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Thankful For These Handy Items

Thankful For These Handy Items published on 1 Comment on Thankful For These Handy Items


1. Silent Paint Remover. Shaves hours off of paint stripping. It’s not for every job, but a big, flat surface like a door or wainscoting? No other way. The cost of the unit will pay for itself in the money saved from chemicals.

2. Hammer Drill. Small. Light. Makes the work that much more fun and easy.

3. Howard’s Restor-A-Finish. If you don’t know the first thing about restoring wood, no worries. This stuff is magic! Just make sure you match the color.

4. Mohawk Stains. You can pick up Minwax stain in any store, anywhere. It’s like they have a monopoly on stain. But you know what? Minwax sucks. Spend a couple of extra bucks for a good stain. You’re not even spending more because you can do it with fewer coats.

5. Epifanes Rubbed Varnish. Another magical wood sealer. Again, forget Minwax. This over Mohawk will make your wood look a like a pro did it.

6. Shellac Primer. It has the stain and odor blocking properties of oil based primer but dries quicker than latex. Goes on thin and it’s easy to use.

7. Vinegar. ¬†White vinegar cleans everything from windows to brass to wood floors. It’s always handy to have around the house.

8. WD-40. Oh man, what would we do without WD-40? The website claims over 2000 uses for this lubricant. It helped me save some rusted hand tools after Sandy. And for that, I’m thankful.

9. Tin foil and plastic bags. Did you know that scrubbing chrome with tin foil and water will eliminate rust? Well, you do now! Another great use for tin foil is to cover paint strippers such as Peel Away so they won’t dry out. For things like ceiling medallions, a light plastic bag sticks even better.

10. Staple Gun. Dare I say it’s better than duct tape? Of course an air nailer is more useful for renovations, but hey, that’s big and heavy. I can reupholster a chair with a staple gun. I can and I have. Didn’t say it looked great.

New Blogging Toy: Flip Mino HD

New Blogging Toy: Flip Mino HD published on No Comments on New Blogging Toy: Flip Mino HD

I know I promised I’d shoot some “Old NY Jews Down in Florida” footage with my latest gadget, the Flip Mino HD, but it all came out sucky. This is the best footage I got so far and that’s not saying much.My whole reason for “needing” the Flip is this blog. I’d really like to do some DIY videos if we ever start working on the houses again in this lifetime. The camera is pocket sized and easy to upload. Just “flip” the USB out and plug it into your laptop. The quality is fine for online presentation.

So what are my grievances? Well, I pretty much cover them in this video “review”. The lens isn’t wide enough! You really have to stand far back to take in the scene…or even just one person. Which brings me to the voice. You really have to be on top of someone to get clear sound. Such is the irony of the Flip.

I shouldn’t complain. Honestly, it’s a great camera for just over $200. I’m just used to professional still camera equipment where I can control everything and this is like the point and shoot of video cameras.

Take a vote. Will this become my new blogging tool or will it sit in my purse getting scratched up?

New Toy: Makita Driver Drill

New Toy: Makita Driver Drill published on 3 Comments on New Toy: Makita Driver Drill


Ladies, don’t be jealous! My husband came home the other day with a gift for me. A Makita cordless driver drill. He let me play with it for like 5 seconds and now I can’t seem to find it. Hmm, if I didn’t know any better…

So what makes the 18V Lithium Ion so great? Well, I think my old Dewalt (can’t find that either) is only 14V and much heavier because it isn’t lithium. It’s quicker to charge this battery and it holds the charge better. The drill weighs only 4.1 pounds and the ergonomic shape doesn’t hurt my drillin’ elbow either while the motor delivers 450 lbs of torque.

But best of all? It’s got a cute little light to illuminate the work area. Ah, there’s a sucker born every minute!

DIY: More Wood Stripping Tips

DIY: More Wood Stripping Tips published on No Comments on DIY: More Wood Stripping Tips


This is a follow up to last week’s wood stripping post. One reader is having a hard time with the SPR and asked for some tips. As I responded in the comments, it’s not perfect, but it is, IMHO, the fastest thing out there.

The reader commented that their SPR only heats up the middle section. I thought it may be possible that this is a faulty unit or the power source isn’t strong enough. The SPR should be used on a 20 amp circuit with a heavy duty extension cord. Anything less may cause the tool to work inefficiently or trip your circuit breaker.Continue reading DIY: More Wood Stripping Tips

Reconditioned Tools

Reconditioned Tools published on 2 Comments on Reconditioned Tools


My MacBookPro never leaves my side. Until I get my iphone, then we’ll see. When my old laptop became obsolete after a week (Thank you Mr. Jobs!) I didn’t want to spend good money on something I’d probably have to replace in another few months. I got this ingenius brain fart to buy a refurbished computer directly from Mac. I paid half the price and have a year’s warranty.

So, what about doing that with power tools? The deals aren’t as good as computers, but they are discounted and they do come with a warranty. Plus, buying refurbished means you’re recycling!

Keep in mind that used and reconditioned are two different things. You can purchase used tools on Craig’s, Ebay or Amazon, but you don’t know what kind of problems they have.

It’s best to go directly to the manufacturer or a reseller they recommend, but if that’s not possible, just make sure the company isn’t some guy fixing tools in his garage.

Here’s what I found during a quick search:
Tyler Tool
Tool King
CPO Outlets

Oh, PS: In all fairness to Steve Jobs, I dropped my old computer so many times that it finally just died on me. I can’t avoid a good Mac dig though.

Top 10 Basic Must Have Tools

Top 10 Basic Must Have Tools published on 1 Comment on Top 10 Basic Must Have Tools


1. Hammer
2. Cordless Drill
3. Tape Measure
4. Pliers
5. Claw Hammer
6. Utility Knife
7. Paint Scraper
8. Level
9. Paint Rollers
10. Assorted Screwdrivers

Also good to keep in your house:

*Assorted nails and screws
*Duct Tape (You don’t need anything else if you have duct tape!)
*First Aid Kit

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