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"Every time I go by the [Mighty Owl Oak] there are children, parents or teachers standing around it. It is wonderful to see the kids bring their parents into the school to see the tree and their leaf."
--Lisa Pavlet, project coordinator, Litchfield Elementary School PTSA

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How to Prepare for Installation the Easy Way

Kevin is creating a new fountain for a patron in New York who wants to prepare the site. Caron has just the trick to make it as easy as possible.

He shows the bottom of the fountain, which is a steel plate with holes drilled in all four corners. Rather than trying to measure the size of the metal plate and the location of the holes so the patron can drill holes and put in anchors, Kevin has a better idea.

"It's so easy, so simple!" Kevin says.

If you are wondering where he got the nice, big, clean sheet of paper, Kevin says you can get some, too. Just drop by the back entrance to the nearest newspaper printing plant. They often have odd ends of newsprint rolls that are too small for them to use and will often just give them away. That's how he got his.

To make his pattern, Kevin needs to lift the entire water feature structure upright, which is on his magic lift table. He lowers the table, which he made from an old air-over-hydraulic car lift, the kind that usually has four arms on it. He took off the arms and put a big, flat steel plate on the lift itself to create a workbench he can raise and lower. "Yes, I'm spoiled," he admits.

Kevin lifts the fountain upright with the paper for the pattern underneath the base plate. Now he raises the table back up so he doesn't have to get on his knees.

Then he takes his red pencil - it shows up nicely - and draws around the perimeter of the plate. Then he draws carefully on the inside of each hole so the patron knows exactly how big the holes are. Kevin drilled these holes out to 3/4", so they'll use half-inch or 5/8" anchors.

Kevin also emphasizes the importance of marking the front of the pattern, just in case the holes aren't exactly the same in front and back. Now Kevin can just cut out the pattern, stick it in an envelope, and send it to the patron, who can have the site ready when the water feature arrives.

One more tip: make sure you drill EXACTLY in the matter of the hole. Even though there is 1/4" wiggle room because the anchors are smaller than the holes, it doesn't take much to get the anchor off enough that it won't go in the hole. Then you'd have to pound over your anchor and possibly damage the threads, or have to drill out the hole. That's another good reason to get anchors the next size down from the size of the hole itself.

Kevin is ready to cut out the pattern and send it out, but you can stick around one more moment to appreciate the fine quality of Kevin's equipment ....

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