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Family Handyman June 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
before you call a pro

I’ve spent almost 30 years interviewing people who make their living fixing stuff. Every single one of them has stressed this: A lot of service calls aren’t necessary (my own estimate is 25%). Instead, they’re for minor items that a homeowner could handle in 10 minutes or—often—10 seconds. That’s unfortunate, since a minimum service charge is usually about $100. In this issue, we’ll show you dozens of those instant fixes you can do yourself. If you must call After you’ve ruled out the instant fixes and you find yourself stumped, there are still a few things you can do to trim the repair bill by making the job faster and easier for the pro: PROVIDE LOTS OF INFO. When you’re setting up the service call, be ready with the make and model of…

1 min
what’s new at family handyman

BASE CAMP Whether you’re camping in your backyard, traveling the country in your RV or grilling for friends and family on your patio, this digital destination brings you the very best tips, gear and DIY inspiration. You’ll also get a sneak peek at behind-the-scenes videos of our renovated 1972 Avion camper, which will be featured in the July/August issue. ULTIMATE BACKYARD Landscaping and lawn and garden care are only part of the package. We also offer tips and product recommendations on outdoor speakers, lighting, patio furniture and grills, to help create the quintessential backyard. HOME COOLING Readers are constantly asking us about new, energy-efficient ways to keep their homes cool during the hot summer months. It’s here that everything from new cooling products to air conditioner maintenance tips can be found. BRAND NEW BOOK! Claim your FREE…

4 min
stuff we love

Safe, quiet mosquito solution The DynaTrap stops mosquitoes and flies without pesticides or other chemicals, and it works quietly—you won’t have to listen to the constant buzz of a zapper. A UV light shines on titanium, causing a reaction in which carbon dioxide is emitted. The carbon dioxide lures pests into the basket, where a small fan keeps them pinned inside. When the DynaTrap has collected a pile of insects, you twist off the basket and empty it in the trash. Models come in a range of sizes that cover a quarter acre ($70) up to 1 acre ($200). Learn more at dynatrap.com. NICK GRZECHOWIAK CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER HOVER YOUR CAMERA HERE Scan this code with your smartphone to buy a DynaTrap online. COMMUNITY IMPACT In 2016, when the harmful Zika virus was on everyone’s mind, DynaTrap and…

3 min
handy hints ®

Easy mulch spreading Mulching around flowers and bushes in tight quarters is easier if the mulch is in a small container. So I place buckets and pails in my wheelbarrow and fill them with mulch. It doesn’t matter if the mulch misses the bucket and lands in the wheelbarrow. Once you’ve emptied the buckets, dump the contents of the wheel barrow in an open area and spread it out. ERIC SWARTZ DRAWER ORGANIZER Keep measuring cups and spoons from cluttering up a drawer. Just attach a strip of wood to the drawer’s side. Install washers behind the wood strip to create a gap for the handles to slide into. CHRIS GRIMAL MAKE YOUR OWN LAZY SUSAN I was shopping for a lazy Susan for my spices, but the ones I found were expensive and wouldn’t fit in…

2 min
stain blockers: oil-based vs. water

Like standard primers, stain-blocking primers provide good adhesion and help hide existing colors and repairs. But stain blockers promise something more: They seal in stains better than standard primers or paint. Some types of stains dissolve when a fresh coat of paint is applied and bleed right through to the surface of the new paint. These stains won’t completely disappear no matter how many coats you apply—they just keep bleeding through. So you have to seal them before you paint. The conventional wisdom is that water-based stain blockers don’t work as well as oil-based or shellac-based products. To test that theory, I bought three oil-based primers, three water-based primers and one shellac-based primer, then set out to test them all. The homeLAB test I applied rust, wood stains, marker and crayon to plywood. Then…

5 min
table in a day

When it comes to woodworking, I’m a cheater. I want masterpiece results, but I love shortcuts. That’s why I like to build tables using hollow-core doors and veneer. This method is faster, easier and cheaper than solid wood construction, and the table is lighter and more stable. The first table I built this way is as flat and flawless as it was 20 years ago. I spent about $500 on materials because I chose high-grade zebrawood boards and veneer. Built from a species like oak or cherry, a table could cost well under $300. I completed the construction in a day, then spent a few more hours applying a finish. EASY RECIPE FOR AN ELEGANT TABLE Endless options Veneer, a super-thin layer of wood, has been used by woodworkers for centuries because it eliminates…