Sunday, February 24, 2008

Top Tool List for Simple Fix-Its

Even if you're not a Handy Jane or Joe, you should have a few basic tools around for quick repairs. This is not a time to buy a 120-piece set of anything, just a few quality pieces that even the unhandiest folks can use. Next, select a nice toolkit to keep everything organized.

The top 5 tools are:
-Hammer
-Pliers
-Screwdrivers (Phillips, slotted)
-Tape measure
-Utility Knife

These will get you started.

Some things that folks forget to include that are invaluable around the house:

-Glue - several types including stuff that works on wood, ceramics and the all-favorite: Super Glue.
-Tape - You may own a roll of old masking tape, but it's time to add to the family with duct tape, electrician's tape and "plastic" tape that's used to wrap joint threads.

Here are more toolkit supplies for general handy-work that you'll need.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Right Temps for Hypertufa

Every spring and fall, the search increases for tips on making hypertufa planters and other concrete type projects. There's a reason for that: temperatures have to be within a set range for the cement to set and strengthen properly.

The generally recommended temperature range is between 50 degrees F and 85 degrees F.

Too cold and the water won't react as it should with the cement and the end result will be weak in structure. If too warm, the concrete sets too quickly and you may not have time to remove air pockets or spread it into all the corners.

It's the drawn out curing time that gives hypertufa its strength. Remember that with the other additives to make it lighter in weight, it's already going to be less dense than concrete. Patience, the right amount of moisture, and temperature control will give you great results.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Crank That Car - At Least Every 2 Weeks

It might sound a little odd to think a vehible might sit for two weeks without driving it. But with so many telecommuters and Internet-reliant freelancers out there, it's possible not to leave the house for that period of time. Don't ignore your transportation, even if it's tucked inside a comfy garage. Its inner workings need a revving every now and then to stay in top shape.

At the very least, give it a spin around the block every two weeks and weekly is even better. It's not enough to let it idle in the driveway. Take it out and give the gas and oil a chance to flow through all the engine parts before you head back to the computer or the drawing board. If you're traveling for any length of time, have a friend or family member do the honors.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Freezers and Alcohol Do Mix

If your freezer is sitting in an uncontrolled environment, here's a handy little tip. Some folks set theirs on a carport or in a storage room without cooling and heating. For those who live in the "middle of nowhere," there won't be too much talk among the neighbors about where it sits.

However, those are conditions ripe for mildew on the rubber door sealers, not to mention rust developing in spots on the outer case itself. It's the door sealers you need to worry about. They'll begin to break down if you don't take care of that.

The solution: wipe the rubber portions with alcohol. The rubbing kind. Do it every few months and you'll prevent that nasty-looking mildew and prevent deterioration around the freezer door.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And a Thermo-Electric Wine Fridge Means What?

If you're been in the market for a wine fridge lately, you'll find many feature thermo-electric cooling. The wide array of sizes is simply irresistible and there is almost no excuse not to own one. If you have countertop space at the bar or in your kitchen, thermo-electric could be your best choice.

It's difficult to find a definition of the term, when you're shopping. Retailers seem to assume you know already. Thermo-electric seems like such a good selling point, they may be missing prime opportunities for sales. Basically, without going into all the nitty gritty details (which are even harder to find), these appear to run more quietly and are more energy efficient than comparable units. Now, that's an even better deal, isn't it?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fire Safety at the Pit

Fire pits and chimeneas continue to be in popular demand. You may seriously want to avoid the clay models unless you're going for pure authenticity. They may be more trouble than they're worth, however. The latest designs in cast aluminum are great for home use. Choose cast iron, if you're afraid someone will tuck it under their coat and walk away.

Some very important safety rules should be in place before you fire up these puppies. Surely you have already checked local regulations to make sure it's OK to have one? Common sense rules include placing them away from any combustibles, including low-hanging tree branches. You might want to have a fire extinguisher handy in case, anyway. This information on chimenea and fire pit safety will help you with the rest.