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Family Handyman May 2020

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.
7 Issues

in this issue

1 min
3 things i learned this month

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 1 CONCRETE PUMPING IS AFFORDABLE Back in college, I moved a lot of concrete by wheelbarrow. (My shoulders still hurt!) “Pump trucks,” which pump concrete through a hose, were available, but college kids were a lot cheaper. Prices have come down since then. Pumping concrete from the street to our backyard patio cost us about $200. See the results on p. 38. If you have a concrete job on your list, check on local pricing. 2 BEST-EVER WORK GLASSES I recently complained to my optometrist: With my standard prescription glasses, close-up work is blurry. With progressive lenses, I tilt my head all day and get a sore neck. He suggested a prescription optimizing my vision at about 24 in. from my face. He called this a “painter” prescription, because it’s one he does…

3 min
stuff we love

Painless paint pour The traditional paint can lid deserves to die. You know the trouble: When you pour, paint fills the rim and dribbles down the outside of the can. Behr’s Simple Pour Lid eliminates that mess. It’s a plastic version of the traditional lid, but it includes a spout for a cleaner pour. At last check, this ingenious design was available only on the Marquee line of paints. Note to Behr: Please put it on all your cans ASAP. GARY WENTZ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Safer log splitting Splitting kindling with an ax puts your fingers in the danger zone. The Kindling Cracker is a much safer solution, allowing you to put down the ax and grab a hammer instead. Just place the log in the ring and drive it through the wedge. It’s safe enough for…

3 min
handy hints ®

What’s in the garden sprayer? I use my garden sprayer for pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. I was never able to remember what I last had in it, so I picked up some key chain tags at the hardware store. I add the product info to the tags and clip the corresponding one to the sprayer. Problem solved! Our model isn’t wearing protective gloves; be sure you do! CARROLL PETER DEDICATED NAIL PULLER Nippers are great for pulling brad nails, but the sharp edges often cut the nail as you try to pull it out. Dull a pair of nippers slightly with a metal file and mark it as your designated nail puller. Use a cheap pair; higher-quality nippers with hardened cutting edges may not file easily. Shoot a few nails into a test board…

2 min
drywall anchors, weight–tested

When you need to hang something in a spot without a stud, drywall anchors are the way to go. But can they be trusted to bear the rated weight? We were skeptical. So, we picked up seven drywall anchors at a local home center and a few others online to subject them to a stress test. Here’s what we found. The homeLAB test We installed each anchor in ½-in. drywall, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then we hung a tension scale from the anchor and fastened it to a hook screwed into a 2x4 fastened to the wall studs. Slowly, we twisted the turn-buckle and watched as the tension increased until the anchor buckled. The results All the anchors we tested lived up to the claims, and all but one exceeded their weight rating. Everbilt Ribbed CLAIMED:…

1 min
stop guessing when to change your furnace filter

The best thing you can do to avoid furnace problems is to change your furnace filter, but that can be a guessing game. You can mark a date on the calendar, but you might be changing it too early or too late. The time to change it is when it’s dirty, not according to the calendar. To remove the guesswork, the Filtrete Smart Air Filter 1500 uses a Bluetooth chip to track the airflow and usage of the filter and notify your smartphone when it needs replacing. We installed one and found it easy to pair to our smartphone. It updates frequently, letting us know the current status of the filter, and informed us when the filter needed to be changed. You can find the Filtrete Smart Air Filter 1500 for…

1 min
fingerprint sensor locks—the new technology is better

I found the old optical fingerprint lock technology to be unreliable, slow and inconvenient. It made me steer clear of the technology. So, when I saw the fingerprint sensors on the latest latches, dead bolts and padlocks, I was wary. They claimed speed, reliability and security, but it seemed too good to be true. So, I got my hands on a Lockly Secure Pro ($329) and a couple of Tapp padlocks ($39 to $99) to see how well they worked. Here’s what I found. A LOCK THAT SENSES ELECTRICAL CURRENT Some fingerprint locks use optical sensors that take an image of your fingerprint. The locks I tested, however, use capacitive fingerprint sensors that collect data about the ridges and valleys of your fingerprint with electrical current. DOESN'T WORK WITH WATER All three locks failed…