New Guy On Crew

By Jerry Rabushka,

  Filed under: Feature

Painter’s fiction with lots of product placement


Jim was 45 but he felt like he’d been painting for 100 years. It was more like 25; his summer college painting job turned into real life without him realizing it. But he was still sharp. His trending neutral-gray eyes, ever-watchful behind his sunworn looks, could spot brush marks, holidays, picture frames, and painters doing things the wrong way. It was something he tried to let go of, but he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He had just taken a job with a new contractor, a firm of about 10 painters with a website that promised they were up to date. That was the first thing they were wrong about, but it was a new gig so he tried to just paint and keep quiet.

His crew saw him as a traditionalist, but Jim’s tradition was to keep up with the latest tools and gadgets. Right now, his gray eyes were trending pale and watery, glowering over a trash bag. “That’s a $30 brush!” he accidentally exclaimed out loud. It was stiff as a 2×4, full of dried white paint, left to rot on a pile of sandpaper and candy wrappers. He reached in and grabbed it.

“May as well leave ’er there,” moaned Kenton, the company owner. “There’s nothing we can do to save ’er.”

“Not true,” Jim replied. “I’ll stake my job on it. Plus, if I can fix it, I get to keep it.”

A couple days later, he came back, brush good as new. He told the crew about Dizzolve Brush Cleaner, which at his last job he’d used at the end of every work day to clean brushes, rollers, and even paint sprayers. By following product inventor Don O’Brien’s video instructions at, he learned how to take old dried paint out of a brush and put it back into service.

“I’ve seen that stuff, and it’s too expensive,” Kenton scoffed.

“You can reuse it,” Jim told him. “And it’s safe. Even if it gets full of old paint, you can use it again and again. It keeps your expensive brushes working like new.” And, he added, it was made in the USA and available from his local independent dealer.

“If we save time and money,” Kenton promised, “I’ll give you a raise.”

Jim didn’t care. He just wanted a job done right.

Oh wait, yes he did, who are we kidding?



Blocks & Rags

Carl was only 28, but his hands were as rough and worn as the sandpaper he was using. He was cranky and cursing, elbowing a ratty sheet of abrasive back and forth on a window sill. Gotta get it nice and smooth before they primed and painted, but he was working alone because his attitude stunk worse than a can of oil paint from 1952.

Jim went to his truck and came back with a Warner Lightweight Plastic Hand Sander and some kneepads, so by the end of the day they could grab a beer together and talk about more than painful joints. He pointed out the product’s benefits: a quick-change locking mechanism, its lightweight, plastic design with comfortable hand grip; and how well it worked for finishing walls next to ceilings and corners. It supports ½ sheet of standard 9″ x 11″ sandpaper, and it’s certainly a lot easier than using the palm of your hand, he said. For the higher portion of the window, Jim showed Carl a Warner Pole Sander of the same lightweight material.

Jim would be happy to know that Warner designed these products specifically for guys like him and Carl. “One of the innovations on our Block Hand Sander is the paper loading mechanism,” said Warner CEO Keith Herwig. “One of the complaints people often have with traditional block sanders is the difficulty in loading replacement paper and getting pricked by the small retention spikes. The new sander has an innovative new locking mechanism to simplify the task,” he said. “It also has an angled side for getting into corners more easily, and a rounded surface for better contact with radius surfaces.”

“Well, that went a lot faster,” Carl finally smiled. “Let’s wipe this down and I’ll get to priming.”

Jim reached into a bag of rags and pulled out something old, borrowed, and blue. It said Bahamas on it. “Who went to the Bahamas?”

“I guess some guy who wore the shirt,” Carl mused.

“Why are we paying for some guy’s old t-shirt? I could get this at the Goodwill,” Jim lamented. He had experience with bad rags. Was it cotton, polyester, rayon? Would it leave lint or little blue fuzzies on the sill? “Back to the truck,” he said.faster and better, so they started to listen to him. He told Carl to close his eyes and reach into a bag of Intex PFC rags—PFC stands for Precision Fiber Cloth. Carl pulled out one, then another…he was amazed because each and every rag looked the same! The same size, same quality material, didn’t leave lint. They made quick work of wiping down the window sills, not to mention sopping up the soda that Carl had kicked over in his excitement about finding a rag that finally met his expectations. Not only that, they knew exactly how many were in the container, since they are packaged by number rather than weight.

“I use them for staining wood as well,” Jim explained. “I can always count on getting a uniform stain because I know what I’m wiping with. Sure beats some guy going to the Bahamas and all you got was this lousy t-shirt!” Jim was more impressed with his sense of humor than Carl was.


Angled for Savings

Jim pulled out a sandwich to eat under a tree. That’s what real painters did; a tree or a truck, and he had the wrappers to show for it. But then he saw the rest of the crew using a product he’d never seen himself. Was that possible?

Kenton called him over—in the middle of a ham sandwich, yet—it was a notched block where a bucket could rest at an angle so they could get all the paint out of it. “It’s a Sprayer Saver from Quality Contractor Supplies,” said Kenton. So simple, why didn’t they think of it sooner? Jim was fascinated and his gray eyes lit up, trending from neutral to a bold gray that made a strong color statement between his white painter’s shirt and his purple logoed hat.

The Sprayer Saver was designed especially for the pro, Kenton explained. “Before your sprayer runs dry, use the Sprayer Saver to hold your bucket at the perfect angle to get all the paint out it. We don’t have to throw away paint and we don’t waste time manually positioning our bucket.”

“I’m surprised you want to save paint,” said Jim, “since you didn’t want to save that brush.”

That got him in trouble, but he got out of it by showing how Dizzolve Brush Cleaner could clean out the sprayer quickly and completely so they didn’t have to worry about what happened when someone left early to get to his daughter’s dance recital and left a sprayer full of paint without telling anyone.

Kenton shared more news about the Sprayer Saver: it has a patented design that perfectly works with one, two, and five-gallon commercial paint buckets. Your bucket will be held securely, at the perfect angle, and will never fall or spill, the company promises. So far the crew was really happy with it. Maybe this gig wouldn’t be so bad after all!


Rung Up

While Jim was finishing up the last of his soda and sandwich, he saw Carl peering into the back of his truck.

“You have so much interesting stuff, I just wanted to see what else was in here.” Carl pulled out a Thumb Rung Universal Bucket Holder.

“My paint dealer just brought that back from the National Hardware Show,” said Jim. “She goes every year and gets me the latest products.”

“I should go to my independent dealer,” Carl realized, “rather than the big box store.” He read the packaging: designed and developed for professional painters, the Thumb Rung attaches easily to any hand-held paint container and lets you hold it comfortably and securely with one hand. It’s made of durable steel with a tough, soft coating for comfort.

Product inventor Tom Wilson explains on the Thumb Rung website that while many painters prefer to use a gallon bucket as their go-to, they want an easier way to hold it. The Thumb Rung holder works best with a container weighing five pounds or less. “I like to use a container ¼ to 1/3 full for brushwork, which is about three or four pounds,” said Wilson. “This leaves about two or three inches of paint in the can. That way you can leave your brush in the paint so it doesn’t dry out if you get distracted like I do.”



Fold Over

Carl was thirsty after all that sanding and priming, so Jim handed him another soda and then got out a 10-in-1 with a bottle opener. Carl’s face turned quizzical. “Purdy makes hand tools?”

“Purdy makes hand tools and Hyde Tools makes brushes,” Jim observed. “What a topsy turvy world.” He demonstrated, popping open Carl’s soda and then folding the blade into the handle. Carl’s blue eyes grew wide, blending like a lifestyle color card with the natural hues of sky, grass, and earth around him.

Jim showed how the tool has a pocket clip for easy retrieval and how the folding blade easily released when needed. It was designed for light scraping, scoring, cutting, patching, and cleanup. Scrapers, putty and joint knives round out the Purdy prep tool line.

By the end of the week the crew got a lot more work done than usual, without wasting materials and without cramped hands or bruised knees. They spent more time painting and less time cleaning. “Jim, you’re a bit full of yourself, but you sure know your stuff,” Kenton admitted.

Jim was happy. After all, he had good crew and an independent dealer that kept him appraised of the latest new products.