A mnemonic which is incredibly useful for those people not mechanically inclined when trying to remember which way tightens or loosens a screw.

"Tightie righty" means turn the screwdriver to the right (ie, clockwise) to tighten.

"Lefty Lucy" means turn the screwdriver to the left (ie, counterclockwise) to loosen.

This little trick also works on most faucets, gas fireplaces and whatnot.

This may not work Down Under. (While I don't really know if it does or not, the preceding sentence falls into the category of TWAJS).

I guess I should have emphasized that this mnemonic works in a generalist sense, for those that don't have to screw often ;-)

To be 100% technically accurate, this only works on so-called "right handed" threads. Things that have "left handed" threads tighten when rotated counterclockwise and loosen when rotated clockwise.

Some liquid propane tank connectors have left handed threads. Screws, bolts, allthread and nuts can also usually be found in left handed versions. Unless you're a steam fitter, prolly 95% of all the threaded things out there you may have to screw with have "right hand"ed threads. i still use this mnemonic when screwing things together

danke, hodgepodge, for the clarification on the reasoning behind lh threads on gas connectors.

WRT the LP tank connectors:

All plumbing I have ever seen that was intended to be used for gases has had left-handed threads.

The reason: Simple - so you don't accidentally use a fitting that was specced for water in your home's natural gas line, thus potentially causing leakage (gas fittings are higher-quality) and eventually blowing yourself up.

Yes, corporations feel a need to protect people from their own stupidity. That, or it's a CYA thing, I'm not sure..

I hate home improvement.
My wife came to me at around 11pm one night to tell me that she'd lost her contact lens down the drain of her bathroom. In most cases I would have told her that it was gone and she'd have to get another. However, her contacts are made to exacting specifications because of her eye condition and they cost between 200 and 400 bucks a pair. Letting it go was not an option, so we had to get it back.

So, being Mr. Home Improvement I decided that I would get under the sink and open it up to get it. I searched the house and found a trusty vise clamp wrench (mistake) and began work.

My wife has two cats (that will remain nameless in this story) and she keeps their litter box under the sink (that is attached to the wall). I approach the litter box as I would approach a large hairy spider- cautiously and with great disgust. So I managed to move the litter box out of the way and tried to brush away some of the litter that had fallen on the floor... this worked only marginally well and I ended up with litter all over my arm and knees as I stooped to get this done. This was a little too gross for me to deal with so i got and get our big "Black and Decker" home improvement book for me to use as a prop... much better than the floor and easier to clean up than my shirt.

So I get started...

My mind was thinking tighty righty, lefty lucy as I clamped the wrench on the pipe fitting and started to turn... it didn't. I saw that it seemed a little corroded and I thought that maybe it needed to be worked out. I started again, this time I focused on keeping hold of the wrench and hoped that I wouldn't somehow pull the pipe out of the wall - because it seemed to give in an odd way... I tried again and again, each time the fitting moved just a little more the pipe seemed to give some. Great! I thought this must be working because there's a little bit of water dripping from the pipe. Good ,I thought, I'm getting it... I'm not a moron... I can DO PLUMBING! ...until I saw that the fitting seemed to be splitting - so I stopped... confused. I leaned against the home improvement book mystified... I thought, well, maybe I just have the vise too tight . I loosened the vise and twisted again - this time causing pipe split open.

I gaped at my handiwork in horror.

I was torn... I didn't know what to be angry about... I didn't know what the hell I just done... how much did that contact lens cost? How much would it take to repair a split pipe? Can you replace a split pipe cheap? I stared blankly down at my book then sat back and picked it up. I flipped past flooring, electrical, carpeting, painting until I got to plumbing - where it said in rather obvious lettering that pipe fittings loosen when turned to the right, not the left.



am a...



Disgusted, I grabbed the wrench and turned it to the right... the fitting moved easily. I continued turning until the fitting loosened completely... and the pipe fell loudly to the floor...spilling water, my wife's contact, and her wedding ring.

"Did you get it?" she asked, peeking her head in the door.
I moved forward to hide my damage but she saw it all.
"what the hell did you do?"
Once again... torn... how do I talk my way out of this one?
"The pipe was corroded and it the fitting broke when I took it off." I lied through my clenched teeth. I looked down on the floor and picked up her contact and handed it to her. "Here, take this and clean it"
"It didn't look corroded to me... why is the pipe on the floor?" she started to inquire and I held up the ring.
"Missing this?" I asked... I looked at her hard.
"My ring!" She gleefully exclaimed. "I've been looking for that for weeks"
I bit my tongue...
"I guess we're lucky you dropped your contact." I said slowly as she plucked the ring from my fingers.
"yea," she replied then stared at the broken pipe. "I guess we're lucky you found that corroded pipe."
"Yep." I smiled. "sure are..."
We called the plumber in the morning...

I threw the book away.

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