Monday, September 17, 2012

All American Handyman - Week 5 Recap



It’s been five exciting weeks since the search for the All American Handyman began, and the contestants are down to six. This week’s fix-it challenge, “crawl and repair,” was an obstacle course through a teeny tiny crawlspace in which the contestants were to identify and fix seven common problems, displaying a full spectrum of handyman skills. In 90 minutes, the handyman hopefuls were to fix an illegal junction point, address an HVAC venting issue, clip some loose wires, laminate (“sister up”) a compromised joist, repair a rodent screen, and fix an improperly sloped sewage pipe. To address the above issues, the handy(wo)men first needed to remove an existing stud so they could physically move to the issues, and then replace it after they were done, rounding out the number of required repairs to seven.
The remaining contestants were paired up into three randomly selected teams.

Team 1 – Michael and Sonne

Team 2 – Carol and Rodney

Team 3 – Chris L. and Scott H.

Michael and Sonne seemed to work well together. Michael stated several times during the challenge that he thought his team was “nailing” it. During the judging, they were complemented on their use of PPE, including jumpsuits, masks, and safety glasses. However, the wiring job they did wasn’t very good, they failed to fix the rodent screen, and although the cut looked good on the sistered support beam, they didn’t use glue. They also only used one fastener to support the sewage pipe over a seven foot span. There should have been a fastener used every four feet. Overall, the judges deemed them to have satisfactorily completed 5 out of the 7 challenges.

Carol and Rodney also seemed to work well together, but they continually bickered over small details. To the chagrin of Mike, Carol cut into the sewage pipe, causing water to come spilling out and making a mess all over the ground. (Michael and Sonne’s team did the same thing, and Michael called it a “booby trap.”) As Mike and Scott inspected Carol and Rodney’s work, Scott pointed out several problems. They failed to properly address the HVAC vent, and used duct tape, which ironically should never be used to repair ducts. They didn’t fix the rodent screen, and they failed to use glue when fixing the support beam. Although they fixed the sewer pipe correctly, they turned the clean out the wrong direction, pointing down instead of up. Overall, the judges deemed them to have satisfactorily completed only 2 out of the 7 challenges.

Both Mike and Scott noticed that Scott H. and Chris L. “clicked” right away, and worked efficiently to address the myriad of problems. Unlike the other two teams, when Chris L. saw that the drain pipe was sloped incorrectly, he opened the clean out first to drain the pipe before cutting into it. He even put a bag underneath it to catch the waste water. Other than missing one strap on the sewer pipe, they completed every challenge with near perfect accuracy. In fact, Chris L. and Scott H. were the only team to satisfactorily complete all seven of the challenges. Because of this, they were selected as the winners of the fix-it challenge and given the advantage for round 2.

The build-it challenge this week was to create a fully functional outdoor grill island, including a sink, a fridge and a Kenmore grill, courtesy of Sears.  Chris L. and Scott H. were given the advantage of choosing which team got to work with which finish. The finishes included stucco, stone, and tile. Chris L. and Scott H. chose stucco for their team. For Sonne and Michael, they chose tile, and for Rodney and Carol, they chose stone. Unlike the previous build-it challenges, this challenge would be a double elimination in which the bottom two players would be cut from the challenge. The contestants had four hours to build their dream barbecue islands.

Rodney and Carol decided early on that Rodney would design the project, and Carol would execute the plans. However, it didn’t work out as smoothly as they both had hoped. Rodney had a hard time communicating his directions to Carol, causing a lot of bickering and frustration. Carol continually referred to Rodney’s island as a “prototype” due to the lack of structure, which greatly aggravated Rodney. It seemed at first that their team was imploding, leading Scott to say “Mike and I are contractors, not therapists.” Eventually, Carol put her foot down and began to change Rodney’s design, angering him further. However, they both kept trudging along, and somehow managed to pull themselves together and get stuff done.
Michael and Sonne had a slow start. As they were laying out their project, Michael noticed they were creating more of a tabletop than an island. He burst their bubble, reminding them that the barbeque grill needed to be on the island and not off to the side as they had initially planned. During the build, Sonne smashed her face with a piece of plywood, giving herself quite a shiner. Luckily, as Michael pointed out, she was wearing her safety glasses when the accident happened, preventing the board from hitting her in the eye. During the judging, Scott noticed quite a few miscuts in the wood, and to top it off there was no countertop over the fridge. Michael took responsibility for that mistake, citing that he and Sonne “just ran out of time.” Scott appreciated Sonne’s tiling job, however.
Chris L. and Scott H. did much more planning than the other teams. They noticed that as they were still drawing out their project, the other teams had begun cutting and nailing things together. As one would expect, though, their extra planning paid off in the long run. They were able to work quickly and efficiently with their well thought out plans. When Mike and Scott judged their island, however, they felt a little underwhelmed by the finished product. They had quite a bit of trouble with the glass tile, admitting to “compromise” quality to finish on time. Also, the sink they were required to install didn’t fit because, in Mike’s words, “[they] didn’t make sure it fit before [they] put the tile on.” When it came to Scott H. and Chris L.’s team, the judges agreed that they used the advantage they were awarded in round 1 wisely. They drew good plans, but despite their good start, they seemed to backslide after that. Chris L. and Scott H. did a horrible job laying the glass tile, laying it back to front instead of front to back, as well as crooked. The judges thought that the performance they gave was “out of character,” and riddled with lots of little mistakes. Overall, though, Mike and Scott thought they had a great simple plan, and the best design overall. All the elements – the faucet, the sink, the fridge, and the grill – were installed, and the project was executed “OK.” Because of this Chris L. and Scott H.’s team finished on top because for the most part, their project was pretty much exactly what the judges expected, and was well planned and executed appropriately overall.

The members of the bottom two teams, Carol, Rodney, Sonne, and Michael, were asked to step forward to face Mike and Scott. Although most of the teams started out on the right foot, communication inevitably broke down. Rodney and Carol bickered back and forth about the method behind their madness during the build-it challenge. Sonne admitted to poor planning from the start, but gave a stronger performance than her teammate Michael this go around. For this reason, Sonne was spared from elimination. The judges all agreed that it was tough to watch Carol and Rodney work. Although Rodney was creative, he needed to learn how to properly harness his creativity into a good workable plan. For this reason, he was the first of two contestants to be eliminated. In the end, when it came down to Michael and Carol, the judges deemed that Carol had a problem with her communication skills and also needed to learn how to better execute her plans, and for this reason, she was the second and final contestant to be eliminated this week.

That was the Holmes Spot All American Handyman week 5 recap! If you missed any of the previous 4 weeks, you can read my previous recaps or watch the full episodes on HGTV.


1 comment:

  1. Regarding your use of a Kenmore Grill built into an outdoor kitchen. Here is the reply from the manufacturer

    This is the best way to provide and out door grill in this type of setting, sooner or later the grill will have to be removed and if it was really built into the structure damage would accrue when removing the grill.

    Having said that, the installer must make sure the grill does not come in contact with combustible material and there are vents built into the back to allow for good gas and oxygen mix, and vents if they are using LP, they should have left a three inch vent strip down the left and right side of the grill front, with a stainless diamond wire mesh design, give it some room to intake and exhaust. They can address all of this at the rear with the same material.

    What type of gas are they using, how do the flames look, can somebody do a bread test. Warranty is gone when they install outside of UL test guide lines. I also guess It would be hard to come back to the manufacture regarding a claim since the grill has been altered, blocked vents etc. My personal thoughts, John......

    I have had people send me proud pictures of installations and tell me their brother did the same thing and it cost them $18,000 each, and I wrote back you and your family and your brother and his family are going to die, never heard back, hope they made it.