I recently demo'd a bathroom that was using a "rustic farmhouse" galvanized shelving unit. I took this unit off and was hoping to re-install. Ideally, the elbows would thread in so when they are tight, they are exactly 90-degrees upright, making the shelf level (pic 1 + 2). The problem is... they don't. If I tighten them to the point where they would support any weight (pic 3 + 4), they are going in complete opposite directions and will not work.

It used to be 90 degrees.... I can't figure out for the life of me how they did it.

Is there some sort of discrete nut or washer or something I can use to tighten these and still determine the angle? Am I using a glue/adhesive of some sort? What's the trick here?

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  • 1
    Are you sure they're not cross threaded?
    – JACK
    Apr 23 '20 at 15:44
  • "It used to be 90 degrees" How did it become - not 90 degrees ? Why did you remove the pipe nipple with the flange from the elbow ? it is not necessary that it be threaded all the way in until it stops, it just needs to be snug enough to keep the shelf from rotating. A little epoxy on the threads should take care of it,
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 23 '20 at 15:54
  • When the pipe nipple and flange are threaded and attached, you cannot thread/rotate the 90-degree elbow as it hits the wood.
    – RCNeil
    Apr 23 '20 at 16:09
  • @RCNeil ok but why. Why was it necessary to mess with it. Why not just unscrew it from the wall and leave it alone. ( Remove screws that hold flanges to wall, set shelf aside until needed, reattach to wall. ) I agree with Ecnerwal, use pipe wrench's to rotate them all the way around until positioned correct. They will leave marks though.
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 23 '20 at 16:17

Assuming that they are threaded in correctly, you just need to apply adequate force. Pipe threads are tapered to make a seal (which you don't care about in this application) but there is considerable latitude in how far they can be tightened, with proper pipe wrenches (always use two.)

Otherwise, you can add unions to get exactly the angle you want, but the normal approach (particularly when you don't have to make a seal) is just to get them tight enough, and then crank it up more to get them aligned. You have to really overdo it (or start cross-threaded) to seriously damage the threads.

You MIGHT find some benefit in using pipe dope (as for sealing) since it will provide some lubrication, without being all slippery like grease or oil. i.e. It's designed for the job at hand.

  • +1 for CONSTRUCTIVE advice. clearly a dude with 155 rep is a total moron when it comes to this stuff. turns out I was being a sissy and just used two pipe wrenches to crank it. thanks.
    – RCNeil
    Apr 23 '20 at 21:16
  • Now, now - rep ≠ anything but "hey it's a number I hardly care about." And not knowing something is not being a moron - it's just being ignorant of how something is done, and ignorance can be cured if you are willing to learn. Not being willing to learn - there you get into moron territory, which you are safely clear of.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24 '20 at 14:19

They don't hold pressure so they do not need to be tight. Just stop turning when they are in the right postilion ; basically tighten then back off to the desired position. I have even done this with pressure to a limited degree.

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