Family Handyman

Family Handyman July - August 2018

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.
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change your coolant

In the old days (the ’90s and earlier), changing your vehicle’s coolant was simple. Then cars got more complex and DIYers got intimidated by the precise filling and “air-bleeding” procedures required to eliminate engine air pockets. All it takes to get back in the game is a one-time $90 investment in an air-powered refilling tool. Then you can change your coolant yourself in about an hour. You’ll save about $50 on your very first coolant change, and about $100 on each one after that. This procedure works for any cooling system that’s not contaminated with rust or oil. I’ll show you how to check yours and then how to change the coolant. Start the inspection when your engine is cool. Remove the radiator or coolant reservoir cap and examine the coolant…

home smarts

KEEPING CROOKS OUT: THE BASICS MATTER MOST Small security measures are a huge deterrent. Most home break-ins aren’t the work of criminal masterminds; burglars just want to steal stuff with minimal time, effort and risk. Unfortunately, there are lots of easy targets in any neighborhood. But that’s good news for you. If you make your home just a little harder to get into, you greatly increase the odds that crooks will bypass your house and look for an easier job. Focus on windows and doors All the usual security advice (install exterior lighting, ask the neighbors to watch your house, etc.) is worth following. But above all, know this: Most break-ins occur through ground-level windows and doors. So strengthening them is priority one. For help with that, search for “home security” at Daytime…

game day shed

The large door opening on this shed gives you expandable indoor-outdoor space. Just open the overhead door so your party can spread onto the patio. Or roll your workbench outside during dusty jobs. And if storage is what you need, you can’t beat the easy-access convenience of a big door. Aside from the large beams and heavy roof panels that require a bit of muscle to hoist up, the simple design and plain detailing on this shed make it relatively easy to build. Our online plans provide all the information you need to reproduce this shed exactly, or you can modify the plans to suit your needs. For example, it would be easy to build the front wall to accommodate windows instead of the garage door. Figure A Shed OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 15' 9"…

fire blocking basics

Fire blocking aims to prevent or at least slow the vertical movement of flames, smoke and gases by sealing off concealed spaces like stud cavities and soffits. Smoke and gases readily travel horizontally as well, so preventing horizontal air movement, such as within a dropped ceiling, has its own name: draft stopping. Code requirements for adding fire blocking and draft stopping apply mainly to new construction. But if you’re finishing a basement, putting on an addition, remodeling a room, or just running pipes or wires through a plate, you’ll need to include fire blocking. We’ll show you the most common fire blocking applications on the following pages so you can apply the principles to your project. Figure A Whole-House Fire Blocking Materials for fire blocking Materials approved for fire blocking are just common building materials.…

off-the-grid shed

This shed stood a long way from any power source, so we opted to use a Honda EU2200i inverter generator for all our electrical needs, along with the EU2200i Companion unit when we needed more power. These small, light and powerful 2,200-watt generators had no problem running our circular and table saws and charging our cordless tool batteries. Because they generate super “clean” power, they could also handle our delicate electronic gear like cameras and computers. After the construction was done, the Honda generators provided the power for the shed itself. For more information on Honda generators, visit…

core options and opinions

VENEER CORE is made up of many layers of hardwood bonded together. The layers are assembled with alternating grain direction, called crossbanding. This makes a strong, rigid, lightweight sheet with excellent screw-holding capability. Because of these qualities, veneer core is my first choice in most cases. PARTICLEBOARD CORE is the least expensive option. Like MDF core, it’s flat and stable with consistent thickness. But particleboard core is a bit worse in the screw-holding category. Also, it’s a special-order product, at least from my lumberyard, whereas MDF core is readily available. LUMBER CORE consists of edge-glued strips of wood, usually basswood. On both sides of the core, there’s a crossbanded veneer, then the face veneer. Like veneer core, it has excellent screw-holding capability, strength and rigidity. But it’s considerably more expensive…