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Features

MARCH 2OO4 VOLUME 54, NO.3, 446TH EDITION

34 Timber lrame garden arbor


Build this eye-catching arbor using our
easy techniques for cutting and assembling

the timber joints.

47 Tips lor tough cuts


A carpentry pro shows you how to handle
long and short cuts cleanly and safely.

56 Brick and stone path


Blend brick and stone for a durable,
one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

70 Hide speaker wire


Tired of seeing that ugly speaker wire? We'll
show you four ways to make it disappear.

72 Stop peeling paint


Use these special techniques in trouble spots,
and you can double the life ofyour exterior

paint.

91 Glassic Handy Hints@


20 top reader-submitted tips from years past.

ouestions about S U BS CRI PTI 0 N


See page S lor all the answers.

S?

MARCH 2oo4

alr

{
ttt'- -

Departments
8

$.'

You Can Fix lt'"


Repair the holes, cracks and burnps and
make your walls look like new.

18

Ask The Family Handyman


How to hook up an icemaker, select a
garden hose and clear up a GFCI mystery.

24

Workshop Tips'"
Carryall shop vacuum caddy, a
sharpening club, cushions for clarnp jaws,
and the most versatile sawhorse design yet.

29

Using Tools'"
Spiral saw techniques: Make dryn'all

cutouts quickly and accurately.

83

New Products'"
A no-clog leaf rake, an adjustable electrical
box, a talking carbon monoxide alarm, a
slip-jaw pipe wrench and more.

102

Handy Hints@
A rolling mop bucket, a mirror for gutter
inspections, and three tips for hanging
flagpoles, wheelbarrows and pictures.

105

WordlessWorkshop'"
Swir-rg-out bird feeder.

107 Great Goofs'"


Thles of insulation on the loose, separated

paint and an unkir-rd saw cut.


CoverPh0t0

. SHAWN NIELSEN. STUDIO CENTRAL

Questions about subscriptions?

Back issues/adicle copies

For new and gift subscriptions, a change of address or help with


a subscription problem, write: The Family Handyman Subscriber
Service Dept., Box8174, Red Oak, l'A51591-1174, or call (800) 2854961. Or send us an e-mail at FHMcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com.
Allow two issues for address changes.

Some past issues are still available for 94.00 each. Photocopies of
articles are available for $3.00 each. Call 1115]l 246-4344from
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central, Monday through Friday, for availability and
ordering, or write to: Back lssues, The Family Handyman, P.O. Box
83695, Stillwater, MN 55083-0695. Or send us an e-mail at
F H

Mcustse rv@cdsfu lfillment.com.

Gustomer information
Reader's Digest may share information about you with reputable
companies so they can offer you products and services of interest
to you. lf you don't want us to share this information, please write
to Reader's Digest Mailing List, Attn.: Circ. Dept., Reader's Digest
Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570. Please include a copy of your
address label.

Gomments and suggestions


We welcome your ideas and opinions. Write to: The Editor,The
Family Handyman,2915 Commers Dr., Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121.
Fax: (651 ) 994-2250. E-mail: fheditor@readersdigest.com
Web site: www.familyhandyman.com
THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN MARcH 2oo4

.-)Dwall

'loLt Cetn FL<

li

)ReFalrs
by Mike J. Preble

on't melt down


ifa doorknob,
misguided chair
or an impromptu hockey
game knocks a big hole

ME?

in your wall. With a little


patience, even a novice
can complete a near-

invisible repair. While


the total time commitment isn't great, the
process stretches over three
to four days to allow coats of

drywall compound and paint to


d.y.
Before cutting out the damaged
area, check the wall for obstructions.
Often you ll find a wire, pipe or duct
(Photo t ). If so, work carefully around
them with a drywall or keyhole saw Or
make a shallow cut by repeatedly scoring the i.
I'
line with a sharp utility

knife.

try to but the


drywall over studs (Photo z). Cut the backer boards
about 4 in. longer than the height of the hole. Pine or
other soft wood works well. Hold them tight to the
It's easier to add backer board than to

WHO,

{
.oil''oo*, *e

\ \r:
1 '
I '.

ELECTBICAL
CABLE

rfu,
/'

BEHTND

- DRYWALL

4
ii'n-ir
.."1,
,:-

tt;.4.

You Can Fix lt

4ljiJ:i"".T:"'
pound, drawing it
at least 6 in.
beyond the edge
of the first coat to
taper the edges of

the repair. Let dry,


then add a third
coat to smooth
any remaining
uneven areas.

TIP
When possible, leave a few inches of
drywall at corners so you wonl have to
spread taping compound onto adiacent
walls or ceilings and repaint them as

well!
backside of the dry'r,vall when fastening
them. Hold the boards carefully so the
screw points won t prick your fingers if
they pop out the backside. The drywall
screws

MASKING

will draw the boards in tight. Sink

the screwheads slightly below the dryrvall


surface.

Measure the thickness of the drywall


(most likely l12in.),and look for a large
enough scrap from a damaged piece at a
home center, rather than buy a full 4 x 8-ft.

SanA the dry

tJcompound
lightly with
100-grit sandpaper

to remove ridges
and blend edges.
Prime and paint.

sheet. Cut it to size and screw it into place,

spacing the screws every 6 in.


Taping the edges of the patch to make it
invisible is the trickiest part of the job
(Ptrotos 3 and 4). Buy a gallon tub of drywall compound ($a) and a roll of paper
tape ($ 1 .50). You can use mesh tape, but it
isn't as strong. If you have a lot of repairs,
also buy a sack of 20-minute setting com-

pound ($5
100-GRtT
SANDPAPER

bag). It hardens quickly and

doesn t shrink, so it's ideal for

filling cracks
and gaps before applying the joint tape.
For smoothest results, also pick up flexible
6- and 10-in. taping knives ($7 each).

Apply
each

a coat

of compound and tape to

joint (Photo 3). Thin the compound

bit with water to help ernbed the tape.


Smooth the tape with the 6-in. knife,
a

20-minute setting compound


Twenty-minute setting compound is a great product for filling
deep holes and gaps and for your first taping coat because,
unlike regular joint compound, it hardens quickly without
shrinking. That means less time spent filling. And you can apply
a second coat of compound as soon as the first hardens. You
don't have to wait for it to dry completely.
For most uses, buy the lightweight type. lt comes as a powder in sacks ($5 for 18 lbs.l. Mix only what you can use in about
10 minutes. lt hardens quickly, often in your pan if you're too
slow! Completely clean your pan and knife before mixing a new
batch. Otherwise it'll harden even fasterl To avoid clogging the
sink drain, throw leftover compound into the trash.

1O

vnncu 2oo4 TgE

FAMtLy HANovMAN

pulling out from the center toward each


end. Squeeze some, but not all, of the com-

pound out from under the tape so you


don't create a big hump on the wall. Immediately apply a light coating to the topside
of the tape, tapering it out onto the wall.
The second and third coats are to blend
and smooth the taped joints so they'll be

invisible when painted. After each coat is


dry, set a straightedge against the wall to
check for obvious dips and bumps. Knock
off bumps and ridges with your taping
knife. Add more coats as needed. Then
sand, prime and paint.

You Can Fix lt

2:Small
Holes

Drive a popped
nail below the
surface of the

drywall with a hammer and a nail set.


Cut away loose joint
compound and
paper shreds.

Small holes caused by screws or


hooks, wall fasteners or drywall
fasteners that pop up are simple to

repair, but again time consuming


because you almost always have to

repaint the walls. Nail pops are common and particularly irritating,
because you're likely to have more
than one. But drywall screws
sometimes pop up too, as a result of
damp framing that dries out and
shrinks during the first year or two in
new construction.
The first step of the fix is to drive
nails back down using a nail set
(enoto r ). If you have screws, dig the
drywall compound from their heads
with a utility knife and turn them in
tight with a screwdriver.
Then dimple the hole slightly concave with a hammer to indent any
raised edges. But take care not to
crush the drywall core. In addition,

4D Dtiu" drvwall

screws about

1-112 in. above

and below the


popped nail. Sink
the screwhead
just below the surface of the
drywall.

cut away any paper tears with a sharp


utility knife. This is a good technique
to use with old wall fasteners as well.
It's usually easier to tap them into the

wall slightly rather than pull them out.


TWo coats of drywall compound,
applied with two swipes of the knife in

"+" pattern, should fill the holes


(Photo 3). The first coat will shrink

an

bit,leaving a slightly smaller dent to


be filled by the second coat. Scrape the
excess off the surrounding wall so you
don t build up a hump. Sand lightly to
blend with the surrounding wall.
Be sure to prime the spot. Otherwise
the topcoat will absorb into the patch
and make the area look different from
the surrounding paint. And use a
roller when priming to help raise the
surface texture to match the sur-

rounding wall.

l2

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDvMAN

tD
J

ritt the hores

with joint

compound,
swiping first
across the holes,
then down. Let

dry, apply a second coat, then


sand, prime and
paint.

You Can Fix lt

3:

Cracked Corners

Every home settles unevenly as it ages.


This sometimes causes inside corners

the drywall below has crumbled, cut

to crack or ripple. Often the crack will


run from floor to ceiling. Once you
spot this problem, watch it for two to
three months for continued movement and fix it after all movement

gap

stops.

The key to renewing the strength of


the corner is to remove all loose tape
and drlwall compound (enoto r).If

,l
I

away with your

it

utility knife and fill the

with setting compound. (See"20Minute Setting Compoundl'p. 10.)


Retape the joint following the techniques shown on p.9. Crease the
paper tape down the middle so it fits

into the corner easily (enoto z).


Itt difficult to spread compound
smoothly on one side of the corner

without marring the other side. The

Cut through the tape at the ends of the cracked


area and slice, scrape and tear away all loose tape

and compound.

trick

is to apply compound for the


second and third coats only on one
side at a time. Let the one side dry,

then do the other side.


Finally, buy a fine-grit sanding
sponge ($3) to smooth the corners

(Photo a). It'll do a nice job without


Sougrng.

Ad Direction

. HOPE FAY AND BOB UNGAR

Photography

. BILL ZUEHLKE

r-1

ApOV a 1/8-in. layer of joint compound, then fold


and press paper tape into it. Stroke the length of the
tape, squeezing compound out on both sides. Let dry.

2
Z

dft

fit,#
ffi

-j#
#

ooo,t second and third coats to smooth the joint,


tapering the compound about 6 in. out. Let one
side dry before applying compound to the other side.

?
I

lzl

vnncs 2oo4

THE

f-iglttf y sand the finished repair using a fine-grit


sanding sponge to make a crisp corner. Prime and
paint to match the existing wall.

4
-T

Ask The Family


Handyman
by Kurt LaMon

umbing a refrigerator

Pl

Our fridge is dying, so we're going to


splurge and get one with the ice and
water dispenser in the door. ls it difficult
to run a water line to it, and can I do it myself?
B. Lehman, via e-mail
You can do this yourself if you have some plumbing

experience. The biggest challenge is tapping into


the cold water pipe and running the l/4-in. O.D.
(outside diameter) flexible copper tubing. You can buy
icemaker installation kits at home centers and

doesnt meet plumbing code in some regions) and some


contain plastic tubing (which can dry, split and leak over
time). We recommend more permanent valves and copper
tubing for better water flow and reduced risk of leaks, which
can cause extensive damage.
To start, locate the cold water source nearest to the refrigerator-perhaps under the kitchen sink, below the floor, in

the wall or even in the ceiling. In this kitchen, we ran the


new water line from under the kitchen sink through
cabinets. (Note: We removed the drainpipes to clearly show

some hardware stores, but we don't recommend

this project.) Be sure to keep the tubing above


storage areas and behind drawers if possible to

them. Most contain a saddle valve (which

avoid tube damage. If you need to drill through

.,

DRttL 1/2"
HOLES

DRAINPIPES

REMOVED
FOR PHOTO
CLARITY

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MARcH 2004 THE ramtryflaNovwtllrt

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floors or walls, check for air ducts, electrical wiring, plumbing or other possible impediments first.
Next, calculate how many feet of 1/4-in. O.D. flexible copper tubing you need. Figure 6 to 8 ft. of extra coiled tubing
behind the fridge so you can pull it out for cleaning and

Then decide which one of three water line connection


options you will use: a regular tee fitting that is soldered, a
compression tee fitting or a saddle valve.
Plumbers recommend removing a section of the cold
water pipe to solder in a regular 1/2-in. copper tee. Ifyou

service.

have CPVC (plastic) or steel


*t
i

il'lol

pipes, add tee fittings made

of

the same material. If you don't


want to solder, you can cut the
copper water pipe and install a
5/8-in. O.D. compression tee
instead (just don't use them

,r!
,hr

inside walls because

itt not safe

and plumbing code won't allow


,!t

it). Add pipe compound to the


threads to make it easier to

tighten compression joints.


The least dependable option
is a saddle valve designed
I

l2-in. copper pipe. It

for
tiny

has a

shutoffvalve that uses a sharp


pointed metal rod to pierce the
outer wall of the pipe when
screwed inward. Then you back

out the rod and water flows


through a tiny hole into the
tubing. Some appli-ance
installers say saddle valves

'fi

work, but most refrigerator


makers recommend that you
drill a hole in the pipe for better flow instead of using the

ri

valve to pierce the hole, then

.4

$
*
1:l

::l

iI:

attach the saddle valve (check


WATER
SUPPLY

SADDLE
VALVE

lJl
.$:1

your owner's manual).


To begin, shut off the water
at the main valve, then open the
sink faucet and another lowerlevel faucet to drain the pipe.
Next, cut out a small section of

ll: l

ii

1i,

;-il
11:i

.-H
')r
i

the cold water pipe and solder

in a copper tee. Cut a 3- to 4-in.


piece of copper pipe and solder

it into the tee under the sink,


then solder a water supply stop
valve on the other end. Once

the assembly has cooled, close


the new valve and open the
REFRIGERATOR

WATER SUPPLY

water main to check the fittings


for leaks.
Then plan a tubing route

through all the cabinets (avoid-

THE FAMtLy HANoYMAN tr,tlncg zooa

19

Ask Handyman
ing sharp turns that can kink tub-

ing) and drill l/2-in. holes as


needed behveen cabinets. To

straighten coiled tubing (not the


entire roll), have a partner hold the
end of the tube flat on the floor,
then push the roll against the floor
while unrolling to the length you
need to go through the cabinets.
Now snake the tubing in backward,
starting at the fridge so the coiled

portion remains there.


Next, attach the 1/4-in. water line
to the stop valve with a compression joint. Then attach the tubing
to the back of the cabinets every
2 to 4

ft.using 1/4-in. nylon wire/

cable clamps. Once you're outside

the last cabinet, don t attach any


clamps; just run the tubing to the

Now create a beautiful, shaded


outdoor room at the touch of a button!
The

SunSetter@ Motorized

Retracts flat against the house

Awning opens ancl closes at when not in use. You won't

the touch of a button, to give


you a cool, shady, protected
oasis anytime you want

in

find a better-made, better built


motorized awning anywhere,

yet it's so affordable! Priced

seconds! lt's almost like

hundreds less than other top-

adding an exha room on yqgl

of-the line electric awnings!

house. Protects you and your

7 decorator colors, and widths

family ftom harsh sun, harmful

from l0 to 18 ft. No electrician

UV rays, and passing showers.

In

needed.lust plug it inl Gll for


full details with no obligation!

timlted-tlme Speclal hvlngs

werthet on your deck or patlo. Choose full sun,


pardal sun,

now ln effect!

SunSefrerr
MOTORIZED

RFTMCIABIE AWNINGS

Cill T0ll hee nowl l'800'876'8060,

ext,

le0t

for our IRII BR0CH[|RI AND VlDt0


24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week,

WIth a SunSetter@ Motorlzed Awnlng, ygq control the

tax 781-321-8650

l-?l

01

IL),

tRIt video.

tohl protectlon fiom sun or shower.,.

pleasesendmeyour /45G-rb\
info. and derails on rhe lzdaldr*iiuim
-

speclalsavlngs now ln

effect. VE54

Address
Zip

City
e-mail

lmponanl: Be sure lo give us your e-mail address to receive

or visit us at www.sunsetter.com
O

our besl deals.


2004 Sunsetkr@

floor near the water hookup on the


fridge. But do clamp the tubing to
the fridge.
Don t forget to flush out the tubing by running a gallon of water
through the new line into a bucket
before you attach it to the fridge. To
attach the tubing to the refrigerator, follow the owner's manual.
Normally the compression fittings
come with the fridge. Before you
cut the tubing to its final length,
make sure you have 6 to 8 ft. of
coiled tubing that will remain
coiled and stored behind the fridge
when you push it back into place.
Be sure to cut the end of the tubing square. Then slide on the compression fittings, lubricate the
threads on the refrigerator fitting
with pipe compound and screw on
the tubing. tmportant: Handtighten the fitting, then tighten
three-quarters of a turn using a
small wrench on both sides of the
fitting. Once it's attached, open the
new stop valve and check the entire
piping system for leaks.

Prcduct5

SunSetter Products, Dept. 2903


184 Charles St., Malden, MA 02148
-State-

2O

vnacu

zooa

Stop GFCI
tripping
Help. Our hair dryer
keeps tripping the GFCI
outlet in the bathroom. What
is causing this, and how can
end this frustration?
J. Hadajo, via e-mail
I

Unfinished To Finished
In Half The Time

The cause is either a problem

hair dryer or

worn-out

GFCI outlet. To determine the cul-

prit, follow these troubleshooting


steps.

Plug the dryer into another


GFCI outlet in a different

bathroom, the kitchen or the


run it. If that GFCI also
trips, the dryer is at fault and
should be replaced. Ifthe dryer
runs normally, the bathroom GFCI
outlet is faulty and should be
replaced. See "Home Safetyi'May
garage and

'0 I, pp. 82-85. To

order a copy,

see

p.5.
It's also possible that the

hair

dryer is causing the bathroom's circuit breaker to trip. If this occurs,


the dryer (along with the other
lights, fans and outlets using power
on that breaker) exceeds the
breaker's rating. This happens

more in older homes with


bathrooms on 15-amp circuit
breakers, because a modern

dryer-by itself-can

hair

more
power than a l5-amp circuit can
supply. The bathroom outlets in
homes

use

Now wood finishing is twice

fast, twice as easy with


Polyshades@.

That's because

combines stain

built after the mid-'9Os are

one. Stain

required to have dedicated 20-amp

long-lasting protection and a warm

as

luster. Polyshades comes in a variety of

Minwax@
Polyshades@

ff

and polyurethane

to add rich color and

-r
in

enhance

wood's natural grain, and polyurethane for

circuits for this very reason.


To solve this dilemma, have an
electrician run a neu 20-amp cir-

wood

colors, and can be used over raw

or

even previously finished wood,

without having to strip away the old finish.


Polyshades. Abeattiful finish in a lot less time.

SrnrN & PoryunprHANE IN ONr

cuit. Or, get a blow dryer that


draws less than 1,441 watts. The
label on the box will tell you.
o2004

Minwd Crmpany. All riShb r6eNed.

oMinw

vancs zooa 21

and Pol'hads de registered rademarkl.

ffi

LIGHTWEIGHT HOSEs
1. TO 2-PLY
LIMITED WARRANTY
9s TO $1s
WEIGHS 4 TO 12 LBS.

&.
S+'
BRASS

HEXAGONAL
COUPLING

Stop hose kinks

HEAVY-DUTY HOSES
5- TO 6-PLY
LIFETIME WARRANTY

$20 TO $4s
WEIGHS 1O TO 20 LBS.

Last summer my dad teased me about my cheap garden


hoses that kept kinking up as I moved the sprinkler. He
swears by the heavy-duty, expensive hoses. ls an expensive hose

worth it?
J. Sekora, via e-mail
There is something to be said for inexpensive hoses. If your hoses are seldom used, you may be satisfied with a basic vinyl hose that's lightweight,

making it easy to handle. But they are more prone to kinking ar.rd become
stiffer with time. Lightweight coiled hoses look nice and work well when new,
but they should be stored on trays so they stay tightly coiled, and some models
lose their recoil rather quickly.
Serious gardeners and lawn pros opt for high quality over low price. Hoses
that contain more rubber and tire cord reinforcement are stronger and more
durable, but they're heavier, making them harder to handle.
To buy a hose that will kink less, select a larger diameter (like 5/8 in.). Also
read the packaging to lind a 5- or 6-ply rubber or rubber/vinyl hose with cord
reinforcement that offers kink-resistant construction with a lifetime
warranty/guarantee. If you can't find it on the packaging, check the company's
Web site. In addition, look for a protective collar that extends 3 to 4 in. from the
coupling to prevent kinks. Other quality components include brass hose couplings and swivels (which should be hexagonal, not round, for attachment
a "drinking water sat-e" designation or bacteria inhibitor
inside if you plan to drink from the hose.

ease) and perhaps

And to improve hose longevity:

r
r

Keep the hose in a shaded area as much as possible.


Shut the water

offat the spigot when youre done using it to reduce pressure

on the hose.

I
I

Protect the hose from accidental cuts or punctures.

Mount

hanger or hose reel in a shaded place next to the spigot or purmobile hose reel caddy or cart.
Drain the hose after use and protect it from freezing.
Don't run hot water through the hose unless it is specilied to carry hot water.
Dont drive over it.
t-l
a hose

chase a

I
r
I

A( Direction. GREGG WEIGAND


Photoqraphy . BltL ZUEHLKE
Consultanls. CHARLIE AVOLES

and LES ZELL. MASTER PLUMBERS; AL HILDENBRAND, MASTER ELEC-

TRICIAN

22

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDyMAN

Workshop

Ti ps

by Bruce Wiebe

All-aboard
shop vacuum
onging for a shop vacuum that won t tip over, stores the hose between
jobs, and carries extra nozzles and cleaning products right on board?
Here it is: a plyr,vood carryall made from scrap 1/2-ir.r. and 3/4-in.

plywood. The bucket spins 360 degrees in the frame like the turret on an
army tank. Use our dimensions as a guide and
FRAME IS 1/4" LARGER THAN
adjust them to lit your vaculurr.
SHOP VACUUM'S DIAMETER

BUCKET SPINS
360 DEGREES
WITHIN FRAME

!\1.

314"

.\

",i.

First, screw together a 10-in.

.,,

/J

_..

. ,,-t

t,.. -'
/
I."

PIECES

larger than the buckett

.
"i
. u, .,),
'

CUT OVAL HOLES TO


LIGHTEN WEIGHT AND
CREATE HANDLES

PLYWOOD
FOR THESE

high plyr,,lood frame l/4 in.

diameter. Cut ovals in

thell2-it'r.sidesfor
'\.i

STORAGE
FOR

CLEANING
SUPPLIES
AND PAPER
TOWELS

'it,

,li
'r

ir

,,. #/
", rtl
i/

,fi

-'r^i#
t.!

.-*Fo

3/4" PLYWOOD
wtTH 1-7l8"
HOLES FOH
PVC PIPE

1/2" PLYWOOD
FOR THESE
PIECES

swtvELtNG
WHEELS

handles. Screw the frarne to a I l2-in. plp,vood floor, leaving extra space

u,I
2zl

MARCH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

around three sides for storage.


Next, drill holes in short pieces of 3/4-in. plyrvood to hold pieces of PVC
pipe to store the hose and nozzles. Use l-1/2 in. PVC tbr a 2-in. diameter
hose. A l-7 l8 in. hole saw creates tightly fitting holes for the pipe. Now screw
swiveling wheels under the floor and get to work cleaning your shop or car'.
Thanks to reader Jamie Williarns for inspiring this great shop improvernent.

1" DIAMETER
HOLE

Keyhole
bar clamp roost

FIT KEEPS

IN *
pLAcE

CLAMPS

ffi]

You'll love this bar clamp rack


because you can holster the
clamps securely without tightening the lower jaw against the
rack. Just drop in the clamp
and pull it out when needed.

Notch the top piece of 112-in.


ply-wood with the keyholeshaped cutouts as shown, then
screw it to the bottom piece

of

ply-wood. Make brackets from


scrap wood and screw the rack
to the wall. Our notch dimensions fit the most commonly
used bar clamps. Thanks to

reader Sam Tuten for this

gripping tip.

Gentle-grip pipe clamps


Reader Robert Erwin clamped down on this great idea. Attach short

of 1/2-in. plyr,vood to pipe clamp jaws to protect board edges


from dings and dents while gluing. First, drill holes on the upper
ends of the jaws so you can screw on the pllwood pieces with No. 8
x 5/8-in. sheet metal screws. Then drill holes in the plywood l/8 in.
pieces

larger than the pipe diameter, slide the pieces on the pipes and
screw the jaws to the plywood pieces with the sheet metal screws.
Now you won t be fumbling around with pieces of wood to stick
between the boards and clamps-theyie permanently in place.

Sharpening club
_(

l
I

Reader Robert Harris sent us a sharp

tip

PREVENTS
DENTS

for dull blades. Using 3M spray adhesive,


apply sandpaper-medium to finer gritson all four sides of a l2-tn. piece of 2x2
hardwood. First cut or sand a 4-in.long
handle on one end so you can move

through the grits by spinning the handle.


You'll grab the club whenever dull utility
knives and chisels need resharpening, and
it's also handy as a file sander for wood

or

metalworking. When the sandpaper is used


up, just peel it off, respray and apply fresh
sandpaper.
MARCH 2oo4

25

32" CROSSPIECE

Workshop

Trps
First, cut the 2x4s into

Hinged
sawhorses

Cut six triangles from the plywood,


making them 6-l12 in. on two sides.
Next, screw the horizontal pieces
into two angle iron-shaped

standard sawhorses can

With these, you can

crosspieces, then screw a leg on each

support both long and short


lumber at the same time or
large sheets of plywood. When
youre done,just fold them up
for storage.
To build these sawhorses,
you ll need five 8-ft. 2x4s, a
couple of pieces of scrap
l/2-in. plyr,vood,2-ll2 in. and
l-5l8 in. drywall screws, and a
pair of 3-ll2 in. door hinges
($4 each at a home center).
26

MARCH

./

and six 6-112in. pieces for the feet.

Want more versatility than


deliver?

eight

32-in. crosspieces, six 24-in. legs

end of two crosspieces, positioning


the legs on opposite sides so the two
crosspieces

will meet edge to edge

when closed. Finally, screw one leg


on the remaining crosspieces, then
screw on the feet and triangles and

attach the crosspieces with the


hinges. That's it. Now you can saw,

.4

sand or rout those unwieldy

workpieces in comfort. A saddlebag


of thanks to reader Ewing Reed for
these great plans.

:i

'1_

u*

2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

Families Have Saved Up To 50% 0n Heating Costs.


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& INEFFICIENT HEAI

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Hydro-Sil heating works like this: inside
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petmanent. You'll never

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Running through the liquid is a variable


watl hydroelectric element that is .qnl1
being supplied a proportionalamount 0f

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Hydro-Sil is turned on, the silicone liquid

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with its

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retention qualities, continues to heat


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Hydro-Sil's room-by-room technology
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&;

'i;dllf

SLOTTED
ANGLE IRON

Tqfr#I""'1-" *e,e -,'-'

-wr
i1-1.f,:.

.'l

_.

i ,.
.

New angle on
small tool storage

q*mffi

".""

]Rffi

\\

Find
ALL BOARDS
ARE2x4

WELL
SUPPORTED

bare spot on a wall or work-

bench and screw on a 2-ft. piece of 2-in.


wide, slotted angle iron available at
home centers. It's the perfect hangout

cRoss_

for screwdrivers, bits, safety glasses


and sanding drums. Our thanks to Vic
Smith for this simple shop organizer. j_1
Edltor. DAVID RADTKE
Art Direct on

M
El*

Photography

. DAVID FARR
. MIKE KRIVIT

THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN rucncFt zooq

Snrar{ Tuole fior


|smnrt
{r-rrFr f llomeoulrnsrs
rrrrlrrE rrrrltEr iil
The NewTwist

Home

in

- II O- --l m
lmprovement

qF

t-

irine,'AuroraserLever
Projects a bright level line
. The tool you need to straighten:

Pictures Shelves

Wallpaper

Mirrors

Cabinets

llle

Simple to use

Hands free

. Automatic level and plumb

Zicon

Corporation

studsgn:-o]l.l ,ro

i:ii:rr" ?iir
'i...:l.'1'

\y'"
rl-oraljt

Now with AC WireWarning* for safety.


The original, constantly improved over
20 yearsl Exclusive, patented Spotlite@
Pointing System and DeepScan@ stud
finding indicate stud edges up to
1 % inches deep.

F -Rishr
:i*illl#"*'il::fiffl"

up, Down, rerr,

O2004

--l

..''*r.J:,

@?

rrscanner- r,ro sL

.i

.o'to.

27

by Jeff Gorton
spiral

saw,

which is actually

mini router, is one

of the best tools for cutting openings in drywall


for electrical boxes. It lets you cut holes quickly
and accurately without the time-consuming measuring and

marking usually required. And once you get the hang of


this tool, every box will be perfectly cut out, reducing the

amount of time you'll spend patching.

With special bits, spiral


some types of soft tile.

saws can also cut

wood and

With the mini angle grinder

attachment, you can mount a diamond blade, rnetal

cutting discs and sanding discs to your saw. Other


attachments, like a flexible shaft for getting into

tight spots, are also


available.

;\

f'

Using Tools

Make perfect drywall cutouts


This specialized tool is especially worth buying if you have a
big drywalling job on the horizon. In this article, we'll show
you how to cut around electrical outlets and lights when
you're hanging drywall. We'll also show you a few
other handy uses for a spiral saw.

When you hang the sheets, don't place any fasteners


16 in. of an electrical box until you've cut it

within about

out. Otherwise, the dry,,rall is pressed against the box, and it


will break out before you finish the cut, creating extra
patching work. Use symbols to mark
nonstandard boxes so you ll

Youll find spiral saws in


the tool section of

have a better idea what

home centers, at

you're cutting

drpvall sup-

around. For

pliers and at

example, draw

online tool

a square

sellers.

doublewide

Expect to

boxes or a cir-

spend about

cle for round


light fixture boxes.
Make sure you mark

$60 for a
basic,

no-frills

tool. For maximum


versatility, consider buying
the

kit that contains the angle grinder

attachment ($tOO to $160).Youll also need


bits. For drywall work, buy a package of
guidepoint bits (five for g7).

and cut every box. SearchUse a spiral saw to get a


pedect fit for recessed
lights in drywall. You dont
need exact measurements.

ing for missing electrical boxes

buried in finished wails is no fun.


Cut counterclockwise when
you're going around the outside of a
box, window or other

Spiral saws are noisy and dusty, so


don t forget your safety gear. Safety glasses,

object

(lnoto

(two-strap) dust mask are essential.

Setup is simple
After you insert the bit into the collet, pull
it out until about l/8 in. of the smooth part

Special thin bits

of the shank is showing before tightening


the collet. This will help prevent bit break-

cut wood, drywall


and soft tile.

age. Then adjust the base so

that the bit


plotrudes about 1/4 in. beyond the depth
ol the material you're cutting.

You'll hang drywall


in half the time

power to the eiectrical boxes. Then press


the wires to the back of the box to avoid

damaging them with the bit. A hammer


handle works well for this job.

3(l

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDvMAN

protruding

e). Move the spirai

saw clockwise if you're cutting


around the inside of an opening
such as a hole in the wall for a
recessed medicine cabinet.

hearing protection and a good-quality

When you use a spiral saw to cut outlets,


there! no need for precise measuring.
Simply mark the approximate center of
each electrical box or other opening on the
face of the dry'r,vall and cut them out after
the sheet is loosely attached to the framing.
Before you hang the drywall, turn off the

for

Cutting the drywall in


place results in a a tight
fit around electrical boxes
and eliminates timeconsuming wall repair.
GUIDE POINT BIT
(DRYWALL)

It takes practice to get a perfect cut


Cutting around

plastic electrical box

box. Try to apply just enough pressure

isn't quite as easy as it looks. I recall

to keep the tool moving around the

that on my first attempt I put too


much pressure on the bit and cut right
through the side of the soft plastic

outside edge of the box. Concentrate


on feeling the edge of the box. Before
you tackle the real thing, mock up a

practice board by nailing a spare


plastic box to a stud and covering

it with a scrap of drpvall. Practice


routing around the box until you get
the hang of it.

CENTER OF
ELECTBICAL

I
il
tl

BOX

\.t

.i

t
i

fUart the approximate center of the box. Hang the


sheet with several screws placed at least 16 in. away
from the box. Plunge the tip of the spinning bit into the
drywall at your mark.

II

)
L

fVou.the tool slowly to the right until you feel the

edge of the box, then stop. With the tool still


running, move the bit up and over the edge of the box.

Cut around

recessed light
f:

qr-z

CENTER OF
RECESSED LIGHT

\
CUT COUNTER.
CLOCl(WlsE.

Qnun the bit counterclockwise

along the outside edge


the box to complete the cut. Apply just enough
pressure to keep the bit in contact with the outside edge
of the box. See results on p. 30.

tJof

Use the same method shown in Photos 1 - 3 to cut


ceiling openings. Here we're cutting around a
recessed light fixture. See results on p. 30.

tHE FAMTLY HANDYMAN MnRcH zooq

3l

.;.:i

,'| \
,,;

,,"

ir;.:

f,

t,

i't
*dEr.i#:.;.

3,''i;i-1%flx

--'l

-i-\i":5

'r;i:"{rltr,

t$
. lli

ij::,.ii:
'",.1

.;
.

Enii;

rii,":
'll'ir
I

."*.,,

at

:.1'','" .. '' .r. .*1.,',ir]


;i- -ii
,: lis.''

' :.

il::.'lill"''+1r11i;:i

;1;;1t

garden atbor
You can cut perfect, old-style joints
with standard tools . . . and keep

all the fasteners out of sight


by David Radtke
his timber garden arbor can be your place to get away for a
quiet retreat or a delightful lawn sculpture that you gaze at

through your kitchen window.


Building it is enjoyable too. The main structure goes together like an
old-fashioned timber frame with tenons and notches you cut into
wooden 6x6s with your circular saw and handsaw. The main posts are
anchored in the ground with concrete, and the roof and sides are made
of dimensional treated lumber screwed to the treated 6x6s. Our project
cost about $450 and took about three days to build with plenty of
break time. After waiting about three weeks to give the wood ample
time to dry out, we applied an exterior oil stain.

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN unRcH zooa

35

Shopping for
treated lumber

Cut the 6x6s to


length and

then cut the


notches in the
tops with your circular saw. First cut
lengthwise, then
make the crosscut
and finish the cut

When you're looking for lumber at the


home center, make sure to pick out
6x6s that are fairly

with your handsaw. Clean the


bottom of the

notch with a sharp


chisel.

Screw temporary 59-in. long


2x4 crossties to
the posts near the
top and 16 in. up
from the bottom.
,.

dry and free of

twists and large cracks. The same goes

. :1:
-W
-':t-;

for the other treated dimensional lumber you 11 need for this project. However, don t be disturbed by the'green"
color of the wood at this stage. A quality semi-transparent oil stain will give
you a nice, warm wood tone.

You may want to rent


a 1O-in. circular saw
You can cut the notches into the 6x6s

(enoto t)with

standard 7-1l4in.

circular saw and a sharp handsaw, but


a l0-in. circular saw will make quick
work of it. Be aware, however, that
these saws are healy and a bit
awkward to handle. If you decide to
use the smaller circular saw and hand-

'

saw, use the handsaw to get the extra

Tip and drop

the rear
assembly into the

depth you can't get with the circular


saw and to clean up the notches.

16-in. deep x 12-in.

diameter holes.
Screw temporary
supports to stakes
and then to the
assembly to plumb
it. Once the rear
assembly is level
and plumb, drop
the front assembly
into the holes and
screw it to the
back assembly

with temporary
2x2 horizontal supports top and bottom. Square the
legs by measuring
and making the
diagonals equal
between opposite
legs.

Shopping List
DESCRIPTION

OTY

6x6 x 10' treated

posts and lintels


2x2 x 8' supports
2x4 x 8' treated beam
flanges, ridge beam and
ridge supports
2x4 x 10' braces, supports

2x6 x 8'treated seat slats


2x6 x 12'treated rafters
2x8 x 12'treated beam
and brackets
2x10 x 8' treated seat braces

5/4x6 x 8' roof and side lattice

11

Simpson A-23 steel angles


Simpson TP39 tie plates
80-lb. bags of concrete mix
114"

36

MARCH

2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANovMAN

x3-112" lag screws,

washers 16

l0d nails

2 lbs.

1-5/8" screws

2 lbs.

3" deck screws

2 lbs.

Yis:nber

Figure

fr*m* garden arbor

Arbor Assembly

lt

oerelr-O-

RAFTER

oerarlfi
RrDGev

STEEL ANGLE
AT EACH RAFTER

LM\-/
oernrrfl)

POSTBRACKET A?
/'a
., RAD.
48"
BETWEEN
POSTS

73-112"
FROM TOP

OF BEAM
'12"

r__l

DlA. x

16'DEEP
HOLE;
FILLWITH
CONCRETE
(rYP.)

SET POSTS
16" tNTO
GROUND

oererl f6)

seanv

THE FAMILY HANDYMAN ITINNCI ZOOA

37

$xer*#x? ax:h$r

Cutting List
KEY PCS. SIZE & DESCRIPTION
5-1 12" x 5-1 12" x 105-1 12"
treated posts
5-1 /2" x 5-1 12" x 42-1 12"
treated side lintels

5-1/2" x5-112" x76"


treated front and
back lintels
1-1/2" x7-114" x 12"
post brackets
1-112" x3-112" x 45"
center beam flanges

1-1/2" x7-114" x 45"


center beam

Mix concrete and pour it into each hole around the post. Let the concrete
set for two days before continuing.

-1 /2" x 3-1 12" x 22-1 /2"


ridge beam supports

1-1/2" x3-1/2" x 45" ridge


1-1/2" x 5-1/2" x 62" raflet
1" x5-'112" x 45"

roof lattice
1-112"

x9-1/4" x 12"

seat braces
M1

1-112" x5-112" x37"


outer seat slats

M2

1-112" x5-112" x 45"


inner seat slats

1"x2-11l16"x80"
vertical side lattice
1" x2-11116" x37"
horizontal side lattice

ii.-

Remove the braces, cut the side tintel tenons with your circular saw and
handsaw and lower each into the front and back post notches. Screw the
joints together with 3-in. deck screws.
'::..:i

s.". lt's easier to cut the notches in the front and back linir',,.j tels with a 1O-in. circular saw. You can rent one for
about $40 a day to make quick work of the post cutting.
38

l,tnncH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDyMAN

Break out the chips and clean the bottom of the


notch with a sharp chisel. Finish smoothing it with a
coarse file.

:,

ffeK*#se fiay3}#r

Stand the two end


assemblies and
fill in the conqete
To get

this structure to behave and

end up square, measure the holes


carefully and dig each one about i6
in. deep and 12 in. wide with a posthole digger. np: What do you do

with the extra dirt? I always lay a


tarp right next to where I'm digging
and dump the soil right onto it.
Then I can drag it around to any
location on the lot that needs a bit of

fiil.
foin the front posts as a pair

(Photo z), then do the same with


the rear. Stand the rear assembly (get

friend to help) and stick the


bottoms of the posts into the rear
holes. Now drive some stakes into
the ground while one person holds
a

Lift the front and back lintels onto the tops of the posts and push them
back until they're flush with the posts. You may need to persuade it a bit
with a hammer and a block of wood. Screw the lintels into place with 3-in.
screws angled in from the top.

the assembly. Plumb the posts with

temporary braces fastened to the


stakes and posts, then level the

hori-

zontal ties at the bottom with shims.


Once this assembly is secured, insert
the front post assembly into the
front post holes and fasten it to the
rear assembly

with the 2x2horizon-

tal side supports as shown in Photo


3.

With the front secured to the rear

assembly, make sure the front posts


are at right angles to the rear posts

and the diagonal measurements


between the posts are equal. Add

additional braces if necessary.


Mix the concrete for your posts in
a tub or wheelbarrow. Mix no more
than two bags at once and then mix

Cut the post brackets with


a jigsaw and then smooth
the curves with your belt
sander (80-grit works best).

more as needed. We used about


three 80-lb. bags, but the amount
depends on the hole diameter and
depth. Dump the concrete into each
hole and then pack it around the
posts

with

a scrap 2x2.

Bring the

concrete up to grade level

(efoto c)

and then berm it slightly to keep


water from collecting at the bottom
of the post every time it rains.

Screw the brackets to the


posts with 3-in. deck
screws. Be sure to drill a pilot hole
to avoid splitting the brackets.

vencH zoo+

39

Lock the lintels together


with 3-in. screws
The tenons and mortises are

traditionally held together with dowel


pins, but because this structure is
exposed to the weather, it's best to lock
them into place with 3-in. galvanized
screws driven at angles from above. As

you place each lintel, you may find


that you ll need to either squeeze or
separate the top ends of the posts a

bit

to get them to fall into piace. This is


because one or more of the posts may
be slightly out of plumb. Screw in the

Cut and assemble the parts for the center beam and then center and
screw it to the front and back lintels.

brackets (D) as shown in Photo 1O.

Make the center beam


from 2x4s and a2xB
Screw the 2x4 parts (E) to the center

2x8 (F) to create an I-beam that'll run

from front to back and support the


roof members. Get the beam
positioned 1-112 in. from the outer
edge

ofboth front and rear lintels


r r ). Screw it into place with

(ehoto

3-in. screws. Next cut the ridge


supports and the ridge and fasten

them as shown in Photo 12. The top


ridge has a 45-degree bevel on each

top edge. Make a mark 7/8 in. down


from the top edge of the 2x4 ridge
board on each side. Temporarily nail

: Screw the ridge support (G) to the center beam and then fasten the
ridge to the support with 3-in. deck screws.

the ridge to the sawhorse tops, set

your circular saw at a 45-degree bevel


and cut along the line on one side.
Then pull the nails and reposition it to
cut the other side. Screw the ridge to
the ridge supports, making sure it
rests 3/4 in. down from the top of the
ridge supports.
Cut the remaining roof parts and
assemble them as shown

13

in Photos

15.

Sand the arbor to get rid


of rough edges
"Sand it?" you say? Well, this isn't a
fine piece of furniture, but you will

'1

.'

have a few rough edges and corners

Cut the rafters (J) as shown in Figure A using your jigsaw and circular
''- saw. Complete one, then use it as a pattern for the rest.

4O vnncH 2oo4

THE FAMILy HANDvMAN

that could give you splinters. Just go

#ardss! arh*r

jr:

,.rli Measure down 4 in. from the top of the ridge support, make a horizontal mark with your square and align the
'1sp edges of the rafters with your mark. Screw the rafters to the support and then use Simpson A-23 angles on
the backside of the bird's-mouth notch to connect the rafter to the beam.
ri 'r'':,f

.l

';ii li... Clamp a temporary support 1 in. down from the top of the rafter to
:'r ''
guide the roof lattice board. Tap in nails every 7-114 in. to space the
boards. Nail into the edge of the rafters with 10d casing nails.

zl2

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

Predrill and screw the seat


braces to the inside face of the
posts using 1 l4-in. x 3-1 12 in. lag screws.

#{srs*K erh#y
around and examine the corners
and edges and sand them smooth
with 1O0-grit sandpaper.You may
have to wait a week or more to sand
if your treated wood is still moist
because it will just gum up your
paper. Once the project is dry to the
touch, find an oil stain that suits
your taste and brush it on. Have a
rag or two handy to catch the drips
and runs, and use dropcloths if
you're staining over a walkway. One
coat should be sufficient, and you'll
need to recoat your arbor in about

Fasten the 2x6 seat slats to


the braces with 3-in. deck
screws. Leave a 1/2-in. space

between the boards and round


over the outside edge of the inner
slat with a 3-in. radius cut.

three years.

t-.1

WRIGHT ROEPKE
SHAWN NIELSEN and CRAIG
McNlTT, STUDIO CENTRAL

Art Direction. MARCIA


Photography.

Project Design

. DAVID RADTKE

Rip 5/4x6 decking in half and round over the edge with a block
plane and sandpaper. Screw the vertical lattice to the side lintels
and the back of the seat. Finish the lattice by screwing the horizontal
lattice pieces to the inside face of the vertical pieces with 1-5l8 in. deck
screws.

zl4

MARCH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

&

.-.*l..,

*d"F

,6''
.l'd

&,

-':,'
,a'

Tips for tough cuts

Let cutoffs drop free to avoid


binding the blade
utting the end off a board is usually simple.
ftre short cutoff end simply falls away. But
cutting a long board in half is different. You can
hold one end, but the other must be free to drop or
the blade will bind. The trick is to allow the cutoff
end to drop slightly, but not so much that it
completely snaps off before the cut is complete.
One method is to support the board with strips
ofwood as shown here. You can also support
the board continuously by stacking it on an
equal-length sacrificial board. Set your blade to
cut about l/4 in. deeper than the wood's thickness.
Hold or clamp the keeper side and allow the other
side to move freely.

fa
L/

Support long cutoffs by stacking boards and


separating them with strips ol wood as shown.
Make sure the end of the cutoff is free to drop.

Clamp your work for precise bevel cuts


ou can make crisp, accurate bevel or
miter cuts with a circular saw but it's
tricky. The blade guard can stick, making it
tough to get started. And because the blade
is angled, it's more difficult to follow a line
accurately without twisting the saw and
possibly binding the blade.
Two things will help you get a good cut
safely. The first is to clamp the board you re
cutting. Clamping allows you to use one hand
to lift the blade guard out of the way until the
cut is started. The second is to use a straightedge guide, like the giant Speed square shown.

It allows you to concentrate on moving the saw


steadily forward without having to worry about

following the line. If possible, cut with the


wider part of the bed on the "keeper" side of
the board for better control and more accurate
bevels. Near the end of the cut, concentrate on
a

straight-ahead follow-through.

Glamp your workpiece for bevel cuts.


Then retract the blade guard to start the
cut. Release it as soon as the blade is fully
engaged in the wood.

zl8

MARCH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

Tips for tough cuts

Make plunge cuts safely


ptung.

cutting is a useful method for starting a cut when


you can't start from an edge. One example is cutting a
window opening in a sheet of ply'r,vood. But if done with
poor technique, this cut is dangerous. The saw will kick back
and run back toward you. The photos show good technique.

Since you can't see what's under the sheet you're cutting,
check before you start to be sure the path of the blade is clear.

it\ running. And stand


to the side, not directly behind the saw. Set the blade to cut
about 1/4 in. deeper than the wood thickness.
Never back the saw toward you while

f;;'{ffi,

Uota the front edge of your saw


bed down firmly. Lift the blade
guard with one hand and sight down
the blade to align it with your line.

II

5(l

MARCH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDvMAN

Sturt the saw and let it come up


to full speed. Gradually pivot the
saw down to start the cut. Hold the
saw firmly so it doesn't jump back.

]
L

Wnen the saw bed contacts the


work surface, release the blade
guard and cut forward. Let the blade
fully stop before lifting it from the cut.

Q
I

Replace that dull blade


.zen

the best carpenter can't do good work with a dull

blade. And besides making lousy cuts, a dull biade


is dangerous. Dull blades can heat up and warp

or

bind, and they tend to climb out of the cut.


But how do you know ifyour blade is too dull?
Sometimes you can tell just by looking for rounded-over
or chipped teeth. But the best indicator is how the blade
cuts. If you have to muscle your way through the cut,
your blade is dull. A sharp blade will glide through even
the toughest wood. Burn marks and rough cuts are other
signs of a duli blade.
Many hardware stores offer blade-sharpening services, but I wouldn't

High-quality carbide blades are


inexpensive and can withstand tons of abuse before they need to be replaced.
A good blade for general circular saw use is a 24-tooth, thin-kerf carbide blade

waste money sharpening steel blades.

($8 to $lO). To get the most from your miter saw invest in a 60- or 80-tooth carbide
blade ($40 to $80). Use the cheaper blade that came with your saw for general

crosscutting, and reserve the good blade for fine work.

THE FAMTLY HANDvMAN

vancu zoo+ 51

Tips for tough cuts

Clamp short pieces


in the "no hands" zone
reminder to keep hands well away from the blade, most new miter
indicating the "no hands" zone. But what if you need
to cut a piece that's shorter than the 7- or 8-in. hands-free area? The best
solution is to cut short lengths from longer boards whenever possible (p.54).
However, when you have to trim a short piece of molding, use clamps to hold
it in place (lhoto z). The auxiliary fence comes in handy for this task by
providing a better clamping surface. You ll get better quality miters because
the molding can t slide away from the blade. And you ll be assured safer,
hands-free cutting.
sa

saws have red lines

$lide
it into

wall,)
Johnson Hardware's
Pocket Door Frame.

Draw red
lines on the
bed and fence
of your saw to
indicate the
"no hands"
zone. Draw the
lines 7 in, from
10-in. blades
and 8 in. from

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molding. Use
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52

N4ARcH

2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

Tips for tough cuts


\,

Safety tip for circular saws


Your circular saw is one of
the most dangerous tools
in the shop. Accidents happen quickly and without
warning and injuries are
usually severe. Binding the
blade in a cut is probably

.:

the most common and


scariest mistake because
the saw blade will jump up
and run back toward you.
It usually happens when
you're cutting a long board
or large sheet of plywood in

q.,
half without proper
support. To avoid it, make
sure the cutoff piece is free
to drop or move away from
the blade. This will eliminate
any chance of binding and
make all of your cuts safer.

Cut small pieces safely


utting offsmall pieces is one of the most
challenging and dangerous operations on a
power miter saw. You're never sure where the piece
end up. It usually becomes a high-speed projectile

will

when it falls into the spinning blade. But there is a way


to avoid this problem. The auxiliary fence helps keep
the cutoff from falling back, and stopping the blade
keeps the teeth from catching it.

Another trick, not shown here, is to stop just before


completing the cut. Let the blade stop. Then remove
the molding and complete the cut with a utility knife
or coping
Art Direction
Photography

saw.

I-.1

. BECKY PFLUGER
. BILL ZUEHLKE

Sight down the blade to align the cut. Let the blade
come to full speed before you start the cut.

Screw an auxiliary fence to your miter box fence to


close the gaps. Make sure it's not too tall or it will
restrict the depth of cut.

{I

Q
t/

Complete the cut and release the switch. Now here's


the key. Let the blade come to a complete stop

before you raise it.

54

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

"Brl

&st

56

vnncg

2oa4 THE FAMILY HANDYMAN

With a little
imagination and a lot
of muscle, you can
build this walk in a
three-day weekend
by Jeff Tlmm

o you want to sPruce up an

ordinary, all-purpose
sidewalk? If so, this project is
a great eye-catching solution. It's basically a
brick paver walkway set on a solid bed of
gravel and sand. It'll stay flat and smooth
even under heavy use, and unlike concrete,

it won t crack. The brick meanders through


a blend of natural stone, also solidly bedded,
which adds a unique decorative dimension.
You can work in just about any type of stone
that complements your home and yard.

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

vlncs

zooa

57

ffirfek &

ffitmme

Fath
Our project dresses up a space
along the side of the house from the
driveway to a service door. It also provides a firm, smooth surface for

rolling

garden cart or wheelbarrow

and keeps your feet out of the mud on

rainy day. Its width, a full 7 ft., allows


enough room for a bench to kick off
your boots, with plenty of space left
over for potted plants.
Path building is a great project for
homeowners of all skili levels.
However, it involves moving tons of
material. You should be in good physia

,[

Paint a line 7 ft. 6 in. away from the house to mark the edge of the
sidewalk excavation.

cal shape to tackle this


few helpers

job or enlist

with strong backs. Once

you have all the materials on hand,


plan a three-day weekend to finish the

whole enchilada.

Tools of the trade


You need a few special tools for this
project: a plate compactor and hand
tamper (Photo a). Rent them both for
less than $ 100 per day from a local

rental yard. Besides a sturdy wheelbar-

row and shovels, you ll need a dolly for


moving hea'"y stones ($40), a brick
hammer ($15) and chisel (98), a 4-1l2
in. angle grinder equipped with a diamond blade ($80), and a steel trowel

2 ,tn 6 to 8 in. of soil from the sidewalk area. Then snap a chalk line on the
It- house to represent the top of the sidewalk. Excavate to a depth of 9 in.
below the chalk line with a slight slope away from the house. Caution: Call
the local utilities to locate any buried lines in the vicinity before digging.

($8). All these tools are available at


home centers and masonry supply
stores. Order the brick, stone, gravel

and sand from a landscape and/or a

brick supplier. The materials for this


7 x24 ft.walk cost just under $2,000,
or about $12 per sq. ft.

Materials List

?
tJ

Otn around

utility lines carefully and lay them at the bottom of the exca-

vation when finished. Cut and reset irrigation lines according to system
directions.

58

vlncH

2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

r
r
r

Brick pavers

Compactable gravel {"3/4 in.-minus")


6 in. deep

Coarse washed sand-about one-fourth


as much as gravel

Flagstone
Flat fieldstone

Paver edging

3/8-in. x 1o-in. spikes-figure one per


foot of edging

r
r

Stabilization fabric
Two lo-ft, and one 5-ft. x f-in. (outside
diameter) steel pipes

Srick & $t*ne Fath


Design and materials
Although you could build this project
on a gentle slope, it's far easier to set
the grade on a relatively flat site. However, one corner ofour path site

dropped off about 8 in. To make the


walk flat, we built it up with soil excavated from the walk and blended it
into the lawn. If you have to build the
walk up higher than that, you'll probably have to do more extensive regrading or even build a retaining wall.
You dont have to build your walk 7
ft. wide like we did, but keep it at least 4
ft. wide to maintain an attractive balance between the stone and the brick.
We used a clay paving brick called
Belcrest 760 ($3.20 per sq. ft.) from

Belden Brick (www.beldenbrick.com,


330-456-0031). Its soft texture and

irregular edges make it look aged, as if


it's been there forever. Look under
"Brick" in the Yellow Pages to find a
supplier of this brick or a similar one.
When selecting a brick, make sure it's
a paver thatt made to be set in the
ground and that has a "severe
weather" rating ifyou have freezing
weather.
Big, flat stones are called flagstone,

in this case a Wisconsin limestone


called Chilton ($400 per ton)
(wwwbuechelstone.com, 800-2364473). Stone type and availability vary

Figure

/l t^, fabric over the excavation, spread 2 to 3 in. of gravel and rake it
'? smooth. Dampen the gravel, then pass over the area at least four times
with a plate compactor. Repeat with

a second 2-

to 3-in. layer of gravel.

Path Details
<-114"

ts

PER FOOT SLOPE

Frir-osror,re

"\

FLAG'T'NE

trH|fl,-*a**\r-=
3-518" x7-718" x

THE FAMILY HANDYMAN ITI,qRCH ZOOA

59

Brick & $tsne Path


considerably by region. Choose one
that complements your house color
and the brick you select. Be sure it's 1l12to 3 in. thick to avoid cracking
over time.
The rounded stone is called
fieldstone. We found some rock in our
local landscape yard that fit well in the
niches of the flagstone. We handpicked
45 of them for our project but paid a

high price of about $100. Ifyou dont


want to pay the premium price or if
this type isn't available in your area,

Spreaa a final loose layer of gravel about 1 in. thick. Set a 1O-ft. x 1-in.
outside diameter steel pipe in the gravel and level it2-3t4 in. below the
chalk line.

f,
rJ

any fieldstone with at least one


reasonably flat face will work. Collect

them from your yard or pick through


a boulder pile at a landscape yard. Get
a variety of sizes from 6 to 1 8 in. in
diameter and 2 to 4 in. thick. Thicker

wiil work, but they're more difficult to set.


ones

Path layout
Lay out and dig the walk 6 to 8 in.
wider than the actual size (enoto r ).

The extra width supports the paver


edging that you'll install later to keep
the brick on the edge from tipping.

How to move
heavy flagstones
to the first near the outer edge and level it
ft
tl/ about 1 in. below the first pipe, using a straight 2x4 and a 4-ft. level with
a3l4-in. scrap block under one end.

S"t

a second pipe parallel

Flagstones ranging in size from


18to 42 in. weigh 100 to 300
lbs. plus. These tips will help
you get them into place:

r
r

Tip and gently flip large


pieces. Don't try to lift them.
Tip the pieces onto a dolly

with a helper and roll them


close to their position. With

r
7 putt a 2x4 along
f th" pipes to flatten the loose gravel
and fill in low spots.
Remove the pipes
and fill in the
troughs with gravel.
Then compact.

6(l

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDyMAN

help, lower them into place.


Pry the pieces up with a 3-ft.
bar to add or remove sand.
lf a piece is just too big to
move, break it in half with a
sledge. Then match the broken edges, spacing them
about 1 12 in. apart so the
break looks intentional.

Brlek & Stmn* Fatla


Locating the walk against the house
makes setting the grade easy. Snap a

tightly pulled chalk line below the


door to the drive to represent the top
of the sidewalk and work from this
reference (Photo z). It's best to set the

walk height slightly higher than the


surrounding lawn area, I in. or so, but
no more than 8 in. below a door or the
step down will be too high. And plan a
slight slope across the width to help
drainage, about I in. in 6 ft. Ifyou
build your walk away from the house,
stretch tight string lines to represent
the finished height of the walk.

Ou-p a few wheelbarrows


lQ
ILJ
gravel

of

sand on the
and set the
flagstone 3 in. above the gravel
layer. Adjust the corners, adding and
removing sand as needed.

Cnect the surface of the stone


with your level so it maintains a
slight slope away from the house.
Raise or lower edges with the sand.

Q
rJ

Excavate this job with a buddy


who owes you a favor
Digging's a lot of work, but this is a
small enough area that you can dig

it

out in a few hours with a helper. If you


have a

low-lying area nearby, dump

the extra soil there. Otherwise you

might have to rent a 10-cu.-yd. trash

bin ($250). Photo 2 shows you how to


check the depth ofyour excavation
against your reference line. Since the
lawn will probably dip and rise along
the outside edge, you may have to add
soil to the lawn or cut some away to
meet the walk edge evenly. Do this
after you set the brick. Dig as
accurately as possible. If you dig too
deep,

fill the area back in with soil and

compact with the compactor before


adding the gravel.
We had every utility line in the book
coming underground into this side of
the house (Photo r ), which really
slowed down the digging. Carefully
dig parallel to these lines, then pull the
wires or cable aside to avoid cutting
them. After digging,lay them back
down and bury them under the gravel.
Move any sprinkler lines that run
under the walk or the piate compactor
might crush them. You can generally

move a sprinkler head yourself if


you're familiar with installation techniques (Photo s). Otherwise, call

in a pro.

to the fieldstone tightly in the niches of the ftagstone. For thicker


{(l
I \J stone, scrape gravel away with the claw of a hammer. Stand back to
check the overall appearance. Change or reset stones that look out of place.

THE FAMTLv HANDyMAN wLRo.i zooa

61

Briek & Stone Path

nest 1-in. pipes on the compacted gravel, using a short pipe in areas
enclosed by stone. Check the slope as in Photo 6, then add sand.
Screed the sand off with your 2x4.

{{
I I

n"-oue the pipes, fill the troughs with sand and smooth with a
'lI4I trowel.
Also smooth the areas around the stones with your trowel.
A well-built walk
relies on a firm base

that's not bound by the house and

Lay your walk on top of a 6-in. bed

of compacted gravel. Skimp on this


step and your brick path

will settle

round up the volume to allow for


compaction of the gravel. Have it
delivered and dumped on the driveway. (Move your car out of the

and heave within a few seasons.

garage

Order gravel that ranges in size


from3l4 in. down to a powder
(called3l4 in.-minus or Class II,
$15 per ton). Figure the volume in
cubic feet by multiplying the length
(ft.) x width (ft.) x depth (112 ft.) of
your walk. Add 6 in. to each side

pavement is easier than shoveling it

62

vancH 2oo4

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

first!) Shoveling gravel off

off the lawn. At the same time, order


about one-fourth as much coarse,
washed sand to set the brick on.
Before you spread the gravel, line
the excavation with a healy woven
material called stabilization fabric

Your honds.

Your lools. Your

lomilyts cornforl.

ffirRck

You con put ii oll together with


Rodiqnt Floor Compony underfloor
heoiing system.

& ffitmsam ffimRa

($ I .50

We give you oll the informotion ond


our technicions work WITH you to
design o system to suit your needs .

per sq. yd.; Photo 4), avail-

It'll

able from a landscape supplier.

prevent the gravel from mixing

with the softer soil underneath,

so

Our instollotion monuol is pocked


with dozens of lobor soving tips.

you'll have a stable, flat walk for


years to come. If it's not available in
your area, substitute a healy woven

For use with o domestic woter heoter

iandscape fabric.

Fill and compact only

or boiler. Coll for o free quote.

2- to 3-

in. layer of gravel at a time. Rake it

We toke the mystery out of

out at a consistent depth, using the

Rodiont Heot.

chalk line on the house as a guide.

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Run over each layer with the plate

compactor at least four times, until


the tone of the tamper changes

from a dull thud to a hopping rap

(Photo +). Compact corners with


a

hand tamper.
Use

two 1-in. (outside diameter)

steel pipes ($10 each from a home

center) as a guide to smooth out

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the last gravel layer (Photos 5

7). Take your time when setting

this layer. It determines the final


grade for the stone and brick. Use a
2x4 marked at2-314 in. to level the
pipe closest to the house (Photo
5). Add or remove gravel to

support the pipe. To set the walk


slope (for draining water away
from the house), position the second pipe about an inch lower than
the first (enoto 6). Figure 1/8 to
i/4 in. slope per foot, depending
on your need for drainage. Screed
the last layer of gravel flat and
compact it (Ptroto z).

Setting the stone


Flagstone has dips, waves and

irregular edges that'll test your


patience when you're setting it. The

Apply to wet concrete

Won't blister or peel

Xypex Crystall ine Technology

trick

penetrates deep into the


concrete to form a non-soluble

overall surface a flat piane. Don't

crystalline structure that


stops leaks permanently.

is to focus on

making the

obsess over a low corner or an


edge that doesn't match up

perfectly. They won t. Set three or

four stones in an inch or two of


sand, then check them in a few

with yov 2x4 screed or a


level (Photos 8 and 9). Raise or

places
XypexChemical Corporation Tel:604-273-5265 Fax 604-270-0451 Toll Free:800-961-4477
Email: info@xypex.com Website: www.xypexhd-1 50.com

64 vnnct

zooa

Srick & Stone Path


lower any stones that don t line up.

your chalk line as a height guideline and maintain your slope for

Use

drainage.

When fitting the flagstones, select


pieces that naturally

fit together.

,A

If

t"

you have to tweak a piece, chip away

f-:t.

edges slowly with a glancing blow of a


brick hammer. (Be sure to wear safety

IIfl f,1-,

end to end in the


driveway and
take measurements to get
dimensions for
positioning layout lines to youl
best advantage
(Photo 131. lts

also a good way


to establish the
exact path

width.

glasses when

cutting or chipping brick and

RIGHT

ANGLE

stone.) Thke off

too much and


you'll break the

stone-usually
in the wrong
spotl Try to keep
the joints no
wider than
).-112

#*

.1, \a

Sn"p a chalk line in the sand 6-1/2 brick lengths (about 50-1/2 in.l
away from the house. Set a brick at a starting point along the chalk
line. Then establish a right angle using the "3,4,5 triangle" method.

{Q
Itl

in.

When placing
the fieldstone,
set a

grouping in

place before set-

ting the height (enoto 1o). Stand


back and scan them, then adjust the
shapes, sizes and colors of the

arrangement until you like it. Then set


them. Make the tops flush with the
flagstone or a hair high. Don't fuss too

?;{..

much; you can always change out a

:j-:.:.1

stone later.

:*l

,,,.

'*

.ffi,

Here's where the careful setting of the


last gravel layer pays off. Again use the

pipes to lay an even I -in. thick bed of


sand. You'll need a shorter pipe to
screed sections between the stones
sand

left from setting the stone so the pipes


rest completely on the compacted

gravel layer. Then dump a wheelbarrow of sand between the pipes, spread

ll /l
ltfl

+s

S""p a perpendicular line, then snap a parallel line half a brick length
(about 4 in.) away from the first to get the offset for adjacent rows.

@
"F*'

;;!s

Screed a $and bed

(ehoto r r). Clear awayenough

': '';::

Ihi

15 fn:"

starting from
the perpendi-

cular line, off-

setting every
row a half
brick.

it out and screed it. Use your trowel to


screed in areas you can't reach with

the2x4.
Don't compact or walk on the sand
want it smooth fol setting
the brick. However, you can step on
layer. You

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

ttnncg zoo+ 65

Brick & Stone Path


the stone and brick after they're in
place. Next establish lines to guide the

brick layout (Photos 13 and 14). In


general, set your layout to minimize
brick cutting and to avoid small
pieces along the edges

(enoto re).

Laying brick is quick work


Have the

brick delivered

as close

to

the walk as possible. Although not


necessary, a brick tong ($15; Ptroto
16) will cut your carrying time by
more than half. With it you can easily

{ft
It[J

Set full bricks at the outer edge of the walk to form a "soldier" row.
Leave bricks out that need to be cut and cut them later.

carry nine or l0 bricks at once. Consider borrowing or buying one from


your brick supplier.
As you lay the brick, leave open
every space that won't accept a full
brick. It's faster to cut them all at once
later. Every 8 ft. or so, check that your
rows are straight with the 2x4 screed.
Gap the next row slightly to straighten
it. Gaps up to 1/8 in. wont be noticeable after the joints are filled with sand.

Cutting brick
The best way to cut brick is with a wet
saw

with

diamond blade, but the

clean cut it leaves would be out

flJ
II

of

character for this rustic walk. So we


decided to score the cuts on the
underside with an angle grinder ($70;
nolrd a brick in place and mark each edge of the cut with a marker. Mark
each piece slightly small so it will fit.

Photo 18) equipped with a diamond


blade ($20), then break them with a
sharp blow from a brick chisel. The
ragged edge looks better with the
stone. Scoring the pieces generates a

lot of dust and is noisy, so wear a dust


mask, earplugs and safety glasses. Cut
large pieces first, then fill in the
smaller ones. If a piece is too big after
you cut it, chip the edge off with a
brick hammer to fit. Not every cut has
to be exact. Sand will fill in the joints.

Paver edging holds the brick


and sand in place
Install special paver edging around
the perimeter of the brick and stone

(ehoto 19).We
a 112-in. deep groove in the underside of the brick with an angle
{ lfi[ Score
liJ grinder. Then set the brick on scrap carpet, position the brick chisel in
the cut and rap it with the hammer to break it, leaving a rough edge.
66

vnncu

2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

used Snap Edge

($2.25 per fr.; 800-932-3343;


www. snapedgeusa.com), available

Erick & Stone Path


Gustomirtd

fiqrints

amd E*Frints.

Are fiuailable frsm

19n':.::'
along the edge
of the sidewalk
down to the
gravel with the
edge of a trowel.
Fasten paver
edging along the
perimeter of the
walk with spikes
driven every
12

in.

REPRINTS
ENHAl{GE:
Company Brochures
a

Sales Collateral

Material
a

\Web Site Content


a

Presentation

Handouts
.E-Prints

can be purchased in
either pdf or html format.

FOR MORE

lltF0RMAT|0]{
GONTAGT:
Bob Villiams

,^Tie
(-V

a carpet scrap to the bottom of the plate compactor. Make four


passes over the brick and edge of the stone, beginning with the

perimeter.

at 800.39 4.5157, ext. 26


68

rvrlRct

zoo+

Erick & Stone Pattr

Test our Prcfessional Power

DR
CHI,
RISK-FREE for
We're so sure you'll love it,
we're willing to let you use our
Professional Power

DR@

MADE

CHIPPER on your own property

for 6 months to

IN USA

CLEAN UP UGLY BRUSH PILES

that spoil the appearance

of.

your propefty,

I'tEW!

noad-lowable 16 HP
V-Twin Model shown

{} tl S*""p dry sand into the


& I brick joints. Run the com-

pactor over the brick and sweep


in more sand until the joints are
completely full.
from

Please

CHIP BRANCHES up to

nail

coupon or call TOLL FBEE

lor complete

4-112" thick!

FBEE DETAILS!

1-888-394-0033

CREATE BEAUTIFUL WOOD CHIP

brick or landscape supplier.

Each piece locks to the next. When

you install it, remember where your


sprinkler, phone and cable lines
run to avoid piercing them with a

original purchase price


including shipping!

spike.

First tamp the brick without sand.


It'll smooth out the surface and

bring sand up from underneath


into the joints. Tie a scrap piece of

. Ilew .

Convenient

OD SPTITTER!

The

spread dry sand over the surface.

and CLEAN

Or use leftover sand from the setting bed, if it's dry. Another option

|ND00RS
weather
your own garage, shed,
or basement!

all-purpose sand.

Thmp again. This will lock all the

duce moss for an aged

Art Direction
Photography

look.

fu

S0 COMPACT you can use

EASY F()R /I'UYOIUET() USE

plugs into any 1 1O-volt

household outlet. Push-

button operation keeps your


hands away from moving parts!

P0WERFUL electric motor drives


a hydraulic ram, producing
4-T0NS of splitting forcel

TOLL.FREE

. MARCIA WRIGHT ROEPKE


. SHAWN NIELSEN. STUDIO

CENTRAL

. TREVOR JOHNSTON

unncs zooa

is so QUIET
you can even use it
in any season or
in the comfort of

WOOD SPLITTER

it at a comfortable working
height on a workbench..,rolls
smoothly like an airline suitcase...
fits easily in your ca/s trunk!

twice a season. And you can blend


your garden right into the walk by

planting a ground cover in the


joints between the stone, or intro-

DP

bricks together.
A tight, solid brick and stone
walk doesnt require any
maintenance except a simple cleaning with a garden hose once or

Easy-to-Use

ETEGTRIG.POWERE

carpet on the bottom of the tamper


to avoid chipping the brick. Next

is to buy bags of

zlP

COUNTRY H0ME PBODUCTSo, Dept. 47377X

www.drchipper.com

Tamping the brick


is a two-step process

lllustration

State

69

1-ggg394-0033

5r

$l

nooress

ilciu
C0UNTRY H0ME PR0DUCTS@, Dept. 47379X
Meigs Road, P0. Box 25, Vergennes, W 05491

-zip-

4waysto

speaker wire
by Mac Wentz
Speakers placed around a room sound great, but all that wire can be an eyesore, an
annoyance when you vacuum, even a tripping hazard. You may be able to keep low-voltage

wires out of sight and out of your path simply by running them under rugs and behind
furniture. If not, here are some solutions for hiding speaker wire-or just about any other
type of low-voltage wiring lfor phones, thermostats, doorbells, low-voltage lighting, etc.f .

Install plastic raceways


Raceways come in a range of sizes and
shapes, are paintable and

often have an

adhesive backing for quick installation.

You'll hardly notice a narrowversion


like the one shown here if it runs along
the top ofbaseboard. Raceways are a
lot more noticeable when they run up
walls or around doorways, though.

Whether you paint your raceway to


match the wall or the trim, avoid fussy

brushwork by painting before you


install it. Touching up any nicks and
scratches after installation is easy.
A variety of raceway systems are
available at home centers and
hardware stores. Cordmate, the one
shown here, costs about $1 I for 9 ft.

of

channel and an assortment of elbows.

Call (800) 617-1768 or visit the company's Web site: www.wiremold.com.

7(l

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANovMAN

Stick super-slim wire to walls

Run wire inside walls


Getting wire inside walls takes more time than other methods,
but it lets you run wire anywhere invisibly, even past
doorways. And it doesn't have to be a huge project. If there's
an unfinished basement below the room, you can run wires
through the basement and into walls. First cut holes in the
wall to accept junction boxes. Center the holes 8 to l0 in. from
the floor, and you ll be able to drill down into the basement

t)"'
w$Mj'-"

with

a spade bit and extension. Then push a stiff wire (such as


wire from a coat hanger) up from the basement and use it to
pull the speaker wire down into the basement. You can also
run wire through the attic and feed it down into walls, but that
cramped, insulation-filled space makes the job a lot more
difficult. Any wire used inside walls must be Ul-listed.

Tuck wire between carpet


and baseboard
In rooms with wall-towall carpet, you can often
force wire between the

carpet and the baseboard.

This is the fastest, easiest


way to hide wire. It's also

the least certain, and the

only way to know if it will


work is to give it a try.
There maybe enough
space for healy-duty
cable, or you may find it
tough to push in even the
smallest wire. If there's a doorway between the power source
and the speaker, run the wire all the way around the other

Flat, adhesive-backed wire comes in versions for just


about any low-voltage purpose. The speaker wire
shown here is thinner than a credit card. You can

paint it, wallpaper over it or even skim a layer of joint


compound over it to make it completely invisible.
There's one situation where this wire becomes
noticeable: Ifyou need to turn a corner (to run wire
up and over a doorway, for example), you have to fold
the wire back over itself. That folded corner creates a
slight lump. At the speaker end, simply leave speaker
jacks hanging off the wall. Or for a neater look, install

junction boxes. Then run the wire right into them and
connect the wire to a faceplate with built-in speaker
jacks. Flat wire (called Taperwire) is available at
www. 2 I stcenturygoods. com (866 - 99 9 - 8422). Sixteen
feet of the Gekko FIatWire shown here costs $18.

ft

side of the room to avoid it. A ruler or paint stir stick makes a

good wire-pushing tool. Don't use anything sharp that might


cut into the wire's insulation.

Art Direction. MARCIA


Photography

WRIGHT ROEPKE and BECKY PFLUGER

. BILL ZUEHLKE

THE FAMTLY HANovMAN MARcH 2oo4

7t

1il
-.

i
I

'
.

72

':..."
*4',!4

;n,tanCil

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zooi ruE

rnrurl

H,4NbyMAN

Wood close
to the ground

f the lower ends of your garage door trim just won t

hold paint, here's why: Concrete soaks up water, then


releases moisture slowly. So any wood next to groundlevel concrete stays damp, and that constant dampness
breaks the wood/pairri bond. The same goes fbr ar.ry wood
that touches a deck, patio or other surface where water sits.
To correct the problem, create a gap between wood and
horizontal surfaces. Then apply paintable water repeller.rt to

3
i?

!.'
I

the

::
|]

f
sO.GRIT
SANDPAPER

bottom l6 in. of the wood.Properly applied repellents add

several years to a paint job in areas highly vulnerable to n'rois-

ture. (See Buyer's Guide on p.81 for sources.)


Begin by scrapir.rg away all the paint in the pe. iing area.
Two or three coats of paint can usually be removed with a

\
ii
l4

ii

combination of paint scrapers ar.rd sandpaper (Photos 1 and


z). For heavier buildup, use a heat gun to softer.r the paint as

n
4

is

ii

gurr-it can melt r.rearby


vinyl and weatherstlipping. As you scrape, yolr may lind that
the wood has turned gray or black in some areas. Check fbr
rot by probing these areas with a nail. Spots that are
discolored but lirm are sirnply weathered. Weathered wood
doesn't hold paint very well, so sand away the gray surface. If
you find soft areas, you ve got rot. Srnall, shallow soft spots
you scrape. Be careful with a heat

ir

I'
t';
i"

:
l\
,.n

l'i
.+!

il1,

SanU remaining paint off curves or in corners

where scrapers donl reach. Coarse sandpaper,


grit, removes paint quickly and leaves a
rough surface for better primer adhesion.

60 or 80

with a two-part liller such as


Minwax High Performance Wood Filler (800-523 -9299).Bt
when rot is deep and r'r'idespread, ils best to replace the entire
piece of wood.
Next, undercut the trirn to create a gap (Photo s). \,Vhen
vodre done, scrape any dirt or gunk out of the gap with a
putty knife ar-rd blow out the dr-rst using a vacuunr or air com
pressor. To avoid staining the concrete, run at least three layers of n.rasking tape ur.rder the wood. Apply repellent to all
bare wood (ehoto a) including the underside (enoto s).
Bend a putty knif-e in a vise to make a handy tool for reaching
into tight areas. Remove the tape right atier application.
can be dug out and repaired

li'

iis

lD
Z

i
,

Scrape away allthe paint within 16 in. of the concrete. Scrapers with replaceable carbide blades
work best. Also dig any old caulk out of joints.

'lI

-h

-'\}q

1/4" PLYWOOD

4F{=
Undercut the trim to create a gap between the
wood and concrete. Use a scrap of 1/4-in. plywood for a saw guide.

Q
tJ

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

vnacg :ooa 73

Stop peeling paint

Brush the bare wood with paintable water


repellent. Keep repellent off existing paint. Wipe
off any repellent that doesn't soak in.

1ll
'?

F,
rJ

Sf ip a folded paper towel underneath the trim, soak


ttre towel with repellent and then squish the towel
up with a putty knife to soak the underside. Let dry.

4.#

Coat the underside of the trim with primer using a


bent putty knife. When the primer is dry, fill joints
and nail craters with acrylic caulk.

ft
l/

The label on the repellent will teil you how long to wair
before applying a primer. Many repellents require an oilbased primer, so be sure to read the label. Then apply rwo

(ehoto z). A single coat of paint may look


fine, but two coats form a more durable film that resists
coats of paint

moisture better and lasts longer. When using paint and


primer, don t ignore the temperature and humidity ranges
listed on the label-weather conditions during appiication
really do affect paint longevity.

74

MARCH

2oo4 THE FAMtly HANDvMAN

]f

Protect the trim with two coats of quality latex


paint. Apply paint to the underside of the trim the
same way you applied the primer.

CAUTION:
lf your home was built before 1979, the
paint might contain lead. which is
extremely hazardous to children age 6
and younger. Call your local public
health department for information on
how to check for lead and handle lead
paint safely. For a free booklet on dealing with lead paint, contact the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency: (8001
424-5323; www.epa. gov/ lead.

Stop peeling paint

A board that won't hold paint


ometimes a piece of wood siding or

trim

peels while neighboring

boards don't, even though they all


get the same sun and moisture exposure

(Photo r ). In a case like this, the board


itself is usually the problem.
Some boards won't hold paint because
of

"mill

glazel' a glossy or waxy surface left


when the board was planed at the mill.
Cure this problem by sanding glazed areas.

Grain pattern can cause a more common


and difficult problem (photos betow
right). Dark bands of grain (called
"latewood") are less porous and stable
than the lighter bands of wood, so paint
doesn't stick to them very well. This isn't a
problem when those dark bands are

narrow and uniform. But when they're


wide, paint soon loses its grip. In fact, you
can sometimes see a board's grain pattern
right through the paint as cracks and peeling develop along the latewood grain lines

(enoto r).
Ifyou have

a few

bad boards on your

house, you can delay peeling by sanding

thoroughly with 60-grit paper before


priming. That roughens the dark bands so
they hold paint better. But the only longterm cure for a bad board is replacement.

{I

Dig nails out of bad boards by driving a cat's paw under the nailhead
and pulling. Then nudge the board above outward with a pry bar.
NARROW BANDS

orr-lrswooo

Before you get started, measure the width


and thickness of your siding. Keep in mind
that about an inch of the board's face is

covered by the board above. Buy matching


siding at a lumberyard; most home centers
don't carry it. Expect to pay 500 to $1 per

foot.

ts-

wlDE BANDS
oF IATEWOOD

. . '

A board with tight, straight grain holds paint well. Wide bands of
darker "latewood" lead to peeling. Regardless of grain, look out
for "mill glaze," a wood surface that looks glossy and paint won't
stick to.

To remove a bad piece of siding, you

pull out two rows of nails: the ones


in the bad board itself, and those in the
board directly above. Siding is thin and
splits easily, so the tricky part of this job is
have to

pulling nails without damaging surrounding boards. A cat's paw ($5 at home centers
and hardware stores) is the best tool for

digging out nails if damage to the surrounding wood doesn't matter (Photo 1).

76

MARcH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

To get at the nails in the board above, shove a flat pry bar up under

it

pry the board outward. In most cases, this will pop up


the nailhead, so you can pull it with your hammer claw. If you run
into a stubborn nail that won't move easily, don t use brute force and
risk splitting the good board. Instead, slip a hacksaw blade behind the
siding and cut the nail (Photo 2).You cant get the newboard in
unless you pull the remaining shank of the cut nail (enoto s).
Before you install the new board, lightly sand it with 80-grit paper.
and gently

Ifyou come across

shiny, glazed areas, sand them thoroughly. Then

GLAZED
SURFACE

\-{

Stop peeling paint

)
6

e"ll the nails in the board above carefully. Slide

hacksaw blade under the siding and cut any


stubborn nails. Remove the bad board.

Q eena the remaining shank of cut nails down with


l/side cutters or needle-nose pliers. Then grab it with
nippers or locking pliers and pull it.

t{F,
.j

Ni

f,t#'

ifr^
4

Prime the ends and backside of the new board before


you install it. Also prime the exposed ends of adjoining siding.

Seat nailheads and craters with primer. Then fill


craters with caulk. You can apply acrylic paint
right over acrylic latex caulk-no primer needed.

prime the backside and the ends (Pnoto +). Also prime the
ends of adjoining boards. This step pays off by slowing the
moisture penetration that can lead to peeling at the joints. If
the new siding is redwood or cedar, buy a speciai "stainblocking" primer. Both of these woods contain natural chemicals (tannins) that can bleed through paint, causing brownish stains. A stain-blocking primer will seal in the tannins.
Nail the new board into place with 8d galvanized nails. Use
a nail set to countersink the nailheads slightly below the

wood's surface. Countersinking nails helps to keep the

f,

rJttre

protruding as the wood shrinks and swells.


After you prime the sunken nailheads (Photo 5), keep an
eye on them for a few minutes; primer may drip out of the
craters and leave runs on your siding. When the primer is
dry, fill the craters with caulk. Also caulk the ends of the
board, where it meets trim or the next piece of siding. Finish the job with two coats of acrylic paint.
heads from

THE FAMfLy HANDYMAN

ttaacu zooq 77

Stop peeling paint

Siding close to the roof


oo often, builders install trim
and siding right up against
shingles and don t bother to
seal the ends of the boards. It

good at first, but trim and

looks

siding-

whether they're wood or a manufac-

tured material like hardboard-soak


up moisture from the wet shingles
and before long the paint peels.
The solution is to cut back the siding to leave about a f -in. gap. This
keeps the siding out of contact with
the shingles and allows you to seal the
ends so they won t absorb moisture.
Keep in mind that if the intersection
of your roof and siding has been covered with roof cement (a thick, tarlike compound), you may have to deal
with roof leaks as well. Chances are
you'll have to replace the metal flashing and some shingles after removing
the cement. We won t show that
process here. (See "Chimney

Flashingi'Oct.'03, p. 91, for flashing


basics. To order a copy, see p.5.)

Begin by removing all the paint in


the badly peeling area (enoto r ).
While scraping, you might discover
cracked or rotten siding that needs
replacing. Theret no need to replace
an entire board if only a section near
the roof is damaged. Instead, cut off
the damaged section with a hacksaw

Scrape and sand to remove all paint from the area that's peeled. Keep a
nail set handy so you can reset any protruding nails.

(Photo s). Don t install any new


boards until you ve cut back the bottom edge of the siding. See'A Board
That Won't Hold Paint" on p.76 for
help with removing and replacing
siding.

Cutting back siding is slow, tedious


work. A backsaw or a dovetail saw

with an offset handle is the best tool


for the job ($10 at home centers and
hardware stores). The fine teeth cut
slowly but neatly, and the offset handle prevents scraped knuckles (photo
4). Don't cut all the way through the

78

naaRcH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

4D T""r off

anv
cracked or'rot-

ted siding, using a


cat's paw and pry
bar. Cut nails
above bad boards
using the
technique shown
in Photo 2, p.77.

Stop peeling paint

2 ttt up cracked and rotted ends with shims and cut


rl off the bad ends with a hacksaw. Make sure to stagger cuts on adjacent boards so the joints don't line up.

the

siding back from the shingles using a


,1ll
tt
g/+-in. thick board to guide your saw. Be careful
Cut

not to cut into the metal flashing.

the primed siding


ft fini.t
l/ Duck down occasionally

with two coats of paint.


and check the undersides
of the siding-it's easy to miss spots where the boards

the cut ends with water repellent followed by


primer so they can't soak up water. Treat the faces of
the siding the same way. Protect the flashing and
shingles with tape.

overlap.

siding or you'll risk dulling the saw teeth and damaging the
metal flashing behind the siding. Instead, stop your cut l/8

and cut ends of the siding. At each step, use a disposable


foam brush to coat the ends ofthe siding (enoto s). Keep

in. or so from the flashing and then finish up by making

paint off your flashing and shingles with dr-rct tape-masking tape may not stick to them very well.
11

f
rJ

Seat

several passes

with

sharp utility knife. But be

caleful-it's

possible to slice the flashing if you press too hard.


With the siding cut back, take the same steps we covered
in "Wood Close to the

Groundl'p. 73: paintable water repellent followed by primer and two coats of paint on the faces

8(! vancg

2oo4 THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

Art

recti0f

Photography

. BOB UNGAR and GREGG WEIGAND


. BILL ZUEHLKE

Versatile New DR@ FIELD

Stop peeling paint

ANd BRUSH MOWERI I I

Water repellents
help paint last

cuts down and chnps up tall, wiry field grasses


2-1/2" thick hardwood saplings!

-even
r

Although seldom used, paintable water repellents have been


proven to add years to the life of
paint. Wood that stays dry holds
paint longer. Repellents work by
penetrating wood and sealing
out moisture that works its way
through the paint. Some repellents also contain preservatives
that fight wood rot.
Here's the catch: You have to
remove allthe paint so the repellent can soak in. Don't apply
repellent over old paint; the next
coat wont stick. Completely
removing paint is slow work.
But better paint performance
reduces scraping in the future.
Water repellents cost $10 to
$30 a gallon, a quantity that's
more than enough to treat all
the vulnerable areas on a typical
house. Most home centers and
hardware and paint stores carry

too overgrown for ordinary mowers!

PIV0TING MOWER DECK follows the


ground without scalping. MU[GHES
most vegetation into small pieces

so

there's nothing to trip over or pick up.

.4-SPEEDS, P0WER-REVERSE! up
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PLUS! New SCOUT'" Model for


smaller properties is HALF THE
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HXli,iS

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YES! Please send me your FREE Catalog and Video about the
new DRo FIELD and BRUSH MoWER, including models, powered attachments, and lactory direct savings now in effect.
Name
FH

e
_-

Address

State

City

ZIP-

p
@

CoUNTBY lloME PR0DUCTSo, Dept. 47375X


Meigs Boad, P.0. Box 25, Vergennes, W 05491

www.drfieldbrush.com

IUew
RDLESS
Electric Mower!

several water repellents, but


check the labels carefully: Most
water repellents are not
paintable.lf the label doesn't say
how long the product needs to
dry before priming, assume it
isnt paintable. Wood that's
exposed to sunlight for more
than a couple of weeks starts to
degrade and won't hold paint as
well. So avoid repellents with
drying times of more than two
weeks.

The NEUTON'"Mower is the CLEAN,


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Practically MAINTENANCE FREE! NO tune-ups,
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POWERFUL 24-VOLT BATTERY mows up to an hour on a


sing)e charge...uses only about ten cents of electricity per cha
EVEN TRIMS and EDGES with optional
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Buyer's Guide

Pefect Jor smaller city/suburbanlawns, camps


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on larger lawns!

BEHR NO. 2-85 WATERPROOFING


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gasolinepowered lawn
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CUPRINOL CLEAR DECK WOOD SEAL:


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PENOFIN BLUE LABEL: (800) 736-6346.

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WOODLIFE CLASSIC CLEAR WOOD
PRESERVATIVE:

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Please vrrite or call today

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vnRcx zoo+

FREE

So, FORGET THE HASSLE

(800) 854-01 33. www.behrcom

(800) 556-7737.

RECLAIMS meadows, roadsides, fencelines,


.,,. trails, pond edges, and woodlots...any area

Adclress

tCitl'
I

Srare

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Ll-e-tl-tr-gf -Y'5'i:tI9iTl':Ygil':l'ii.t'-T1'q1--.i

@tAY
f.r-

Touoh
ra ke"

or
tough
raking
f you have to rake,
why not use one that
works? Leaf rakes all
tend to have the same
two problems: The tines
are too wimpy to dig out
wet or stubborn debris
from the grass, and leaves
get clogged between them.
The Clog Free Rake from
Ames True Temper has a
closed sawtooth design
.*

q#|fr

t1*-

"*e'

and the heavy plastic


pointed teeth hold up
when you have to dig in.
Sold at most home centers
and hardware stores for

",t'..r:

.*" 4^
-*E rs.

ffi.-;

that prevents anything


ftom clogging up the tines,

about $1O.

.t--

Ames True Temper lnc., (aOO)


433-3064. www.ames.com
"
':\ei,

,-: l'7;*"'

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'qQr
-

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ity'l:;
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BEEFY

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TEIETH
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CLOG-PROOF

TtNEs

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

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J6:ts

vLncH zooq 83

New Products
Adjustable electrical boxes

il
ll
tl
You know how it goes. Add tile or paneiing to a wall, and the
electrical boxes are set back too far. (According to electrical
code, the box face must be flush

with combustible surfaces

and no more than 1/4 in. from noncombustible surfaces.)


Then you have to extend the box with clumsy box extension
rings or move the box out, which is always a tough job.
Next time you remodel, put on an addition or finish a
wall, try using the new Adjust-A-Box boxes from Carlor.r.
They're easier to install and have a stronger mount than

conventional nail-on boxes. Thatt because

bracket clips it to the stud and holds it there while you screw
or nail it to the wood. After the wall is linished, you just turn
the adjusting screw to move the box in or out until it's perfectly flush with the linished surface. It's really a good idea
on walls you plan to tile, panel or face with a cabinet. But at
about $2.50 for a single box and $3.50 for a doubie, they cost
much more than standard boxes. So use them judiciouslyl

Adjust-A-Box boxes are available at home centers.


Carlon, (8OO) 322-7566. www.carlon.com

built-in steel

Stowage

with

twist

Imagine a giant, padded bread


wrapper twist tie and you'll
understand Grip Twist ties.
Use'em for tying down loads,
hanging stuff on the wall or
wrapping things together. The
manufacturer claims a holding power of 100 lbs. if you
wrap them properly, which is
a minimum of three twists
with the ends bent down over
the twists. They're sold in
lengths of I 7 in. (four per
pack),34 in. (two per pack)
and 68 in. (one per pack).
Packs are $9.95 each plus

shipping. Order directly from


the company.
Grip Twist, (919) 960-0737.

www.griptwist.com

84

MARCH 2oo4 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

KYARD

New Products

'-Rsc-Roou'

BEADY.TO.ASSEMBTE KIT

MI|UNTS llN YllUR


DEGK

'
'

$H

QWIK@

llB PATIll

window/screen change system

Meets building codes for snow


and wind loads

'No

extras, comes complete

'Sold factory direct, delivered to your door

OllWNI.llAll

Smoke and carbon monoxide

GATATIIG

AND PBIGES:

SunPorch@ Structures lnc.

wruw.sunporch.com

P0.

(VVeb

Westport,CT0688l-0368

Code: FHA)

A talking smoke/
CO alarm

Box 368, Dept, FHA

NI14
$unPorchd
Our30tDYGar

alarms should be replaced every 10


years (check batteries monthly). If

your units'

10 years are up, consider replacing them with the new


First Alert Model SCOT

Combination Smoke/CO alarms.


Once they're installed, you program them (each alarm by room

location). Then when one alarm


senses smoke or CO, it speaks in a
human voice to let you know
which room's alarm has detected
which type of hazard. For example,
you might be awakened in the
middle of the night with "Smoke in
kitchen."
The best safety feature is that

you can pick up any remote control in the house to shut off false
alarms and even to check the battery. That eliminates the temptation to remove the battery and
possibly not reinstall it (60 percent
of fire fatalities occur in homes

with missing or dead smoke alarm


batteries). The alarms cost about
$50 wherever First Alert products
are sold.
First Alert,

86

(8OO) 323-9OO5.

l,rnRcH zooa

New Products
Wide-angle peephole
Conventional peepholes all have the same two pesky problems. First, whoever
is on the guest side of the door can usually tell when you're checking them out
because your head creates a telltale shadow. That's bad if you re trying to avoid
answering the door by feigning an empty house. Second, the narrow field of
view makes it easy for unwanted guests to step aside to avoid detection. The
SafetyVue, however, has a unique prism that has a 132-degree field of view so
you can see a wide panorama outside your door. Those prisms project that
wide-angle view onto a screen that's a couple of inches wide. That means you
can see who's on the other side of the door from several feet away while you stay

undetectable. Special tools? Yes, you'll need a2-ll8 in. hole saw. If you're
replacing a peephole, place the hole saw's pilot drill about l/2 in. above or
below the existing hole to make the job easier. Order directly from the
company for about $40, plus five bucks for shipping.
Hagler Enterprises, (8()l) 364-5230. www.safety-vue.com

SILVER

BLACK

Big NEWS tn the pipe wrench world


Hey, you hear,y, cast-iron, screw adjusting pipe wrenches. You better

look over your

shoulder! The innovative Quick Adjusting Pipe wrench (No.274001) from


Irwin is everything you re not. The handle is contoured to fit
most hands, and it's nearly 50 percent lighter and
the jaws are thinner for getting into tight
spaces. But best of all, the jaws are easier

and quicker to adjust. A little thumb


release allows the user to slide the jaws
open and closed . . . one-handed. Thatt
nice when you're lying under the sink

with the garbage disposer tucked under


your chin.
If you do a lot of wrenching, the $29.99
price will be well worth it! Find them at
home centers and Co-op Hardware
retailers.
lrwin Vise-Grip, (8OO) 464-7946.
www.irwin.com

l-1
Art Direction

. MARCIA WRIGHT ROEPKE

Photography. BILL ZUEHLKE;

SHAWN NIELSEN- STUDIO CENTRAL

''.+

88

ttnncH 2oo4 THE FAMtly

Classic Handy

Hints

from our readers

Single-arm

faucet tune-up
A drippy single-arm, ball-

type faucet may need new


seals and O-rings eventually,
but before you run out to get a
repair kit, try this: Disassemble the handle and cap and

remove the ball assembly.


Remove the rubber seals and

springs from the body, and


slightly stretch the springs.
Clean any filmy residue off the
parts, especially the ball.
Lightly coat the seals and
O-rings with petroleum je1ly
and reassemble.

Garage-wall tool holder


If you have lots of rakes, shovels, brooms and garden
tools cluttering your garage, but not a lot ofwall to
hang them on, try this. Cut two 16 x 16-in. pieces

from ll2-rn. plywood and screw them to a wall stud


at a slight upward angle. Then slide in your tools.

Better pipe cutting


difficult to cut a thin metal pipe, such as a P-trap, with a hackwithout squashing the pipe or mangling the cut. To make a
nice cut, insert a section ofwood closet rod or handrail into the
end of the pipe to be cut. Wrap one end of the rod with tape to fill
It's

saw

out the rod to the pipe's inner size. Clamp the wood in a vise and
cut through both the pipe and the wood.

THE FAMTLY HANoYMAN nnncH zoo+

91

nder-bed
0rawers
U
I

Drawers from old dressers can


be given new life as under-bed
storage bins. Fasten small
casters to the bottoms and

slide the drawers under the


bed to store seasonal clothes,
extra blankets and more.

Big-sheet stabilizer
Keeping a 4 x 8-ft. sheet of plywood stationary while cutting can be a

this problem by cutting two l-Il2 in.xl-ll2 in. notches in


your sawhorses and then inserting 8-ft.2x2s into the notches. This
hassle. Solve

makes a sturdy work base that can also be used as a portable workbench.

Pipe clamp holder


Store bar and pipe clamps

right under your workbench where they'll always


your

be close at hand. Just screw sections of 4-in. dia. PVC pipe under

workbench and slide the clamps into the pipe.

THE FAMILY HANDYMAN ITIINCH ZOOA

93

Classic

Handy Hints

Screw gripper
Try this simple way to get a screw started in a hard-to-reach
place. Poke the screw through a piece of masking tape

with the

sticky side of the tape toward the head. Place the tip of the
screwdriver in the slot, then fold the tape up onto the shaft.
Once you start the screw, pull the screwdriver loose and
remove the tape.

the

flllachine
\

per-fast
floor squeegee
Su

@+ffi

When you need to round up water


on your garage or basement floor,
assemble this simple squeegee. Slip

J(rn4neewow
Prolesstonet

a piece

of foam pipe insulation over

the tines of an ordinary garden

J(ceenonnta_rfrFonr
grtp
LUSntOned

9p_

t'l(pznpenmnnnncr
Drives 6 Different Size

rake to push the water to a drain or


out the door.

Staples+lllails

Stay-f resh

PowEn
t'l(rnnonotnnnr
14 Amps of Surge Power

t'lfannooesrcn
New Eryonomic

...|t's what
Styting

yOu've cometo

non Arrcwt

Jptu

wood putty
Whenever you buy wood putty or
spackling compound, you'11 seldom
use it all at once. To make sure the
product is sealed completely when

you store it, cover the container


HECI{O

Eil E.U,A.

Xeeplng AnerlcoStrong
Available at home centers, lumheryards, and fine hardware stores wherever professional tools are sold!

with plastic wrap and then put on


the container lid. This always
makes the product last longer.

Arow

Fastener Co,, lnc., 271 Mayh ll Street, 5add e Brook, New le6ey 07663
Canada: iardel Distributo15, lnc,, 6505 Metropo itan Blvd. East, Montrea, Quebec H1P 1X9
Arrow Fastener (U.K) Ltd,, Unit 5 ZK Park, 23 Commer<e Way Croydon CRo 425, Surrey United Kingdom
@2002 arow Failenerco, n(

94

rr.,rnncs zooa

Classic

Match maker
Extend your reach and avoid
singed fingers when lighting the

pilot light on a stove, water heater


or furnace. Crimp or tape an alligator clip to the end of an old
telescopic radio or TV antenna.
Then clamp in your match.

Smooching
drywall
Instead of measuring and marking
for an electrical box cutout on drywall, coat the edges of the box with

lipstick, position the drpvall, press


it in place, then remove the drywall
and cut along the "kiss marks" left
on the back of the panel. Itb quick
and foolproof.

Too-tight
ceiling panels
The panels in a suspended ceiling
often fit tight in the rails, so every

time you have to get behind them,


you can t get the panels to drop
back into place. The solution? Hold
your shop vacuum nozzle against
the offending corners and use the
suction to pull them right into
place.

Hose caddy
Here's an easy way to store

unwieldy garden hoses without


strangling yourself. Coil them up in
a round laundry basket or plastic
bucket. Then hang the basket or
bucket on the garage wall or slide
into an obscure corner.

vencs

zoo+

95

it

Handy Hints

Classic

Handy Hints
HOSE

clarups

Mini grinder holder


A mini rotary tool makes a great grinder for sharpening drill bits and other srnall items. Support the
tool in a vise, using a large n.retal L-br acket and two
adjustable hose clamps as shown. If you use a
portable vise, you ll be able to move the work to any
position on your workbench. Be sure to wear eye
protection when gri nding.

Dishwasher
basket touch-up
When the plastic coating on dishwasher baskets wears away, the
dishes

will get scratched. Before

paying the high price of a new basket,

try covering the worn spots

with hot-melt glue. It works great.

No-mess

fireplace cleaning
Next time you clean out your fireplace, contain the mess by dampen-

ing the ashes with a plant mister,


then shoveling them into a bag or
box lined with damp newspaper.
Put a damp newspaper over the bag
or box before carrying it or"rt.

Magnet bagger
Pick up spilled washers, nuts or
nails using a bar magnet in a sandwich bag. The spilled items will
stick to the magnet through the
plastic. Then turn the bag inside
out and pour the items back ir.rto
j_1
their container.

Edilor. DUANE JOHNSON


. BOB UNGAR
ll ustrations ' RON CHAMBERLAIN

Art Direction

96

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WE PAY $1OO FOR TIPS

lf you have a hint you'd like


to share, send it to
Handy Hints@,
The Family Handyman,
2915 Commers Drive,
Suite 700, Eagan, MN

*#

.",-,=a*::

iil,1';"",,1,'^ll'"illllil!;,

,\

F*

upon acceptance and pay-

;:T,Y:;i:,'""#'

but tiPs

l-spy rain gutter


quick and easy way to eyeball rain gutters for possible clogs-before the next downpour
overflow Cut a 60-degree angle on the end of a piece of PVC pipe and tape a hand mirror to
the angled end. Hoist the mirror above the gutter to spot leaves and mini jams.
Here'.s a

calrses an

Richard Bowling
1O2

nanncH 2004 THE FAMtLy HANDvMAN

Snap-in, snapout flagpole


Fly your colors in a second

with two spring-grip tool


holders ($2 at a home
center) mounted to a solid
post. First snap the holders
on the flagpole a couple of
inches apart, then hold the
whole thing up at your
desired angle and mark the
post for the screws. Remove
the holders and screw them
to the post. That's

it-raise

your banner!

David Soisson

Wheelbarrow rack
Hang your wheelbarrow on the garage wall to free up floor space. Center a2-ft. lx4 across trvo studs,2 ft.
above the floor. Thck it into place, then drive 3-in. screws through metal mending plates and the lx4, into

the studs. Leave about 3/4 in. of the plate sticking above the 1x4 to catch the rim. Rest the wheelbarrow on

the lx4 as shown, and mark the studs I in. above the wheelbarrow bucket. Drill pilot holes and screw ceiling hooks into the studs. TWist the hooks so they catch on the wheelbarrow lip and hold it in place.

Bryan Turnbo

On-the-mark picture hanger


Drive a 1-l/4 in. drywall screw halfway
through one end of a thin wood strip. Hang
the picture wire on the screwhead and hold
the picture in the desired position. Gently
press the upper edge of the picture against the
wall to leave a mark for a nail or hanger.
Bill Tomlinson

tl

Editor. BRUCE WIEBE


Art Oirection. HOPE FAY

and BOB UNGAR

Photography. BILL ZUEHLKE

m,qncs zooa

103

Wordless Workshop
Swing-out Bird Feeder
by Roy Doty

Our thanks go to Allen Deming, Grand Lodge. Ml, for this idea.
for any ideas published. so send in those sketches and notes!
Submit your idea to Wordless, The Family Handyman,29l5 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121.
Only ideas we purchase can be acknowledged. Original contributions become our property upon acceptance and payment.

Ulfe'll pay $t OO

THE FAMTLY HANDYMAN

vencH zoo+ l05

Great Go
Insu lation
inf lation
My husband and I bought
a big bundle of insulation to
insulate our shop. The huge
bundle was actually five bundles wrapped together. I could
barely lift it into the truck, so we
decided to cut the bundle and
load the individual bundles one
at a time onto the truck bed. As

soon as we cut it, it expanded to


about four times its original size, much

rl4*

too large to fit into the truck. We had to buy


some rope and spend a half hour wrestling the
stuff into a manageable size.
Kelly Robertson

A cut below the rest


Recently, I completely remodeled our second-floor bathroom.
After roughing in the plumbing, I was ready to lay a new
subfloor. Cramped for space, I cut
the plywood to size in the
hallway on top of some 2x4s. As
I was cutting, it felt like the saw
was working pretty hard and
the blade was dull. When I
picked up the plywood, I
discovered why the saw was
laboring. There was a

1/4-in. deep cut about 3


ft. long in the hardwood

floorl The bathroom


came out great, but

until I get around


to repairing the
hallway floor,
I'm constantly
reminded to check the
depth of the blade before every cut.

Stir and stir again


I was hired to paint an interior room

in

a high-end lake home, and the


owners were going to supply the paint.
I got the room ready and stirred the

paint and started rolling the walls.


After about an hour, I noticed the
paint was lighter where I'd first cut in.
Dismayed, I took a good look at the
can and stirred it some more. Apparently it was really old paint and the
dark pigment had settled to the
bottom. After about 10 minutes of
stirring, I repainted the entire room.
Luckily, there was just enough paint
to finish and the job looked great.
Best of all, the homeowner didnt
notice that the color was a bit dark!

Damian Katt

Got your own do-it-yourself mistake?


We pay $lOOfor each one we print. Writeto: Great Goofs,
The Family Handyman, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan. MN 55121
Original contributions become our property upon acceptance and payment.

Steve Burgess

L. DAVID RADTKE
. LISA PAHL KNECHT
I|Iustration . STEVE BJORKMAN
Editor

Art Directlon

THE FAMTLv HANDvMAN veRcH zooq

1(17