Family Handyman

Family Handyman Winter 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.

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the smartest end table

When I was browsing for end tables, I saw this sleek, simple design that I loved, and then I saw the price tag: $800! I decided to build my own and add a hightech twist: My table has a hidden wireless phone charger to help eliminate cords and clutter. I built the table from plywood and tempered hardboard and then covered it with adhesive-backed walnut veneer. For about onefourth the price of the end table at the store, I was able to make a matching pair! WIRELESS CHARGING BUILT IN To charge your phone with a wireless charger, you just set your phone on it. These chargers cost $20 or less but are finicky; some don’t work if the phone is in a case or if the phone isn’t centered perfectly on…

more than a headboard

At the end of the day, your nightstand can become a default charging station. Unfortunately, a cluttered bedside table creates a poor sleep environment, and your devices can disturb a prime REM cycle. It’s not a great setup. This smart headboard is designed to get the clutter off your nightstand and upgrade your bedroom lighting at the same time. It includes a USB charging station installed on a recessed shelf and a smart light strip to create a unique ambiance. On top of that, it has a secret shelf to hide valuables and nice, cushy upholstery to recline against to read or watch a show. Best of all, while headboards like this might run about $1,000, you can build ours in a day for about $400. Here’s how. Figure A Upholstered Headboard Overall Dimensions: 41-3/4" High x…

open-cell vs. closed-cell spray foam

One of the best ways to insulate is to use spray foam insulation. But spray foams are not all the same, and before you hire an insulation contractor, it’s important to know how they differ. Open-cell spray foam is soft and flexible. It’s called open-cell because air can freely travel from one cell to another. Open-cell foam isn’t as dense as closed-cell foam, but it expands more, making it a good choice for hard-to-reach areas. On the other hand, closedcell foam has a greater density and R-value because air can’t travel from one cell to another. As a result, it’s more rigid and won’t expand as much as open-cell. In general, closed-cell foam is used to insulate entire buildings and walls, and it’s roughly twice as expensive as open-cell foam.…

work wheels

the best ADJUSTABLE TRAILER HITCH Pulling a trailer that isn’t level is unsafe, and that’s why I recently upgraded to a Rhino Hitch. This hitch lets you match the height of the ball to the trailer you’re pulling. I like that you can hook up to the trailer first, and then fine-tune the height of the hitch using the tongue jack on the trailer. The solid aluminum hitch won’t rust, and it just looks cool. The model shown has a 7-in. drop and can handle a 12,000-lb. load. It’s available for $400, including a 2-in. and a 2-5/16-in. ball, at EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR POWER WINDOW MOTORS Spray some silicone on a rag and wipe down the inside of the vertical window channels. The silicone will reduce friction as the glass…

more family handyman

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 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 sleek USB charging station, and much more! Start your 14-day FREE Trial at…

ice dams

Ice dams can be dramatic, sending streams of water into your home. But more often, the harm is so subtle you barely notice it. A little water trickles in, degrading insulation and supporting wood rot. But all you see is a small brown stain on the ceiling or drips from your soffits. Later, you may notice peeling paint or rusty nail heads. Don’t ignore these signs; worse things are happening inside walls and ceilings. With help from our expert, find out how ice dams form, how to prevent them and what to do if you get them. MEET THE EXPERT Steve Kuhl and his crew at The Ice Dam Company and Radiant Solutions Company have been preventing and removing ice dams since 1993. For a handy calculator to determine how much heat…