How big is big enough?

An offshoot of The Wisconsin Trigger Company is  Watertown Consulting. What they do is metal finishing, phosphating, also known as parkerizing. Basically they give your AR-15 metal parts that deep black finish you have come to know and love.

fresh AR-15 barrels

  AR-15 Barrels just after washing and before phosphating

AR-15 barrels. All done

AR-15 barrels after parkerizing. All oiled and left to drip dry before boxing and shipping

The first step in the process is to clean off all the cutting oil and coolant from machining.

It’s not that fancy. You just put the parts in to one of the washers and away they go. In the last year things have been getting busier, so we had the need to add more washers. With the upgrade of the washers we wanted to add a water softener.

I always like a good deal so I was keeping my eye out for a used softener that would work for us. At one of my favorite auction sites I found a large industrial softener that was like new and should work just fine. From the photos I could see it was a like new, large industrial unit with a state of the art Fleck controller so I figured to put in a bid and wait for the day the auction ended and see what happened.


When auction day came around I ended up winning the bid, so far so good. All we needed to do was pick up the unit and get it plumbed in and we would be set. It is a pretty large tank so we planned to bring a dolly and some straps. Our truck has a hydraulic lift gate, so all that should need to be done is roll it up to the back of the truck, set it down on the gate, lift it up to the bed and slide it in. That sounds so easy. No reason to send two people. William can handle it on his own. After all, it’s just a fiberglass warped tank with a controller on top. A little big but how heavy could it be? Well, William gets to the warehouse, pays for the item and goes in back to load it up. He was led by a warehouse worker to the softener. They stopped at a 8 foot tall 24 inch round giant. The warehouse helper just looked at it and said, “ That’s the biggest water softener I have ever seen.” I think it’s the largest water softener ever made! Our weight estimate was a bit off. We had guessed at 150 to 200 pounds. Not even close. It is over  800 pounds. Now William is a big kid but with only a two wheel dolly to work with he didn’t stand a chance. He ended up paying the lift truck for hire people to get it on the truck. I must admit that even I may have had a bit of trouble loading it by myself. I’m sure when I was in my 20’s I was strong enough and dumb enough to do it. So I’ll need to think over reimburse him for the loading bill.

One big  water softener

The behemoth water softener. Just a bit more then we had figured on. It’s over 800 pounds and almost 8 feet tall. A lot of bang for the buck!


And now the rest of the story. When I bid on the softener I put in a $1.00 opening bid with my max bid of $200. I would have probably raised the bid a few bucks more on the auction day because the unit looked so good in the photos. Well, I had no need to bid higher. No one else bid and with the buyers’ premium we ended up paying $1.15 for the softener. Not bad! We only paid $0.14 a pound. I told you I like a bargain. Best of all if we ever need to supply a small town with soft water we can do it.