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This Old HouseThis Old House

This Old House

March/April 2019

This Old House gives you the inspiration, information and instruction you need to take on home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed. In every issue, find fresh design ideas for every room, creative DIY solutions, step-by-step projects, and tips from the pros. For annual or monthly subscriptions (on all platforms except iOS), your subscription will automatically renew and be charged to your provided payment method at the end of the term unless you choose to cancel. You may cancel at any time during your subscription in your account settings. If your provided payment method cannot be charged, we may terminate your subscription.

United States
This Old House Ventures, LLC
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12 Issues


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fence post installation

SHOPPING LISTTreated wood | Post hole digger/shovel | Level | Gravel for base | Sakrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix | Water1 | Dig your hole; it should be onethird the depth of the post length and three times the diameter of the post width.2 | Place 4" to 6" gravel as a base, and compact. Fix your post into the center of the hole and ensure it is level.3 | Fill the hole to an approximate depth of one-third with water.4 | Evenly pour your Sakrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix around the base; add water as needed until a milk-shake-like consistency is reached.5 | Recheck the level of your post and hold in place for 2 minutes.6 | Let set for 30 minutes. Allow 4 hours before applying any weight…

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close the skills gap? we’re working on it

In the time and place where I grew up, you got stuck with home economics class in junior high school. We sewed. We cooked; we ate the less-than-optimal results of our efforts.Of course, I never saw a boy in those classes. Boys took shop. Instead of wolfing down raw chicken dinners before the bell rang, they made cutting boards and other cool stuff with power tools.It was the same story at my downtown magnet high school. There were 23 curricula to choose from—including auto mechanics and air-conditioning (hey, it was Detroit).But a funny thing happened in the years that followed. Shop classes disappeared, slowly but surely. Jobs in the skilled trades, once viewed as a ticket to a secure, middle-class life, somehow became less desirable than a college education.Which is…

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reader mail

A successful trickWe always look forward to receiving This Old House, and the Nov/Dec 2018 issue didn’t disappoint, especially the tip in Norm’s Tricks of the Trade for hanging cabinets. We had a bunch of old but well-built kitchen cabinets that we wanted to hang in our garage for storage. But what would be the best (and easiest) way to do it? Norm’s suggestion of the French cleat turned out to be the perfect answer. The cabinets went up easy as could be, and they are solid and safe too!—FRANK BAXTER AND KATHLEEN FORD, PARSONSFIELD, METhat’s one steep climb!Jaime Costiglio has done a great job with her old house (“Colonial Reviver,” Nov/Dec 2018). But looking at the picture of the stairs to the attic storage gave me great pause. I…

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Supersize pegboardStock lumber and dowels are nearly all that’s needed to create modular, vertical storage that takes up almost zero floor space. Homeowner Aniko Levai, who blogs at placeofmytaste.com, used 1-inch dowels and 3⁄4-inch birch plywood to make the pegboard-style wall here. (The panels are mounted on 2×4s attached to the wall studs for support.) With a simple, integrated work surface, it’s a perfect study spot for Aniko’s son, but the project could easily be modified to hold coats and bags in a mudroom, organize a garage, or turn kitchen odds and ends into an attractive display ■…

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colorize a claw-foot tub

Want a smooth look? Disguise cast iron’s rough texture with a satin-sheen paint.BEFORE YOU BEGIN You can paint a tub—or a sink—in place, but the job will be easier if the fixture’s not installed. Unless the tub or sink was manufactured after 1978, you’ll want to test for lead paint using a swab kit from the home center. A positive test means you’ll need to take proper removal precautions; go to epa.gov/lead for guidelines.IS THE SURFACE IN BAD SHAPE? Remove pitted or flaking paint (that does not contain lead) as well as any rust—down to bare metal if possible—with a metal scraper, wire brush, and wire wheel on a drill, in that order. Sand what remains using a randomorbit sander and 60-grit paper, then wipe the surface with a quick-drying…

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back-saving snow movers

CUT IT The fastest, least hazardous way to remove snow from a roof is to stay on the ground and use gravity. The long fiberglass pole of the aptly named Avalanche! (shown above) allows you to push the frame into the underside of the snowpack; snow slides off the roof and down the attached plastic runner. From $135; avalanche-snow.comTOSS IT The second, shorter handle on the Shovelution means you don’t have to bend as far to lift snow, putting less strain on your back. Even adding in the 18-inch poly blade and aluminum wear strip, the whole tool weighs less than 4 pounds, so you’re lifting snow, not a heavy shovel. $30; snowjoe.com(PHOTOS: (LEFT) DOUGLAS GIBB/GAP INTERIORS)PUSH IT With wheeled snowpushers, like the 36-inch Snowcaster, there’s no need to bend…