Home & Garden
Family Handyman

Family Handyman May 2019

When it comes to home improvement, you need information you can trust. Inside each issue of The Family Handyman, you’ll find see-and-solve expert repair techniques, a variety of projects for every room and step-by-step, do-it-yourself photos.

United States
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
Read More
10 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

INCREDIBLE READER PROJECTS From jaw-dropping remodels to crazy automotive creations, check out real-life projects that are as unique and inspiring as the DIYers who built them. Go to familyhandyman.com and search for “100 incredible projects.” See More “Stuff We Love” Have you signed up for the new Stuff We Love newsletter yet? Check out more of our favorite tools and gear every week! Go to tfhmag.com/signup. LEARN MORE. BUILD MORE. Calling DIYers who want to tackle it all! Get unlimited access to Family Handyman’s complete library of quick DIY University online classes. This includes two exciting new projects per month—things you’ve been dreaming about, and projects that may not have occurred to you. Get ready to build a wall-mounted bike rack or your own workshop, add elegant kitchen storage and a tile backsplash, install a…

3 min.
stuff we love

Big value in a big saw! Harbor Freight’s Hercules 12-in. miter saw has many features in common with expensive pro-grade saws: an LED light to show the cutting line, the ability to bevel both directions, and of course, the sliding feature for wide cuts. Its bevel adjustment works smoothly and has the standard positive angle stops other saws have. The angle adjustments go from 60 degrees on the right side of the blade to 50 degrees on the left. Dust collection is hopeless, even with a vacuum, but that’s true of all miter saws. If you want a contractor-grade miter saw without the contractor-grade price, you’ll be perfectly happy with this lower-cost alternative. It’s available for $350 at Harbor Freight stores and harborfreight.com. ROTATING HEDGE TRIMMER If you’re still using a corded hedge trimmer,…

2 min.
handy hints

Fertilizing Dense Plants To get fertilizer to the base of bushes and other dense plants, use a length of 2-in. PVC. Slide one end down to the plant base and pour the fertilizer into the pipe. Cut the top of the pipe at 45 degrees to give yourself a larger opening for pouring in the fertilizer. GORDON R. WATSON WASTE-FREE PAINTING I have several rental properties that are always in need of repainting. Instead of throwing out leftover paint, I put it to use. I gather all my partial cans of interior latex—any color or sheen—and dump them into a 5-gallon bucket. Next, I mix the paint with a power-driven paint mixer to get a uniform color. It usually turns out off-white with an eggshell sheen. If the color is too dark, I lighten…

3 min.
installing deck footings

Q.I’m replacing my old deck with a new one, complete with new footings and posts. One corner of my old deck would move up several inches in the spring, then move back down as the weather warmed, but it never quite settled to the previous level. What causes this weird seasonal levitation, and can I prevent it when I build my new deck? PHILLIP MORGAN HAYWARD, WISCONSIN A.Your deck has a bad case of frost heave. In the winter, the ground freezes from the top of the soil downward. The depth of frost penetration depends on the soil type, the severity of the winter, the amount of water in the soil and the depth of an insulating blanket of snow. Frost depth varies by region. In Minnesota, the frost depth is 42 in., whereas…

1 min.
tips for digging a hole

CARVE OUT A SOIL DIVOT WITH A SPADE Carve out a round plug to outline the posthole. That’ll get you started in exactly the right spot. Throw the dirt onto a tarp to protect your lawn. LOOSEN EARTH WITH A TILE SHOVEL Unless you have very soft soil, you’ll work way too hard digging with just a clamshell digger. Loosen the soil and carve away at the sides with a tile spade. It’ll easily slice through small roots. USE A RECIP SAW ON LARGE ROOTS Don’t kill yourself chiseling out roots. Just use a recip saw with a long, coarse blade and poke it right into the soil and cut off the roots.…

1 min.
maintenance & repair

A VARIETY OF VOLTAGE Terms like “110-volt circuit,” “120-volt outlet,” “220-volt motor” and “240-volt oven” can be confusing. That’s partly because voltage standards have changed over time. In the early days of electricity, 110/220 was the standard voltage supplied to homes. In the 1930s, that changed to 115/230, and as of 1984, it is 120/240. Adding to the confusion, switches and outlets are commonly labeled “125” or “250.” That’s because actual voltage fluctuates by plus or minus 5 percent, so fixtures need to be able to handle slightly more than 120/240. The bottom line: Don’t worry about it—110, 115 and 120 are all the same thing. The same goes for 220, 230 and 240. Meet in the middle When you have a long caulk bead to run and can’t get it done in one…