The base was a rusted eyesore. It sat on the section of deck where I had done my experiment in removing the horrible, slippery stone our predecessors had laid on top of the deck. 


It was really more of a problem with the nuts, seized onto the bolts protruding up from the concrete deck. There was a bunch debris around those nuts, concrete dust, pebbles, and rusty corrosion. A wire brush cleaned it up reasonably well so I could get a clean shot at the nut and bolt.


I tried, one last time, to macho-man those rusted nuts off with sheer brute force. No luck. The lower jaw of my crescent wrench actually flexed a bit and seemed like it was going to break. Looking at the photo, I realize my hand would have slammed into the base of the board if the wrench had broken. Gloves or not, that may have resulted in some broken fingers. You may argue with me, but I consider broken fingers undesirable. I'm kooky like that. 


Torch time! For this awkward location, I chose the Bernzomatic Trigger Start Hose Torch. I could keep the gas bottle back from my work area and use the smaller torch head to reach into the space below the board and still see what I was doing. This particular torch also has the ability to use MAP-Pro gas in addition to normal propane. MAP-Pro burns hotter, 3,730° F, over Propane's 3,600° F. Propane should do the trick, MAP-Pro will just do it faster. I like faster when I'm sweating out in the heat with a handheld flamethrower and there are frosty beverages to be had when the job is done.

The BZ8250HT - Trigger Start Hose Torch
With some WD-40 residue still on the nut, I laid down some fire on it. I got it HOT, blasting flame and slowly moving it around for 30 seconds or so. The idea is that the metal expanding breaks down the corrosion. The heat draws the WD-40 into the threads, similar to the way solder gets sucked into a plumbing joint when a fitting is heated. 

Check out the cool holster. It even has a metal sleeve for a hot torch.
I slipped a monkey wrench into a steel pipe (actually an electrical conduit bender handle), to make a "cheater bar" for leverage, and rocked the nut back and forth a bit before putting some muscle to it. It broke free fairly easily and began to unthread.


Done deal. The nut un-threaded easily once I got it going. The threaded stud didn't snap off with the herculanean force I applied using the cheater bar. 

The garage sale monkey wrench and the loosened nut, still warm.
I continued, using the same method for the other two nuts. It worked perfectly. Check out the clean threads on the left bolt below. I suspect with a little cleaning it could be re-used if I was simply replacing the board.

Free Tip of the Day: Don't touch!!!

The ancient art of leverage.
With all three nuts off, the board popped up easily. 


I guess it's something you never think about in the course of a normal day, but if you ever wondered, I can assure you first hand that a diving board is heavier than it looks. As the sun slipped behind the mountain, I lugged the beast all the way to the front curb to throw it on the quarterly bulk trash pile... 

Atlas AZ DIY Guy 
...and lugged it all the way back, when I realized the city had already cleared the pile. I guess I'll have the pool demo contractor dispose of it or for the next bulk pickup.

This torch technique is definitely going in my DIY playbook. I'm also looking forward to more projects using the flexibility of the hose torch.

Frosty beverage time!




This is a sponsored post. I am a proud to be a Bernzomatic Torch Bearer, though all opinions expressed are 100% my own. I won't recommend products I don't believe in. 


Breaking My Own Rules: Irrigation Repair Fail

I broke my own rules. Again. One of the AZ DIY Guy's Pillars of Wisdom is to always buy more material than necessary to complete a task. Otherwise when something goes wrong, (and it always does), it's another trip to the store. It adds up to serious, wasted production time.

In this case, it was the dang drip irrigation system that failed, again. I've replaced most of it over the years, but the older sections continue to break. I ran out to grab breakfast, prior to attacking the window install project, only to return home to find a geyser spewing in the front yard.

Adding a window: Sliding on some Siding

I've resumed exterior work as my install of the added window is looming.  The special order even came in; the beautiful window is sitting calmly in the garage ready to be deployed to its new home. But first, I have to replace the siding I'd torn off, cut the opening around the new, framed window space, punch into the house, and prepare the opening to receive it.

Since I'd torn a piece of siding in half to get to the area for framing, I had to go back into demolition mode and make space for an new, full-sheet. It was back to more crow-bar and  hammer work to rip the rest of the second sheet off. Once again, I was pulling nails and picking them up from the ground of my pool-side workspace.There's no sense in finding them later in the summer, whilst barefoot, if we ever get to swim again.

Re-Plumbing an Exterior Hose Bib - Fun with Fire!

When one has a closet renovation / window install project well underway, one's imagination naturally goes to plumbing, right? In our case it does anyway. Our existing, exterior hose bib, bibb?, biiibbbb? (faucet) is located below our new window opening. It's not only too close, it's a wobbly, corroded horror. I've wanted to clean it up for a long time. Finally, it's time to attack it.

I'm going to share a heaping helping of the tips and tricks I use working with copper plumbing pipe as I work through this project. Thanks to my friends at Bernzomatic, I'm also taking my new, professional-grade torch for a spin with some serious soldering action.

The old faucet is nasty alright. This gorgeous specimen features an extra-special bonus, a broken manifold assembly feeding a garden hose reel and the short chunk of hose we use to constantly refill the swimming pool as it rapidly evaporates under the blazing summertime Arizona sun.

Adding a Window: Framing Fun and Foolishness

I've never added a window to a house before. The way I see it, it's another one of those required baby steps along the path from being a home renovation duffer to a full-blown DIY rock-star. I'm ready for this one,.. I think.

I'm adding this window, in my daughter's closet, to give a second means of emergency egress from her room. I'd already cleared out the closet and laid out where the rough opening for the window would be (last time).

Because there was an ugly, exterior hose bibb that would be in the way of the window, or at least the trim, I decided I'd attack the project directly, from the outside of the house. It's just 4x8 sheets of siding anyway, easy enough to replace. I figured I could do a lot better with all the framing exposed.

To precisely target the window on the outside of the house, I used a super-long 1/4" drill bit to punch through the wall in each of the corners of my layout. I knew roughly where it was, but wanted to be sure.

stay,.. on target,... stay,.. on target