Are We Still in Kansas?
Steve Thomas just told all the good and honest readers of JLC
where he keeps the spare key to his truck ("Duct Tape for
By including his first and last name and city and state, you
could have just helped get his truck stolen!
After a quick search on the Internet, I found two possible
Steve Thomases. Now someone would just have to drive by and see
which one has a pickup parked in front and check the tailgate
for a key.
Don't worry: I just called Steve's home and let him know that
he should move his key!
Somewhere in Texas
Steve Thomas responds: So I get this phone call from a guy
in Texas — a guy in the insurance business —
who seemed alarmed about my disclosure as to where I keep a
spare key for my truck. I thanked him, told him I appreciated
his concern, and reassured him that I'd moved the key. I too
did some homework on the Internet and found out where he lives
— a nice little town between Paranoia and
My intent was to suggest a safe spot to tuck a key away should
you be locked out (as stated, I do this with surprising
frequency), not to get my truck targeted for theft. Meanwhile,
I remain comfortable with my disclosure — I'd like to
hope not too many felons subscribe to this
I found Victor Rasilla's article on
compressors (8/04) highly informative. The only quibble I
have is that some of the manufacturers' stated specs may not be
true in real life. My Porter-Cable CPLDC2540S reportedly draws
only 12 amps, which was the lowest current draw among the
review subjects. On the job, however, it routinely trips 15-amp
breakers on startup, generally when it's recovering after the
initial tank charge. Sometimes I even have to run the
compressor off the inverter in my truck when I can't access a
Long Spans and Tile
Regarding the item "Setting Ceramic Tile Over Long-Span Steel
8/04), L/360 isn't typically a good indicator of a firm floor
except for spans under 15 feet. L/480 is optimum for spans up
to 20 feet, which equals 1/2-inch deflection at full load. For
the 24-foot span in the contractor's question, deflection of
1/2 inch would equal L/576. The Wood Truss Council recommends
that to avoid cracking of tile floors, deflections should be
less than 1/4 inch at full load, which in this case would be a
floor design of L/1,152. For a marble floor, the deflection
would be even less, something closer to 1/8 inch.
Compressed Air Output
Your recent article on compressors
Compressors," 8/04) brought to mind something I learned on
the job site many years ago, while nailing off sheathing. I
discovered that we could double our compressor output simply by
doubling our compressors — literally. By using a
double dongle — a fitting with two male ends, which
costs a couple of bucks — we simply connect two
compressors, using the second output nozzle to feed the nail
gun. No adjustments are necessary: You just plug them together
and go. If your compressor has only one output, just add a
With two pancakes working in tandem, I can nail off sheathing
without having to stop and wait for the compressor to catch up.
Ganged compressors are also handy when I run air-hungry tools
like a metal nibbler or an air ratchet.
I've found that two small compressors can typically run on one
20-amp circuit, as long as their cut-in settings are a bit
different. Two compressors kicking in at the same time can trip
the breaker. Plugging them into separate circuits is also an
option. I suppose there's no limit to the number of portable
compressors you could daisy-chain, as long as you've got the
circuitry to handle them.