Lessons in Life!

Or alternatively - have faith!

The draughty and crumbling 300 year old farmhouse where I grew up owed its continued existence to a tie-rod – essentially a humongous nut, washer and bolt arrangement. You may have seen those ‘X’ shape pieces of metal on the exterior of twee country cottages? They actually prevent the walls from collapsing.

Our rod worked, and ever since I’ve had faith in the humble yet positive nut-andbolt fixing. After much DIY experience, I’ve eventually developed a grudging trust in the taper anchor bolt variant too. So, when I got a new TV, I decided to wall mount it with anchor bolts in readiness for the England/Scotland 6 Nations game.*

With my usual habit of excessivelyengineering solutions, I visited a national DIY chain store and invested heavily in a broad range of such rugged and reliable anchor bolts - some hefty M8 beasts. Plus a 14mm drill, spacers, and a bunch of other accoutrements.

Thing is, technology has moved on. Modern house walls suffer from the nasty practice of ‘dot-and-dab’ plasterboarding. I soon discovered these heavyduty anchor bolts were no longer suitable for these new circumstances. They simply wouldn’t work properly, and could not bite sufficiently to settle my nerves.

Cue another trip, this time to a local ironmongers. While in the process of buying yet more anchor bolt variants, I casually consulted the hugely experienced shopkeeper. He handed me – and vouched for - some patheticlooking plastic discs, which with my superior knowledge and experience I instantly dismissed as I knew they could not possibly work (but bought some just in case, as it was near closing time).

Having struggled on amid much hammerdrilling, frustration and an increasing lack of confidence, I finally read the discs’ packaging. A claimed load weight of 113kg! Furthermore, I only had to drill through the plaster-board. I gave it a try. 4 holes in 1 minute. Another minute to tap them in and just seconds to activate the innovative locking mechanism. Job done!

Even after I doubled up on the fixings (just to satisfy my paranoia) the net cost of these was less than £10. The ‘traditional’ items I’d bought were many times that cost, and now sit languishing in storage.

The moral?

The more I thought about it, the more I realised the parallels to my world of valves. We have a customer-base who want robust and cost-effective solutions.

But who often cling to traditional products, even when they are not appropriate for modern applications.

Some, when they are offered the opportunity to test the market, shy away thinking they know better than the designers, or simply cannot encompass changing to something they don’t know or haven’t experienced before.

And yet all the time, simple and effective solutions are out there if they’d only open their minds and trust the experts.

At the BVAA we’d encourage all customers to regularly test the market through our zero-cost, on-site desktop exhibitions.

Contact rob@bvaa.org.uk for details.

*The TV took so long to mount, I missed the game. Did we win?

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 44

Winter 2018 // Issue 47
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