Copper Fittings – The Basics

The next time you visit a DIY store or builders merchant, stop in at the plumbing section and take a look at the huge range and variety of small plumbing fittings that are available. Brass, copper, plastic, chrome – all are available in a confusing array of different sizes. But what do they do, and how do they work?

The generic name for these products is copper fittings. This term refers to the fact that they are used in conjunction with copper pipe (or a substitute product such as plastic) in the supply of hot and cold water or central heating. Copper fittings do indeed come in a number of different shapes and sizes, but they are generally classified into four groups. These groups are derived from the actual method that is adopted when the fitting is put into use.

The first group is known as solder ring fittings. Solder ring fittings (sometimes referred to as Yorkshire fittings) are made of either copper or brass. The fitting itself contains a small ring of cooled solder around the circumference of the inside of the fitting. When the copper pipe is pushed into the fitting and flux (a cleaning and activating paste) is applied along with intense heat, the solder melts and runs around the joint, cooling and solidifying once more as soon as the heat source is removed, forming a solid joint.

The second type group of fittings are known as end feed fittings. These fittings are almost identical to solder ring fittings except that they do not contain an integral ring of solder – when using end feed fittings the solder is supplied by the plumber from a reel or solder stick. When the pipe/fitting joint is at the correct temperature, the plumber offers the tip of the solder reel or stick up to the joint. The intense heat melts the solder, which is then “drawn” or “fed” into and around the fitting by capillary action. Once more the joint is made when the heat is removed and the solder sets. These fittings are favoured by plumbers as they are considerably less expensive than solder ring fittings, and equally efficient when used correctly.

The third group of fittings goes by the name of compression. These are generally brass fittings that use a mechanical pressure joint method sometimes referred to as “nut and olive”. The olive is a thin band of either copper or brass that is shaped like a wedding ring and which, along with a threaded nut, fits over the copper pipe, the pipe is then inserted into the fitting, and the female thread on the nut is tightened down onto the male thread on the body of the fitting. As the nut is tightened, the olive is crushed down onto the pipe and into concave seat inside the fitting, making a secure and watertight joint. Some plumbers favour the use of a proprietary pipe jointing compound around the olive when using compression fittings.

The final and newest group of fittings is called push fit fittings. Cleverly designed using internal grab rings, they are used in conjunction with technically advanced flexible plastic pipes supplied in either coils or lengths. Small metal or rigid plastic pipe stiffeners are inserted into the end bore of the pipe, ensuring that the wall of the pipe does not distort under pressure. The pipe is then inserted into the fitting until it reaches the integral stops inside the fitting, ensuring that the grab rings are located in the correct position. The joint then reaches its full strength when pressurised by the water flowing through it.

Regardless of which of the four groups the fittings belong to, they are always sized in reference to the diameter of the copper pipe that they are used to join. The most common sizes in domestic plumbing applications are 15mm, 22mm and 28mm.

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Saddle Fitting Basics – Make Sure Your Horse Tack is Correct

Saddle fitting is difficult because there are no two horses that are alike. Horses were not made to carry a saddle, humans invented the saddle, every horse’s back is different and every fit is different.With a bare tree saddle fitting process you fit the bare tree to your horse for the best fit possible.

Your Horse Could Be The Problem Not Your Saddle Remember that saddle fit might not be the problem. Your horse just might be objecting to going riding or going up or down a hill and acting out in revolt of doing what you are asking. And after all, it is much easier to stand in the pasture and eat grass and for the most part they are lazy animals. So when he acts out when leaving the barn or going down a hill, it might be attitude and not saddle fit. Make sure it isn’t saddle fit and any horse tack first, before you address behavior.

Consider Other Problems Besides Saddle Fitting It might also be another problem like an old injury, a hip being out, a bad farrier, the wrong saddle pad or bit, physical condition or any number of other possibilities.

Poor Saddle Fit Can Cause Pain Eliminating saddle and tack as being the problem should be one of your first steps. Many times horses are blamed for bad behavior when it is tack or a poor saddle fit that is causing pain and makes the horse act badly. When you fit the bare tree to your horse, you will know for yourself that your saddle is a good fit and that your saddle is NOT the problem.

Proper Saddling Is As Important As Saddle Fit Once you know you have the right saddle fit you also need to make sure it is in the correct position. Your western saddle should sit two fingers behind the shoulder blade. This is where the tree should be placed; the leather and pad will sit over the shoulder blade. The leather and pad is pliable enough that it will not restrict the shoulder movement but the tree is not. See our article that talks more in detail about proper “position of your saddle and proper saddling”.

Proper Saddle Rigging For Saddle Fitting You also need to consider your rigging and how your saddle is cinched to your horse. Cinches that sit farther forward of the saddle need to also have a rear cinch in order to keep the back of the saddle from tipping forward. There are four positions for your rigging to be placed and when ordering your saddle you want to consider which position is best for your horse. The development of the “3-Way” rigging gives some options with cinch positions, usually allowing you to cinch in either the 7/8, 3/4 or center fire positions. It provides options so that the same saddle will possibly fit more horses. You can learn more about rigging in our article “Saddle Rigging Basics”

Saddle Pads Can Make A Difference In Saddle Fitting Saddle pads and the different types of materials they are made of, can also cause problems or can correct problems. Bottom line is to be open to trying different things, a slight change in material or shape can make huge difference in what works for your horse.

Seat and Balance Helps Your Horse’s Movements Another problem can be the rider’s seat and balance. A rider can throw the horse off and cause them to stumble and trip. Learn to move, relaxed and comfortable with your horse’s movements in every gait. Yes, even the canter, especially the canter. Teach yourself to ride relaxed, comfortable and balanced at the canter and it will improve your seat and confidence immensely.

Saddle Fitting Myths

1) A saddle should fit perfectly all by itself, no matter what rigging or pad. This would be true in a perfect world but there are so many variables when fitting a horse. What works for one will not work for another. The same horse will loose weight or gain weight, or sway back from age. So the saddle that once was a good fit can change. And cinch and pad have a tremendous amount to do with the comfort for your horse.

2) Sweat marks show you if the saddle is fitting right or not. This method is very inaccurate at best and is subject to many variables.

The Only Sure Saddle Fitting Method The only way you can get a truly correct fitting saddle is by fitting the bare tree to your horse first. It will take all the guess work out of the fitting and you will know for sure it’s not the horse tack causing the problem.

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