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  1. #26
    We have met the enemy...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordy View Post
    If you aren't happy with it you tear it apart and start over....Took me years to learn this...
    Mark of a good workman, this.

    Breaks your freakin' heart sometimes, though.
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

    (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. Scientific American, January 18, 1896

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampshade View Post
    Wait, somebody carpeted a bathroom? That makes as much since as the two skylights in the master bedroom of our last house. They were positioned over the only logical place to put the bed. In the summer, sleeping past six was impossible.
    And let me tell you, tearing out 30 year old moldy, stinky carpet from a bathroom is about as nasty a job as you'll ever want.

    Surprised I didn't get dysentery.
    Quote Originally Posted by JustTooBig View Post
    Your Logical-to-Dumbass ratio is way out of kilter, buddy

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampshade View Post
    Len's "no fear" thread got me thinking. Has anyone ever really messed up a home project big or small?

    We've been in our house about three years. Long story short- it was built in the early 40's, the people who lived there had to go into assisted living and gave it to their daughter/son in law. They went nuts on it for two plus years redoing everything in an attempt to flip it during the DC real estate boom- electric, plumbing, HVAC, kitchen, baths, finished basement, drywall, addition, etc. We watched it sit for about a year and a half. It was way out of our range, but ended up coming down considerably in price.

    We love the house and they did quality work, but they did everything is so neutral/boring for selling purposes. We want to do some projects but are kind of scared of "failing."

    Any good home improvement fail or unexpected win stories?
    I "repaired" a damaged subfloor in the bathroom of our old house and then tiled it over. We sold it shortly afterwards. The guy who bought it was a contractor and he was going to gut the house anyway, but he remarked that someone really screwed up the bathroom floor.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  4. #29
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    I decided to build the kids a backyard swing set and gym while they were away with their mother on vacation. Clubhouse, swing, tire swing, rope climb....the whole bit. Build it out of 6 X 6 posts sunk 3 feet into the ground...all edges routed for smoothness. Took me 2 weekends and working every night after work for 2 weeks. In laying it out, I asked for the next door neighbors help in positioning it so it wouldn't bother him.

    Kids come home, love the swing set. 2 weeks letter, knock on the door....head of the local planning commission....we had a complaint about your swing set......need to check it...check it and it's 1 ft over the required setback and constructed w no permit. You did a great job on it, but you have to move it....1 ft. Who was the compaint from? you guessed it...the neighbor who helped me place it...his wife didn't like it.

    Here is something to remember about home repair. There are 4 basic parts (in my mind) to the house:

    1.) Structure - This is like the skelton of the house.
    2.) Electrical, plumbing, HVAC. - This is like the major organs of the house.
    3.) Sheathing, outside finish, insulation, vapor barrier, roof, foundation waterproofing, drainage - This is like the skin, it protects the house and regulates the temerature.
    4.) Everything else - This is like the clothes you wear. Finishes, paint, drywall, cabinets, countertops, flooring.

    In my experience, the higher the number, the less real damage you can do when working on these areas and the easier/cheaper it is to correct the errors/damage/other if you don't know what you are doing.

    Major rules.

    - Always know level and true
    - Always know what is behind what you are drilling or cutting.
    - When in doubt research, ask, get help.
    - Measure twice, cut once.
    - Know your own limitations. I suck at color and design but am good at the work itself. so I stay away from pickiung color and design.
    - Get good at #4 items before you try # 3 and so forth.
    - If you want to take a wall out, make sure you know if it's load bearing or not.
    - The right tools make jobs easier.
    - Think before you do.

    IME

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  5. #30
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampshade View Post

    We love the house and they did quality work, but they did everything is so neutral/boring for selling purposes. We want to do some projects but are kind of scared of "failing."

    Any good home improvement fail or unexpected win stories?
    One other thought related to the sentance above.

    Lowe's and Home Depot run free classes on just about every DIY project you can imagine. They are vvery informative for a novice and may give you the confidence. Pick a cosmetic project, take the class and then try it. What is the worst that can happen?

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  6. #31
    Failboat Captian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    I decided to build the kids a backyard swing set and gym while they were away with their mother on vacation. Clubhouse, swing, tire swing, rope climb....the whole bit. Build it out of 6 X 6 posts sunk 3 feet into the ground...all edges routed for smoothness. Took me 2 weekends and working every night after work for 2 weeks. In laying it out, I asked for the next door neighbors help in positioning it so it wouldn't bother him.

    Kids come home, love the swing set. 2 weeks letter, knock on the door....head of the local planning commission....we had a complaint about your swing set......need to check it...check it and it's 1 ft over the required setback and constructed w no permit. You did a great job on it, but you have to move it....1 ft. Who was the compaint from? you guessed it...the neighbor who helped me place it...his wife didn't like it.

    Here is something to remember about home repair. There are 4 basic parts (in my mind) to the house:

    1.) Structure - This is like the skelton of the house.
    2.) Electrical, plumbing, HVAC. - This is like the major organs of the house.
    3.) Sheathing, outside finish, insulation, vapor barrier, roof, foundation waterproofing, drainage - This is like the skin, it protects the house and regulates the temerature.
    4.) Everything else - This is like the clothes you wear. Finishes, paint, drywall, cabinets, countertops, flooring.

    In my experience, the higher the number, the less real damage you can do when working on these areas and the easier/cheaper it is to correct the errors/damage/other if you don't know what you are doing.

    Major rules.

    - Always know level and true
    - Always know what is behind what you are drilling or cutting.
    - When in doubt research, ask, get help.
    - Measure twice, cut once.
    - Know your own limitations. I suck at color and design but am good at the work itself. so I stay away from pickiung color and design.
    - Get good at #4 items before you try # 3 and so forth.
    - If you want to take a wall out, make sure you know if it's load bearing or not.
    - The right tools make jobs easier.
    - Think before you do.

    IME

    Len
    I'll add to that.... Never, ever assume that corners of rooms are square. Even in my 12 year old house, when I replaced the stupid wire shelving in the pantry with real wood, I found that the pantry wasn't square on the 2 back corners. You need to assume that all corners are not square.

    Also, assume that any project you undertake will take 3x longer than planned. As you get really good at DIYing, projects will only take twice as long as planned.

    Another note: Some Home Depot and Lowes stores rent expensive tools like wet saws for tiles. Having the right tool matters. Sometimes a lot. If not Home Depot or Lowes, try Sunbelt Rentals, United Rentals, etc. for tools to make the job easier. You can rent anything from a drill to a boom lift or a trench digger. I found renting a drywall lift to be the best $20 I ever spent. I put up 600 square feet of drywall on a ceiling by myself in a weekend!
    "I'm tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am."
    -Paula Abdul

    Quote Originally Posted by ToF View Post
    What type of tang does it have?
    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    The ones I made had a poo tang.

  7. #32
    Fred the Clydesdale
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    Never, never, never put wallpaper up. No, this one was not me, but everyone I have heard about had a real hard time removing wallpaper. I think it is easier just to rip out the sheetrock and start over.

    I redid our bathroom floors upstairs. The first one went ok. My wife had suggested we use this new type of tile. It snapped and locked like a Pergo floor. It was a floating floor, meaning that it was not permanently affixed to the floor. Big mistake. The tiles were very thin and they started cracking almost immediately. We did get our money back from that. Then I put in real tile. BTW, this floor also had some water damage, so I replaced some of the subfloor.

    The second bathroom, we started with real tile. The problem there was that when mixing the mortar to stick the tiles to the floor, I mixed it a little dry. The tiles did not fully adhere. I ended up removing 75% of the tiles and the mortar underneath them...with a screw driver and hammer. The finished product is very nice. My wife is very happy with the work, now.

    Let's see, then there was the time I replaced some shower valve stems. I think there are two that I ended up dropping into the abyss located between the first floor and the second floor. They were real brass, so a magnet was of no use (Hi ToG!).
    Member of Team Collin, a group of ordinary moreons going to extraordinary levels of awesome in the fight against cancer.

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  8. #33
    Misfit Toy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Erickson View Post
    LOL, my BIL did you one better. He figured since a sawsall is good, a chainsaw must be better! Suffice it to say he had a lot of water to mop up.
    Your BIL is T0G?
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

    Don't make me go all honey badger on your ass

  9. #34
    Failboat Captian
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    Plumbing horror story!

    My father, who is the ultimate DIYer, one time put in new shower/tub plumbing in the master bathroom. This is probably 15+ years ago. The company he worked for owned Dewalt, Black & Decker, Emhart (door knobs and locks) and Price Pfister (faucets). He installed a shower valve from PP that had some fittings that were plastic. he thought this to be odd when he installed it, but went ahead with it anyway.

    A few days later, my mother comes home in the middle of the afternoon, from whatever she was doing. Opens the door from the garage to the kitchen, and about 2" of water started pouring out of the house into the garage.

    They had had new wood floors installed within the prior year or so. Luckily, insurance paid for all new wood floors, rugs, kitchen cabinets, appliances, lighting, ceiling, etc.

    THAT's the worst that can happen (short of your house burning to the ground). One, stupid, poorly made plastic fitting.
    "I'm tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am."
    -Paula Abdul

    Quote Originally Posted by ToF View Post
    What type of tang does it have?
    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    The ones I made had a poo tang.

  10. #35
    We have met the enemy...
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    I've definitely got into things where I thought I was screwed, and I have definitely done some work that was likely complained about by the next homeowner--especially some of my early attempts.

    But lately, I can keep working something over until I get it right--not perfect, but good enough for an amateur. Recently, I had prepped my electrical panel and hired a pro to finish the move--he looked over my work, asked a lot of questions, made just a few suggestions--basically my work passed muster with a pro. I don't think that would have been the case with some earlier attempts at wiring--not that it would cause the house to burn down, but just that it wasn't tidy enough, and didn't look like pro work.

    One of the things I loved when I read it, was Richard Sachs admitting that every time he brazes a frame he tries for a great job, and even now sometimes that escapes him--I thought it was a honest statement by someone who has worked on his craft for forty years. So when we start as amateurs, I think by definition we will be trying for the best job possible, but it will fall short (but that is true of the professionals as well).

    The interwebz have been a godsend for DIY'ers since the hard part used to be information, and now you can read and ask a lot of questions before you start.
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

    (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. Scientific American, January 18, 1896

  11. #36
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider9 View Post
    Never, never, never put wallpaper up. No, this one was not me, but everyone I have heard about had a real hard time removing wallpaper. I think it is easier just to rip out the sheetrock and start over.
    I would never put up wallpaper. It's ugly and a general PITA to put up and take down.
    I've had mixed success in taking it down. I've had some walls where the paper peels off very easily in whole sheets. And others where the entire wall came off (slowly) in dime sized pieces.

  12. #37
    corning my own beef
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen View Post
    Your BIL is T0G?
    BAM!


    nicely done, Snap!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    People who say, "Laughter is the best medicine.." have never been on the receiving end of a morphine drip..

    ноожеяз ай вщоw?
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    A fool and his money were damned lucky to have bumped into each other in the first place.

  13. #38
    tlg
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    For anyone who has plaster walls...
    There's a product called Nu-Wal. It's a fiberglass mat coated with a rubber paint that you apply to your walls similar to wallpaper.
    https://spec-chem.com/how-to-repair-...l-restoration/
    Plaster Wall Repair / Restoration System!!! Nu-wall - YouTube

    I can not praise this enough. My living room walls were completely riddled with fine hairline cracks in the plaster. After applying Nu-Wal, my walls look phenominal! Better than ANY drywall job hands down.
    It's quite a job to do. A little pricey, messy, and tedious. But you'll never have to bother with cracked plaster again. This stuff is extremely tough and bonded to the wall. It doesn't chip, crack, dent, scratch like plaster or drywall will.
    It's still easier than properly repairing cracked plaster and cheaper/easier than ripping out the plaster and installing drywall.

  14. #39
    chica cyclista
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotophage View Post
    No fails but lots of onions.

    When we moved into our house, the bathroom was carpeted.

    I'll just rip out this carpet, no problem. Oh, the subfloor is damaged. No big deal, I'll just tear that out, too. Oh, look. The cross planking has rotted as well. What's that, the only thing holding up the toilet is the pipe? awesome. Long story short, the new floor will probably support a car.
    omg how this resonates. we are currently roughly halfway through what was supposedly a kitchen remodel in our little 1955 ranch right now. house is currently 75% gutted. Mainly due to a bunch of prior-owner DIY WTFs similar to the above.

    I recently (jokingly) told BoyToy his middle name is "scope creep". on the bright side our contractor has been super great to work with, and is doing his level best not to run us into 2nd mortgage territory. started out with a new kitchen plan, and we're currently up to an entirely redone interior in the whole house, and starting to talk about "next year's project" which will involve (among other things) a new entryway and adding a half bath. Spendy but it'll look nice when it's done.

    ... on the meh side, we've tripled our original budget for this little shindig, our furniture is all either in the garage or in the backyard, and we are living with teammates for the foreseeable. The entire kitchen, all the floors in the house, all the trim, paint, drywall repairs, all new doors, and while we're at it, finishing out the bathroom which was about 3/4ths of the way done.

    to his credit, BoyToy is an engineer but is very aware of his limitations and is also extremely picky - he'd rather pay the pros to make it look good, and he is way more persnickety about colors and finishes and design than even I am, so we always planned to involve pros in this shindig. when we started to calculate what we'd gotten into with the kitchen remodel (demoing the divider between the kitchen and LR involved structural beam reconfig, etc), we hired an architect, nevermind a GC and subs. I've hung and sanded drywall and done a bunch of other DIY stuff myself so my only stipulation was that I'd do whatever necessary to help bring the budget down, so long as it didn't involve me having to deal with effing drywall. Never again.

    already posted a scad of pix on our FaceTube but will have more as the job progresses.
    Grandpa LFR: "Kid, don't wrestle with pigs; you'll just get covered in crap, and the pig enjoys it."

    /Grandpa LFR

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    ...
    Major rules.

    - Always know level and true
    - Always know what is behind what you are drilling or cutting.
    - When in doubt research, ask, get help.
    - Measure twice, cut once.
    - Know your own limitations. I suck at color and design but am good at the work itself. so I stay away from pickiung color and design.
    - Get good at #4 items before you try # 3 and so forth.
    - If you want to take a wall out, make sure you know if it's load bearing or not.
    - The right tools make jobs easier.
    - Think before you do.

    IME

    Len
    good advice.

  16. #41
    ToF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotophage View Post
    Long story short, the new floor will probably support a car.
    Lol, let's hope you never have the opportunity to test that theory...

  17. #42
    ToF
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    My biggest fail (out of many) involved remodeling a big portion of our house. I planned to take out a retaining wall to expand the kitchen. I have this Bosch reciprocating saw, I think they are commonly referred to as sawzalls? Anyway, those things can really cut through anything! I cut through drainpipes, an electrical conduit, and made a huge mess in just a few seconds. I put the saw away and never used it again. I hired a professional to come fix/ finish the job. For some reason my wife thinks that because I do wood carvings and sculpture that this somehow translates into being a handyman. Even after 19 years she is still surprised when I call a plumber, etc.

  18. #43
    Fred the Clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToF View Post
    My biggest fail (out of many) involved remodeling a big portion of our house. I planned to take out a retaining wall to expand the kitchen. I have this Bosch reciprocating saw, I think they are commonly referred to as sawzalls? Anyway, those things can really cut through anything! I cut through drainpipes, an electrical conduit, and made a huge mess in just a few seconds. I put the saw away and never used it again. I hired a professional to come fix/ finish the job.
    Thanks for the laugh.

    This reminds me of a story. I was about a year from graduating from college with an engineering degree. I got a summer job working for a residential home developer. These homes were not stick built, but the wall framing was assembled in Houston and transported to Fort Worth by truck. Well, the walls were exposed to the weather and bouncing along the highway. They transported rain or shine. Some of the walls were shall we say a little warped when they were put in place.

    My boss had me going around with a circular saw and "straightening" studs. I would cut a slice out of a stud and then hammer a nail into the stud to "unbend it," [Yes, these were "quality" homes ]. Well, I cut through one two by four that was on the ceiling. I don't remember why now. Apparently there was an electrical line above that board and I had sliced right through it. We didn't find that out until the house was almost finished. Try to avoid buying a house in NW Fort Worth near White Settlement Road.
    Member of Team Collin, a group of ordinary moreons going to extraordinary levels of awesome in the fight against cancer.

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  19. #44
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampshade View Post
    Len's "no fear" thread got me thinking. Has anyone ever really messed up a home project big or small?

    We've been in our house about three years. Long story short- it was built in the early 40's, the people who lived there had to go into assisted living and gave it to their daughter/son in law. They went nuts on it for two plus years redoing everything in an attempt to flip it during the DC real estate boom- electric, plumbing, HVAC, kitchen, baths, finished basement, drywall, addition, etc. We watched it sit for about a year and a half. It was way out of our range, but ended up coming down considerably in price.

    We love the house and they did quality work, but they did everything is so neutral/boring for selling purposes. We want to do some projects but are kind of scared of "failing."

    Any good home improvement fail or unexpected win stories?
    My dad once ripped out our bathroom to the bare studs, and replaced everything, new plumbing, fixtures, everything. He had installed the tub, counters, sinks, and most of the flooring, and was fastening down the last piece of subfloor, when he heard the "psssst" of water spraying through the water line he'd just pierced.

    But even the pros screw things up, sometimes. One of the most respected builders in our area once literally blew the roof off a house in the neighborhood (something about a gas line not being connected tightly.) And one of my neighbors, a couple years ago, had some plumbers doing some brazing, and they managed to set his house on fire.

  20. #45
    Frog Whisperer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    - Measure twice, cut once.

    IME

    Len
    DAMN....I got that wrong....I thought it was cut twice, measure once.......doh

    I cut the board 3 times and it's still too short!


    My wife and i having built our own house (right WE built it)
    I have horror stories i don't even remember!

    Just a little example.....I came home with 90 sheets of drywall and spent weeks dry walling. I had problems on EVERY sheet. I couldn't believe my framing was THAT out of square. FINALLY I threw a tape on a sheet of drywall, corner to corner, diagonally both ways.....OMG the drywall was out of square!!!!!!

    Another, I had to shut the water off for an additional water run to a new 1/2 bath and when i finished and pressurized the system again, I went up to take a shower. I heard water running...OH SH!T......it was behind the shower valves on the third floor! (big one piece enclosure which was another 10 hour nightmare involving removing a staircase) Apparently, I had forgotten to glue up a cpvc pipe joint and when i re-pressurized it blew off. It had held for 3 years till then without a leak! That would have been a TOTAL disaster, pumping my well dry on from a wall cavity on the 3rd floor of my house!

    oh...and the chainsaw....yeah there's always that
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right......

  21. #46
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    ps



    I do know for a fact that my roof is out of square....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right......

  22. #47
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    A variation on a fail. Never assume your contractor knows what he/she is doing. Get references. See some of his/her previous work.
    Lynn Travers

    Bikes and Stuff

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    ps



    I do know for a fact that my roof is out of square....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    It's ok.

    I had a bad experience with a concrete contractor once. He placed the pier footings for a patio deck way out of whack. 24" concrete. Not something we can adjust.

    So somebody in the tri state area has a deck that is way the hell out of square underneath. We made it work on top.

    These things happen.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    DAMN....I got that wrong....I thought it was cut twice, measure once.......doh

    I cut the board 3 times and it's still too short!
    ...
    My pop always said that. It was always funny.

    Except when I had been the one that did it.

  25. #50
    We have met the enemy...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10ae1203 View Post
    My pop always said that. It was always funny.

    Except when I had been the one that did it.
    My dad's line that still echoes in my head was when he'd cut something, and say "Let's see if we've got a fit or a convulsion."

    Still makes me crack a smile when I remember it.
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

    (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. Scientific American, January 18, 1896

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