Matt Springer has been giving presentations around San Francisco about home earthquake preparedness since 2008 (for more information about the presentation, go to his earthquake preparedness website). This blog is devoted to posts ranging from technical "how-to" articles to more philosophical "should-you" topics. New articles will be posted at most about once a month, so people who subscribe won't be subjected to lots of e-mail.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

No Gripes about Gripeez: A way to use clear gripper pads to stick down display objects resting in stands

One of the types of display items on bookshelves and mantles that is difficult to brace is the common plate or other flat object that rests in a folding or non-folding stand, like the ones shown in these photos.  This can be tough because depending on the object and the shape of the stand where the object rests on it, it can be hard to affix the display object to the stand, and even harder to affix the bottom of the stand to the surface.  Sure, you can put a massive gob of quake putty on each part but you’ll see it and it can look ugly (no offense to quake putty).  Sometimes, these objects are light and having them fall would not be a problem, but for those that you want to prevent from flying and damaging themselves or something/someone else, it would be nice to be able to stick them down.


In some cases, I have used putty and simply scraped away as much as possible so that it isn’t obviously visible, as shown in the first set of photos.  But I have some thin geode slices sitting on clear plastic stands, and while quake putty was fine to stick the backs to the stands, even small dabs of putty on the stands’ feet looked bad showing through the clear plastic, as shown in these photos of the blue geode slide.  I would usually use quake gel for clear objects but quake gel is runny, and doesn’t work well with very small feet of stands; it’s better for broad surfaces.


I solved this problem with one of my new quake-proofing friends, Gripeez.  I’ve written about these magic clear sticky gel pads before and I keep coming up with new uses for them.  (I have no financial ties to the company, and I imagine there are other similar products from other companies.)  In this case, I cut small rectangles of Gripeez that were the size of the feet of my stands and put them under the feet, with quake putty sticking down the back rest of the stand that can’t be seen from the front.  It took a bit of finessing to get the sticky things to remain on the feet without twisting as I removed my fingers before placing the stand on the surface, because they kept sticking to my fingers, but I managed to do it.  It looks great!

Click the figures to see larger versions
Because the Gripeez is thick (around 3 mm), the stand feet don’t rest directly on the shelf and the stand can move slightly from side to side, which isn’t ideal, but it seems to be holding this pretty well.  In a large quake, it would probably come off, but I think this would discourage the objects from sliding or flying in a medium quake that might otherwise knock objects off shelves.

I also started using small pieces of Gripeez under the two lower corners of framed pictures if they were on maze picture hooks, to keep them straight, in my previous home.  I used to use putty for that but the putty can leave shiny marks on some flat paint walls, and the Gripeez didn’t leave any trace on the paint in that home.  However, some unexpected home repairs involving water damage have made me need to temporarily remove some of the framed pictures that I hung with maze hooks a few months ago in my current home, and I have found to my annoyance that the little squares of Gripeez that I had cut out and placed under the corners left the paint slightly shadowed, as if it was a little wet.  I was annoyed to see this because the whole point of using these things instead of quake putty was to avoid shiny marks on flat paint, so seeing these shaded areas isn't much better.  In my old home, which had a similar paint job, the Gripeez left the paint absolutely unaffected, so I guess different paints react differently.  I did notice that they are extremely sticky though, so very small squares should still be effective and might leave less noticeable marks.]

By the way, these Gripeez are also really fun to play with; as they are sticky and squishy and stretchy and can offer hours of entertainment to otherwise mature adults, based on personal experience…


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?...the inevitable dilemma about staying in the building during an earthquake

This month, we are taking a break from the actual preparedness issues and will instead delve further into this annoyingly counter-intuitive recommendation to not run out of buildings during earthquakes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An amazing story from the past, AND more about hanging pictures that won’t come crashing down (the wired and non-wired varieties)

Even though I don’t plan on posting very often so  I don’t add to the e-mail overload of people who subscribe, it just makes sense to post something on April 18th, the anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906.  There are two items on today’s plate: first a link to a then-young woman’s amazing description of what she experienced in the 1906 quake, and then I wanted to discuss a bit more about hanging pictures on the walls safely.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Important information about the recurring "Triangle of Life" e-mail spam


Thoughts about the much-publicized North American earthquake prediction for late March 2011

"Why the heck do you live in that place with earthquakes??"

A blog is launched; opening thoughts

This is my first experience authoring a blog, and there will probably be a few technical bumps along the way.  Earthquake safety is an important topic in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area, and I hope that the information and occasional thoughts and tips here will be of interest to people who are trying to maximize their safety in our occasionally moving region.

It's important to remember that even though we live in a place that is subject to earthquakes, which are occasionally pretty big, most of the risks associated with California earthquakes can be minimized by taking some precautions ahead of time.  Just like one knows not to go jogging alone in the middle of the night in a dark park in a dangerous part of town, one should know what to do and not to do in regions subject to natural disasters.

I'm kick-starting this blog with a few entries in a row, first introductory and then a few entries that have already been on my website.  After that, I'll post occasionally; perhaps even relatively rarely so that I don't add to people's e-mail burdens.  I've got no idea about how many people will be signing on to this, but welcome to those that do!

-Matt Springer

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