Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

How to: Shortening a chrome shower riser

How-To, Master Bathroom

When our Sunrise Speciality shower enclosure came in the mail a few weeks ago, it felt like Christmas. It was a welcome sight, those boxes filled with shiny chrome goodness piled high on our porch. We ripped into them like maniacs, taking each piece out to examine and admire the fixtures inside.


But of course, nothing being easy when it comes to this bathroom, along came a few little problems to burst our bubble. For one, the porcelain shower head was cracked when we opened it up.

No biggie, really – I knew all it would take was a call to Vintage Tub and Bath. They contacted the suppliers, who sent us a new, very well wrapped porcelain ring in a little over a week.
The second, and more heart-wrenching of the bubble bursters, came when we put it all together to test the height. We knew when we ordered it that the height would be close – VERY close. As in, grazing the ceiling close, if we were lucky. That half of the bathroom has a low ceiling to begin with, and we lost even more height when we put the tile floor down. But when we put the shower fixtures together, we found that it was about .5″ too tall. Since this shower set was our only option, we had to make it work.

While I panicked and thought up creative ways to cut holes in the ceiling, Teague took the shower riser (the tall pipe that runs from the faucet to the shower head) to a place he knew had a pipe threading machine. (Cutting down a pipe is easy; getting the thread onto it is the harder part.) The guy in the shop seemed to think he could fix it no problem, and did not seem worried even after Teague stressed that it was a) expensive chrome-plated brass b) irreplaceable and c) totally essential to the success of our bathroom, and to his wife’s happiness.

A few minutes later, the guy gave up and handed Teague back this:



Sorry for the blurry pics, but the gist of it is he mangled it beyond belief, and never even got it to thread properly. We were left with a totally useless gnarled-up end on our once-returnable (if not usable to us) riser. The guy blamed the cold weather, and said he couldn’t help us any further. When Teague called to tell me the news, I was ready to throttle someone. I’m sure the guy didn’t mean to make such a mess of it, or anticipate having so much trouble, but I was in no mood for oopsies.
A few plumbers in the shop at the time took pity on Teague and suggested he try using a hand-threader. After a few phone calls, he found a friend who owned one. (It’s times like that when I’m very glad we have handy friends!) Using Thread Cutting Oil and the hand-threader, he managed to save the day and the shower – not to mention my sanity. Have I mentioned my husband is amazing?
Pipe Threader

Here is what the shower riser looked like, about 5″ shorter, after Teague finished with it:

tile 005

And here is the piece we cut off. Guess which end is mangled-man’s end, and which end is Teague’s:

We both breathed a GIANT sigh of relief when this little roller coaster ride was over with. And guess what? This weekend we got it installed! I could fill my tub this very minute if I was feeling spunky. But since the bathroom is still cluttered with tools and half-painted trim work, and the shower curtain isn’t up, I’m holding out just a little bit longer.
We’ll be posting more on the faucet/shower/drain installation this week, since there is lots to say about that process. Needless to say, lesson learned: if you need to cut something like this down, do it yourself minus machines. You’ll have much more control over the situation.

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Greg had this to say on 02.05.07:

That was a nail biter! It doesn’t look like “The Pro” knew what he was doing.

Carol had this to say on 02.05.07:

Your husband is awesome. I’m so glad your story had a happy ending. Please post your photos soon.

Poppy had this to say on 02.05.07:

Something tells me that once you actually GET into that tub/shower I’m going to hear your sigh of utter bliss all the way to my house :)

John had this to say on 02.06.07:

Sometimes doing things by hand is the best way. I haven’t done much plumbing, but I’ve had a couple of wood working situations where taking my time and using hand tools gave me far supieror results.

And, I’m very glad that you all got your problem resolved. So, where are the “finished” shower pictures? Sorry, don’t mean to be pushy, but I’d love to see them.

Eilis had this to say on 02.06.07:

Go Teaguer!

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