Okay, this month’s topic is everybody’s favorite job. Well, I guess not everybody’s. Actually, probably not anyone’s favorite job, unless you are a masochist. Yes sir, pulling up direct-glue carpet. (Photo 1) Yuck.
At this point enter Dave Vidovic, an installer from Cleveland who like the rest of us was less than pleased with that part of the job. Especially with the ones that are stuck like a monster, coming up in 2”, 4”, and 6” strip, the air blue with curses…I know your back hurts just thinking about it.
Having been in that movie too many times, Dave thought there has to be an easier way. Notice I said easier, not easy? (If you wanted easy you made the wrong career choice.) So Dave built the Carpet Badger. (Photo 2)
Now, his is not the first machine to use a winch to pull up direct-glue carpet. (Photo 2A & 2B) And of course I could tell you stories of the things the boys have used to pull up carpet: lawn tractors, off-road utility vehicles, driving vans through double doors, and even believe it or not a snowmobile. I digress.
Dave wanted something small and easily transportable (16” by 28” and 63 lbs.), fast (pulls up super stuck carpet at 33 feet a minute – that’s fast), easy to service, and that works off all surfaces.
The Carpet Badger uses tack-strip as the gripper on the bottom of the platform to hold on the carpet, easy to replace if needed, (Photo 3) and just like a deadman, your weight on the platform supplies the gripping power to the carpet and a five foot cord for the winch control.
It has a 40 ft. “pre-stretched’ aircraft quality cable. There is no elasticity in the cable, therefore no “snap back” at the end of the pull when the carpet releases. The cable is rated five times stronger than the maximum pulling power of the winch.
Remember when I said “work off all surfaces?” It comes with a heavy duty ribbed rubber mat you can place on the bare floor, (Photo 4) or on wood, VCT or ceramic tile. Set the Carpet Badger on top and continue pulling up the carpet without damaging the floor. (Photo 5 & 5A) More info and videos of the Carpet Badger in action are available at carpetbadger.com.
Of course you need to cut the carpet into manageable strips, right? Down on the floor cranking away on a razor knife, the blade getting dull, wrist aching, the air blue with curses again. (Photo 6)
At the very least if you insist on getting down on the floor, use a hook blade in a utility knife. (Photo 7) That way the top of the blade rubs on the floor and the cutting edge (the inside of the hook) is not getting dull from scraping along the floor.
Or you could even try an easier way. The Crain #265 Stand-UP-Cutter was designed by an installer for this exact job. (Photo 8) “Well what about the pain in the…well, er, um, back…yeah, that’s it, the back, of getting the edges pulled up so the machine can start the pull?” you ask.
Yet again, another installer designed tool, the Crain #686 Carpet Peeler (Photo 9 & 9A). Poke the spike through the carpet, rolling the tool on the curved back. Wa-laa, baby, leverage! More info is available at craintools.com.
This trade is hard enough as it is, kinda like getting mugged on a regular basis. Your body is your most important tool and what creates wealth for you. Use the tools that are there to ease some of the strain and allow you to work in less pain. We are losing many of our skilled craftsmen in the trade to age and injury. We can’t afford to lose you.