Trade Secrets & the Internet

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mike50, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    I'm curious if plumbers have trade secrets they keep to themselves and if so, has the Internet been responsible for broadcasting those secrets.
    I just want to know your feeling on this.

    I just curious because of a situation where Im trying to gain some knowledge about applying Italian "Venetian" Plasters. I only want to do a couple rooms in my house.
    The big dog on the block (Plaster Importer) won't sell to you if you don't attend their 1 week school which is not cheap.

    Their message board is pretty restrictive as well.
    Mike
  2. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Additionally and AFAIK Terry Love was one of the first guys to "get it"-that encouraging community discussion drives commerce. John Bridge is very successful as many of you know regarding Tile etc.. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a restricted board like (Italian Plaster) with any large degree of success. Not that they don't exist--I'm just not aware of them.
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Mike50

    We do have trade secrets but we are sworn to secrecy.

    If any one reveals them when they shouldn't the closest plumber living near them has to do away with them and their immediate family and anyone in the room at the time.

    The secrets are given when we become Masters.

    So you see we can't reveal everything.:) :D :)

    I guess plasterers are the same.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2006
  4. call me "worshipful master"

    the greatest secret that I can reveal


    thier is no secret .......crap is crap

    always has been .....always will be.......



    also .....no body really wants to work hard.....

    nobody wants to get their hands dirty.......


    thats why I charge so much....

    I actually NEVER get dirty on jobs

    and I usually just cover myself with dirt
    ONLY if the customer shows up
    on the job


    I got a set of really dirty work overalls in my truck
    that I put on every evening when I come home....
    to trick my wife too....
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2006
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes I have a few of those.

    1 pair is covered with dried mud when I want her to think I was in a ditch, another pair has sewerage all over it. That one is when I want her to think someone flushed a toilet when I was under a house.
    Another pair has burned holes in it when I want her to think I was doing a lot of soldering.

    What other tricks do you do.

    I make my truck a mess so she won't know I was sitting and drinking coffee and eating doughnuts all day.

    I also put flux on my hands from time to time, just to make it look good.
  6. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    LOL.

    These plasterers are people just like me who took an expensive course
    and overnight they are "artists" who dont want to tell anyone (for example) how much
    tint or additives to add to the plaster unless you are one of the chosen few.

    It's an Artists or Plumbers Talent and Heart that makes him great or mediocre imo.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2006
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Yes, and that includes the wisdom of knowing, for the sake of the listener, just when to say or to not say however much!
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
  9. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    Hmmm... plastering is something I will admit being ignorant about. Once upon a time I worked in a upholstery shop for a guy who taught upholstery at the local trade school. I found it funny that he was teaching me and paying me to do what he was charging others to teach them to do. So, one suggestion, if you don't want to pay for this expensive course is to go to work for a plasterer for 6 or 8 weeks... you'll be the grunt for sure...but you can ask lots of questions and get a pay check and free lessons!
  10. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Since I too am in the Cincinnati area, I have been contracted to fulfill the obligation of keeping an eye on Cass. Seems he's come very, very close to revealing those trade secrets (muddy overalls, sewer"ie" overalls, et al). No offense of course Cass. Business is business you know.....but I wont go farther north than Middletown. :D

    LoL

    Cheers!
  11. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    I don't need to be paid.
    I thought about doing some free grunt work for a plaster guy--no problem with that. Trying to find a guy that knows these unique venetian/Italian techniques is about as easy as finding a one armed paper hanger. I'm still working on it...

    Mike
  12. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Cookie many of these guys get 5-10 dollars a square foot. I'm not paying someone 1200 dollars to plaster my kitchen. lol :eek:

    Bob thanks for that link. As you see one of their secrets is that your trowel must be sanded with 800 1000 git sandpaper to get the shiny marble finish. (even if it's new)
    look at this:
    http://216.193.252.74/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=1690&cat=511

    Mike
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  13. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
  14. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Great minds think alike. I'm renting that whole series of DIY DVD's on line.


    I think we all know that the nature of trade secrets is alot different than it was back in the 70-80's.
    The Internet happened. Open Source software issues happened.
    If my business was dependant on trade secrets I'm sure I would feel differently about this issue.

    This particular school/importer is telling people that they produce a quality
    second to none and all others are inferior in some way.
    IMO I think they are in for a rude awakening sooner rather than later.

    I guess I'd hoped they would give me professional courtesy as I've worked in a closely related field of work imo.

    Like I said it's the technician/artist that makes the difference.
    I obviously don't have any plumbing secrets however:
    In the spirit of an open source internet I will reveal a closely guarded Holiday cooking ingredient secret.

    When making a holiday turkey:
    Use 1 teaspoon of Lard (pork fat) in your marinade/seasoning mixture before buttering the bird. It adds a lot of body to the flavor but it's subtle and no one can identify it.

    And one more thing-don't tell anyone-it's a secret. :D
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  15. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    I can plaster, but I have never learned how to do venation plaster. I have seen it done but all it ever looked like was drywall mud with paint in it. After that they used some kind of wax. But I was doing other finishes so I couldn’t sit and watch.
  16. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Orazio is the man in this field. He makes all his plaster from scratch-and you can learn a lot about the formula by watching this little clip.
    http://www.oraziostudio.com/press.html
    (Click on 2nd picture from left-"Find 2005")
    He's in all the mags and charges accordingly.

    No way in hell would I make my own plaster. That's crazy. There are some good products available if you spend the time and do your research.

    Mike
  17. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    As I am sworn to FULL secrecy at the time of our MASTER'S INDUCTION and at the possable cost of one of the Master hit squads visits ,,,,,,,, We do keep MANY secrets !

    I will share this bit from the ," 1968 Master's secret handbook" ,,,

    " When needing more money for the evenings drink , be sure that customer CANNOT actually see what one is working on . At this time begin using phrases I.E. " Oh , geez THAT's not good" // " Crap , there goes MY schedule"
    and " How did they get away with THIS on the original inspection !"


    Fellas ,,, do we have a secret handshake ??

    Cal
  18. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Alright lets post some "secrets" most people are unaware of when using these exotic finishes.
    If you use Italian Plaster and are planning on "waxing" the final finish-
    you might want to look into adding mica powder to your particular wax or glaze.
    Various effects can be achieved from a subtle sheen to a metallic shimmer.
    One property mica has is that it is seen differently as lighting changes.

    Mica can also be added in some other ways as well. Do the research.
    Mica is also included in some high end formulas-waxes-glazes and plasters.
  19. santanaf

    santanaf New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Did someone say Chili?

    Speaking of being in the Cincinnati area and being sworn to secrecy.

    My wife's family is from The Nati, and I went to College at Miami University. Seems many years ago, way back in W-W-2, my wife's veteran grandfather, who was a pipe fitter by trade, won a game of P-O-K-E-R (Edit due to filter) against one of the owners of the original Cincinnati Chili joints. Mr. Chili had put his secret recipe for the chili on the table, and now it is being passed down in our family. Some people tell me that I lucked out marrying my wife, I agree if only for one hellofa Cincinnati Chili recipe.

    On to the actual topic. Many people with "trade secrets" don't realize that they are keeping the secrets because they fear for their job or somehow feel under appreciated. When you go to one of these boards and everyone responds with "Hire a Pro," regardless of the question, it is a bread of people who fear for their usefulness. The high quality pros will always share, as they know that regardless of what they divulge, they will always have plenty of work to keep them busy.

    I am a computer programmer by day, and IMO I am pretty good. SO love teaching people and talking to people about what I do and love to share. If I can teach one person something about computers, I feel empowered, like I can contribute to someone elses life in some small way. I know my previous Master Plumber and Master Electrician boss felt the same about his trade.

    Plasterers are a dying bunch because there is less work to go around, so naturally they may be more protective, but if they open their eyes, they will notice that helping others learn may revive their industry's heart attacked body.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2006
  20. secret handshake.....

    another secret of the trade.....

    if the customer is not in the room

    and no matter how easy the job is, and how quickly

    you make the repairs,

    you MUST bang and rap on the pipes

    for a while....to make it sound like you got yourself into

    a fight......


    that way they dont squeal about the bill so much...
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