Family Handyman

Family Handyman September 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.

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stuff we love

SLAMMING SUCCESS A new heavy hitter We expect a lot from our sledgehammers. We want an indestructible head and a handle that can withstand overstrike. We also want a tool to be the ideal weight: heavy enough to bust through concrete yet light enough to swing all day. With most sledges you get two out of three—but one company has upped the score. DeWalt EXOCORE sledgehammers feature composite carbon fiber handles that are durable and seemingly immune to overstrike damage. The handles—which are about two-thirds hollow—lighten the weight and help absorb shock. The sledgehammers are available in 8-, 10- and 12-lb. versions and cost $50 to $60. Find out more at QUICK AND EASY No-hassle watering Watering my yard reminds me of the Beatles tune “Twist and Shout.” Connecting hoses, nozzles and sprinklers involves a…

handy hints ®

Flag your lawn problems I have a really big lawn, so I mow it with a riding mower. Occasionally I’ll stumble on a problem like weeds or an anthill that I can’t deal with right away. So I keep a supply of marking flags—sometimes called “stake” or “irrigation” flags—on hand. They cost about $2 for a 10-pack at home centers. I just stick one in the ground wherever I encounter a problem. After I’m done mowing, I can easily find the spots in my lawn that need attention. TOM SCHENK SAWDUST FOR OIL SPILLS Sawdust won’t remove the stain from an oil spill, but it can quickly get rid of the puddle. And if you have power tools, you’ve got a ready supply. Sprinkle a generous amount of sawdust over the oil and let…

hole saw smarts

1. A BIT IS BETTER FOR SOME HOLES For holes 1-½ in. in diameter or less, a spade, auger or Forstner bit is a better choice than a hole saw. These bits are far less likely to catch and twist your arm, and there’s no plug to pry out, just wood shavings. So start building your hole saw kit with sizes that are larger than 1-½ in. 2. KEEP IT CLEAN Hole saws are often tasked with cutting through studs and joists, which are typically pine, spruce or Douglas fir. All of these species contain lots of pitch and resin, which build up on the saw’s teeth. This buildup adds friction, slows cutting and increases heat. This excess heat causes the teeth to dull very quickly. Cleaning off the pitch after use greatly extends…

no cutting corners

Miters rarely fit on the first try. More often than not, you’ll encounter out-of-square corners, walls that aren’t plumb and drywall that has bumps. The secret to making tight-fitting miters is knowing how to adjust your cuts for these real-world conditions. We’ll show you tricks you can use to cut door and window casing and baseboard joints to fit perfectly, even when you have less-than-perfect walls and jambs. SHIM AND SHAVE MITERS How many times have you set your miter saw exactly on 45 degrees and cut miters on a pair of moldings, only to discover they don’t fit? Well, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with your saw or your technique. Miters almost always have to be shaved to fit perfectly. One method is to simply adjust the angle slightly on your miter…

get a pinner

Even if you only do occasional trim jobs, you need a 23-gauge micro pinner in addition to your 18-gauge brad nailer. The skinny pins fasten returns and other tiny pieces without splitting. In most areas, you don’t even have to fill the nail holes—paint or finish will hide them. (If the holes are at eye level, though, it’s good to putty them.) Many pin nailers cost less than $100—you can even find one at for about $30. Cordless models are available as well (the Ryobi costs about $130). Grex makes a version (about $280) that shoots pins up to 2 in. long.…

garage makeover

Figure A Garage Storage Cabinet OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 126-½" Long x 16-5/8" Wide x 86-¾" Tall Cutting List If your garage looks like a junk shop, this storage project can solve the problem. With this simple system, you can build full walls of storage that are easily accessible behind the attractive sliding doors. We’ll show you how to build the exact version shown on p. 38. To customize the cabinets for your garage, see the tips below. CUSTOMIZE THE PLAN FOR YOUR GARAGE Your cabinet can be any length you want. Using scrap lumber, cut layout sticks to represent the common door widths (24, 30, 32 and 36 in.). Mark the desired end of your cabinet with tape and lay out different combinations of sticks. The sticks should overlap by about 1-½ in., but you can…