Tips

Framing a Garage Workshop

When choosing the framing and construction materials for your garage, consider how it will be used, what fire and safety requirements you may have, and what additions you may need later on. Today’s garage holds cars, big toys, and serves as a central home workshop or...

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Laminated Veneer Lumber

The laminated veneer lumber (LVL) manufacturing process creates a strong and stable product that can reliably support large areas. Wide open spaces are great for country music singers, but can be a real headache for builders. To create large, open rooms, builders and...

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Green Homes Series: Foundations

A solid foundation is essential for any home. But today’s emphasis on “green” suggests that other factors be considered as well. A good foundation is important. It helps a house withstand vertical and horizontal loads and protects from frost heaves. Foundation Basics...

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Load-bearing Walls

Before you grab a hammer, saw or crowbar to remove an unwanted wall, make sure you understand its role in holding up your house. Today's typical floor plan often includes bright and open spaces with high ceilings. Before the advent of today's modern building...

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Stairbuilding Basics

Take the quick way to the top with a simple lesson in basic stair construction. Building nice staircases takes patience and skill. But it's worth the effort: beautiful stairs help make a home special. But, before you break out the tape measure and circular saw,...

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The Carpenter’s Square

The carpenter's square is a deceptive tool. It looks simple, it's a ruler with an elbow, a straightedge that turns a corner. Yet it is a great deal more, because it can function as a sophisticated arithmetical guide to many of the complexities of laying out a...

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Roofing Materials

Cost, ease of installation and appearance are all factors when choosing a roofing material. While asphalt shingles account for close to 90 percent of all residential roofing jobs, they certainly aren't the end of the story when it comes to roofing. Sheet metal, cement...

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Roofs: Design, Function and Maintenance

A good roof is graceful, it's good-looking, and it ages well. To realize that end, however, you'll need to do three things: design the roof appropriately, build it right, and take good care of it. Your roof is critical to basic house performance. It gives your house...

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Six Steps to Better Roof Protection

The weak link in most existing houses is in the connection of the roof sheathing to the rafters or roof trusses. The weak link in most existing houses is in the connection of the roof sheathing to the rafters or roof trusses. There are several ways to strengthen this...

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Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are an economical roofing solution. But shop around, because not all shingles are the same. Asphalt shingles are economical and versatile, which may be why they represent more than 80 percent of the roofing market. They're relatively inexpensive to...

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Cedar Shingle Maintenance

Cedar roofing and siding are a classic building material, and with proper installation, care and maintenance will last 20 or more years. Left untreated, they will weather to a natural gray, or they can be painted or stained. Cedar shakes and shingles are highly wind...

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Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation relies on the wind and the "chimney effect" to keep a building cool. The wind will naturally ventilate your home or business by entering or leaving windows, depending on their orientation to the wind. When wind blows against your home, air is...

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Helping Hand

It seems that for some jobs, you need three hands to get it done. Your pliers can lend you that extra hand. Use the pliers to grip the wire or small piece you need to have held. Then wrap a rubber band around the handles to maintain the grip while you complete the work.

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Buying Paint

Most exterior paints will cover about 400 square feet per gallon for one coat. But adjust for waste factors like the type of surface and equipment used. If the surface is rough or porous, add 20% to the total gallons figured. If siding is narrow (4 to 5 in.), add 10%. If on a corrugated surface, add 33%. Also add on a 10% waste factor if using brushes or rollers, add 20% for airless paint sprayers, and add about 40% for air paint sprayers.

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Rollaway Accessories

If you have a rollaway storage cabinet, you know it makes a great tool center. To make it work even harder, check out the wide variety of accessories now available to customize it to your needs. Mesh drawer liners will keep tools from sliding around and protect drawer surfaces. Foam drawer organizers will let you store your tools nestled in foam. Slotted foam divider systems will separate and hold your tools in place.

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First Aid Kit

You want to do the right thing and include a first aid kit in your workshop. The question is, what should you keep in it? Here’s a list of must haves: Regular and elastic bandages, antiseptic ointment, cotton swabs and balls, a tweezers, eye drops, elastic bandages with first-aid tape, gauze, a chemical cold pack, and a first aid information handbook. Also a list of emergency phone numbers either right near the phone or in the first-aid box cover itself.

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Hanging Kitchen Cabinets

Here are some things to think about when you’re hanging your kitchen cabinets. Start by hanging the upper cabinets first so the lower cabinets won’t be in the way. Snap a level chalk line- along the wall to align the base cabinets. Then, establish a plumb line to make sure the top and bottom cabinets line up. Use shim shingles to help you level the base cabinets. Then, use drywall screws to secure your cabinets to the wall studs.

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Loose Bolts

If vibration causes nuts to constantly work loose, first add a lock washer, if it doesn’t have one. Or, if there is room on the bolt, use two nuts, tightened toward each other so they lock solidly. You can also try wrapping monofilament fishing line under the nut before tightening it on the bolt. Another possibility is to try wrapping the threads first with the teflon tape that is used in plumbing.

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No-Split Veneer

If you have ever tried to cut or trim veneered pieces like a door, you know splintering can be a problem. A solution is to use a utility knife with a new blade and a straightedge to mark the cut line deeply on both sides. Some carpenters also use masking tape before making the knife cuts to stabilize the edge and protect wood from the saw making the final cut. Most important is to have a sharp fine-toothed blade in the saw.

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Plumb Posts

To hold either a round or square post plumb inside a post hole while you pack dirt around it, make up a couple of wedges of 2×6 about 30 in. long. Cut to length, then make an angled cut from a corner of one end to the center of the other end. Insert a wedge on each side of the post; they will adjust in the hole for either post size or hole size.

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Removing Decals

Bumper stickers and dealer emblems are usually attached to a car with glue. The best way to loosen glue is heat, so try heating it up with a hair dryer. Use a putty knife, with its blade wrapped in duct tape to work the label up as the glue warms up.

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Shingle Fix

When repairing smaller tears in roof shingles, apply a thin bead of roof cement both under and over the tear, then smooth out the top bead with a putty knife. To camouflage the repair, collect some of the color chips that have washed from the shingles into the rain gutters and sprinkle them over the cement.

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Story Poles

When you need to duplicate multiple measurements on a larger project, it can be helpful to use a length of 1×2 or similar stock as a story pole. Cut or select a piece that is longer than the longest cut required. Carefully mark the height, width, depth and length of various parts onto the 1×2. The story pole will speed up marking for cuts, and matching parts will be cut the same.

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