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/,04 II "I '1/1'11,.,.' f,..-p,III.

11'/' '1'1" ""I'JI" 1111"'1


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Features
33 Backyard problem solver
Proven wlulions to outdoor
like dead grass, noise,
stubborn shrubs and more.
38 Cheap & simple paths
Save money. time and hard
labor with these alternatives to
standard concrete and masonry.
46 Replace a toilet
Beyond-the-basics tips for a
trouble-free, leak-free job-and
big savings!
50 Cast concrete table
Elegant enough for indoors,
tough enough for outside. and
easy enough for anyone.
58 Get rid of ants
Elimin1ltc them without the
cost of It pest control service,
whether they're in your house
or yard.
64 Cleaning tips
Faster, more effective cleaning,
indoors lind out.
ON THE COVER
Say good-bye to ants sa
Bac.kyard problem solver.;
"
Budget PIIths 38
Reptace a toilet ..
Contreletabie 50
Money-saving fixes:
10
vacuum (1Mner 14
dashboald lights n
eo.. Pf><'l:r.: TOM fENENGA
2
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At IKIA we know the bedroom I. yOlolf tonr;tlolory. II's feel go up $0 yov con wlm down.
bed'fromes designed 10 help a space rhol embodies fronquaity, Poin:ld ""'!h CWomi"ob ....
pilfows. mOT/renes and comforters. a liltle peace and q>Jiet wm be an easy find. So go ollead.lose the
,. shoes. and find wlm.
w_.IKE ... US .... com
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1O Home Care & Repair
Revive a dead water heater
in 20 minutes and save $150.
16 Do's & Don'ts
A pnming pro shares tips for
lush, healthy, beautiful shrubs
and hedgss.
24 Remodel Resources
An casier way to lay paths and
patios. Plus. no-f<lde decking
and space-age birdhouses.
28 New Tools & Gear
Big machines for big outdoor
chores, a safer rust buster and
more homeowner helpers.
70 Instant Project
Gilt the charm of window
boxes without actually
building boxes. Are we lazy
or what?
72 Car & Garage
Replace dead dashboard
lights, and other money-
saving fixes.
76 Dollar Savvy Homeowner
Water-saving gadgets,
clamps made from scrap.5
and more C08\-<:uUing tips.
80 Handy Hints'
A doorbell suitable for
slumber, warp prevention
for lumber, and more.
85 Shop Tips
Convenient overhead outiets,
a fix for stripped screws and
other workshop solutions.
90 Wordless Workshop'
A knee tlud bUCK saver
for gardening and other
low-down work.
92 Great Goofs'
A basement fountain,
pttlfaded paint and a filtflrless
vacuum.
Departments
Questions about subscriptions?
For """ andatft dWC'! Qf '" help with'
So.Jbl(rllIioo> PrOblem. MM". TIM FarnIty H..ctymr,n SUbwIMf
s.rvIaI Dept., Ik>o: Sl14, 11m 0.:. ... IA 5159f.1114. ct calljBOO)
Or U$:wl ,....,..1 o! _ .... t@nL:om.41lOw!'Ml
_lllfadOfHla.tnse>.
Customer information
RMdi<'sDilHlIl"liY share about)OJ OI'IIh f"fIl'IIabio
IQ IhPy <M1 ofIt"t )OJ p!aMts.trd IfMcts of \hIy
\nterr.;t to)OJ. dC!l'ft ..-an! us toU\ate t\'ik I'lformlt1on,
pIwe WIItl! to RMdfI'I1Xao>st Attn.: O:t. 0IJIt.
RNdt<'s 0I&t"I t ",*" P\NwI\YIIk. 10510. PIN .... \nc!udoe '
toI>t' of !'W" w.t>ol
Back issueS/article copies
5omo pm _ M! U. avaJabie fQI NCII.
01 attic11< "'" ",.iIolU let $l00 Hth. C4ll (115) 246-4521 fmm
Bun. to 5 I'm. ConIral. MMII&y U1f'O<J(11 ffi4ly. Kw.....uat>ilt"j
and 0f0erIJl!. ct 00: Bad '""""' Thf "rniIr
1",0. 9<:u StlUw.t ... .\IN 5S083-0!i95. Or """<I
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,
P-TOUCBe . EVERYDAY. PEOPLE.
"I label to give ad a helping han
n


Helping dad set up his new entertainment system was a lot
easier, thanks to my P- touch labeler. For identifying
connections, we used the special wire/cable tape. I've been
using P-touch labels indoors and out, at home and at the
office for years and they're laminated, so they really last and
stand up to the elements.
For home or office. P-touch labelers
are for evetyday people ...
like you and me.
Av.lJialJIe at
brother.
at your side
____ .......-.ru
._--.... --.....
www.brother.com
Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot. Amazon.com, Costco.com. NewEgg.com, Buy.com, TIger Direct and other retailers.
4 Great Weekend
Projects
1 Eliminate watertng chores
Install "micro irrigation" and let
the system do all the work. 1t'5
fast, easy and ( ; u ~ l s much less
than a standard llprinkler system.
2 Attack weeds early
Wipe out weeds when they're
most vulnerable and enjoy a
weed-free lawn all summer long.
3 More kitchen storage
Add capacity and convenience
under the sink with easy-la-build
roll-out trays.
4 Fix a drippy faucet
No need to buy a new fsucet or
call a plumber. You ('.an stop
most drips and leaks for less
than $20.
thefamilyhandyman.com
new@thefamilyhandyman.com
We've rebuilt our site from the ground
up! Check out these new features:
Share your photos
Got a project you're proud of:' Diu you
improve on an idea you saw in TFH?
Show off your work at our online
gallery.
Talk to us
Tell us what yOll think of any project,
fix or tip. Got a better way? Share it
\\lith your fellow readers or e-mail the
editors!
Watch slide shows
View step-by-step photos of popular
projects, with complete instructions.
Browse hot topics
Hunting for ideas. improvements or
expert advice'! We've organized hun-
dreds of articles into convenient (;lIte-
gories for easy brOWSing,
Vote for your favorite articles
Rille IIny article you read. Plus. post
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Home Improvement
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Help wanted
Be a Family Handyman Field Editor! We're looking for real-world DIYers to help
us make TFH even better, Whether you're a novice or a veteran, we're interested
in ti!llklng with you about your projects and the magazine, If you want to join In,
e-mail usatedltors@thefamltytlandyman.com.
It's the money you could be saving with GEICO.
GEICO.
See how much you could save, visit gelco.com
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Ask the Corey Brothers a home improvement or rernoao!Ing question
on their live redO broadcast every Satuday from a.m. to 1 00 p.m.
_ u..c....., e....-. Eastern Time. Call 1001-fr69 at 1-800-737-2474 to osI<. your question.
@
'E.IOU'
MATERIALS
I
Visit their website al wwwonthehous9.com for recaps of the show &. other helpful info

.lln DIY Home Improyement
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100'
Sawdust. Drywall dust. Or just plain dust. It invades your workshop, threatening to take over.
But with CleaoStream Pro Filters 00 your side, dust doesn't stand a chance. Clean5tream adds true HEPA filtration
to your wevdry vac. So no matter what kind of dust you're sucking up, 99.97% of even the finest particles, down to
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We even have a one-year guarantee to prove it Declare victory over dust today. With CleanStream.
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a .. n,,-.'" OOF!E ... _._otW,l.""'" , ..... -.""',
$:!OOfW,l-""",_ ...
WevDry"lac Fi ner
Available at
bV Duane Johnson
ed'lors@lhefamilyhaodyman.com
Fix a water heater pilot light
nO
hot water? If you have a natu-
ral or propane gas water
heatllf, chances am tho pilot gonll
Ollt. Thfl pilot i;; a small flame that
ignites thll gas burner on your water
heater (photo abow). When it goes out,
fir;;! try relighting it, following the
directi ons on the water heater labfll. If
the pilot doesn't relight, or ifit goes out
right after lighting, hy far the most com-
mon cause is a bad thermocouplll (photo
right). The good news: You can usually
replaco a thermocouple for about $10
and in than an hour, You'll get
your hot water going without waiting
for a pro to show up, and save the $100
La $150 cost of a service call.
To replace the thermocouple, follow
the photo Bt! surtl to turn off the
shutoff valve in the R<"l;; line {Photo I,
inut); that is, one qutlrter turn so Ihal
the handle is at a ri Rht angle to the
pipe. Since working room is tight
around the burner, Wfl recommend that
you simply unscrew the three nuls at
the control valve and pull out the
entire burner assembly. You'll see
either a slot or clips that hnld it in
A thermocouple
senses the heat o f the
pilot and allows gas to flow to the
burner. A bad thermocouple wilt
shut off gas to both the pilot and
the burner.
CAUTION:
You should not be abl e to .mell gal
during this operation te"eept for I
slight whiff when remove the
g., line.l. If you do. relive the hOUH
li nd e.11 gu utilitV.
place (Photo 2). Then either unscrew
the thermocouple end or pull it out
(depending on the wator heater) and
lake it with you tu an appliance parts
store to find a match. Position it exact-
ly like the old one. Whfln relit. the
pilot flame should wrap around the
thermocouple bulb.
To reattach the three lines to the gas
vnive, thread the nuts into place with
your fingers and hand-tighten thorn.
Then mug them up with a quarter to
half revolution with a wronch. The
metals are soft, so don't overtighten.
Be sure to test for gas leaks. You must
have the pilot lit and the burner on for
this test so that gas is flowing through
the large tube. Reopen the shutoff
valve, relight the pilot, then turn the
control valve to "on." When the gas
burner comes on, use a 50/50 dish
mix to test the screw joints
for air bubbles that indicate leaks.
Notl!; Some gas water heaters have a
closed" burner chamber. which Is difficult
to access. We recommend that you caU a
servite pro to fix this type. Also. some gas
water heaters don't have pilots. Let the
pros fix these as well.
Oops!
In our Jan. '09 issue, p. 32. we
gave the wrong instructions for
adjusting a mechanical thermo-
stat. If your furnace is cycling on
and off too often, move the heat
anticipator adjustment lever
away from the "longer' setting by
one calibration mtuk.. If the room
temp Is too high or too low, move
it closer by one calibration mark.
WP. apologize for the error.
1
Turn off the control valve and the shutoff. Remove the burner atcess tovers and
unscrew the nuts on the gas, pilot snd thl:!rmocoupte lines.
2
pull out
the burn-
er assemblv.
Pull out the
old thermo-
toupte. Buy a
new one t hat
matthes the
old one In
s.lze and
lenilth.
3
lnstall
the new
thermocou-
ple exactly
like the old,
slide the
burner
assemblY
bac.k In arKI
reattach the
three lines to
the control
valve.
f/omti c.,,.
"""linUN Ill' p. H
we can all feel good about,
tankless water heater.
Thls should warm you up right away : Whi le d e ! ! ~ i n g endless hot water, a propane tanktass wate r
neater c an lower w ater heating bil ls 60 percent compared t o an e lectric water heat er, In fact, an
ENERGY STAR- r at ed propane tank less water h eat er is so effiCient, it can save 10 to 20 percent
In dally water us",. Pl us, It'S easier on the environment, with half the carbon e m issio ns. You may
al so QUalify fo r tax incentives. Start feeling WHune r today. Learn more at usepropane.com.
PROPANE
.........
"'T8INO 2
1
Depending on the model. a ba8less vacuum has two Of three fiLters In various loca-
tions that need to be replaced or washed every three months.
Change bagless vacuum
filters every three months
Our vacuum cleaner expert, Russ
Battista, has a mpair shop that's brim-
ming with hagless vacuums, and most
of them ilre therA for the sam!:! reason:
filthy dogged ail' filters and air pas-
sages. The repair? Ten minutes of
Russ's time and a $30 bill.
It's critical to replace the filters on
bagless vacuums every three months.
That's because instead of having a big
paper bag filtering out tho dust and
hair, baglcss units rely on relatively
small filters, which get clogged fast.
Clean air filters are critical for air
movement on bagless models; even a
modestly dirty filter ['.an cut a vacuum
cleaner's suction in half.
The tricky part is knowing exactly
where the filters arc located (Photo 1).
Some bagless va(;uums have two or
mora filters that need to be washed or
replaced (depending on the model)
every three months to keep the vac-
uum in tiptup condition, If you have a
washable fiiter, you can use gentle
water pressure from the kitchen
sprayer or outsidt:t spray nozzle on
your hose to clean both sides. To pre-
vent mold or mildew. let the filter dry
Thoroughly before reusing it.
You can find replacement filters for
most models (It hardware stores, home
centers and vaCuum repair shops. For
hard-to-find filters, go TO the Web site
of your vacuum cleaner's manufacturer
to get Ii list of locations. Q
2
Use gentle water pressure from a
sprayer or faucet to dean both sides
of the filter.
Wl!.ring chore.s, ..... 11 ... S_aling a roamg
pOiaoo ch<ImocaJt and digQor1g
NN.Wf. tho TnldIo Marl< l\Igii_ U,S.
ht ..... omc. I<>! "'" MeyotI Zoys;" Or __
--
... )'00 can erxl such lawn drtll:lgery-here's OOWI M<1.v your zt'fSia lawn a month-or Iesll' rewards with W9OO-free ooooty all SlImmer kXIg,
fI Ways Your Zoysia Grass Lawn
Saves You Time, Work, and Money!
O
CUTS WATER BILLS AND A IT STAYS GREEN IN SPITE OF A CHOKES OUT CRABGRASS
MOWING AS MUCH AS 213 V HEAT AND DROUGHT V AND WEEDS All SUMMER
Would you believe a cnuld be perfect when 'The holler it getS. lite [""Iter it grows!" Plug-in Your established Amazo)' law" grows so
watered jU& once? In Iowa, the state's biggesl thrives in hli5tering heat, yet it won' t d1id, it simply stops cr.thgrass and summer
Garden club pil:].;.ed a ",op winter kill to 30' below ?ero. It just goes off its weeds from
lawn - nearly perfect." Yet. this lawn had been green color after killing frosts, begins regaining
,)nly \lnce all summer LO Augu,t! its green color as temps. m the spring are consis-
In PA. Mr:;. M.R, Miner wrote ''I've never tently warm. Of course, varies with
watered it. only when I put the plugs in ... La,t
summer we had It mowed 2 times ... When every-
body's lawns here are brown from drought, nun;
stays a, green as ever." Tlwt'J how ZOy5ia lawnJ
1'U1 walu bills and mowing! Now rrati on!
ENDS RE-SEEDING
V' NEVER NEE oS REPLACEMENT
Plug in oor zoysia grass and you'll never have to
spend moTlCy on grass seed again! Since you
won't be buying seeds, yoo won '( need to dig aoo
rake then hope the s.eed, take root before birds
eat them or the neXl hard rain wa.he. them away.
A NO NEED TO DIG UP OLD GRASS
V Plant in old lawn, new ground,
whatever. Set J" square plugs into holes in the soil
I 1'00( IIpart, checkerboard Plugs spread to
drive out "Id, unwanted growth, included.
Easy instructions with your order. If you can put
R cork inlo a bottle. you can plug in Amazoy.
Every Plug GUARANTEEO TO GROW
IN YOUR SOH. No Its, Ands Or Buts!
R,,;,d >I guaranlee no seed clin malch!
WOIl't Wjmer Kill AmalOY has
temperatures 10 30" below zero!
Won't Kill. When other bum O<!l
in wmlll<'f dnwgnt a",1 Amuoy .-.:mai ns
luxuriously green.
Any plug fajJj,,!! 1<1 llroll' if! 45 d"ys ",ill bt
FHI::.J," To ins.ure. maximum amI
NO NEED TO SPEND MONEY ON
V DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
Since zoysia rc:.ist ins.e.:::ts AND
diseases, you ltvoid the of exposing
your family or pets to weedkillecs 3nd
pesticide poisons, Plug in Amaz.oy and save
the m{Jlley, avoid the risks!
Endless Supply of Pfug Transplants
Transplant plugs fmm e,l!lhlisheu Am:u.oy
as you desire - plugged area grows over 10
provide all the lllugs )'ou'll oeed.


IwtJtIt will OIdnol400 pIugI Of nDI.
SlJlTting your bll.'11 ;s ea.o;y with our pluggers
that cut away unwanted growth as they dig
hole!! for plugs. Both are light, but rugged to
help save lime, work and effort. 'J"hc, step-on
plugger is also 3Jl im1lluable transplant tool.
..... Z<>VO"" Gr_ .... prttfK'IMi by
u.s. Gcril.. __ In .. 1th
U,S. !loft -.-... 1011 ... oupotOo. g .....
....

FOR SLOPES, PLAY AREAS, ptug. are <hlpptxlllQ{ cut all me Way WWw.ZoysiaFarms.com/mag
Vy , f B"
au can ,-",at as I"" ow cos ansv. cr or are your of lawn backed by n](}re
hard spots, play-worn or to end than deci!.<k. of 'DCc,almxl lawn expenencc ' r, ' . "
erosIOn on ,lopes
""11l*j T __ .. ...... WAo, OA I. -

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0'- 100
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200 100
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400 100
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S 62.15 $35,10 S 7.S6 40%
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S 80.H $44.7S $10.00 42
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by Duane Johnson
edltors@thefamilyhandyman.com
Prune for healthier bushes
t
OO often, bushes become eyesores
because they're ragged and scrag-
gly, misshapen, too big and full of ugl y
dead wood. And you're left with the
difficult chore of digging them Oil! and
planting expensive new ones. But a
half hour of pruning once or twice a
year will preVf!l1t this problem. A sim-
ple trim will make your bushes and
small trees more attractive. encourage
better flowering and growth, and
maintain their ideal .!;ize. The follow-
ing lips will guide you through the
basics.
Make a chart of the types of bushes you have
Every bush h a . ~ a characteristic shape and size, and for each there is a best
prlliling technique to bring out the maximum beauty of its flowers, brunch
color and structuffi. SomA rAquire little pruning; others more. For tlle be.!;1
pruning result.!;, identify all your bushes and learn about their unique
attributes. Bushes vary widely by ffigion, so Ihn most reliabJe way to iden-
tify the ones you don" recognize is to take a clipping to a nursery. Usually
the nursery will have reference books with a photo of the characteristic
shape and can tell you the mature size, as well a.!; special pruning instfllc-
lions. Keep the key infonnation on a rough sketch of your yard. Tip: You
can prune almost everything in eurly spring. Just be sure to get to it!
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Cut out dead, damaged,
diseased and deranged
branches
Some aIbarists call thflse the 4 Ds.
Start with the dead and damaged
branches, bflc.a\ISC they make the
plant look bad, and encourage rol
and disease. AIIlO cut out wilted,
dried or diseased branches as soon
as you spot them, to remove the dis-
ease before it "Deranged"
includes a broad range of branches
that cross (the rubbing wears away
the bark; photo below), loop down to
the ground or simply look out of
character with the bush (stkk Ollt at
an odd angle or grow alongside the
trunk), This pruning also thins out
the bush. 0piming its interior to more
light and air, which encourages
fuller, healthier growth.
Prune out about one-third of the branches
of bushes that grow from canes
Cane-type bushes, such as forsythia
and hydrangea, usually send up
new canes from their roots every
year. In general, prunfl out the old
est (larger) wood to control the
bush height. It's <'.11';0 OK to trim out
newer canes to thin the interior of
the plant and let in light as well as
to control its spread. If one of these
bushes hAS gotten too big and O\lt of
control. you CHn of tan cut oil all the
canes and the roots will send up
new shoots. You'll have a nice new
bush in a year or two. Note: All
bush categories have exceptions to
these rules. So know your phmts!
C""rilTuod M p. ZI
Men with Erectile: Dysfunction (ED) are discoveri ng that VIAGRA un
hdp them get and keep harder c:ucrions, which can lwi to more satisfying
sexwl cxpt:riences, Ready to get the Rel'Ul all about it at vilfgr".com.
Then:uk your doccor ifVIAGRA is right for you.
Vwa
VIAGRA
(5 ildenafi! ci tra te) "bk"
VIAGRA IS prescribed. (0 frut erectile dysfunction. We know tholt no medicine is for everyone. Don't uh VIAGRA if you tm nirrarel, otten
preKribeJ for chest pain, 2$ mlS rru.y ause a sudden unsafe drop in blood pressUR.
Talk with your doctor Mat sure: your heart is halrhy roougb to ha\'( sa. If you h;wt chest p.tin. nause2, or ocher dISComforts during
sex, mttlli:;t} hc:lp right away. with any ED ubltt, in the rare c:vtm of an erection lasting more than four hours. seek immediate medical
help to .avoid long-cerm injury.
In rare instances. men raking PDES inhibitor, (Of ;1.1 erectile dysfunction medici nes. induding VIAGRA) reponed a sudden dcrrme or lou
of vi$ion, or sudden dccreast or loss ofhr.aring. It is not possible to determine whether rotse eventS.1rt tt.Lned di rectly to these mtdicines or
TO other I2ctors. lf you experience my of these symptorru, stOp talung POE5 inhibi tors, incl uding V1AGRA, and call doctor right ;oWAr
The mose common side. effects of'v1AGRA ;ore headache,. &ci1l. Bushing. and upsa sronuch. Len common m bluish or blurred vision, or
being sensm\'e to light. 'hest nuy occur for a brief time. VIAGRA d()(s not protect agaInst sexually tr:ansmirced disuses including HIY.
Please see Impom.nt Fam for VIAGRA on the following page or viSIt vi.1gn. .com for full pmcribing information.
For free information, including questions to ask your doctor, call1-8884VIAGRA (1-888-4842472).
Betta Sex Survey, ,otJducted amONg 6,291 mtn witb and without ED.
YIt'" art eJICouragrd to report negative sidl effuts of prtscription drugs fO Ihe FDA.
Vuit www.FDA.g(w/ medwQu&or.aUl 800.FDA.l088.
IMPORTANT FACTS
VIAGRA
(vi-AG-rah)
(sildenafil citrate) ."""
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUTVIAGRA
/POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF VIAGRA
'\
Never take VIAGRA if y\)U lake any with nitrate!>, This
$i!k effects are mostly mild to moderate. llJey usually go away after
includes nJlloglycerin. Your blood could drop qukkly. II could
fall 10 unsafe or lire-lhreulc:ning 1,,1'1'1.
a few hour;, Some of tl\ese are more likely \0 happen Wilh higher
The most common side effects are:
ABOUT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)
Headache
.
flushed

Upsct stomach
l..ess common side effects are:
Erectile means a man cannot gel or keep an erection. Health

Trouble telling blue lind green Ilpart or a blue linge on things
problems, injury, or side dTccls of dmgs may cause ED. The cause nJ:lY

being more sensitive to light
.
Blurred vision
not bc knO"iIl.
Rarely, a small number ofmen taking V1AGRA have
reported 1tM.-sc serious events:
ABOUT VIAGRA

Having an erection chac lasts more than 4 boun;. If the ercctioo is
YIAGRA used to tn'aL F.D In men. When you want 10 have sex,
not treated right away, long-tenn loss of potency could OC<:Uf,
VIAGRA can help you get and keep an erection when you are sexually

Sudden decrease or loss of sight in one or bolh eyes. We do not
excited, You CllnTlO( get an =)00 by tiling the pill. Only your
know if these tvents are caused by YIAGRA and like
doctor can YIAGRA.
il or caus.c:d by other factors. They mily be clllls.cd by conditions
YIAGRA does oot cure ED.
like high blood pressure or diabetes. If you have sudden vision
changes, stop using YIAGRA and all like it. Call your
VIAGRA not procect YO\I <X yOUT partner from STDs (sexually
doctor righl away.
diseases) or HIY. You will need to use II condom.

Sudden decrease or of hearing. We do nOI know if !bese
YIAGRA i, nOi a hunoonc or an aphrodisiac.
events are caused by VIAGRA and medicines like it or caused
by OIher faclon;. If you have sudden hearing changes, slop using
WHO IS VIAGRA FOR?
VIAGRA and all mroidnes like it, Call your doctor right away.

HeiUl attack, stl""Okc, irregular heartbeats, Il.Ild death. We do flOt
Who should take VIAGRA? know whether Lhesc are caused by V[AGRA or caused. by
Men woo ED and whos.e heart is healthy enough for sex.
OIhc:r facllJl""S. Most of these happened in men who alre::o.dy hat!
Who should NOT take VIAGRA?
heart problems.

If you ever lake medicines with nitrates:
Ifyoo hltve any of these problems, stop VTAGRA. Call )'OUt dUClor
Medicines that In:llt t:hesl pilin (angina). such nitroglycerin
right away.
./
or isosorbide rnononi{rate 01" dinilrale

If you use drugs, "poppers" (amyl nitrale or
HOW TO TAKE VIAGRA
nitrite)
Do:

[f you ;m: allergic to anything in the V1AGRA tablet.

Take V[AGRA only the way yoor doctor tdb you. VIAGRA
""\
comes in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg tablets. Your doctor willtcU
BEFORE YOU START VIAGRA
you how much co take.

If you are over 65 01" have serious liver or kidney problems. your
Tell your doctor If you have or ever had:
doctor may start you at the lowest dose (25 mg).

Heart auxk, abnormal heartbeats. or stroke

Take Y[AGRA aiJout 1 hour want to have sex.

Hean problems, such as hean failure, chest pain, or oor1ic valve
VIAGRA starts to wcrk in about 30 minutes when you are
narrowing
sexually excited. VIAGRA lasts up to 4 hours.

Low or high blood pressure
Don't

Severe lou
An eye condittOtI Ctlilod retinitiS pigmcntOSIl

Do not take VIAGRA more than II. dllY.


Uo nOi take mon: VIAGRA than yoor docwr tells you. If you

Kidney or liver problems

BIOlxl problems, such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia
think you need nun YIAGRA, talk with your doctor.

Do nO! Mart or StOp any other mcdicirte!'i before chcclting with

A det"armed penis, Peyronie's disease, or an ertetion that lasted
more Ihan 4 hours
"-
your doctor.
-"

Stomoch ulcers or any ldod t.Jfbleeding problem
Tell your doctor abou[ all your medicines, Include overthe-counter NEED MORE INFORMATION?
medicines, vitamins, llnd herbal p!"Oducts. Tell your doctor if you
Thi 'i is only a summary of imponant information. Ask your
take or use:
doctor or phllfmlK.:bl fo.- <.:omplele product infonnll.tion OR

Medicines called lllphll-blockel1l to uellt hIgh blood or
Go to www.viagra.comor call (888)4-VlAGRA(484-2472).
prostate problems. Your blood pres.un: could suddenly gel tno
low. You could get dizzy or faint. Your doctor mny start you on n

lower dose ofVIAGRA Unln.<ul"Ild? N .... d help paying fur Pfizer PfIzer

Medicines <.:alled protease inhibitors for HIV. Your doctor ITllIY
has programs that Cin help. Cil! I -3M-7002400 or
prescribe a 2S mil dose. Your dodor may limit VIAORA to 25
www.PtlI<lrHelpfuiAnswers.cum.
answers
109 111 a 48"hour period.

o;"ribulod 11)"

Other methods III eau1\C erection!>. include pillS. inJectioll.<,.
rn ., Lab<
[)m.;"" of /'ft= I"c. NV. NV 10017
implants. or pnmps.
R... C20011'i"1.rt< h,o:; AU nih .. "'_. Prir.l<:d in !be USA
"-
WolF Itr\ . 12.'07
Ror.I>lertd lradcmotl<. "'" "'" of their " ... ,.:n.
Clip off branch tips
to promote small-branch
growth and denser foliage
This "heading off' tcchnique channels
more growth energy to smaller side
branches, which will then fill in
vacant Make thi5 cut at 6. side
branch or 1/4 in. beyond a hud (top
photo). Be selective and watch the
results from the previous year to help
gauge futuro growth. It works best on
bushes and trees thal grow mostly
from one or a few stalks, as opposed to
bushes thai continually send up new
shoots (SUCKMI'I). like lilacs and
forsythia.
Don't trim new growth with hedge shears!
Its tempting to grab the hedge shears and shape a bush by cutting off the
brandl tips. This "flattop hElircut" approach may look fine for a year or two,
hut it .qtimuiates growth on the outermost forces the bush to grow
into an unnatural shape (your idea rather than the plant's) and fails to con-
trol size. The bush actually grows huger t1nd becomes more difficult to bring
back to sizo without being ruined. The exception is httdgtt-type bushes.
Remove entire
branches to
shape the bush
and control its size
If neglected. many bushes
get too big and deo:>e.
whilH the foliage might
luok OK this year, next
year it just might be too
hig 10 pnme back without
butchering it. Instead. it's
better to control size and
shape by selectively prun-
ing out a few entiro
branches each year. Cut
them at 0. larger branch or
the trunk. This also opens
the plant to light and
encourages healthy growth
from thtl interior.
l
Prune
evergreens
lightly
Unlike cane-type bushes.
evergreens and other "non-
sucker-type" grow from
their existing sIems. They
develop a more pennanent
branch framework and usu-
ally need less pruning. If
your landscaping was well
planned, these bushes, espe-
cially evergreens, will grow
to fit their spot with relative-
ly little help. They'll need
only a light annual pruning
to remove dead branches and
to control size and shape.
Make pruning cuts just beyond
the branch "collar"
The branch collar is the bark SWAB that encircles thtl
hranch. If left intact, this collar will soon grow over
and cover the wound. Don't leave stubs. They'll rot
and might become diseasecl,
22 .... <f'I1OOO
Don't fOfce a big bush to conform
to a small space by pruning
It can be done, but it's easisrlo pull out an overgrown
bush and plant one that will mature at a size that bet-
ter fits the space. 0
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Let us build one for you.
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bV Elisa Bernick
edltor.s@ti1efllmllvhllndYlTllln.com

Composite pavers-
beautiful, lightweight and easy to install
t
raditional stone, brick and concrete
pavers are beautiful, but they're
hflflvy and hard to install, and you need
to rent specializtlu tools to cut them.
Their colors fade in the sun, leaching
can make concrete look. t:halky, and
water absorption can erode the sur-
faces. New VAST tlnginee11ld composite
pavers, made from up to 95 percent
recycled tires and plastics, are an inno-
vative alternative to these materials,
Unlike traditional pavers, VAST
pavers are engineered to withstand
moisture, cracking and UV damage in
all climates. They're as tough and
durable (Uj traditional concrete pavers,
hut YOIl can cut them with standard
cutting tools , and at a third the weight.
they can be used in decks and rooftop
patios as well as sidowalks, pool areBS
and driveways. VAST pavers are set
into a patented grid system that auto-
matically aligns the pavers and t:uts
illstalhlti on time in half.
With prices starting at $7 per sq, ft"
the cost is comparahle to that of tradi-
~
"
tional pavers, and they're available in ~
a variety of natural and cU!:I tom colors, S.
Vi!lit the Web site to find a dealer. ~
vastpawr$..COOl, (1I12) 234-8958
PECK 8< PATIO OWNERS!

Mounts on your deck or patio with
No site prep! No permits! No taxes!
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Turn your deck or patio into a beautiful and protected
outdoor room!
Converts from cozy sunroom to breezy screen room ...
in just seconds!
Easy-Slide floor-to-ceiling windows with screens
adjust airflow to your comfort instantly!
Complete, easy-to-assemble kit with roof , walls,
windows, screens & door!
Affordable Factory-Direct Prices Make SunPorch
America's best Sunroom value!
SunPorch, Dept. 5625, Westport, CT 06880
Family Handyman March 09
PLUS ..
The SunPorch
Gives You All-Year
Energy Savings!
The SunPorch can help to
heat your home in winter ...
and cool your home during
the summer all with
ZERO Energy cost!
Helps to warm your home
In winter.
By collet1ing the suo's natural warmth
the SunPorch will stay up to 50"(degree;)
wanner than the outdoor temperature.
This FREE heat can help hE'at your home
and reduce energy costs.
Helps cool your home in
the summer.
In summer the SunPon:h easily converts
to a cool, breezy :>ereenroom ... creating a
natural fresh air circulation. This keeps
the Sun Porch comfortable &; helps cool
yoor home as well.
100% Energy efficient
wi1h ... ZERO energy costl
The SunPorch U ~ natures own warmth
from the sun in wInter 8: the natural tool-
ing effect of fresh air cIrculation in sum-
mer. All with no additional energy cost!
Cozy and funky birdhouses
Aren't these cool'! Designed by the
artist J Schatz, these colorful lind
durable ceramic Egg Bird Houses
have a 1-1/S-in.-diameter "door"
to attract chickadees, wrens lind
small tJr birds while keeping
out largflf birdhouse squatterll
like sparrows. Available in
eighl glossy colors, they sell
for 5135 each and are sure to
create birdhouse envy in your
neck of the woods. To order.
visit the Web site.
IKhatLaIm, (1166) YI4-5261
I I
Weatherproof alternative decking
Alternative decking materials are II great option for home-
owners who want the look of wood without the upkeep.
But like real wood, most composite decking materials
weather and fade over time. The Trex Escapes collection
introduces a new TTex product that, according to the
manufacturer, won't fade or change color over time and
features improved stain, scratch and mold protection.
1'rcx Escapes comes in three colors: Pewter (gray), Sahara
(baige) and Acorn (brown). The decking sells for $3 to $4
per linear foot and is widely available at home centers
and lumberyards. For help finding a dealer, visit the Web
site below.
trucom, (800) 289-87311
Q
GARDNlNG
getdollarsavvy.com
COO.UNG SHOPPING LMNGGRUN
getdollarsavvy.com is where smart
consumers like you are sharing and
world's best money-
savmg tIpS and tricks right now!
.by
HEAlTH OV!R50
by Brett Martin
edltors@thefamllyhandyman.com
i
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I
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il
New class of chore busters
S
everal companies now offer utility
vehicles for tackling extra-heavy-
duty work. These versatile, easy to
operate workhorses are designed for
folks living on large acreage, hobby
farms Of lraditional farms. The vehi-
cles are like a pickup truck, compact
tractor and all-terrain vehicle rolled
into one tough machino. Some have
all-wheel drive for cruising through
mud and snow and up steep hills, and
some will even dump the load.
The vehicles can do more than just
haul-attachments are available for
snow plowing, mowing, and lifting
materials with tI pallet fork or bucht.
Heating and air conditioning options
are available for the cob.
The utility vehicles range in price
from about $6,500 to more than
$15,000, plus attachments. Sure,
they're expensive. but the alternative
is buying job-dedicated power gtlaf one
piece at a time, each with its own
engine.
Sotxa I. bo/:Ica t-'OlTl
John 1lHfe, defrl!.con"I
Kubota, kItbota.com
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Bobcat 2300 4x4 w/snow blade ~
As easy to drive as a golf cart, ail-terrain . ~
vehiclE'S or utility woT1<: machines C<'IIn han-
dle the MallY lifting for outdoor chores, !ii
Why add detergent 365 times a year
when you could just add it twice?
GE Profile's new frontlood washer and dryer with the SmartDlspense'" pedestal holds up to 51)( months of detergent and fabric
softener and conveniently dispenses the nght amount for each lood. The ENERGY STAR" qualified washer also comes
eqUipped with potented Stain Inspector"" technology that treats more thon 40 common stains. Just two of the many feotures
that will ensure your clothes ore weiliaken care of. To learn more, visit geopphonces.com/profilefrontlood.
100 years of innovation. And we're just getting started.
If your prOlects need to be fas
Heavy Duty Staple and Nail Gun
For woodworking, trim cmd
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Power tool for
everyday cutting
The Ski] Power Cutter (ahollt $40)
does a great job of cutting through
thai practically impervious plustic
par:kaging that holds toys and other
products hostage. The Power Cut-
ter's rotating blade cuts most materi-
als up to 1/4 in. thick, including
vinyl flooring. cardboard, vinyl sid-
ing and chicken wire.
The Power Cutter slices through
I.:ardboard like butter and makes
shorl work of cutting boxes down to
size to fit in the recycling bin. Once
you have the tool in the house,
you'll find a zillion 1Ises for it-like
helping your kids cut foam core and
lagboard for school projects,
The 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery
wil! hold a charge up to 18 months,
so it's always ready to go. Buy it at
home centers or amazon.com.
(1m) 750H9'l9. sl(J/tools.com
Remote control
power outlet
Cabltlorganizer.com has a product
thot"s long overdue: an outlet that lets
you control outdoor (or indoor)
tricity via a l"emutt! (;untrol transmitter.
Plug the Remote Controlled Power
Outlet into an outlet, so you can use
the remote control to turn on and off
whatever you plug into the power out-
let. Or program the outlet to turn off
the power after two, four, six or eight
hours. It's great for controlling holiday
or lights, water features or
anything else you don't want to have
to plug in or unplug to control.
The remote control runs on a 9-volt
battery and sends a signal up to 40 ft.
You can use the outlet in damp loca-
tions. but it shouldn't be placed OIl wet
ground or in standing water. The three-
outlet power strip, priced right at $12,
is avaitable at cableorganizer.com
(enter "part BL215031 "J.
CabII!OfgMUer.com, (866) 222-0030.
Wash-and-rinse nozzle
Low-tech stud finder
The company (Biary Innovation)
calls it "magic." We cell it low tech.
Or to be precise, magnets. Two
round magnets fit inside the Mo.gic
Stud Finder Plus, then as you
sweep the holder over the wall, the
magnets stick to drywall screws or
nail heads. It's brain-dead simple.
When you hear a clicking noise,
you pull away the holder, leaving
magnets in place to mark thl! stud.
There are no electronics to read
or batteries to replace------6ver. But at
$20, the !;tud finder costs much
as soma high-tech electronic ver-
sions. So it's no bargain, but it
might appeal to anyone who hates
electronic gadgets. The Magic Stud
Finder comes with three magnets.
A four-pack of additional magnets
costs 513. Buy the stud finder
online from the company.
Biary InllOYation,IBn) 582-7961.
magh:stLldflnder.com
Forget about mixing soapy water in a bucket for washing your vehicles. Spend
$15 on Griofs nozzle and car wash dispenser instead, Fill the soap reservoir with
up 10 :l ozs. of car wash soap. then spray it on the vehicle. Give the dial on top a
quarter turn 10 change from soapy weter to plain water for rinsing. Ten spray pat-
terns let you choose the spray you want. The padded handle is so comfortable
that you'll want to open your own car wash. You can order the nozzle (item No.
9252G) by phone or buy it dirediy on the Web site.
Go1ot'5 (BOO) 3455789. grlot5garage.com
Tough but safe
heavy-duty cleaner
Heavy-duty cleaners like muriat-
ic acid can be dangerous to work
With, harmful to the
and hard to find. Ccrtol's Add
Magic ($7 for 32 ozs.) is a much
safer alternative thai won't bunt
your skin. (Check out the cool
video on the company's Web site
that shows Acid Magic dissolving
an eggshell without harming the
yolk or the hare hand holding it)
Of course we were skeptical, so
we tried it on the rustiest toilet
we've ever seen. Acid Magic
cleaned it with flflse. Then we
poured the cleaner in a bucket of
water at u 3-to-1 rutio and soaked
some rusty lools in it. The tools
were clean in a c.ouple of hours
without any scrubbing.
You can usc Acid Magic wher-
ever you'd use muriatic add. It
cleans masonry etches
concrete for staining, and main-
tains the pH und alkalinity in
swimming pools. Acid Magic is
available at True Value and Ace
hardware stores (you may have to
special-order ill.
(ertol. (aOO) 843-3343. ci!rtlll.com n
by Rick MU5capiat

When it comes to
solving problems,
there's no substitute
for real-world
experience. So we
asked our veteran
hands-on yard and
garden experts to
share their best
solutions for
frustrating outdoor
problems.
Problem:
Dead zones In your lawn
Last summer, I spilled some fertilizer and
killed a patch of grass. 'Nhen I reseeded the
spot, nothing When I !aId sod
over It, the sod died. Do I need to hire an
exorcist?
Solution:
You're up aga.im;t contaminated soil ,
not demons. Anrl whether the contam-
inat ian is from fert ilizer or doggy doo
doo, the solution is simple. First, tum
the soil over. Drive a spade deep into
the ground and flip clumps of soil
over. That buries the most contamlnat
ed top layer of deep in the ground
where the contaminl:lnts will dissipate
before new raots grow duwII that far.
Then flood the tullB with a garden hose
for at least 15 minutes. The water will
drive contaminants deeper into Ule
w i!. Now YOU'TA rflady for seed or sod.
Be sure to water the new gmss daily
until it's established.
Seed dead spots only after you've
turned and soaked the soIl.
OtherwIse, soil contamInants left by
fert lllzt'r spills or pets may kill the
new grass.
Problem:
Invasive plants
I love my lilies and black-eyed Susans. txJt
they're taklns over the garden lind choking
out other plants, Can I stop the Invasion?
Solution:
Many plants multiply by dropping
soods and by sending out roots that
establish now plants. A layer of mulch
will prevent the Stieds from taking
root. Bulla IItep thosll oggrCIIsive roots,
you need a solid barrier. Replant the
spreading plants inside underground
"corrals. ~ The plastic r.omls IIhould
extend at least 10 in. below ground 10
prevent the roots from sneaking under
them. This trick won't work with
planta such as stnawoorrias or mint
that spread above ground.
Cut the bottom off a p1astk: pot or pail and
set the container In the ground Replant
spreading plantslr'lslde n to hold in the roots.
Problem:
Stubborn shrubs
I need to remcM!I some shrubs but don't
have a 4x4 truck or access to TNT. How
can I aet the! roots out without hours of
dl88lng and chopping?
Solution:
Use leverage. Start by digging around
the base of tht! shrub and cutting all
the roots you can get at. Then lay
scraps of plywood on each side of the
sh.rub. Set a jack. stand or concrete
blocks on one side and set up your
Jack on the other. Lay a beam across
them and tie the root to the beam
with a chain. You'll apply hundreds
of pounds of pulling force, so both
thlt beam and the chain must be
strong. Use a 6ft. 4x6 or 6x6 for the
beam and a chain for towing cars.
Raise the jack, stopping to cut the
roots all they become exposed. If you
max out the height of your jack
before all the roots are free, add a few
blocb In incrP.1lS8 the beam height.
Appty tons of putLIng force to shrub
roots usiOS a jack. Place ptywood
scraps under the Jack and lack stand so
they don't sink Into the ground,
nstall
with confidence
Mo.moieum ,1I,_ls <Ivui/alM;n 18 (o/olsinpoM/HGWrw( ,rx J6")ondsquU/ti (appro'. '1'1112" www./llettlormoJeumJrOl.f.(.OI" 1866_MAAMOt.CUM 1 6 1 7 ~ H )
marmoleum
e
did.
seriously fun floors ... naturally
c' lIling better enyironrnf!nts
Problem:
Rotting fence post
I have a rottlng fence post that needs I1!PlaCI!ITU!nt. How the heck do I set tMt concret e
pier out of the around7
Solution:
It's not complicated, but you' ll defini tely work up a sW8aL First, dig a semicir-
cular hole the same depth as the concrete, around ono side of the pier. Make the
hole large enough 50 you can get a good swing at the concrete with a sledgeham-
mer. When about half the concrete is broken otT, you and a helper should be able
to lift the post out of the hole. Sometlme8 the post breaks off during lifting. In
that case, lie a rope around the pier to lift it oul.
Problem:
Landscape fabric
that wanders
Every sprlnj Ir."ve te fllt open seams
betWeen sections of landscape fab-
ric In my planting beds. Is tllen:!o a WiJIY
to make the fabric stay put ?
Solution:
fabric staples are the
answer. You'll find them right
next to the fabric in stores, but
most people don', bother to use
them. Make sure the edges of the
fabric overlap by al least J in.
And don" skimp on the staples;
place thorn about 16 in. apart. A
bag of 10 staples cost.s about $2.
"",n",
landscape
fabric at
seams and
around the
perimeter with
staP'es, In hard
soH. start the sta-
ples by nand and then
pUStl them In with your foot.
Problem:
Heavy potted plants
I like to move pots around so I can
always have flowers in bloom on my
deck. Bot those bIg pots 8fe heavy.
Should' take UP welghtUftlng?
Solution:
Buy a bag of foam packing pflanuls
irutell.d ($12/11 office .supply
1
Unscrew and Itft oH the top panel. The
heavy f ... n motor 15 mounted on t he
pane!. so have a helper hold It while you
Install the blanket.
2
Wrap the soond blanket around the
Position the blanket 50 It
doesn't touch the surrounding coils and
won't obstruct the fan btaaes.
Fill the pot one-third to one-half full of
cover with fllbri c
and then add soil. This cuts the welghl
and saves money. since peanuts cost
than good potting soil. However, a
smaller amount of soil means more fre
qllent watering. To slow evaporation,
C'..Over the soil with wood mukh,
A foundation of foam peanuts makes pots
easier to move and Improves drainage.
Problem:
Noisy air conditioner
MV central air conditioner's outside unit Is
w loud that It's driving me-and my neigh-
bors-crazy. Can I deflect the noise with an
enclosure?
Solution:
Fencing one or all sides of an air con-
dilioller'n out"ide unit (the condenser)
can deflect noise. But experiment first:
Prop up plywood around the unit so
you can judge how much good a fence
will do. U you decide to build a fence,
keep it al least 3 ft. from the unit 10
allow airflow. For the best sound
reduction, overlap fence hoards
instead of hmvlng gaps between them.
Aside from a fence. there are a few
other approaches you should cOllriider:
If your condenser is older, the best
solution is a new unit. Newer designs
are dramatically quieter than those
pruduc\1d just 1\ few yeatS "80. And
they mnnfly. A high-efficiency
unit might cut your cooling bills in
half and pay for itself in three or four
years. The downside, of course, is the
initial cost. Expect to pay at least
$1,500 (installed) .
lfyou already have a newer condens-
er, the worst noise is probably coming
from the compressor. [Fans on newer
units ore very quiet.) Contact the man-
ufacturer 10 find e sound blanket for
yuur model ur buy fI universal blanht
($60 at brinmar.com and other online
retailers; search for "compressor sound
blanket"). Installation is easy. Don't
bother putting a blanket on an old
unit-you'll still hear the noisy fan. n
.h.'-mllyl .. ndy ....... .,om :57
Cheap
simple paths
Paths you can build in a weekend
without breaking the bank or your back
M
ost books and articles on paths-
inr:lllding ours-show you how
to build paths the hard way, by
digging out tons of soil and bringing in tons of
gravel to create a stllIdy pHlh that will last
aimollt forever. And this backbreaking, costly
method is definitely the best way to build a
front walkway or other primary path.
But there are easier alternatives. !fyau wanl
B. more casual path and don't mind if it needs
occasional upkeep or eventually becomes fI.
bit uneven, consider these labor- ami money-
saving approaches. We' ll cover the pros and
cons of mulch and gravel. stepping-stone and
planted paths and give you some building tips
for each.
Enjoy your best 9arden ever
- without breakin9 a sweat. "'''OEIN
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The OR LEAF and LAWN VACUUM
does much more than collect leaves in the falL
SPRING Vaccum leftover winter debris - wet
leaves, pine cones, nuts, sticks & twigs, dead grass.
SUMMER Grass clippings! Get lOX the capacity of
most baggers, so you'l l mow more and ur1load les s.
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And them into a beautiful, fine mulch.
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Mulch and gravel paths
M
ulch and gravel are the
cheapest path materials YOll
can buy, and they make r.Oll-
slruetion simple too. All YOIl have to do
is remove the sod, roll out landscape
fabric: and spread the mulch or graveL
Mulch and gravel paths can be
meandering, wood chip-covered trails
or carefully planned designs. and
range from casual to formal depending
on lIte design and ooging materi"!. Yuu
can choose from a wide variety of
loose materials indurling coarse bark,
decorative mulch, washed stones and
crushed gravel or shells.
Mulch
Hark, wood chips and other types of
organic mulch malee soft paths that
blend well with natllrill settings. Since
these path materials are lighter than
stone, they'rA easier to hau 1 and spread.
Mulch is also a bit cheaper than gravel
or stone pebbles. Remember, though,
that organic paths decompo:;!; ov!;r
time, so you'll have to rejuvenate them
every two to five years with new male-
rial. Also, don't use bark, wood chips
or mulch for paths thai run throllgh
areas with poor drainage or that are
wet. It'll lead to ... soggy path.
Tips for building mulch
and gravel paths
Rent a gas-powered sod cutter
($45 per hour) to remove grass
jf the path is lons_ For short
paths, use a garden spade to
stice oft the sod.
Set edging so It ends up about
an Inch above the filt material.
Use a spacer stick cut to the
width of the path as a guide
when you set the edging or
border. You won't have to
keep pulling out the tape
measure to make sure the
edges run parallel.
Cover the soil with landscape
f<!lbric to deter weeds and
prevent the fill material from
mixing with the soil. Don" use
plastic. It'll catch water and
create a soggy path.
H<!Ive gravel delivered. espe-
!;Ially If you need more than
a half ton.
If you want fI path that's firm
enough to roll a wheelbarrow
on. use crushe-d stone and
tamp It after leveling it.
(Pea rock or other rounded
stone won't compact.)
Use a hand tamper for short
paths. Rent a Vibrating-plate
tamper (550 forrwo hours)
for long paths.
You'll find bags of mulch at home
centers, but for the best selection of
organic materials for a path, check
your local nursery or landscape s u p ~
pl.ier. Depending on how big your palh
is, it ffiily be cheaper to have bulk
material delivered than to buy bags. A
3-in.-deep layer of mulch for a 3-ft.-
wide path will cost aboul $1.50 ptJf
lim:!ar foot. call the public works
department at your city hall or chock
with local tree trimming services.
They often have piles of wood chips or
mulch that are frAA for the hauling.
CRUSHED,
WASHED
(;FlAVl
Gravel
For a path
that's more
formal or
longer lasting
than a mulch
path. consider washed gravel,
crushed stone or crushed shells.
These materials last indefinitely and
only need occasional weeding tu luok.
their bost. If you want to run a wheel-
bl1ffUW or lawn mower along the path,
choose crushed stone rather than
smooth pebbles. The jagged edges of
crushed stone lock. together to form a
firm surface. Crushed stone is also less
likflly to get kicked out into thA yard.
Gravel fur paths is sold by type and
size. Smaller stones, averaging under
1/2 in., are best for paths because they
offer mure comfort underfoot and pack
together better. Visit your local nurs-
ery or landscape supply specialist to
see what's available in your area.
Gravel is usually sold by the ton.
Measure the length and width of the
path. Take these measurements to the
supplier and ask for help figuring out
the quantity of gravel you need.
Unless your path is very short, it usu-
ally mak.es sense to have the material
delivered. Gravel for a path 3 in. deep
and 3 ft. wide will cost ahout .$1.50
per linear foot.
Gravel pttths do have a. few limita'
tions, though. The stones can gAt
tracked into the house, so don't use
them near entries. And gravel paths
IUA a had choice in areas where YOII
have to shovel snow off them. The
gravel can end up in your lawn or
flower beds.
Borders and edging
Grttvel ur mulch paths require edging
to keep the material from spreading
out onto your lawn or flower bed. You
can also add a border or an edge as a
design element. Hero are some com-
mon types of edging you can use:
Plastic landscape edging (SOc to .$1
per linear foot) is cheap. And it's fast
and easy to install. If YOIl ohjm:t to the
luok of the rounded top edge. hide it
with il horder of plants.
Steel or aluminum edging (82.50
to $3.50 per linear foot) forms a
crisp edge that gives the path a neat
appearance. It costs more than plas-
tic, though, and is less forgiving on
sloped terrain.
Brick and stone borders ($3.50 to
$5 ptlr linear foot) arB attractive and
versatile. but they're morA AxpAn-
sive and a lot more work to install.
Concrete edging ($2.50 to 53.50) is
less expensive than brick or stone
but has the same ad \,ant<l8ttS. Newer
types that look. like random piocos of
tumbled stone are a great lower-cost
alternative to a real stOll" Larder.
Landscape timbers are an eco-
nomical alternative to stolle or urick
borders. They're especially useful
for building shallow steps on gradu-
ally sloping terrain.
_ . ,..IIII.COIII I 801.441,8831
Stepping-stone paths
S
tapping-stones are the fastest,
easiest way to build a path.
There's very little digging
involved. And although the stone is
heavy, a little goes a long way. Since
there'g distance betwoon the stones,
you don't have to worry Bbout leveling
Ihem with one another. Stepping'
stone paths also {;ost less because
you'll cover more distance with less
stone. Stones that arc flat and about 18
in. across and 2 in. thick <Ire ideal.
Check your local landscape supplier
or quarry to see what's available. If
you'ra building a short stepping-stone
path. you can usually pick the stones
you want from the pallet or pile of
.<;lon6S on hand at tho supplier. For
longer paths, ask for help figuring the
quant ity and have the stone delivered.
If you're lucky enough to live in an
3r83 with llll.turatly occurring outcrop-
pings of stone, you may find stepping-
stones free for tht; hll.uling. Otherwise,
expect to pay $3 to $6 per linear foot
of path plus delivery charges.
You can also make ettractive step-
ping-slone pKths using 12-in. square or
round concrete patio blocks ($3 to ,$5
per linear foot of path). These are
available in a wide selection of colors
and textures from home centers, land-
scape snppliers and masonry dealers.
Search online for "patio blocks" to see
the variety.
..IthefamllYhandyman,com ]
' '' uConcme bricks and blocks look ItfMt .

buildin3. SH how al thelamll\'tllndy-
mafl.comlmodularblocks.
Tips for building
a stepping-stone path
Arrange stones so the distance
from the center af one to the
center af the ne)(t one Is 20
to 24 In.
Set the stones In place anO
cut around them with a spade
or rock saw. Then Uft the stone
and dig out the grass and a
little soil.
Spread a In- to l-in.-thlck
layer of sand under the stone
If you want to make leveling
the stones easier. Sand Is
easier to wori< with than soiL
A tlO-lb. bag of sarld costs
about $4 and Is erlOt.Jgh for
about four to Si)( stones.
Set the top of the stepping-
stones about lin. aboVe the
SQillevel. This will give you a
dry place to step while stUt
allowing you to run a lawn
mower over the path.
Plavix can help
Peripheral Art(..'I'}' Disease (P.A.D.) is often described as
WJTHPLAVIX

""'!lI>
......... :.
' .......
. .
proven to help reduce
your risk of heart
attack and stroke
poor leg circulation. which puts you at double the risk of
bean attack. or stroke. That's becaw;.e, if you have poor
blood circulation in your legs, you rmy also have it in
your heart and brain. You may feel nothing, but the most
conunon symptom of P,A.O. is pain or heaviness in the legs.
Take the next step. So if you're diagnosed with
PAD., ask your doctor about a t reatment clinically
associated with P.A. D. PLAVIX helps keep blood platelets
from sticking together and IOnni ng dangerous clots, the
cause of most heart attacks and strokes. Ask your doctor
about PLAVIX.
To learn more, to your doctor today 1M' , bit www. plavlx.ccnn/PAOorcail 1-888-264-3264.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Ifyau have a stomach ulcer or other condition that causes you should not
use PLAVIX. When taking fLAVIX alone or with some ot her medicines including aspiri n, the risk ofb1eeding may
increase so tell your doctor before planning surgery. And, always talk to your doctor before taking aspirin or other
med)cines with PLAVIX, especially if you've had a stroke. If you develop fever, unexplained weakness or confusion.
lell your doctor promptly as these may be signs of a rare but potentially life-threatening condition called TTP. which has
been reported rarely, sometimes in less than 2 weeks after starting therapy. Other rare but serious side effects may occur.
Please s .. important product information on following page.
You are encouraged [0 report negative side effects of prescription drugs
to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.or call l-BOO-FDA-I088.
Plavbc:.
(clopidogrel bisulfate] 75 ... _
Help reduct! )'Our risk of heart attack Of stroke.
sanofl aven,!!J BristolMyersSquibb


Plavix.
[clopidogrel blsulfate) '*'"
WHO IS PLAVIX FOR?
PlAVIX is a mtdkint' that helps kef'p blood platelets
Irom slicking together and formmg clols
PlAVIX is for patients who have:
had a recent heart attack.
had a recent stroke.
poor circulation in their (Peri pheral Artery Disease)_
PlAYIX in combination ""'I lh aspirin is lor patients hospitalized with
heart-related (hest pain (unstable angma).
heart attack.
may reter 10 these conditions as ACS (Acute (oronary
Syndrome).
Clots (an become dang!'rous when they form your arteries.
clots form wnen blood platelets logclher. forming a
blockage within your arteries, restricting blood flow to your heart or
brain, a heart attack or stroke.
WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE PLAYIX?
You should NOT take PlAYIX if you
art allergiC to clopidogrel (the aClive in PLAvlX).
have a stomach
have another condition that
are pregnant or may become pregnanl
are breast leetling.
WHAT SHOULD I TEll MY OOaOR BEFORE TAKING PLAVIX?
Before taking PLAVIX, lell your doclor if you're pregnant or are breast
feeding or have any of\he following:
gastrointestinal ulcer
stolThlch ulcer(s)
liver problems
kidney problems
a hi5tOry 01 bleeding conditions
WHAT IMPORTANT INFORMATION SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT
PLAVI"1
TTP: A very serious blood condition ca ll ed TTP (Thrombot ic
Thrombocy1openic Purpura) has been rarely rt'ported in people
taking PLAVIX. TTP a polenliany lifethreatening conditioo that
involves low blood platelet and red blood cell levels. and requires
urgent relenal to a specialist for prompt treatment once a diagnOSIS
is suspected. Warning signs of TTP may include fever, unexplained
confUSion or weakness (due to a low blood count, what call
anemia) To make an accurate diagnosi s, your doctor will need to
order blood tests. TIP has been reported rarely, sometimes in less
than 2 weeks after starting therapy.
Gastrointestinal Blecdmg: There is a potential risk 01 gastrointestinal
(stomach and intestine) bleccling when taking PLA.YIX. PLAYIX should
be with omtion in patients who have lesions that may bleed
(such as ulcers), along With pallents who lake that cause such
lesions.
Bleeding: You may bleed more eaSily and it may take you longer than
usual to stop bleeding when you lake PLAVIX alone or in combination
with aspirin, Rt'port any unusual bleeding to your doctor
GenatrlCs: When taking with PLAVtX the risk. of <;erious
bleeding Increases with age in patients 65 and over.
P-dlienls: If you have had a recent TlA (also known as a
or stroke taking aspirin with PlAVIX has not been shown
to be more effective than taking PlJ"VtX alone, but taking aspl nn with
PLAVIX has been shown 10 incrtase the risk of bleeding compared to
taking PIAVlX alone.
SUrgery: Inform doctors and well In advance of any surgery
that you are taking PLAVIX so they can help you decide whether or not
to your PLAYtX treatmenl prior to surgery,
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT TAKING OTHE1t MEDICINES WITH
PLAVIX?
You should only l ake aspi rin wilh PLAVIX when directed to do so
by yOur doctor Certain other medICines should flOt be taken with
PLAVIX. Be sure to lelt your doctor about all of your current
medications. especiall y If you ilre taking the following:
aspirin
nonsteroidal anti.inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
warfarin
heparin
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking PtAVIX before starting ilny
new nlt.'()itatlon,
WHAT ARE THE (OMMON SIDE EFFEm OF PlAVIX?
The most common side ('lIeels 01 PLAVIX IOdude gastrointestinal
events (bleedi ng. abdomlOal pain, indigestion, diarmea, and nausea)
and rash This nOI a complete list of side effects associated with
PtAVIX. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list.
HOW SHOULO I TAKE PLAVIKr
Only take PLAYIX eKactiy as prescribed by your doctor. 00 nOl change
your dose' or stop l aking PLAYIX without talking to your doctor lirs!
PLAV1X Ylould be laken around the !kimt' time every day, and it can
be taken with or Without food, If you miss a day, do nOI double up on
your medication Just continue your usual dose. If you have any
questions about laking your medication!>, please consull your doctor.
OVERDOSAGE
As wilh any prescnptlon medicine, It is possible to overdo!oe on
PLAVIX If you think you may have overdosed, immediately (,all your
dO(tor or Poison (ontrol Center, or go to the nearest emergency room.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on PLAYIX, call '800633t610 or visit
www.PLAVIX.com. Neither of lhese resources, nor the information
contai ned hefe, can take the place 01 talking to your doctor. Only your
doctor knows the specifics 01 your condition and how PlAVIX into
your overalilherapy II is lherefore Important to maintain an ongOIng
dia10gue with your doctor concernmg your conditi on and your
treatment ,
Distributed by:
Bnstol.Myen Squlbb/Sanofi Phiumaceutlills Pannership
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
PLAYtX is a trademark
PLA-OCT07BAa
Planted Paths
I
ncluding ground cover plants in
your path makeg II stone walkwAy
flasier in two ways: First. you (',..an
skip the thick, cumpacted gravel base
ulldemeath. That eliminates the back-
breaking digging, plus the hauling and
compacting of gravel. Without the solid
base, the stones will shift and bec.ome
uneven, but the plants will hide that.
The second advantage is that you don't
have to spend extra time laying the
stones perfectly. The plants will hide
wide gaps.
There are quite a few perennial
plants that can withstand foot traffic
and will grow between stones. Check
with your local nurstlcy to SOO what's
available that will grow in your area.
Here are some ground cover plants that
cao tolerate some foot traffic: Creeping
Thyme. Blue Star Creeper. Brass But-
tons, Creeping Mazus and ~ e d u m . n
r thefilimilYhandyman,comJ
l
ean.t d'Ioosoe bli!tWHn bride and stDnl!?
" (ombir'll! them tor all!'lit:!ue. ola-world
IooIL Go to tlM!famllyNindyman.c.oml
bJ1(kstooepal h.
Tips for building
a planted path
Arrange the stones along the
walkway. leaving at least 4 In.
between them for plants.
Then cut along the edge of
the stones with a flat spade
to outline the path.
Sllce off a laver of sod and
soil about 1-112 In. deep .
Spread a 112-ln. layer of sand.
This wlil allow the stones to
settle In slightly and keep
them from rocking.
Choose plants that will stand
up to traffic and grow In the
avaIlable Ught and soil type .
Water the new plants
frequently for the first few
months until the plants are
well established.
Pull weeds and grass from
between the stones every few
weeks to prevent them from
overrunning the plants.
~ - I . - ~
,-

ace a

Ie
T ; ~ , ~ for a trouble-free,
leak-free installation
W
hethor you're
installing a better-
flushing toilet or
reselling the old one after
repairs or remodeling, these ~
tips will holp you do it ~
>
faster and with fewer prob- 2
lams. The job can take less <'I::
then an hour, hut !;flt aside ~
a whole morning in case ~
you run into trouble. .il
N
Everything you'll need is :il
available lit home cantors
and hardware stores.
Hiring a plumber to
replace a toilet typi-
cally costs about
$100. If there are
hidden problems,
such as 0 broken floor
flange, that Coost can eas-
ily double.
by Gary Wentz
edltors@thefamllyhandyman.com
~
~
~
i
u
Check the "rough-in"
If yuu're buying i;1 new toilet, you
need to know the "rough-in" meas-
urement of the old one, For the vast
majority of toiltlts, the wtlste pipe is
centerAd about 12 in. from the wall.
But with a few models, that measurtr
ment is 10 in, or 14
in. To check the
rough-in, just meas-
ure from the wall to
the toilet's hold-
do'Wll bolts. If that
measurement (plus
the thicknesR of the
baseboard) isn't
approximately 12 in.,
toilet shopping will
be a bit harder. Most
home c.enters carry
only one or two
10-in. models and no
14-in. models. If you
Cut hold-down bolts
Don" be surprised if the old nuts
that hold the toilet in place won't
budge. Years of corrosion can weld
them to their bolts. In that case, a
hacksaw blade is the solution. You
can buy a "close quarters" blade
holder for about $& at home cen-
ten; and hardware stores, or just
wrap a bare blade with a rag or
duct tape. Most toilet bolts and
Ollts are brass, so they're easy to
cut. If the bolt spins, grab it with
locking pliers as you cut.
have to special-order 11 toilet, be pro-
pared to spend mUlCh more.
If there's a door near the loilet,
also measure how far the bowl pro-
trudes from the walL If you replace a
standard bowl with an "elongated"
model, the door may not c l o . ~ .
ROUGH IN
ME .... SUREMENT
Lock down the bolts
Brass bolls are best
Some metal toilet bolts have a yel-
lowish zinc coating that rnakei'\
them look like brass. So check the
label and make sure you're getting
brass bolts and nuts ($3). They
won't rust away and they're easier
to Cllt off 1l1tl:lr. If you lletld to ro-
anchor thp. toilp.t flange ($00 p. 48),
buy stainless steel screws. They
won't corrode like sleel or break off
like brass while you're driving
them.
Setting e toilet onto the new bolts can be the most frustrating part of the whole
installation. The bolts slip and tip as you're straining to align them with the
holes in the toilet. A nJ each timtl you miss, you risk crushing or shifting the wax
ring. The plastic slip-on washers somp.limes included with bolts help, but they
.qtil! allow the bolts to move, The best approach is to buy a second set of nuts and
washers so you c811lock the bolts in place before you set the toilet. To make sure
they're in tho correct position, set the loill't lind check its height and position.
Then lift it off and add the wax ring. To make the haitI': cnsier to find, mark their
locations with masking tapa.
Flange fixes
A rock-solid toilet flange Is the key
to a leak-free toilet The flange is
the only thing anchoring the toilet
to the floor. If the flange is loose
Of damaged, the toilet will rock.
And a rocking toilet will distort the
wax ring and cause leaks. So be
sure to scrape off the old wax ring
and Inspect the flange. Here are
some solutions tor broken, corrod-
ed or loose flanges:
Ear-type ring
loose flanges are usually the
result at wood rot. The flange
screws simply won't hold In the
50ft, decayed subfloor. The biost
solution depends on the edent of
tile fot. It the rot Is only under the
flange, use an ear-type repair ring
($6). The ears let you drive screws
Into firm wood farther away from
the ftange. Before you install this
kind of ring. hold it up to the drain
hom on the underside of the toilet.
You may haye to cut off a f;;OUple
of ears to make It work with your
toilet. If the rot extends well
beyond the flahge. you'U nave to
,
replace a section 01 the subfloor.
Ithefamilyhandyman,com
It
and InstallJlli a torl(1l, J!O to
thtfamilyhalll1yma.n.(Qmi

Toftutoilet that won't stop
rlll'lrnflg. go to thefamHylwldy-
man.comlrunningtollet .
Has your toill'l its fll,O$hing
poWl'1f1 tr.eck out thefamllyhar'ldy-
for sollrtlons.
48 March= 'h.ramllvlt."dv",an.cDm
Repair ring
PlastiC flanges often bend or break. but
that's an easy fix. Just screw a stainless steel
repair ring ($6) over the plastiC ftangl'! with
at least four 1-1/2-ln. stainll'!ss steel screws.
Consider doing this even if the plastic flange
is in good shape-It's cheap Insurance
against fvture trouble. The repair ring raises
the flange by about 114 In. So before you
install the ring. set It on the flange and set
your toilet over It to make sure It tits.
Two-part repair ring
Stool flanges attached to plast!c hubs can
rust away. The easiest solutlon Is a two-part
rlns that locks onto the plastiC just l ike the
old one. To WI away the old flange, use a
hacksaw blade or an angle grinder with a
wheel. The repair
flange ($13) is available at some
Lowe's stores. To buy online,
search for "bay flange" or go to
Quickfixplumbingprnducts.com
(Item RF3200).
Repair flange
Cast iron flanges can brt!ak or corrodl'!. If only
the bolt slot Is d2lmaged. slip a reP"lir bracket
($5) under the flange. If the flange is In bad
shape, you can add a brass repair ring ($7)
similar to the stainless steel ring shown
above or Install a plastic flange ($25) that
slips il'lSide. If necessary, break away the cast
Iron flange with a cold chisel. Home centers
carry one or two slip-In flanges. For a wider
variety. search online for "rt!placement toilet
flange."
REPAIR
IlRACKfl
1
Eliminate rocking with shims
A toilet that rocks on an uneven floor will eventually break the wax ring seal and
leak. So check for wobbles after you 'va set the toilet in place and loosely tight -
ened the nuts. For slight wobbles, slip coins or stainless steel washers into the
gaps under the toilet. Don'l use regular steel washers, which might rust and slain
the noor. For larger gap,;!, use shim!!. There are plastic shims made especially for
loilets, but plastic construction shims {53) like the ones shown here work just as
well. When you've eliminated the wobble, tighten the nuts, cut off the shims
and caulk around the toilet base. A toilet set on thick vinyl flooring can loosen
as the vinyl compresses. In that case, just retighten the nuts a few days aft",r
installation.
Shake your booty
to squish the wax
When you set the toilet in place, you
have to squish the wax ring until the
toilet settles to the floor, DON'T force
the toilet down by tightening the nuts
on the toilet bolts--that might crack the
porcelain b!l.Se. Instead, sit on the
toilet backward with your weight
centered OVtrr the wax ring. Then
wiggle your bottom lile a belly
dancer until the toilet reaches the
floor. But don'lgo wild. You want
to drive the toilet straight down
with minimal twisting or shifting
of it from side to side. When the
toilet reaches the floor, snug down
the toilet bolt nllts.
Warning: To avoid ridir.ule, mako sura
no one is watching while you perform
this maneuver.
Cut the bolts last
To make positioning a toilet
easier, new toilet bolts are extru
long. That means you havA to
cut off the protruding ends
later with a hacksaw. But fir.'ll
connoet the water line, flush
thtl tuilet a couple of times and
check for leah. Leaving the
bolts uncut until you've done
these final checks lets you eas-
ily Nlmove and reset the toilet
if you find any problems.
After cutting. double-check
the bolts for tightness. Cutting
often loosens the nuts a bit.
Don't overtighten the
water connections
Do yourself a favor and buy 8.
flexible water supply line.
They're a lot easier to install than
stiff metal or plastic tubing. Be
sure to get one that's covered with
stainless steel mesh ($5). For a
good seal. hold the hose so it aims
straight into the shutoff or fill
valve while you're screwing 011
the connectors. Make them hand-
tight , then add another quarter
turn with pliers. Connections that
are too tight can actually cause
leaks or spin the fill valve inside
the tank. Check for leaks and
tighten them a bit more if needed.
n
. ... . o", 49
\ \1 ".
GLASS
m<
The look and durabi lity of
natural stone-the cost and
simpliCity of concrete
IF
you want a tabletop that's elegant enough for any
indoor setting and tough enough to withstand out-
door weather, you've found it. T a b l ~ similar to this
one ~ e l l for hund!1:!ds at garden centers and outdoor furniture
stores. But you can mak.e one yourself for $!iO to $100.
The total materials cost for the table shown here was about
$100. Your cost will depend mostly on the wood you choose
for the base and the concrete mix you use (see p. 56). Yuu
don't noed any spflr.ial skills or tools, though a table saw and
an air-powered brad nailer will speed up building the fonn.
Give yourself half n day to build the form and pour the con-
crete and an hour to build the table base. A few days
after casting the top, you'll spend a couple of hours
removinfil the form, chipping the edges and
applying ft sealer.
Endless
possibilities
Most of us think of cOf'lcrete as !Ii
pract ical materi al. but It's also
one of the most versatile deco-
rative materials around. It can
take on Just about any cotor or
shape. And surface treatment
options are endless. You can
cast "fossil" imprints using
leaves, ferns or seashells. For a
completely different look. you
can cast Inlays like glass or tile
permanently In the surface. To
see hOW', turn to p. 54.
by Duane Johnson
edlloN>@lhefamllynandyman.com
1
Build the form from Melamine-coated part icleboard to give the concrete a smooth
finish and make the form easy to remove.
Figure A
Cutting diagram for the concrete form
LONG SlOES 2112' x 4S"
----------T------i-,-
BOTTOM- l rJl34'
, ,
, ,
, ,
, ,
, ,
,

,
SHORT SlOES '2-112',,17'
1114" SCREW
Build the form
Melamine-coated p'lTtideboard is the
perler:t form material for this project
because it's smooth, water-resistant
and inexpensive ($10 for a 2 x 4-ft.
shoot). Cut the (ann parts as shown in
FIture A. The two long sides overhang
Ihe fann for easier removal later. A
brad nailer is the way to assem-
ble the form. (Photo 1). If you use screws
or drive nails by hand, be sure to drill
pilot boles to avoid splitting the parti-
cleboard. Whatever f"'Mening method
you use. space fasteners about 6 in.
aptlrt and make sure they don't create
humps inside t ho form.
Next, caulk the inside corners to seal
tho form and ('.reate rounded edges on
the tabletop (Photo 21. Do this even if
you plan to c:hlp off the edges lator.
Use colored silicone caulk, which will
show up well against the while
Melamine. That way. YOli can easily
spot and clean off smudges. Keep in
mind that every tiny imperfectioll Oil
the form will show up on the finished
tubletop.
For neat caulk lines. run masking
tape about 3116 in. from the comers.
Apply the caulk one side at 8 time,
smooth it with your finger and remove
the tape qulcUy herom the caulk skins
ovor (Photo2). ThA tapc ridges along the
caulk lines will show on lhe finished
top and make a pmfer.t chisel gUide for
FigureB
Table base
1-1/4" JI 3-114"
BRACKET
INSET chipping the edges later {Phot08).
Cut the parts to
the dimensions
shown and Join
them with met al
brackets. We
spent $30 on
cedar lumber. but
any rot-resistant
wood In 2x4 and
4x4 dimensions Is
a good choice.
Pressure-treated
lumber wilt cost
about $12. Fasten
the top to the
base with a few
dab!!. of hot-mett
glue.
l-lf2" 11. 3-112" 11. 24"
- 1--- - HI2" lit 3-1/2" " T'
1"--3-,,,. ,,3-112" x IS
O>it!rall dimenslons,
including the top:
tall
If YOll want to cast leaf or fern "fos-
sils" in the top, first press them for 8
day or two in a book or between scraps
Materials LI.t
EWl'Ythll1& you the o;oncrete
mlll-lsav.ILabi. at hom.
2' JI 4' shHt of 3/4"-thlck MeoIarnWle (SID)
4"4,,e'
2.4.e
PiMtll;: lumltul1I feet (S2)
Sllk:oneuoulk ($010)
SOo'ayedhnM (S5)
C .... llntllorilnt (SID to $25)
1-1/4" 5C_ (S3)
e metal brlldutts (_ used Sir'rIpsotl GA2
ausset anaW brackets, which measure
1-1/4-.3-114" M1d
Acrylic; ,raul and tile sealer (SIS)
eo.,rnart09mb: (S3S to SSO)
Phone or Write for FREE Infonnation
~ I N H A N D L ~
from Savetime Corp"
Dept.FH0309
271 0 North Avenue/Bridgeport, cr 06604
l-SOO-942-3004/Fax 1-800-606-2028
State
"-------------------
Email
----- ------------
www.r.unhandler.comlfh
---------------- -- ------------------- -----.
of cardboard. Then lay them out on
newspaper and ooal them with spray
Rrlhesive (such as 3M General Purpose
45). Press them onto the form so they
lie perfectly flat (Photo l). Thick stems
may not lie flat IUld can leave imprints
Ihal are 100 deep. To avoid this, we
shaved some of our furn siems down
with II. rll.zor blade.
Mix and pour
We mixed our concrete in a bucket.
using a drill and a large paint mixer
attachment (S10). This method is fast.
hut it require ... A powerful 112-in, drill
and won't work well with thicker
mixes. Instead, yuu can use a garden
hoo and a plastic cement tub (56), Btl
patient and mix thoroughly so yOll
completely wef all the powdered
ingredients. Pay attention to the prod-
uel's mixing instructions. I$pocially
the recommended amounl of water. An
e:dra cup of water can mue the mix
too thin.
Set your form on a solid surrace and
level it bolh front to back and side to
Easy inlays
It's easy to embc!d small decorative
objects In thQ cOI"ICrQte top. unlike
the casts of tems and leaves. whICh
~ a v e only tne Imprint behind, an
Inlay stays In place permanently. You
can Inlay anythlns that's durable and
has crisp edges. Tiles and colored
glass are the most common Inlays,
but you can also use coins or other
metal obJects. Simply spread a thin
coat of siliCone caulk over the face
you want ellposed and press It down
on the Melamine base. After the
concrete mill hardens. carefully
scrape away the silicone film left on
the inUily with a razor blade.
Glue Inlays face down to the form
with Silicone caulk. Be sure to
remove QlICQSS caulk that sqUetlzes
out around the Inlay.
2
Caulk the comers 01 the torm. Any Imperfections In the caulk wlll show up on the
tabletop. So use masking tape to create neat, even edges.
3
Glue down leaves wtth spray adhesive to cast -fosslls" In the tabletop. Press the
leaves completely flat sa concrete can't seep under them.
4
Pour the mill evenly around the perimeter of the form. The form must be level-set a
level across It and sUp shims uneter the low end.
Grow with the
National Gardening
Association
Greenhouse Growing
Once you have your own greenhouse, you' ll wonder how you
ever got along wi t hom one. National Gardening Association
(NCA) offers a range of models to meet every ga rdener's needs
and budget. And we provide a wea lth of free growing informa-
tion on our resource-ri ch Web site. A greenhouse isn' t juSt a
place to stan seeds in spring - if you' re li ke many ga rdeners,
you'll end up using yours year-round!
... CompMt 70 sq fr. 6 mil glning
- ide.,1 for IJOO loaded with f eIJwft'S.
Grow your uwn healthy fnod. Continue to harvest heat-
loving tomatoes and peppers into late fall or even winter.
Save money by growing YOUf own plants from sec"d.
Grow hardy greens, such as spinach and kale, year-round.
Overwinter your favorite, marginall y hardy and contain-
er for the next spring.

Gl'HflhoiJs. :
481q ft. 4 mU
gl.:lng -
ideIJ I to, Sm.il/


ets,. .nd still

" ' tr.Jresl
Grow varieties that dun't no rma ll y sur vive in your zone.
Start seeds and grow transplants weeks or months earli-
er than your neighbors.
Banish the winter blues. Enj oy your livi ng garden 12
months a year!
Vi si t www.garden.org to fi nd your ideal greenhouse,
along wit h all the you may need.
When you garden,you grow!.
APRI L 15
National Garden Montho
Sign up to wIn on. of
th .... fabul ous prln
packages in tn.
WHEN YOU
YOU GROW
GIVEAWAY
www.garden.org/ngm
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t (, J.:bocI, lind :IIfI-
r _ty ,.,tWo.,.,
... , I1f II-.JIII'II
"""",.,.d PUla," GWlriIII
'''''Me"","
pWntJ, gild In. fm'iroomornl.
"l" 10....... <III Reglon.1 Reports
J E-Newsletter.
Biweekly
___ repol'U t,rgeted
Regional Reports
dnd Regional Blogs
to 12 regions
".tionwide.
Sign up for your
IYpOrt todql
Find out what's happening in your af'ra
and write to your regional editor. In each
biweekly repon, our experts share garden-
Ing advice. techniques, news, and t:vents.
Plus. you can inrerao with your regional
editor through an In My Garden Blog,
where you can post questions or com-
mentS about your editor's columns.
www.garden.orglsubscriptlons

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Gleenhouse:
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-"YOU
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5
Work the mi:\ into corners and around objects cast into the tabletop. Then lightly tap
the sides of the form with a hammer to drive Qut air bubbles.
6
Remove the f orm, starting with the sides. Then flip the tabletop over and pry off the
bottom panel with a plastic putty knife.
Choosing a mix
The best concrete mix for this prOject Is a
countertop mix, which pros use to cast
concrete countertops. Ask tOf one at a
local concrete products dealer (under
"Concrete Products" In YQ!.Ir yellow
pages). Prices fO( a 50- or 70-lb. sack run
from $35 to $50. (You'll need about 50
Ibs. of mix to make the 17-ln.)( 34-ln. x
HI2-ln. top shown.) The brands share
one key factor-special additives called
"super-plastlcizers.- which allow you to
add less water. less water means a
denser, stronger top. Some mixes contain
fibers to help prevent cracking. Others
require wire reinforcement.
You can buy color additives when you
buy the mix. or buy concrete color from a
more limited selection at a home center.
We added 5 ozs. of Quikrete LiQuid Cement
Color (-Chareo.al-) to 0lK 50-lb. sack of mix
to get a gray, slate-llke colof".
Here are a few worth considering:
LIfeTime Floors Quicktops (50-lb. bag,
$48),lIfetlmefloors.blL
We chose this product b@Causeit'seasy
to doesnt need relnton::ement and
hardens In Just tour hours. Its white, so It
can take on any color. The fine consisten-
cy allows for detailed Imprints, and the
edges chip neatly. The version we used
(Qulcktops One) contains white aggre-
gate that you can expose If you chip the
edges or grind the surface. Distribution Is
regional, but you can mall order It. Go to
the Web site lor more inlormation.
Qulkrete Non-Shrink PreciSion GrotJt
Mix (50-lb. bag, 513), qulkrete.com.
Although It's not designed lor tops, we
[ thefamilyhandyrnan,com
Moo! IfNI Wf8R1d projects;
Dlst)'OlJf own Ioontain us.Ing st!Indard ton-
CJ1!tt see how (It ti1efamll-,1w1dy-
rMI"I.o:unltountain
E'I1!rI;II woodworklna n<JY'j(, can build (lassie
chairs wltn 0Uf slmpUIied plans.
5@ehoWatthelamJyh.mdymalu:omI
adirondack.
side. Otherwise one side of your lOp
will be thkker than the olher, ThAn
pour in the mix around the edges to get
an even distribution of material (Photo
4). Pouring the Antire mix ill tho mid-
dle might concentrate the heavier par-
ticles there and weaken the edges.
WellI plastic gloves as you work. the
material into all corners and edges
(PhDtn 5). Usc a gentle touch, however,
if yuu have fragile objects glued to tht:
bottom. If till! mix you use requires
wire reinforcement, pour and work in
II.bout two-thirds of thl! mix. Then II.dd
the wire and the remaining mix.
All pours contain trapped air, which
will leave holes in the finished top
unless you work them out. To drive nut
bubbles. tap the sides and bottom of
the foml with a hammer and continue
rapping until you don', see an}' more
hubbies coming up. However, if you
have pea gravel or other "aggregate" in
your mix, limit your tapping.
Otht:rwise, the aggregate will settle to
the bottom and wAaken or perhaps
got good results using thiS lne:w.penstlle
It takes imprints well, chips neatly
and is available at some home centers. It
does rel nlorcement. however.
Oolkrete also maKes a countertop mix..
Buddy Rhodell Concrete counter Mix
(70-lb. bag, $45), buddyrhode.s..com
This white mix takes color well,
hardens In about 12 hours and requ ires
relnfon::ement.
Cheng Pro-Formula Mix (521 to $11
per package), chengconcrete,com
This Is a pacKage of plasticl.l';ets. reinforc-
Ing fiber and colorants that you mill. Into
standard high-strength concrete mix.
These products are designed for surface
grinding, which exposes the aggregate.
The e)(cellent Web Site is full of design
ideas and other usefullnfOfmatlOfl.
ruin the appearance of your table.
And koop in mind that the tabletop
doeim't haVA to bA perfectly smooth.
A few holes or imperfections in the
snrface may simply add more natu-
ral chortlcter.
When yon're finished, cover the
top with plastic and let the concrete
harden and cure anywhere from four
hours to two days, dflpending on thA
brand,
Release the form
and finish
To remuve the form, pry off the long
sides and then the short sides. Pry
against the form base rather than tho
concrete, If you have to pry off the
form llS6 a plastic putty knife:
metal will mar the surface (Photoej. If
your top has imprints with fine
detail, cover it with plAstic and let 11
harden for an extra day. Then scrub
with water (F'hDto 7). Use a plastic
putty knife to 5CI1l.pe off Melamine
residue thAt won't scnlh off.
The mix we used chips off neatly
for a rough edge look (Photo 8). Be
sure to set the top on plywood on Ii
solid surface. We nsed a 3/4-in,-wlde
cold chisel, but you can use whatev-
er width hPost produces thPo Poffee! you
want For safety, hOlle dOWIl any
sharp edges with It file or sandpaper,
Your top will withstand outdoor
8
Create a natvral stone look by ctllp-
",ng the edges with a cold chisel.
Chi p around all four edges. then ft ip the
top over end chip Irom the ot her Side,
weather, but it's to stains.
To prevent thAm, and to bring out
more color, we recommend that you
seal it with tin acrylic sealer ($10 in
the tile aisle <it home centers), The
first coat will sink in and the surface
will remain dull. After it dries, apply
n second coat, and perhaps a third,
until the surface retains a shine,
Well done! Chancos are that once
you complete onA top, you'll want to
make another. 0
Get
by Brett Martin
edltol5@thefamllyha"dyman.com
58 -.n2OOll thaf.",II,hand,man.t.om
of
Kill ants in your house and yard
(without stepping on them)
>

<
~
~
I
~
~
~
>
~
i
~
,
W
ait! Don't . ~ t A P on that ant! Stomping on every i
ant you see won't solve your ant problem. In ~
fact, the ants scurrying
auus:> your kitchen floor might ' ~ g
00 the key to wiping out the ~
entire colony-ridding
your house of these six-
legged pests once and
for alL
In this story, we'll
show you how to kill ants
in and around your house. In
most cases, you !..:l;Ill put an end to
your ant problem for less than $25 with ~
products from a home center or hardware store. On the fal- j
lowing pages, we'll show you what pradu!';!s to use and
where to use them to wipe nut d,lB ants.
1
Di$1upt the ant trail so more ents won't foHow it Inside. Mix
vinegar and water, then spray It where you've seen ants to
cover the ant scent.
2
Test tne ants to fll'ld out what tvP!! of foods they like. Set out
sugar or honey, tried food and peanut butter. then see which
food attracts ants. Use wnlchever fOOd t hey prefer for bait.
,
-f-
I
3
Place liquid ant bait stations In areas where you've seen
ants, like unclef the sink and along walls, to make It 85 easy
as possible foe' the ants to take the toxIC bait back to the nest.
4
Look for water-damaaed areas In the house and places
where water has rl!Centty leaked to find thl!- ant nest. Spr"y
the nest with an Indoor Insecticide.
I.D. the ant
Start by idontifying the typo of ant in
your house so you can nod Qut Its ntlst-
inR habits and have a beller idea of
whace they're living (they may be nallt-
ing outdoors). Tl1ko II close-up photo of
the ant and e-ma.il it (or sntlillllsll it) to
your local university axtension service
(enter your state'll name and "universi-
ty oJltension service" into Bny online
::.ooorch engine). The extension
\4{iII toU you tho type of ant you're
dealing with and where it nests. It may
give you fact sheels about the ant
species and mayhft even somo advice
on getting rid of that particular ani
spccie5.
Keep It clean
A deQIl house is your first defense
against ants, Sweep up food crumbs.
wipe up spills, take aut the gllrbage
find dOll't leave dirty dishes silting
nround the houso. This takes away the
ants' food wure",. Spray vinegJ:tr mixed
with water around bowls of pet foad to
keep aots from feasting there.
Erase their trails
Where you see on", ant, you're bound
to !too others. That's hocause ants leave
a scented trail that other ants follow.
Sweeping or mopping isn't cmough to
eliminate the scent. Instead. mix 1 part
vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray
bottle. theo spray wherever you've
seen ants in the past (Photo1).
This will stop outdoor nesting aots
that entered the house to forag8 for
food (SlIts that oome inside are not
trying to establish a nesl).
But vinegar and water won't stop ants
that are olrtlady nesting indoors, You'lI
nood to kill thom with ant bait (soo the
next step).
Wipe out colonies
Whon you soo an lint, your first
Impulse is probably to step on it. But
don't. You'll kHl it. but for every ant
you see, them may be hundreds more
hiding in the house. The onos you see
are scout anls, foraging for food to take
back to thll colony. Use these scouts to
wipo nllt the entire colony.
Prebait ants in areas you va previ-
ously seen thelm (Photo 2J. Ant!!' IllStes
change during the year. They usually
prefer protein in the spring and sweets
or fatty/oily foods in the summer.
Once you know what the ants like, buy
and set Oul IInl bait that's geared to
thoir tnste (Photo J ). Look on the bait
package for words Iik.e "controls both
sweet and grease eating ants."
Expect to sse more lints {initially)
when you set out the bait. That's a
good Ihing. It means more ants are tak-
ing the bail (which is toxic) back to the

I
!


5
Spray an indoor Insect ki l ler In places
where ants can enter. including wIn-
dows and doors, holes In exterior walls and
cracks in the fOuMatlort
colony where they'll share it with the
rest of the ants. including the queen.
and kill them. There might be thou-
sands of ants back at the nest.
Liquid bait works best for many
sweet-Iuving ants. Other anls prefer
solid baits. Terro is one brand of liquid
bait (sa for a six-pack), If you still have
ants after two wooks, replace the bait
containers. If that doesn't work, it's
lime to hunt down the nest.
Hunt down the nest
Sometimes the solution to till ant prob-
lem is getting rid of their nest. If you're
dealing with Cllrpenter antll, which can
do structural damage to your house, it's
vital that you wipe them out ASAP.
Finding the nest may not be oosy and
takes some detective work.
Ants generally prefer damp areas,
such as framing or flooring that 's soft
and l;pungy from a. plWllbing or roof
leak. Start by looking for areal; with
water damage (Photo 4). Attics, bath-
rooms and exterior walls are obvious
candidates. Visit thefamilyhandy-
man.com ilnd search for "find leaks" to
6
Spray outdoor Insecticide on the
foundation walls, and on and under
the first course at lap siding to keep ants
from entering the house.
learn how to identify and fix leaks.
Cut small in water-damagtld
Willis to track down the ant nest.
(You're going to have to repair the
Willis anyway.) When you find the
spray it with an insecticide that
contains bifenthrin. permethrln or
deltamethrin (look on the labell.
Ortho's Home Defense Max is one
brand ($5 for 24 ozs.J. Be sure to fix the
wllter leak and replace damaged wood.
If yuu can't track down the nes!, hire
a pest control service. Pros spend
about 60 pen;ent of their time hunting
down nests. Their fees start at about
$150, but tough cases with multiple
treatments can cost $400 or more. Find
proS by looking under "Pest Control
Services" in the phOllA hook.
Spray entry paints
After ridding the house of ants, tl1ke
steps to ensure they don't come bade.
Caulk and seal halas, and then spray
insecticide around doors and
(Photo 5). Use an insecticide that con-
tain!! hifenthrin, permethrin or dolta-
methrin. Spray a 4-in.-wide band
7
Loot!. for ant nests or tunnels In the
foundation or siding.. Spray the area
with an Insecticide to kill the ants.
along tmtry just enough to wet
the surface. Once dry, the spray leaves
an invisible film that repels ants so
they won't enter the house.
Each spring. SpIlly the insecticide to
guard against ants. But keep in mind
that this only works to keep ants out-
it won' t k.ill ants that are nlraady
inside, and it can actually interfere
with the use of ant baits.
Spray on a barrier
If you' re still getting ants in your house
aftor spraying interior entry points,
spray a 12-in.-wide band of in sec tid de
on the foundation and siding (Photo6).
Use an outdoor insecticide thnt says
"barrier treatment" on the label. Bayer
Advanced Home Pest Coutrol is one
brand (S9 for 1 gallon).
Destroy exterior nests
If you see ants in the same
area on the Siding, there's probably a
Dest in there {Photo 7). Look. for holes in
the Siding where ants are crawling in
Iffid out. The holes are often loctl.ted
between bricks where mot tar hM fall-
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Spray a IlIIwn and garden Insect killer
on the grass within one day of mew-
Ing. Also spray on trees and shrubs. Spray
on i!I calm day to prevent drift
en out. under tap siding or in cracks in
stucco. Once you locate the nest, or the
vicinity orlhe nest, spray the area with
an insect icide containing bifonthrin.
Kill ants in your yard
Anthills are tlytlsores In yards. lind the
ants can ruin out!\lde dining. If you
only have ants in 8 certain 8.rtIa, like
along your sidewalk. spot-treat the
areB with en outdoor insecticide.
Liquid or grenuitls work fine. For
large-scale ant problemll, U!Ul II lawn
and garden insect ki ller that contains
hilenlhrio as the active Ingredient.
Ortho's Bug-B-Gon Max is onc brand
($11 for a 32-0:':. concentrate that cov-
ers up 10 16,000 sq. ft.), The spray will
also till other insects (read the label
for a list). First mow Ihn gr:!.ss. then
spray the insecticide on tht: t:ntire
lawn (Phot o a). Spray in tho early mom
ing or late att!rnoon when the (lnts are
most active. If ants are still building
mounds after six weeks, treat the lawn
IIgain (the insecticide works for up to
six weeks). YOli won't killl:lvery ant in
your yard Inor would you want to!),
9
Apply fIre ant bait using II broadcast
spreader. All the spreader 0Vfi the
driveway or a larp to catch the IIranules
that fall t hrough the spreader.
but spraying will eliminate most or
them and stop the annoying mounds.
Kill fire ants with bait
Fire ants are found i.n the Southeaslt'1'U
United States and Southern California.
Standlifd insecticides are much less
effer:tive at killing fire ant!!. You need 8
spacial product that's designed to wipe
out these biting critt ers, like Amdro's
FireStrike Ant Bait ($24 for II slb. bag
that trell.t.5 10,000 sq. ft.). Apply the
granules with a broarlcast spreador
(Photo g). riro ants cWT)' the
which they think are food (it's actually
tOJtic bait) back to thflir mounds. The
Silts 5hare the bait and die. A longer
lasting alternative is Garden Tech's
Over 'N Dull (523 for a lolb. bag that
lmats 5,000 sq. ft.) This granular inser.
Hcide keeps killing fint MIs for up to a
year. As with other baits, it may lake 0
few weeks for you to see full results.
Eliminate safe havens
Once you kill the ants in your house
and yard, take steps to ensure they
rlon't come back. Trim back hushes.
1 0
TrIm back trees. shrubs and plants
so they're at least 6 fn. from the
roof and deck. ThIs etlmlnates
bridges tOf ants to reach your home.
shrubs and trees that brush against
your siding or mof and provide a
bridge for ants to reach your house
(Photo 10). Kocp a 3in. to 6in. clear
ance $pa(;e Uetween the soil a1JlUld the
foundation anel the bottom row of sid
ing to prevent ants from nesting in the
tdrling (and mnk9 sure the soil slopes
away from the house). Avoid stacking
firewood naxt to the house. Firewood
makes a perftlct retreot for ants.
Ants like bare spots in the yard and
they like to build nests under lDyers of
thatch. Maint aining a healthy I<lwn is
one way to discourage ants. If anthills
pop up in ham areas, spray the mound
with insecticide and plant grass in the
bare spots. Rake the lawn or bag the
grass when you mow to eliminate
thalch. n
thefamllyhandyman.com
Keeo buts and critte'5 aut of)'Ollf
IIause by -aq entry points. Go to

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Faster, easier,
smarter ways
to keep your
whole house
clean
Clean the air while you clean house
With their beater brushes and exhaust, vacuums whip up a dust
storm. Luter, all that dust settles on the surfaces you just cleaned,
But you can use your forced-air hCflting/cooling system to filter
the air while you clean. Just switch the thermostat to "fan" or
"fan on." The dust reduction you get depends on your furnace fil-
ter. Standard fiborglllss filters catch only the largest particles, while
;) pleated filter with an electrostatic charge will catch almost all the
visible dust. Don't forget to switch back to "auto" when you're done.
long-reach vacuum
A PVC pipe connected to a vacuum hose lets
you reach up to high spots or into narrow
cmnnies, so you can s uck up those cobwebs
around skylights or exterminate dust bun-
nies behind radi ators. A 10-ft. piece of PVC
pipe costs 55 or less depeJtdlug on the diam-
eter. In the plumbing aisle. you'll also find
PVC and rubber "f9ducer" couplings that lei
you connect your vacuum hose to a different-
size pipe.
Get tough on glass staIns
If your usual glass cleaner won't remove tough stain!!., apply a mild
abrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub. Bar Koopers Friend or Bon
Ami and scrub with a suft doth. These abrasives usually won't
scratch glass, but t01l1 a smtiH area flrllt just to make sure. If
elbow grease alone won't do the job or if you have large
areas to cover, use e drilltuld a small buffing wheel ($8
at home centors),
Clean a vacuum with a vacuum
The Iypical way to clean the filter of a bagless vac-
uum is to tap it against the inside of a b'ash can
until most of tho dust falb off. But that raises 8
cloud of dust and doesn't get the filter completely
clean. For faster, neat er, more effective filter
cleaning, use your shop vacuum. Clean prefilter
scraens and post-filters tha same way. Jusl remem-
ber to be gt:ntle with tha shop vacuum's nozzle.
Some filters have II COAting thAt you ('.an scrape off if
you press too hard.
-
Minimize scum with synthetic soap
In terms of chemistry, some soaps aren't really soap. And
these "synthetic" soaps make cleaning your shower or
bath easier because they don" contain the ingredients
that create tough scum. So how do you know if
soap is synthetic or the real thing? Any liquid or gel soap
is synthotic. Most bar soaps are true soap. but a few. such
as Zest and Ivory, are synthetics. Synthetic soaps don',
leave tough scum on your sink or lub the way standard
soap does.
66 ...... >OQO .... n . m
Speed-clean with a pressure washer
Oneo you get your hands on a pras..iUfe washer. you'l! find
endless uses for it: Blast that dingy coat of dirt off your sid-
ing and trim, deep-clean embedded grime from yOUT
driveway or patio, wash down a deck or fence. While
you're at it, don', forget the car, mower, bibs and patio
furniture. You may discover so many jobs for a pres-
sure washer that you want to own one. Electric ver-
sions usually cost less than $200, but you may want
to spend more for a more powerful gas model.
Rlmting first is a good way to find out how much
pressure and which features you really need. For
about $65, you can rent a pressure washer and do a
week's worth of cleaning in one day. Beforo you rent,
gathAr somA tarps to protect plants and make sure your
garden hase wlll reach all the areas you plan to cltllill.
Good preparation lets you get more cleaning done during
the rental period. I
Dissolve rust with acid
To remove rust stains from a porcelain sink, tuh or toilet,
skip the standard cleaners and go for a pruduct that !.:Ou-
tains acid. Don't use any product that contains bleach-that
will just make the stains tougher. Look for ingredients like
"hydrochlOriC acid," "hydrogen chloride," "HCL" or "muri-
atic acid" on the label. Read the whole label to make sure
the product won't harm c.hrome or other finishes. If you're
cleaning a toilet. remove as much water as you can to avoid
diluting the cleaner. Scrub gently to avoid splatter that can
damage your floor, painted surfaces or your skin. Be sure to
flush the toilet a few times or rinse the tub thoroughly when
you're done so you don't leave any residue behind. For an
alternative to acid cleaners, see p. 32.
thefamllyhandyman.com ]
. Clean wtndows like a PfO! To see how,
JO to thefamllyllandyman.comlWashwhlows.
Beat the dust out of cushions
Upholstery absorbs lots of dusl-end then sends it airborne
overy time you sit down. Routine vacuuming reduces the
problem. bUI can't suck out the doop-down dust. So take
cushions outside a couple times
each YMr, prererably on a windy
day. and spank the dust out of
them. An old lennis racket makllS
a great uphols tery beater
(and Improves your
swing).
Renew wood with mineral spirits
U the finish on yOUT furniture or woodwork is dull
and murky, It may need refinishing. But befom you
take on that project, take a tip from furniture restor-
ers and clean it with mineral spirits. Mineral spir-
its-sometimes laLeled -paint thinnern-is Ii gcn-
tie solvent that dissolves years of grime and
residue from cleaners or polishes without
hanning wood finishes. Get it at a home cen-
lor or paint store for $5. Just soak a soft cloth
lind keep rubbing until the cloth no longer
picks up grime. Work In a wall-ventilated
area and remember that the fumes
are flammable. Hang the cloth
outdoors to dry before
throwing it In the
trash.
Stop countertop stains
If you have an older plastic laminate countertop, you've
probably noticed that it doesn't rnpoJ stains like it used to.
Thai's because years of W6ar have left the surface lightly
scratchod and porous. The way to prevent stains is to
wipe up spills immediately. But a protecUve coating of
cuunlortop polish ($5) can also help. Plus it will restOn! tho
shine to dull All you havtl 10 do is spray it on
and wipe it off every few wlIeks. Most home cenlen and
discount SlOr6$ carry counlertop polis.h sucll as Countertop
Magic or Hope's Counter Top Polish. If you don't find it in
II stOnt, search for "countertop polish" online to find 8
supplier.
Easy-clean
closet floors
Household dust con-
sists mostly of tiny
fibers shed from
clothing and
other fabrics.
So II closet
packed with
is a
major dust
reservoir; every
time you open
the doors. you
whip up a dust
cloud. To make mal-
ters worse, closet floors
are often bypassed by thtl
vacuum because they're cluttered
,
with shoes and other obstacll!s. Thl! solution is II wire
shelf. Install a wire shelf a few inches above the
closet floor to cisar off the clutter and make vacu-
uming easy. Get one for about $15 at a home cen-
ler, install it in 8 few minutes and you won', be
tempted to skip the closet floor next time you
vacuum.
n
NeeJ Auto J.
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Topics
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Home Improvement
o.t..., home tWlMlr ...cIlkantI", lOMe. eN u,. ....

Dftoem a.uy.,..
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New cabinets and trim
from a can?
It'S pretty remarbbie, " WI! do R'f to DllISflMls.
Insa:l d spending ttw:usands, PI (3l haft III kdt hlieel oj
fIc:Oytresh CIbinets BIll tim fa' IractIctI oC .. am
So ttink catfttColl Beause noIt*"II else rNIy makes seree.
110 it Once. Do it Right .
'ns'-x
...... co . .. nu
.... w .. .lnmlI.com
Simple window planter
Y
OU can put together this simple
window planter in less an hour.
For each planter. you'll need thnre
6in. clay pots, 3 ft. each of lxl0 and
1x3, and 2 ft. of 2x6.
Cui the 1x10 and lx3 to length (see
photos for dimensions). Pot diameters
vary, so size the holes by scribing and
1
Mark the 6-ln.-diameter holes with II
compass. Then drHl 1I2-ln. starter holes
and cut out the openings with a ilgsaw.
70 _1009 u.umll'''.ft .. Jm .... ~ .. m
cutting oul a 6-in. circle from card-
board to ensure that IhA pot will fest
on its rim (Photo I). Keep testing until
you find the size. Then layout and cut
the openings.
Use a 5-g8110n pail lid to scribe the
bracket curves (pnotoZl. Malte sura the
grain runs parallel to the sholf for
2
Mark the notch for the hanging strip
and both 1-1/4-10. ends on the brack
ets. Draw the curve and cut the openlnss
with II HisaW.
by Travis Larson
edlto/'s@thttfamilyhandyman.com
strength. Smooth off the rough edgos
and paint the parts before 8.ssembly-
especially if you want the two-tone
look. Thon screw the parts together
with 2-in. ex.lerior screws.
Mount the shelf to tho wall by
screwing through the banging strip
into the wall framing. 0

~
~
3
Predrill and screw the hanging strip to
the brackets. Then center and screw ,s
the shelf to the brackets and to the hang- ~
lngstrlp. ~
The Difference is
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Replace burned-out dash lights
Y
ou've probably replaced burned-
out headlights and taillights your-
self. But if you've backed away from
replacing burned-out dashboard lights
because you thought the job was
too complicated, you're
now out of excuses. We'll
show you how to
remove the trim panels
and instnunent cluster on
a 1999 Ford Thurus. But you
can apply these disassombly tips to
almost any vehicle. Pick up several
packages of new bulbs at an auto parts
stofe before you start the project
(replace all the instrument cluster bulbs
at the same time), and plan on devoting
about two houts to the job. You'll save
about $80 by doing this yourself.
Removing dash trim panels is actu-
ally easy. Tho hard pm'!: is figuring out
which panel to remove first. That's
where exploded diagrams from a shop
manual really payoff (sources on
p. 73), Online factory man-
uals offer the most
detailed diagrams and
l:ost as little as $10 for a
three-day subscription. If
you hate reading shop men-
uals, at least follow these two
important tips: First, N;)move the bot-
tommost trim panel: we had to remove
tho Taurus radio to get to Ihe boltom
trim panel screws (Photo 1). A lower
panel always hides thb st:raws for the
panel ahove il. And sernod. if a panel
won't pop out, don't pull harder. You
by Rick Muscop\at
edltors@tllefamilyhandyman,com
~
~
~
;
o


Ii
w
u
~
f!
~
~
i
~
~
~
I
1
Pull the radio (11 required) using a set of ~
radio removal tools (SS at any auto ~
parts store). Tllen remove the bottom-
most trim panel screws and pop off tile i
panel to reach the screws for the panel II!
above. .$
2
Remove Ine Instrument cluster screws and tilt Ine assembly
out far enough to reach the electrical connector and
speedometer cable (older whlcles),
must have missed Q retai ning screw, so look harder.
Then pry at a tomtlr of the instmnuml cluster trim with 8
non-marring tool. Buy a set of nylon pry tools ($5) or wrap
electrical tape around the end of 8 butter knife (screwdrivers
can damage the dash). Insert the tool and use a quick snap-
ping motion to dislodge the spring clip panel fasteners.
Disconnect the negative battery terminal before removing
llDy electrical conntK:lors. Then remove the connectors from
the switches and controls and lift out the panel. Every elec-
lrical connector has a locklrelease tab. Release it before try-
ing to pull off the connector. Next rAmove the instrument
cluster bezel (plastic window) to access the cluster retain-
Storape
7
1n t e fe der?
we seldom write about v@hlcleaccessorleS,butwewere
Impressed by Oodse's coot new fender lockers on Its 2009
1500 pickups. lllRy'IW dry. lockable and hold 8.6 cu. ft. of
whatev!!!r! The Ram 601( ootion also gets 'r'OU bed options,
cargo ralls with tIedown cleats and a 2ft. bQd I!):tenoer.
The downside: The Ram Box will set VOIJ back $l.895.
3
Twist the bulb socket 8 auarter turn and pull straight out.
Swap In a new bulb.
ing screws. nit the cluster forward ond disconnec.t the elec-
trical connectorll (Photll ::I) , Remove the cluster, turn it over
and locate the bulb sockets. Remove the old bulbs IlIld
insert the now ones (Photo 3). Handle them with a clean rag
or gloves to keep skin oils off the glass. But be careful.
Miniature bulbs can shatter and slice your finS61'S if you
squeeze too hard trying to get them out of their sockets. If
the bulb won't budge. use a small screwdriver to pry it out.
Onli ne shop manuals
Go to alleJala.com OR ao 10 nastf.OtgI'i4VPaPsllndewm?
paaeod=32Q2 and click on the brand of)(JUt car.
As!< the Mechanic
Four-wheel-drive clunks
When I put my truck Into four-wheel drive. I feel clunking or
jumping when turning. Am I dOing 5OIlll!!thins wrong, or am I
using 4WO when I shouldn't be?
Jason Garms, Jackson, MN
This happens when you drive 8 "part-time" 4WD
vehicle Oil dry pavement. lhIcks with "full-time"
4WD don't have problems on dry pavement because
they have a cenler dlfferenlial thl:ll allows for differ-
ences in rolaUon between front and Mar tires. But
part-time 4WD tmcu don't. When you drive it on dry
pavement and make turns. the front wheels rotatl: at
differtmt speeds than the rear wheels. AI that point,
somethlng'fI got 10 give. Either your Iires will sk.ip on
the dry pavement. causing a "hopping" sensation, or
you' ll hear clunking, Use part-lime 4WD only on wei
or icy road:;, If you're in 4WD lind hil an IIxtended
patch of dry pavament, shift inlO 2WD.
Restoring stripped
threads in nuts and
bolts
No matter how cll1'9ful you are
when you reinstall old rusty
nuts and bolts, someday
yOU'rfI going to strip SOffi6
threads. Of course it will
bappen on II critical bolt.
on a Sunday night when all
the stores are closed. That's when
tI thread restoration kit pays for
Itself. A full set (metric and SAE)
costs less than $60 and can put
those nuts and bolts beck into serv-
ice. The rethreading tools look like
traditional taps and dies. But
instead of cutting now throad . , they
r e ~ h a p e them to urigintli condition.
'fo restore bol! throads, start by
finding the thread count (SAE) or
pitch (metric:). Hold the tbroad file
against the bolt threads until you
find the size that matdl8s. Clamp
the bolt in II vise, engage the thread
file grooves with the bolt threads
and push the file [photDabDve). That
"resets" the tbroads enough so you
can screw on a rethroading die
(apply a few drops of oil first). Use
a rethreading tap to restore threads
on nuts or threaded engIne compo-
nent holes. Don't try to rethread the
entire bolt, hole or nut in one oper
alion. InStlrt the rethreading tap or
die and rotate a faw turns, then
buck it off 8. full tum. That will di8'
lodge the debris from the teeth.
Kastar 48plece
Rethreadlna Kit No. 971.
SS6 from tooldlscounter.com
Clean rvsty or stripped threads with a
thread re;toration die. Use a rethreading
tap on nuts and threaded holes.
Replace a leaking heater hose
Leaky, crimped-on heater hoses can be
replaced with new, expensive (,550 and
up) But you can repIties
just the leaky It's simple and
cbeap to do with a short matching
length of hose (about $10) and a new
worm-drive clamp. (YOll should reuse
1
Cut through the crimp ring with a
rotary tool and cutoff Wheel Of a
close-Quarters hacksaw.
the factory spring clamp. but you can't
reuse the old crimp ring.) Check with a
local auto pttrts stOft! to locate replace-
ment molded hose sections. Or hring
in the leaking section and see If the
staff can visually match it to a. stock.
hose for another vehicle.
2
Slip on the new hose and secure It wIth
worm-drive hose damps.
If you can 'I find the proper molded
hose, slide a Goodyear E-Z Coil ($10)
over II. straight section of and
bend it to the proper angle for your
applic.ation. The coil will maintain the
angle awl prevent the hose from col-
lapsing at the bend. 0
Homemade
clamps
If you're serious about woodworking,
spending serious money on long
clamps is smart. But if you're a once-
in-a-while woodworker like reRder
Gus Anderson. yuu ca n get by with
2x4s and blocks. 1b apply pressure,
j u ~ t wedge shims against the blocks.
Be sure to usa stroight 2x4s so your
work can lie perfedly flat. He suggests
slipping wax paper or aluminum foil
under the joints so you don' t glue
your project to the 2x4s. And 8S with
any clamping job, test the assemhly
before you apply any glue. That way,
you can be sure that all the parts
squeeze together just right.
76 ~ 2 0 0 0 .".' .... llyh. nd."' .... CO ...
Half-price blades
You don'l hava to be a professional drywall
by Gary Wentz and Travis larson
edltors@thefamllvnandyman.com
hanger to go through a lot of utility blades. Do-it-yourselfers go through
dozens in the house, shop and garage. And most DlYers use lhl:! same dull
blade for too long ::Ind make all their cutting jobs
azmD a whole lot tougher. So why not just cough up
the cash for II lOO-count pnclago of blades'!
You'll use thtlID eventually-and save 50 per-
cent by buying in bulk.
-
-
100 blades in bulk: $12
100 blades In 5-count packs: $24.50
'11:1 ....... .......,.fro"'.1lY oIt11"comp.o." ... lito,.., t_...... I rt
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if you.,. uline C.txll. vou'lI find r..ril.g pride
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Don't slam the lid
If you're in the habit of slamming your
washing machine lid shut. your appli-
ance repair person wants to say
"Thanks!" Dropping the lid. rather
than closing it gently, eventually
wrecks the lid swilch-and provides
easy money fur appliance technicians.
OUf guy chargl!s about $75 to replace
the switch. So if you want to avoid 1\
donation to his big SL:r8eIl TV fund,
stop slamming the lid.
If your washing machine fills with
water, but won't agitate or spin, it's too
late. Replacing the switch yourself is a
simple job on most machines; just
unscrew it, unplug it and install the
new one. To find 0. replacement switch
($20), use the yellow pages or au
online search engine to look for
"Appliance Parts."
Use a timer when watering
Restore a saw blade
High-quality blAdes for miter saws
and table saws are expenslva-and
worth every penny. But before you
buy a new blade, take 11 close look at
the old one. If the teeth are caked
with resin, a quick cleaning may
make it cut (almost) like new again.
fust spray on a heavy coat of oven
cleaner and let it soak in for 10 min-
utes. Then scrub with an old tooth-
brush. If the gunk doesn't come off
easily, wait a few more minutes.
A garden hose uses 5 to 7 gallons of
water per minute. How mnny times
have you gone to bed forst/tting to
shut off the lawn sprinkler? (Look
fll your water bill sometime-this
matters!) It's easy to figure out how
long to water your yard (see "7
Simple Steps to a Lush, GMAIl
Lawn," April '04, p. 34). Water too
much and you're just wasting water.
Once you figure out exactly how
long you need to lilt the walttr run,
set a spigot timer and use it. This
Vigoro digital model cost:> $35 at
Home Depot.
AfW
When you're done, wipe the blade
dry. Remember the.t oven dee.ner is
nasty stuff. Wear rubber gloves lind
goggles and keep it off nearby
surfaces.
Free paint and
solvent storage
Reader Steven Lesko thinks liq-
uid laundry detergent containers
are simply too well designoo and
useful to just toss in the recycling
bin. He fills the wide-neck bot-
tle!; wi th leftover paint. Thoy'll
seal much better than the can, so
the paint will last forever, lind it's
easy to pour out the paint when
you need it. And if you're a seri-
ous woodworker, the faucet-style
bottles are great for storing and
dispensing varnish and thinner.
Just push on the valve buttollllnd.
fill Ii container with however
much you need for the project.
00 you have a frugal tip
YOU'd like to share? We'U pay
you S100 If we publish yourtlpl
E-mail your tip to edltors@the-
Dr mall
It to Dollar Savvy Homeowner,
2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700,
Eagan, MN 55121. ptease
Indude you, !"lame, address and
phone number. Onglnal contri-
butions become our property
upon acceptance and payment.
JI getdollarsavvy.com
" FInd easy ways tosawonPw'l!fythlre from
IOklrc (lnd dNrint tl:I pnienirc
neaUh alOOf sistl!'l'Wl!b silt.
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...
Second-story
bird feeder
We love to look out our second-floor win-
dow and watch tho birds at our feeder, To
mak.a refilling the feeder easy, I attached a
small pulley to tho soffit of thA overhang,
threaded some thin nylon rope through it
and attached one fmd of the rope to the bird
feeder using an S-hook. After refilling the
feeder, we hoist it back up to its spot so it's
ready for the birds' next meal. I secure the
rope down below by wrapping the Bnd
around a cleat
attached to ;J
the Siding. .
PalllDale ~
~ ~ ,
80 "'-<n2009 thohmll,ha ... 'Y"'.ft.'O'"'
-
-
-
from our readers
Ildltors@thefamILyhandyman.com
Stop lumber from warping
If you store lumber in 1:1. pile long enough, espocially
treated wood, ii's hound to twist and bow. That's one
reason lumber loads are stored with steel banding.
You CAn use this same idoa at home by stacking your
lumber, wrapping the ends with rope and using a nar-
row board to twist it tight. just like a tourniquet. Then
screw down the board to the top board on the pile
until you're ready to work all your project. Or easier
yet, if you have ratcheting-type cargo straps, use those
instead. Set your lumber on blocks rather than on the
floor. That'll help too.
fohn Huegel
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Leak-proof design
Go to www.ilovedaylight.com or call (888) 345 0945
and add more daytight to every room's design.
,. , SOLATUBE
, I " in DJo,oliOtItin!f.
Sl!e-throlJgh
p.r d" pl!n'ier
Little nails and other house-
hold fasteners have a way
of mysteriously vanishing
whenever you need them.
To make them easier to find
when yuu neer.! to hang a
picture or make a repair,
store them in 8. clear, mag-
netized paper clip holder.
Buy the holder al any office
supply store.
Deb Helgen
Easier spring
cleanup
If you havl'! a gravel drive-
way, you know it's nearly
impossible to mkfl up all
the gravel the snow blower
blows into your yard over
lhe winter. So in the
spring, before the grass
starts growing again, use
yOUI' shop vacuum to suck
it up. You'll feel a little
silly if the neighoor:> see
you, though. Meybe do it
before they're outside.
Daniel and Rebecca laeek
Unpeel
peel-and-stick
When my wife and I were
pulting new contact paper
in our kitchen drawers, I
was getting really frustrat
ed trying to separate tha
contact paper from its
backing. To solve the
problem, J put a piece of
tape on one corner of the
contact paper, and anoth
er pifK:A on the same cor-
ner of the hac:klng. I fold-
ad dowll the top of t!tlcb
piece of tape about 1/2 in.
to get a better grip, and
then I pulled the pieces
of tnpe aport. The papEl'
and backing separated
easily. This also works
great on labels, stickers
and the like.
Ken Eastman
.h.' .... I1'".nd' ...... . c ~ ' ' ' _2009 83
BtJf TIt"'1 70 /.IR/'f1!1I
Weikefld
SINCE
Finish six sides of a door at once
Staining or sealing a door tales a while if you set it
on s<lwhorses to do one side, then let it dry before
flipping it over to do the other. Here's how to cut
the drying time in half. Hang two chains from the
open joists in your garage and put an S-hoo'k on
each of the ends. Hang the door by sliding the
hooks through the duor's hinge leaf or barrels.
Then you can staiD the entire door at one time.
Randy Sanders
Mini bellows for the grill
A strong puff of air can be mighty useful for getting
a fire started in the grill. Taking a deep breath and
blowing hard works, but that gets old fast. An eas-
ier way is to just rinse out an old squeeze bottle
(such as a ketchup bottle), fill it with air and
squeeze as needed.
!olUJ Walsh
o
Stop that ringing
I work nights, so I sleep during the day. But it's
really hard to get some z's whfln II neighbor, the
delivery guy or :someone else rings the doorbell.
Rather than remove the doorbell,
I wired a toggle switch ($5)
to it and put the switch
right on the doorbell
cover, When I go to
bed each morning,
J flip the switch
so the doorbell
dOfllm't ring while
I'm snoozing, I just
have to remember
to flip it back when
I wake up.
Andrew Johnson
We'll pay extra for y ~ UI photos
Take a digital sflapshot of your tip. and It we select It to print
In the magazine, ~ ' l l pay you an extra S100, That's S100 for
the tip and another S100 tor the photol
send your tip and photo to Handy Hints, The Family
Handyman, 2915 Commers Drive, Suire 700, Eagan, MN
55121 or handyhlnts@thetamUyhandyman.com, Original
contributions become our property upon aCt:eptance and
payment, We're sorry, but because of the high vcHume of
submissions, we can't respond to your letters or return your
tips and photos-but we read al'ld value t hem alL
DlSPOSAal STl'IAlNER
Repair for
stripped screws
'\
Sometimes the wood surrounding II.
screw becomes so tom up that it no
longer holds the screw securely.
Here's a rock-solid remedy from
reader Ken Rosette. Drill a lf4-in,
hole to clear the torn fibers, then
glue a short piece of 1/4-in. dowel in
the hole. When the glue is dry, saw
or sand the dowel flush with the
board surface, then drill a pilot hole
ill the dowel and drive in the screw.
,
- .
1
by Bruce Wiebe
edltors@thelamllyhandyman.com
Strain
and stow
your finish
The first step to a perfect,
dust-free finish using pre-
viously opened cans of
varnish or polyurethane is
to filter the liquid. The
finish in 0. can you openod
last week. or last year is
bound to have a little
debris floating in it.
After you pry open that
crusty lid, be sure to stir
the contents thoroughly.
It's important to get 0.11 of
the solids ufT the bottom
and dissolved completely
for tht! finish to perform
properly.
To filter out impurities,
pour the finish through a
disposable paint strainer
-suspended in a strainer
holder-and intu a dean
glass jar. Salsa jars are
getHi.t for this because the
brush fits in the opening
and the lid seals much
better for storage than the
lid on the original ('.an.
Pick up strainers and a
holder at a home cenler or
online at rncfcclys.com.
.".I .... " ~ n .. ~ " ...... ~ . c o ' " --.:n1OQ\l 85
Overhead electrical outlets
Are you always tripping over extension cords thlll
snake all over the floor of your shop? Enrlthat hassle
by installinR ceiling-hung electrical outlets. Place
them wherevllc yuu frequently need to plug in power
tools, vacuum deamm;:, IIteam irons or any other r.:ord-
ed tool that you want to plug in right here, right now.
The cost per outlet will run about $18,
For each ooe you'll need:
A metal electrical box
A metal box cover with a centor knock-oul
A !nrsin-relief cord connector
Electrical COllnectors
A cord receptacle
A short length of stranded-wire electrical corrl (buy
12-3 stranded wire for ZO-amp circuits lind 14:1 for
IS-amp circuits),
Position the receptacles at least an inch above your
head so you woo't bump your noggin. Thm off the
hreaker or WlScreW the fuse on the circuit yon're
tying in to. And check for voltage with a voltage snif-
fer to make sure the power Is truly off before you
spliL'EI into the circuit and wiro the new receptacles. j
Thanks to Tom Dybas for this tip.
If you have a shop tip you'd like to shere, send It to shop-
tlps@thefamilyl)andymancomorShopnps. The Family
Handyman, 2915 Commers Orlve. SUite 700, Eagan, MN
55121. we pay $100 for tips woe print. Oflginal cootributlOlls
become our property upoo acceptance and payment.
We're sorry, but tIPS can't be returned.

Gauge blocks from scraps
Go through your collection of scrap plywood and cut a few
Httle squares of each thickness. Every time yon work with 8
new plywood thickness, cut e few s q u a ~ uf it, too. Label
each square with ils thickness and keep them handy.
They're great for measuring depths of grooves and gauging
saw blade Bnd router bit cutting depths. Pile up various
squares to get just about Ilny thickness you want. For many
small measuring tasks, it's easier to use gauge blocls than to
use a tape measure. Thanks to ('.al'l Griebel for this tip.
Cordless drill-driver station
Reader A. Malcolm Sturm inspired this useful hang-
out for cordless dril1-drivIlNl. It stores them near their
chargers so you won't forget to charge them, {lnd keeps
tham close at hand and ready to go. Best of ail, with
their own little eagle's nest, your drill-drivers will
always be where you can find them.
To make one. rip 3/4-in. plywood inlo R-1/2-ln. -
wide strips. Make your drill -driver station wide
enough to hold all your drivers, CUi slots in the lower
shelf to fit the driver handles, then glne and nail the
statioo together. Sr:rnw the station to a wall DlIaf an
electrical outlet. 0
n The Malt(etplace
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Hydrostatic pru$Ur'e forcu wattr up through
thl joint where your floor and walls meet.
.system cofluts the seeping woter I1tId
quietly drains it to your floor drain or sump pump.
The only skill needed for instoJlotiOl1 is the abili-
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wordlesJ@thefamllyl'landymatLcom
Garden kneeler
Our thanks JQ to ...... undfa Lnko, Sa MN, for this Idu.
W.'II pay $100 for any IdMspWUsMd, 10 and Intho5esketchesand noln'
Submit your Idea 10 wordles!i;@lhefamllyhandyman.comorWOrdless. The Family Handyrnlln. 2915 COITVT'lers Orlve, Suite 700, Eagan. MN 55121.
Only Ideas we purchMf! wilt be oKknowtedged. Original tontr1bvtlons become our property upon acceptance and payment.
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Safe. but sorry
I decided to buy a floor safe to protect my wife's jewelIy.
The locksmith wanted $200 to install it in my concrete:
floor- whi ch more than the cost! To do the job
myself, I rented the biggest jack.hammer known to mankind
and bought somo concmte mIx for the patchwork. T fired
up the jackhammer and it broke through the basement slab
just fine. Then it hammered through the main water line,
sending water shooting up like a geyser.
The project took some exlrtl time aud an emergency visit
from my plumber, but you know what? That $200 locksmith
would have caused the same disaster!
- Patrick Findley
Ashes. ashes-they all drift around
We decided to put oW" house on the market, and one of my jobs was
to clean out the fireplace. Armed with my trusty shop vacuum, I wont
to work sucking up the Everything was going fine until my wife
ran into the room yelling, "Stop!"
r pulled my head out of the firebox to see a huge cloud of ash dust
floating across the foom. My face turned whiter than Ihn ash as r fAaI -
ized that I'd forgotten to put Ihe filter in the vacuum, and the exhaust
vents were blowing tho fine all over the room. The upside:
We were already planning \0 replace the carpet, and we learned that
ash doesn' t stick to walls. Now if we can just find a home ... ,
- Eric Nelson
from our read ers
gr8I!.tgoofs@thefl!.mltyhandyman.com
,
,
TInt-it-YOI rse pc.,nt
I wanted to surprise my husband by
painting our bedroom. I waited until he
had weekend Army Reserve duty and
got right to work. Since our bedroom is
small. I figured I could use the leftover
gallon and a half of blue paint from a
previous makeover project. To my sur-
prise, it wasn't enough. As I was run-
ning out of paint-and time---I decided
to get resourceful. I mixed what was left
of the paint with some white paint, then
added food coloring to gAt a dose
match.
The room turned out to he a light
shade of blue fading into an even lighter
shade of blua. I had the bliods closed
when my husband came home, and kept
them closed until I could go to the paint
.<;tOM, buy the right paint and finish the
job. My husband never suspected a
thing!
- Donna Campbell
Got yOUt own mistake?
We pay S1 00 for Rl!.ch one wet pri nt.
Send an e-maIl
01 write to:Gl eat Goofs, The Famil y
2915 Dri ve, Suite 700, Eagan. 55121
0riah!II ronttlbutlonsbecomeOU"propertyupon
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