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TABLE OF
CONTENTS
JULY/AUGUST 2011
VOLUME 61, NO.7, 520th EDITION
Features
34 Garden shed
A shed that's beautiful, bright and
spacious-and easy to maintain, too!
48 Postholes
How to get perfectly placed holes,
with a little less sweat on your part.
53 Hopeless grass
We'll show you how to get a fresh
start by killing off the old and
seeding a healthy new lawn.
62 Run power anywhere
Thirsting for a fridge in the back
40? Here's how to make it happen.
72 Patio cover-up
Got a concrete patio with a bad
case of the uglies? Cover it up
with brick pavers in one weekend!
Departments
6 The Stuff We Love
Great green products: cork
shower flooring, water-wise
grass and a better lightbulb.
18 Home Care & Repair
Burglar-proof your entry doors,
sharpen your shovel and more.
28 Handy i n t s ~
A lighted floor jack, precise tile
measuring, and glove hang-ups.
79 Car & Garage
How to upgrade your car's music
box and mount a device holder.
88 Shop Rat
Make your o"vn saw ponies,
a fix for screw holes and
a bandage for big boys.
92 Brag Board
Readers share their very best
projects: a year-round tree house,
a cast concrete bridge, a retro
stereo and a to-die-for '39 Ford.
106 Wordless Workshop Til
A one-legged stool to take
anywhere you need to perch-
see you at the T-ball game!
108 Great Goofs
The electrical shock that wasn't;
fun with a trim gun ... knot.
fa m lly handyma n. com Juty/August2011 1
TABLE OF
CONTENTS
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4 July/August 2011
. Budget-friendly
"green building
materials
We used low-cost, environ-
mentally friendly OSB siding
and composite trim on a great
shed featured in our July/Aug.
'09 issue. Go to famllyhandy-
man.com and search "dollar
savvy shed" for step-by-step
building instructions.
6 July/August 2011 fa m I I y hand yman.co m
Green Remodeling Products


We're all about "common-
sense green." To us, this
means reusing and recycling
products and building materi -
als whenever possible, keep-
ing energy and water savings
In mind, and choosing durable
products and materials that
stand up to time and the ele-
ments. Here are some of our
favorites .
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Cork is cool
The coolest thing about cork is
you don't have to kill or damage
the tree to harvest the bark. This
makes each tree a renewable
source of raw material. Cork bark
can be harvested (peeled) from a
tree every 10 years. Since a cork tree
can live for 200 years, you can harvest
a lot of cork over its lifetime. And cork
products are easily recyclable, which adds to
cork's "green" credentials.
These days, cork is used in everything from furniture
to flooring- even shower flooring. Versacork flooring tiles
for showers are made from recycled champagne corks laid onto
a thick backing. These 1-ft. x 2-ft. mosaic sheets of cork discs are the
sustainable version of ceramic penny tiles. They're available in three styles
and install like regular tile, with a mortar adhesive and grout, to create a soft,
antimicrobial, slip-resistant shower floor. These tiles cost $15 to $20 per sq. ft.
at sustainableflooring.com.
-
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-
.
Spend less green
by "greening" your lawn
Here are a couple of eye- According to hlghcountry-
opening factoids: gardens.com, the answer
The average home- is yes. The site offers
owner spends more to water-wise grass seed
maintain a lawn than mixtures and grass plugs
the average farmer developed for different
spends on each acre of regions to look good while
crops. requiring less water and
The average home- fewer chemicals. These
owner uses up to 10 include "No Mow" lawn
times more chemical seed mix for cooler,
herbicides per acre than moister climates and
the average farmer. Legacy Buffalo grass
Let's not even get into plugs that duplicate the
how much water most lush green of traditional
lawns require to look bluegrass in low-moisture,
good. But can we stop high-clay areas while
watering and fertilizing using 50 to 75 percent
and still have a nice lawn? less water.
Insulation saves
600 times more
energy each year
than all the CFLs,
Energy Star appli-
ances and Energy
Star windows in
use combined.
July/ August 2011 9
Get free water.
Get a rain barrel!
A 1,000-sq.-ft. roof can dump about 600 gal-
lons of water during a l-in. rainfall. Collecting
all that rain in a rain barrel is a no-b-rain-er.
Flskars' new DlverterPro water dlverter kit
can be attached to almost any rain barrel
system (shown with the Fiskars Salsa
rain barrel; $150 for both or $40 for the
DiverterPro at homedepot.com and www2.
fiskars.com). The DiverterPro channels water
from the gutter downspout into the barrel.
Once the barrel's full , the diverter sends the
water through the downspout and away from
your foundation. The diverter works with stan-
dard gutter downspouts and includes a filter
to keep debris out of your rain barrel.
.. .
Eat local:
Grow your own food
What's more commonsense green than growing tonight's salad in your own
backyard? Seeds of Change seed company Is a great source of 100 percent
organic seeds and plants so you can grow the tastiest and healthiest veggies
possible. The offerings at seedsofchange.com include more than 1,000 different
seed varieties, with many heirloom and hard-to-find varieties among them.
-
_......,..
Permeable
pavers
promote
percolation
Say that six times fast!
Reducing storm water
runoff to improve water quality
is a key initiative across the
United States, and many communi-
A typical city block
can generat e five
times more runoff
than a wooded area
the same size.
ties have issued guidelines encouraging home-
owners and builders to use permeable construction materials for walkways,
patios, sidewalks and driveways. If a new patio or driveway Is on your to-do list
this year, consider using permeable pavers, like these from Boral. T_hese perme-
able pavers are clay bricks designed to be strong enough to withstand foot and
light vehicle traffic while allowing water to filter quickly into the soil through
spaces between the pavers. Boral permeable pavers are available in nine colors
for 50 to 75 per paver, depending on the region. Visit boralbricks.com to find a
dealer in your area.
famllyhandyman.com July/August2011 13
A typical incandescent bulb
converts only 10 percent of its
energy into light. A whopping
90 percent of its energy is
converted into heat.
14 July/August2011 familyhandyman .com
Raise your energy IQ
by powering down
"Phantom" or "vampire" power accounts for 5 to 15 percent
ot a household's electricity cost. While you're sleeping or
away at work, your electrical devices continue to suck
energy. You can plug everything into a power strip and try to
remember to shut it down when you leave the house or go to
bed (yeah, right). Or you can plug everything into a smart
power strip, like the Smart Strip LCGE Energy-saving Power
Strip, which will remember to do this for you.
The Smart Strip ($32 at amazon.com and other online
retailers) is a surge protector power strip that automatically
switches devices off when they're not in use and uses only 1
watt of power itself. It has several always-on outlets, and the
rest are auto-switch outlets that shut down when a sensor
detects that a primary device (like a computer or TV) has
shut down, and shuts down its peripherals as well (like copi-
ers and gaming systems). The sensor detects when a pri-
mary device is turned back on and automatically powers up
the appropriate surge-protected outlets too.
16 July/August 2011 fa m i l y ha n dyman. com
Chill out-buy an
energy-efficient fridge
Your refrigerator uses the
most electricity in your
house after your heating
and AC systems. The
beast runs 24 hours a day,
so it makes sense to buy
the most energy-efficient
model you can. Three
years ago, we bought a
Whirlpool Gold {model
GXSFHDXTQ) French
door Bottom Freezer
Refrigerator ($1,100 to
$1,500, depending on the
model). We had a top-
freezer model for years,
which is actually the most
energy-efficient type of
fridge. But a bottom-
freezer French door model
is still more efficient than
a side-by-side, and the
Whirlpool won out
because it's the most
energy-efficient model in
this category. An icemaker
and through-the-door
water dispenser signifi-
cantly lower the energy
efficiency rating of any
fridge (and also bump up
the cost), so we decided
to skip both. It may sound
extreme, but we actually
use old-fashioned trays to
make ice cubes and get
our cold water from the
tap. We do love this fridge.
A new Energy Star-rated
fridge uses half the energy
of a 10-year-old model. If
yours is getting old, consider
buying a new one. Check
out energysavers.gov to see
if your state offers a rebate
program for buying a more
energy-efficient model.
Elisa Bernick
Slower but safer strippers
For years, I've relied on paint strippers that contain meth-
ylene chloride, which eats almost any finish fast. The trou-
ble with methylene chloride is that it fills the air with
dangerous fumes. The long list of possible side effects
includes lung and brain damage. But t here's another
common stripping chemical that's not quite so scary: NMP.
While NMP isn't harmless, the main possible side effects
are irritation to ski n, nose and lungs {though some studies
suggest that long-term exposure can lead to more severe
health problems).
NMP strippers take hours rather than minutes to cut
through paint or varnish. But I love them anyway because I
value my lungs and can't afford to lose any IQ points. Most
home centers carry NMP strippers (about $20 for a half
gallon). You won't find "NMP" on the label , so check t he
fine print for terms like "n- methyl pyrroli done" or
"1-methyl-2- pyrrolidone." Citristrlp and Zinsser Magic Strip
are two common brands.
Gary Wentz
Centuries-old
natural wood finisher
Here's a plug for a "green" product that
has been around forever. Tung oil, which
Is derived f rom tung nuts, provides a
tough, flexible, lustrous and highly water-
resistant coati ng for wood. The Chinese
have used It for centuries to waterproof
boats and to finish the furniture of royal
families. (Legend has it that tung oil was
used to seal the Great Wall.) Tung oil is a
penetrating oil that dries quickly and
leaves a hard, varnish-like coating, which
makes It a great choice for finishing cabi-
nets, furniture, butcher block counters
and cutting boards.
Don't confuse 100 percent tung oil
with the tung oil fi ni shes widely available
at home centers and hardware stores.
Those contain petroleum distillates, thin-
ners, solvents or drying agents (which
makes them a lot less green). Pure tung
oil is available for $15 to $20 per quart at
woodworking shops, paint stores and
online sites like realmilkpaint.com,
woodcraft.com and rockler.com.
Caution: If you' re allergic to nuts, don't
use tung oil on kitchen counters or cut-
ting boards. You could provoke a nasty
allergic reaction . .L!
The amount of wood and
paper we throw away
each year is enough to
heat 50 million home s
for 20 years.
July/August 2011 17
Beef up entry
door security
You can spend hundreds on a fancy
"pick-proof" dead bolt for your entry
door. But you're kidding yourself if
you think that'll stop most burglars.
The truth is, most don't know how to
pick a lock. They gain entry with one
really well-placed kick or body slam
that splits the doorjamb (and often the
door as well), and they walk right in.
0 REINFORCE THE DOOR
Slide t he rei nforcement plate onto the door
and insert the dead bolt and dead latch.
Secure them with l-l/2-in.-long stainless
steel screws. Then secure the plate to the
door with the matching screws from the kit.
H MARK THE LATCH
AND BOLT CENTERS
DEAD BOLT
CENTERLINE
Extend the dead bolt slightly and close the
door. Mark the center of the bolt on the
edge of the doorjamb with a pencil. Then
mark the center of the latch on the jamb.
18 July/August 2011 fa m I I y h a n d y m a n c o m
ATTACH A JAMB REINFORCEMENT PLATE
by Rick Muscoplat
edltors@thefamilyhandyman.com
Extend the pencil marks to the door stop. Then line up the center of t he latch alignment
hole on the reinforcement plate with the centerline mark. Slide the plate into place.
Predrill two holes and run the supplied screws almost all the way Into the jamb with your
drill. Stop before they're seated or you' ll bow the door frame.
You can stop burglars in their tracks by
beefing up your door and jamb with
reinforcing hardware. The components
cost about $120 and take about an hour
to install. Here's how to do it.
Start by measuring the entry door
thickness and the spacing between the
entry knob and the dead bolt cylinder.
Then buy either a single or a double
wrap-around door reinforcement plate
kit (less than $20 at any home center or
hardware store) and four 1-1/2-in.-long
stainless steel wood screws. Then
get a doorjamb reinforcement kit
Sharpen your shovel
(StrikeMaster II is one brand; $100
from homedepot.com or amazon.com).
Remove the entry knob and dead bolt
cylinder. Then remove the dead bolt
and latch and toss the short screws.
Install the wrap-around door reinforce-
ment plate and reinstall the latch and
dead bolt plates using the longer stain-
less steel screws (Photo 1). Next, mark
both the latch and the dead bolt "cen-
ters" on the strike side of the jamb
(Photo 2). Remove the latch and strike
plates and weather stripping from the
jamb. But leave any weather stripping
that's attached to the door stop. Then
align the reinforcement plate, predrill
a few mounting holes and add screws
(Photo 3). Check the reinforcement plate
alignment before snugging the screws
by hand. Do not overtighten.
If the prescored dead bolt knockout
lines up with the marking along the
jamb, remove it and finish installing
the remaining screws. If it doesn't line
up, drill a new dead bolt hole with a
3/4-in. bimetal hole saw. Finally,
replace two screws in each hinge with
the longer screws provided in the kit.
Fix for a clanging vent hood damper
Your shovel will slice through dirt and roots easier if it has
a sharp edge. If the point of your shovel is ragged with dents
or chips, start by smoothing it with a grinder (Photol) . Then
switch to a mill bastard file (Photo2) to file a bevel. You don't
want a knifelike edge. Instead just bevel the top edge at a
70-degree angle to the back. That's pretty blunt compared
with the 25- or 30-degree angle used for knife sharpening.
Q
Every time the wind kicks up, It opens the damper on
my kitchen vent hood. When the wind dies down, the
damper slams shut, making a metallic "clang." The
noise drives me crazy. What's the fix?
A
New spring-loaded backdraft dampers ($9 to $30,
depending on the size) should solve the problem.
Measure the diameter of the vent pipe and order the
dampers from a duct supply company (hvacquick.com is one
source). Start by replacing the backdraft damper directly
above the vent hood. If that doesn't solve the problem, install a
second damper near the wall or roof discharge cap. The second
damper will greatly reduce the clanging problem.
0 GRIND THE EDGE SMOOTH
Use a metal grinding disc in an angle grinder to remove nicks and
create a smooth profile. Keep the grinder moving to avoid over-
heating the metal edge.
FILE A BEVEL
Hold the file at a 70-degree angle to the back of the shovel. Apply
pressure while pushing the file. Lift the file to return for the next
stroke. Files cut on the forward stroke only.
fa m II y handyman. com July/ August 2011 21
Rebuild your
water softener
A bum water softener control valve can
cause the unit to leak or stop produc-
ing soft water. A leak automatically
means a rebuild, but if you've run out
of soft water, first check the power at
the receptacle. If the receptacle works
and your softener is more than five
years old, chances are good that you're
due for a control valve rebuild. Water
softener repair pros charge about $200
to do that. But you can do it yourself in
about an hour and for less than $60. I'll
show you how to rebuild one of the
most common valves (the Fleck 5600
series} and direct you to a Web site for
rebuild instructions for other brands.
It'll take some detective work to find
the make and model of your control
valve because they don't have identify-
ing labels. So take a photo of your
valve and go to softenerparts.com.
Click on "I.D. Your Control Valve" and
match your photo to the valves there. If
you have a Fleck control valve, buy a
complete rebuild kit and follow the
instructions here. If you have a differ-
ent brand, locate the parts and rebuild
instructions on the site's menu.
Start the rebuild by relieving the
internal water pressure. Turn the
bypass valve to the "bypass" position
and rotate the dial to the "backwash"
position. Unplug the power cord. Then
remove the back cover, the housing
screws and the screw in the center of
the main piston. Tilt the housing and
lift it off. Remove the hold-down plate
screws and the plate. Then grab the
piston and pull it straight up (Photo 1}.
Next, remove the spacers and seals
(Photo 2}. Remove the old brine valve
and install the new one (Photo 3}. Then
install the new seals and spacers (Photo
4}. Insert the new piston and install the
hold-down plate. Reinstall the hous-
ing, turn on the water and check for
leaks. Then turn the dial to put the unit
into a manual regeneration and check
again for leaks.
GOT A HOME REPAIR QUESTION?
Post It on communlty.famllyhandy-
man.com. You'll get answers from
other The Family Handyman readers
and Field Editors.
22 July/August 2011 fa mIt y handyman. com
0 REMOVE THE MAIN PISTON
Grab the piston by the metal tang and yank
it straight up (the uppermost seal may
come out with the piston). Toss the pist on.
NEW BRINE
VALVE

REPLACE THE BRINE VALVE
Pop out the old brine valve and check t o
make sure the bottom 0-ring comes with
it. Then push the new valve into the bore.
OLD SEALS
AND SPACERS
fJ REMOVE THE VALVE INNARDS
Stick your finger down into the control
valve and pull out the four spacers and five
seals. Toss them.
B LOAD IN THE NEW VALVE PARTS
Drop a rubber seal down into the valve
body. Then alternate spacers and seals,
finishing with a seal at the top.
Flatten air ducts to gain
basement headroom
Don't let low-hanging ductwork scuttle your
plans for a basement remodel. If the ductwork is
in the way, you have three options. You can
reroute it or split it into more but smaller ducts.
But the least disruptive and easiest way is to
replace the low ducts with new ducts that are
flatter but wider. In most cases, you can gain sev-
eral inches of headroom.
Measure the existing ducts that are too low.
Sketch out the current duct layout and note the
location of each joint. Take the sketch to a profes-
sional heating contractor and get a quote for
building new, flatter ducts. If the new ducts pro-
vide enough headroom, just deliver the old ducts
to the contractor to use as a template for the new
ones.
To disassemble a duct joint, remove the drive
"couplers" (Photo 1). Then install the new duct
(Photo 2). Seal all the joints with aluminum duct
tape or duct-sealing caulk.
f,l INSTALL THE NEW DUCT
0 DISASSEMBLE A DUCT JOINT
DRIVE
COUPLER
Unbend the folded portion of each joint's "drive coupler." Pull each one of f
with pliers. Support the duct with two spring clamps and chain and then
remove the duct hangers.
Hoist the new duct into place and hold it with the spring clamps and chain. Line up the joints and insert the top and bottom edges into
the S-slips. Install the drive couplers and bend the ends with a hammer. Then install the duct hangers.
24 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman. com
Fix an oversize electrical box cutout
We've all done it-cut the electrical box opening too large.
Sure, you can cover it with a "jumbo" electrical plate, but
that can look pretty stupid, especially if there are other
boxes nearby. Instead of squishing joint compound into the
gap (it'll always crack), try this fix.
First prepare the gap and fill it with compound (Photo 1).
Then apply joint tape and additional mud coats (Photo2).
f) MUD AND TAPE
Spread the fast-setting compound Into the gap and surrouncllng
area and embed the tape right up to the edge of t he electrical box.
Let It set up and apply the final two coats of lightweight com-
pound. Sand with a medium-grit sanding sponge.
26 July/August2011 fa m I lyha ndyman. com
Sap of the sinking driveway
Q
My asphalt drtvaway Is slnklnaln several spots
where tt meets the ....... floor. I dug out aU the
rocks and sand and found hollow Cinder blocks
that 10 down almost 4ft. How the heck do I fix this?
A
Unfortunately this Is a pnmy c:ommon pn:Jblem.
111e foundation c:ontractor Wt off the solid "c:ap
block.. and the asphalt c:ontrac:tor Just pawd
over the open blocks. So ewQ time you drove Into or out
of the .. , .... you c:ompac:ted the asphalt farther Into the
hollow cores. The failUre was Inevitable. but there Is a fix.
FlU the cores with c:ancrete.
First dll out the asphalt debris. Then wet the Inside of
the CONS IJ&htlvwtth water and pour In the COitaete.
Ram a blaorn handle up and down tD remove any a1r
pockets. After the c:onc1ete sats up. add a thin layer of
sand or Class V (five) r a w ~ and finish With c:old-patc:h
uphalt (from a home center). Or, better yet, c:ut CIUt a
couple of In front of the door with a diamond saw
and pour a c:oncrete apron.
CONCRETE GARAGE FLOOR
ASPHALT DRIVEWAY
ANATOMY OF A DRIVI!WAY FAIWRE
DrMna over the same spot tan:.s the asphalt Into the hol-
low COntS. The top course should have been finished wtth
acapbtock,
Smell burning rubber in your laundry room?
A piece of clothing stuck between the item, you should replace the dam-
the inner and the outer tub on your aged belt. Remove the two screws
washing machine or a load that's too located on the bottom of the front panel
large can stop the drum, which and swing the bottom of the panel out
causes the drive belt to slip on the to unhook it from the top. Then prop
pulley and burn. So if your washing the front of the washer up on paint
machine is running and you smell cans so you can reach the belts.
burning rubber, first shut off the Remove the belts by starting the edge
washer and unplug it. Clothing tends over the pulley and spinning them off.
to get stuck more often in Maytag The motor is spring-loaded, so the belts
washers, so that's what we're show- will come off easily. Take the damaged
ing here. Check along the rim of the belt with you to the appliance parts
drum to see if there's something store to get a replacement. Reinstall the
stuck there (Photo 1). After removing belts in the reverse order.
"'
,
,
,
,
,
,
, ..
-
,
,
, ,

,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
, ,
I
I
, ,
,
, ,
..

, .. ,
,


I
'
, ,
,
,
, ,
,
, ..
-
...
'
I
, , , , , ..
,
,
0 CHECK FOR A JAM
Look around the top rim of the drum to see if t here's a piece of fabric wedged in
between the basket and the drum. Pull it out.
f) REPLACE THE BELT
Unplug the washer and remove the front panel. Support t he front feet on paint cans
while you slip the old belts from the pulleys. Replace them with new belts. l!
fa m II y handyman . com July/August 2011 27
Scotch Mounting Tape.
Available in the
hardware department.
Scotch Products. Great ideas that stick.
2011 3M. Sootdl. lhe Scotch Mounting Tape Oesigl and the Plaid
Oesi()n are t r d e m ~ of 3M.
from our readers
handyhlnts@thefamllyhandyman.com
GLUED _/
END CAP
Fuzz-free paint rollers
I've been painting for 30 years, and
there's one thing I do before every paint
job when using a new roller sleeve. I
wrap some duct tape (sticky side out)
around my hand and rub all sides of the
roller sleeve across the tape. This is an
easy way to get rid of all the loose fuzz
on the roller cover that would otherwise
end up on the wall.
Jodey Kinney
28 July/August2011 famllyhandyman .com
PVC pipe blade
and bit organizer
I always seem to have extra bits, jigsaw
blades and other small items lying loose in my
toolboxes and bags. To keep things organized, I cut differ-
ent diameters of PVC pipe to the lengths needed for my
accessories. I glue one end cap in place, put my items
inside and slide on the other end cap. Use a marker to
label each container and you'll be able to find all your bits,
blades, screws and whatever when you need them.
Tom
Garden and work glove hang-up
Our garden and work gloves were in the habit of getting lost in the shed.
It was worse than losing socks in the dryer. I'd be lucky to find one glove
on tho floor and the other one stuck in an empty flowerpot. It was an
ongoing battle to find a matched set. Then I came up with the
ingenious idea of hanging binder clips on nails to organize
our gloves. They're always dry and always together in a
matched set. Now I'm trying to figure out a similar
system for our socks.
Precise tile measuring
When you're tiling a floor and you
need to cut odd edge pieces, try
this. Lay the field tile firsl. When
you get to the outside edges, get
exact measurements by making
a paper template. Cut a piece
of sturdy paper the exact size
of Lhe tile you're using and
set it in place. At the wall,
crease the paper and fold
it over at the correct angle.
Then transfer the angle
to the actual tile using
a wax marker or -
heavy pencil. You'll
get a much more
accurate cut
and fit.
Stephen Devers
,
Heath Donnald
0
UJ
t;
z
UJ
a:
UJ
I

!i:
UJ

UJ
(3
z
UJ
z


f?
J
Oil change reminder
Anytime I change the oil in
my car or truck, I reset the trip
odometer to zero. This way,
I don't have to remember
(or forget, usually) when I
changed the oil last. When the
mileage tells me it's time to
change the oil, I do it and
repeat the process.
Ed Mower
INSTANT kitchen cabinet
organizer
A metal file organizer is perfect for stor-
ing baking sheets, cutting boards and
pan lids. You can pick one up for a buck
at the dollar store. To keep the organizer
from sliding around, use rubber
shelf liner or attach hook-
and-loop tape to the cabi-
net base and the bottom
of the organizer.
Mary Adelman
Picture- hanging perfection
When you're hanging a group of pictures, il can be hard to visualize
exactly where everything should go. Thy this next time: Lay them all out
on the floor and get them arranged just how you like them. Then flip them
over and make a little diagram of your grouping. Measure the distance of
each picture's hanger from the adjacent walls, and jot it down C1h your
diagram. Transfer those hanger locations lo the wall and you'll have a
perfect grouping every time.
Trlcla Jacott
fa m II y handyman . com July/August 2011 31
Improved ladder safety
I always feared I would miss a step coming down
my extension ladder. The worst moment is when
your foot has to transition from a double rung to
the single rung (when you move from the exten-
sion section to the stationary section). Your foot
has to move inward to fit fully on the single rung,
and it's a potentially dangerous moment. To make
the transition safer, stand on the bottom rung of
the extension section and spray-paint a mark on
the ladder rails at eye level. When you see the
mark as you're descending, you'll know that the
next step you take is to the single
rung. If people of different heights
use the same ladder, use a different
color of paint for each person.
Vincent Emilio
32 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman. com
Handy
garbage bag
storage
Here's a good old
janitors' tip that a
lot of readers write
in with. Store your
replacement gar-
bage bags right in
the bottom of your
garbage can. When
the old bag is full,
the new one is
right where you
need it. (This tip
works best for gar-
bage cans that are
unlikely to hold
wet, messy stuff.)
Elisa Bernick
More comfortable
painting
Whenever I paint ceilings,
crown molding or the upper
part of walls, I strap a travel
pillow around my neck. It
looks a little funny, but it
sure beats wak-
ing up with a
sore neck the
next day!
Barb Hoover
For more great Handy i n t s ~
subscribe to our free e-mail DIY Tips & Hints newsletter! ,,
Go to familyhandyman.com/Sign-up-for-free-DIY-Newsletters. u
GARDEN
34 July/August 2011 fa m II y h a n d y m a n c o m
by Jeff Gorton
edltors@thefamllyhandyman.com
If
you're a gardener, you'll love this 12 x 16-ft. shed.
(And even if you don't garden, I bet you could
put all this space to work.) There's plenty of room
for all your tools and a planting bench under the
windows. You can easily drive your riding mower through the
huge sliding doors, or just open them wide for plenty of light
and ventilation. Dormer windows provide overhead light, and
a bank of end wall windows opens for even more fresh air. To
reduce maintenance, we used solid PVC to trim the shed and
build the sliding doors, and we covered the walls with fiber
cement siding. The custom-size aluminum combination win-
dows won't require anything but occasional cleaning.
In this article, we'll show you the basics of how to build the
shed and the sliding doors. For more wall and roof framing
Long-lasting and
low-maintenance
We chose exterior materials
that'll keep this shed looking
great for decades. First, we
covered the walls with 4 x
a sheets of 5/16-in.-thick
fiber cement. If you plan
ahead, you can order
this James Hardie stucco-look
HardiePanel prefinished. We chose
to paint ours on-site. Fiber cement Is
known for its superior paint-holding ability, so
we expect the paint job to last a long time.
All the exterior trim, as well as the door frames, are solid
PVC by Azek. The 18-ft. lengths mean you don't have to splice
the fascia boards. And you don't have to search through the lumber
for straight, good-looking pieces-all of it is straight and good looking.
PVC trim is a little spendy, but you'll never have to replace it.
fa m II y han d y man. com July/August 2011 35
details and information on building the sliding doors, go to
famil yhandyman.com/2011shed.
Money, time and tools
You can find most of the materials for this shed at home
centers or lumberyards. However, the solid PVC trim boards
may have to be special-ordered. We spent about $4,800 on
the materials for this shed (not including the concrete slab),
and the PVC trim accounts for a big chunk of that cost. If
you substitute wood or composite trim, you could save
about $1,000.
To build this shed, you'll need standard carpentry tools,
including a circular saw and drill. A framing nail gun, miter
36 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman. com
PREPARE THE WALL PLATES Measure from the chalk
line to the center of the bolt and transfer this measurement
to the plate to mark for drilling the bolt holes.
BUILD A WALL, STAND IT AND BUILD ANOTHER Frame
the long walls first while the slab Is wide open. When you
stand and brace them, tilt them slightly outward. That gives
you a little extra room when you stand the shorter walls.
PLUMB AND BRACE THE WALLS Check for plumb
with a long level at the corner. Push or pull the wall until it's
plumb. Then nail on a diagonal brace to hold the wall plumb
until the sheathing Is Installed.
Figure A
Garden shed
PVC
TRIM
ALUMINUM
STORM
WINDOW
FIBER CEMENT
SIDING
2x4
TREATED
BOTTOM
PLATE
CONCRETE
SLAB
OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 12' x 16'
2x4
STUDS
saw and table saw will save you some time and effort but
aren't necessary. We used a special Ridgid dust-collecting
saw to cut the fiber cement siding, but a circular saw will
also work.
If you've built a deck or other large construction project,
you shouldn't have any trouble with this shed. The framing
is straightforward, and with a few helpers you should be
able to get the shell up in a weekend. Then to spend
three or four busy weekends completing the project.
Getting started
In most areas, you'll need a building permit for a shed of
this size. Check with your local building department to find
out what's required. You'll probably have to locate the side
and back lot lines so you can mark the spot for the new
shed. For this you' ll need a survey or plot plan. Ask at city
hall-there may be a plot plan on file. To avoid delays, start
this process at least a month before you plan to build. After
the plans are approved, take them, along with a materials
BYPASS
DOOR
TRACK
SHOP-MADE
DOOR
Growing
gardeners
Tom Benson, principal
of Pilot Knob
Elementary School
in Eagan, MN, couldn't
be happier. His magnet
school for science,
technology, engineering
and math just started
a raised bed gardening
project for the kids and
community. We were
so impressed with the
school's program that
we donated this shed
to the cause.
SHINGLE
TRIM
2x4
SUBFASCIA
1/2" OSB WALL
SHEATHING

r(/ For help with roofing and flashing,
search for "roofing."
To learn how to work with fiber
cement, search for "fiber cement."
For tips on installing PVC trim, search
for "PVC trim."
Principal Tom Benson, trying out
the new shed.
fa m II y handyman. com July/August 2011 37
SET THE DORMER WALL Building the dormer wall
separately simplifies wall framing. Set It Into place above
the door opening. Nail temporary blocks to the lower wall
to keep the dormer wall from sliding off as you nail it.
SHEATHE THE WALLS Nail sheathing to the studs.
It's simpler If you support the sheathing on 16d nails
wedged between the bottom plate and the slab.
FRAME THE ROOF Mark the rafter locations on the
ridge board and prop it up with temporary supports. Nail
the rafters to the ridge and top plate. Don't remove the
supports until you've installed the rafter ties.
famIly handyman. c: om July/August 2011 39
NAIL ON THE SUBFASCIA BOARDS Align the top of
the 2x4 subfascias with the top of the rafters. Start naiLing at
one end and have a helper at the other end raise and lower
the board to line it up while you nail it.
SHEATHE THE ROOF Nail temporary blocks to the
subfascia to hold the first row of sheathing in place. Space
the sheets 118 in. apart. If you don't leave gaps, you might
get ridges that show through the shingles when the sheath-
ing swells.
FINISH THE DORMER FRAMING Complete the
sheathing on the main roof before adding the overhang
rafter so you don't have to notch the sheathing to fit around
the rafter.
list, to the lumberyard or home center to order materials
and work out a delivery schedule.
When you've staked out the location of the shed on your
lot, you're ready to pour the concrete slab. We hired a con-
tractor for this, but if you want to do it yourself, go to family-
handyman.com and search for "concrete slab" for complete
instructions. A few days before you plan to dig, call 811 for
instructions on how to locate buried utility lines.
Build the walls
After the concrete cures for several days, you can start
building the walls. The first step is to chalk lines on the
slab, 3-1/2 in. from the edges to indicate the inside edge of
the walls. Then cut the treated bottom plates and top plates
to length and mark the stud locations on them. Photo 1 shows
'
'
\ \
\ \
\ \ M
\ \ \
\ \
\ \\
\. \
\
famllyhandyman.c o m July/August2011 43
tho layout marks and how to mark the plates for the anchor- nailing it into placo (Photo 4) and installing tho sheathing
bolt holes. Build and stand the two long walls and tempo- (PhotoS).
rarily brace them (Photo2). Lean the tops out slightly to make
room for standing tho end walls. Frame the roof
When all four walls are built and standing, nail the cor- Uso dimensions from Figure L (online) to cu.t the rafters.
ners together, making sure the tops of adjacent walls are Before you install the rafters, sight down the walls to make
even with each other. Then nail the second top plates to sure they're perfectly straight. Push or pull tho top of tho
the tops of tho walls, overlapping them at the corners. Next walls into alignment and support them with temporary
plumb the walls and nail diagonal braces to the studs to braces fastened to the bottom plate of the opposite wall if
hold the walls plumb until the sheathing is installed (Photo necessary. Cut the ridge board to length and mark the rafter
3). Complete the walls by building the dormer wall and positions on it. Nail temporary 2x4 supports to each end
FIBER CEMENT
SIDING

3/4" X 51/2'"
TRIM BOARD
44 July/Auaust2011 f a m II yh and y man. com
CUT AND HANG THE SIDING Lay 2x4s over
sawhorses to support the sheets while you cut. If you don't
have a special saw. use your regular circular saw with a
carbide blade. Fiber cement is tough on blades. so don't
waste money on an expensive blade. Nail the siding to the
studs.
TRIM WITH PVC BOARDS Cut and nail the PVC trim
just like wood. Use a sharp carbide blade on a miter saw to
cut It, and stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized nails to
fasten the trim to the framing. Battens cover all the siding
seams.
SCREW IN THE ALUMINUM WINDOWS Apply
a small bead of caulk to the stops and press the window
against them. Slide the expanders tight to the opening and
screw through them Into the stops.
of the shed with their Lops 50-3/4 in. above the top plate.
Support the ridge on these while you install the rafters
(Photo6).
Install the raft ers in pairs, lining them up directly over
the studs (Photo 6). Al the lop plate, toenail through the
bird's-mouth into the top plate to hold the rafters temporar-
ily. Then install metal hurricane ties (USP RT7 or similar;
uspconnectors.com) at each rafter. Fill in the short rafters
that form the overhang over tho siding doors. Then nail the
2x4 subfascius to the rafter ends (Photo 7). Remember to rip
a slight bevel on the lower edge of the subfascia (Figure G,
online) so the soffit boards will fit tight to the rafter tails. To
46 July/Auaust 2011 fa m I I y h a n d y m a n c o m
ROOF BEFORE SIDING THE DORMER Shingle
the roof of the main structure before you side the dormer.
This allows the siding to go over the top of the metal
flashings.
BUILD THE DOORS Build the doors from PVC
boards and fiber cement panels. Weld the overlapping
PVC frame pieces with special PVC cement. Use screws to
clamp the PVC and to provide extra reinforcement.
MOUNT THE DOOR TRACK Use heavy-duty
bypass door track and wheels to mount the doors. It rolls
easily and Is adjustable so you can line the doors up with
each other.
prevent the 8-ft. section of roof over the sliding doors from
sagging, bend 2-ft.-long perforated metal straps (Simpson
LSTA24; strongtie.com) to fit along the top of the short
rafters and up tho wall. Drive 3-in. construction screws
ovory 4 in. through tho straps and into the framing (Figura Gl ,
online). Complete the roof framing by nailing the overhang
rafters to the ridge and subfascias and installing 2x4 rafter
ties between the front and the back walls to keep them from
sproadi ng (Figura A). Sheathe tho main roof (Photo B) before
you install the overhang rafters on the dormer (Photo9).
Finish the exterior siding arid trim ...
We used James Hardie 5/16-in. stucco-look fiber-cement
panels for tho siding. (For installation guidelines, go
to jameshardie.com and click on the "HardieZone for
Homeowners".) Photo 10 shows cutting the panel with the
special Ridgid saw that has a built-in vacuum dust collec-
tion system. On the gable ends, remember to install a metal
Z-flashing at tho horizontal joint between panels. Wait to
install the siding on the dormer until you've installed the
dormer flashing, step flashing and shingles (Photo13).
We used Azok solid PVC for all the exterior trim (Photon ).
Bull horizontal 1x6s tight to the soffit boards on the under-
side of tho overhang and wrap them around the corner to
extend across the end walls. Next, wrap the torners with
1x6s hulled to lhis horizontal band. Make the windowsills
by ripping 10-dogroo bovols on lengths of 1-in. x 3-1/2-in.
PVC. When you install the notched sill, put shims under the
inside edge to tilt the sill at a 10-degree angle so the bevel
cuts on the front and back are vertical. Install the horizontal
board under the windows after tho
sill is in place. Finish installing all
the horizontal boards, and the trim
boards that run along the roof angle
on the end walls. Then cut and
install the 1x4 battens to cover the
seams in the siding.
Mount the windows
When you've finished with the win-
dowsills and trim, nail 1x2 stops to
the studs on the sides and top of the
window openings. We set the stops
1 in. behind the back of the trim and
mounted the side windows by screw-
ing through the U-shaped expander
into the stops (Photo 12). The fixed
windows in the dormer didn't have
the expander channel , so hero wo set
the stops even with the back of the
trim and attached the windows by
screwing through the thin flange into
the stops. If you install another type
of window, your stops may be in a
different location. To order windows
like ours, call Allied Aluminum
Windows (763-571-3200). See the
Material s List online for window
ordering details.
Build and mount
the doors
The sliding doors consist of two
layers of 3/4-in.-thick PVC boards
that overlap at the corners for
strength (Photo 14). Use special Azok
brand PVC cement and screws to
join the parts. Then fill the openings
in the frame with 5/16-in. smooth
fiber cement panels held in by 1/2
x 1/2-in. stops. Figure M online shows
the door construction details.
Mount the sliding doors to the shed
with Johnson bypass door hardware
(see Materials List online for details).
Attach the 2 x 1-1/2-in. track sup-
port to the wall with 4-in. lag screws
driven into solid framing every 2 ft.
Recess the lag screw heads so you
can cover the support board with
trim later. Then screw the aluminum
tracks to the support board (Photo
15). Hang the doors on the track and
adjust the hangers until the doors are
even with each other and hanging
squarely in the opening. To prevent
the doors from sliding off the end or
going past the middle, screw wooden
July/AIJIIUSI2011 47
stops int o the channel on each end and Finish It up
in the center. The center stop is also nee- Shingle the dormer and cover the ridge
essary to secure the doors when a lock is with ridge shingles. For information
installed. To keep the bottom of the doors on how to install shingles, go to fami-
from swinging out, screw a section of lyhandyman.com and search for "roof-
1-1/4-in. angle iron to the full length of ing." Then paint the siding and trim. If
each door bottom. Then position a screw you used solid PVC trim and want to
and washers on each side of the doors to paint it, make sure to use 100 percent
capture the angle iron. See Figure N online acrylic exterior pai nt. We mounted
for details. Finish the installation by cov- a gate latch that accepts a padlock to
ering the track and mounting board with secure the sliding doors. n
a 1x4 trim board.
Eats grass, not spa.ce
1n your garage.
Designed for people who enjoy mowing their yard but don't want to spend all
day doing it, the SmartCut"' offers a more compact, affordable option to the
big garden tractor. Its rear mounted 10.5 HP engine gives you
plenty of power, while the SmartCut's smaller, agile riding
platform fits into tight spaces. Available exclusively at
The Home Depot.
For more information please visit: smartcut.weedeater.com
it takes a genius
to do it right
TILE SPADE
So, big shot, you think you know
how to dig postholes, eh? Sure you
do-anyone can dig a hole. But how
hard do you want to work, and how
often do the holes end up In the
wrong spot and you have to start
over? Here are a few tips to get
perfectly placed holes-with a little
less sweat on your part.
?1
- ~ o ~ c
\ ~
CLAMSHELL
DIGGER
by Travis Larson
edltors@thefamilyhandyman.com
f) Carve out
a soil divot
with a spade
Set the string aside so
you don't wreck it while
digging. And don't just
start digging away; drill
yourself a pilot hole
first. Carve out a round
plug to outline the
posthole. That'll get
you started in exactly
the right spot. Throw
the dirt onto a tarp to
protect your lawn.
D String your line
and pound the
stakes
String a line marking the outside edges
of the posts. Mark the post centers on
the line by untwisting the string and
pushing a nail through the strands. You can
fine-tune the nail position just by sliding it to
the exact location. Then pound stakes to mark
the center of the holes. If you're using 4x4 posts,
that will be just under 2 in. from the string.
48 Juty/August2011 fa m t ly handyman. com
The big 4 posthole tools
If you have more than a couple of postholes to dig, don't stop at a
shovel and a clamshell digger. You'll treasure two more tools just
as much. Pick up a tile spade. The long, narrow blade will get you
places no other shovel can. Also get a tamper-end digging bar.
il Loosen
earth with
a tile shovel
Unless you have very soft
soil, you'll work way too
hard digging with just a
clamshell digger. Loosen
the soil and carve away
at the sides with the
tile spade. It'll easily slice
through small roots.
GJ Use
a recipsaw
on large
roots
Don't kill yourself chisel
lng out roots. Just use
a recip saw with a long,
coarse blade and poke it
right into the soil at the
ends of the root and cut It off.
9 Use your
clamshell
digger
Plunge the open clam-
shell digger blades into
the loosened soil and
grab a load of fill.
Dig by hand unless ...
Power augers require a trip to the rental store and a
brawny friend. And they're worthless in clay or rocky
soil. The truth is, unless you have lots of holes to dig in
sand, It's often easier to dig by hand.
Use water and the
back of your shovel
If you're digging in sticky clay soil, dip your
clamshell digger in a bucket of water so the
soil won't stick. Knock off clumps on the
back of the shovel. Spread a tarp to keep
dirt off your grass.

rocks with a
digging bar
6 Tamp soil
with the
other end
Use the tamper end of the
digging bar to compact the soil
before setting posts or pouring
concrete. That prevents any
settling.
Pick out rocks from the hole
sides with your digging bar. Let
them fall into the hole and pluck
them out with your clamshell
digger.
(;) Mark the
post edge
locations
Restring the line, pull
the nails and mark the
exact post edge loca-
tions on the line with a
permanent marker.
li) Cover holes
with plywood
If you're walking away
from the postholes for
a while, cover them
with plywood. It
just might save a
broken leg and/
or keep the sides
from caving in
during a. storm.
Small is beautiful
Unless you're a body builder, avoid those giant,
heavy-gauge, fiberglass-handled clamshell dig-
gers. You'll just get exhausted; you're better off
with a smaller, lightweight digger.
[[!] Set the posts
Place the posts with one side
brushing against the string
and the edge even with
your mark. Then hold
the post plumb while
you fill the hole. Pack
the soil with the
tamper end of the
digging bar every foot
!"'c
orso. w
f a m II y h a n d y m a n c o m July/August 2011 49
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58 July/Auaust 2011 fa m II y handymen com
60 July/August 2011 fa m I t y h a n d y m a n c o m
62 JulyiAulust 2011 f a m II y h a n d y m a n . c o m
D
ragging extension cords across the yard to
power the weed whip, fumbling around in
a dark shed ... most of us take these hassles
for granted. But it doesn' t have to be that way. With a day's
work, you can run electrical lines to any part of your yard.
This article will show you how to bring power to a shed,
but the process is almost identical if you want to simply
mount an outlet on a post planted in the soil. A licensed
electrician would charge at least several hundred dollars
plus materials to nm lines from your house to a shed 50 ft.
away (not including any work inside your house). You can
do the job yourself for a materials cost of about $140.
We'll show you how to run wires through rigid metal
conduit (RMC). This method offers the best protection of
the wiring and requires the least amount of digging. It also
lets you install a GFCI outlet at the end of the line rather
than at tho house, which means you' ll never have to run
back to the house to reset a tripped GFCI. For information
on completing the wiring inside the outbuilding or connect-
ing to power in your house, go to familyhandyman.com and
search for "wiring."
If you want to provide a dedicated circuit to the shed, hire
an electrician to make the final connection in your main
electrical panel. Otherwise you can connect to an existing
circuit if the circuit has enough capacity and the box you're
connecting to has enough vol ume for the additional wires.
Figure A Cable depth l
Metal conduit
means less digging
Running wi res inside rigid metal conduit
(RMC) Is a little more expensive than
burying underground f eeder cable (UF),
but It saves labor. That 's because the
top edge of RMC has to be only 6 in.
below the surface of the ground, while
UF must be buried 12 in. deep (deeper
in some situations). That extra 6 in. of
trench depth may not seem like a big
deal, but It adds hours of backbreaking
work, especially if you have rocky soil ,
hard clay or lots of tree roots.
6 4 July/August 2011 fa m ll y handyman. com
1 DIG THE TRENCH
Use a mattock to dig the trench. The narrow head means less
dirt to remove and less to put back. Slice out strips of sod with a
spade so you can neatly patch the lawn later.
To run the wires inside rigid conduit, you'll need a hack-
saw, a pipe bender capable of bending 1/2-in. rigid conduit
with an outside diameter of 3/4 in. ($30), and a fish tape
long enough to reach through the buried pipe ($15 to $60).
You'll also need a pair of pipe wrenches to screw the sec-
tions of pipe together, a drill and 1-in. bit capable of pen-
etrating your siding, and wire cutting and stripping tools.
The total cost of this project is typically about $2.20 for
every foot of buried conduit, plus about $25 for LB fittings
and miscellaneous hardware. ,..
A few weeks before you start the project, contact your
local building department to obtain an electrical permit if
one is required. Then a few days before you dig, call 811 to
have your underground utility lines marked. Learn more at
call811.com.
Plan the route
There are several factors to consider in planning the route
from the house to the shed. Obviously the shorter the trench,
the less digging you'll have to do, but you also have to deter-
mine where you're going to connect to power inside the
house and how easy it will be to get there. In some cases, a
little more digging could save you from having to tear into a
basement ceiling. Start by locating a power source, whether
it's your main panel, a ceiling box, outlet or other electrical
box. Then figure out the best spot for the new conduit to
enter the house. Since the National Electrical Code (NEC)
limits the number of bends you can make in the pipe to a
'
2 PLAN THE BEND
Measure from the bottom of the trench to the bottom of the LB
fitting. Mark that measurement on the conduit.
4 JOIN THE CONDUIT
Assemble the conduit run aboveground to make tightening the
connections easier. Support the conduit with 2x4s until you've
connected all but the last section.
3 BEND THE CONDUIT
Pull back on the conduit bender until the end stands straight up. A
magnetic level lets you know when you've got a perfect 90-degree
bend.
5 PLAN THE LAST PIECE
Measure for the last section of conduit. Adjust the measurement
for the distance the LB protrudes from the wall. Then mark the pipe
and bend it.
Continued on p. 69
fa m II y handyman. com July/August 2011 65
6 MARK AND CONNECT
Hold the bent conduit in place to mark it for cutting. Since there
are no threads on the end of the pipe, screw a compression fitting
into the LB and connect the conduit to it.
What are the possible side effects of PRADAXA?
PRADAXA can cause serious side effects.
See "What is the most important information I should
know about PRADAXA?"
Allergic Reactions. In some people, PRADAXA can cause
symptoms of an allergic reaction, including hives, rash,
and itching. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away
if you get any of the following symptoms of a serious
allergic reaction with PRADAXA:
chest pain or chest tightness
swelling of your face or tongue
trouble breathing or wheezing
feeling dizzy or faint
Common side effects of PRADAXA include:
indigestion, upset stomach, or burning
stomach pain
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that
does not go away.
These are not all of the possible side effects of PRADAXA. For
more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may
report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1 088.
How should I store PRADAXA?
Store PRADAXA at room temperature between 59F to 86F
(15C to 30C). After opening the bottle, use PRADAXA within
30 days. Safely throw away any unused PRADAXA after 30 days.
Store PRADAXA in the original package to keep it dry. Keep
the bottle tightly closed.
total of 360 degrees, you have to plan the route carefully.
The two 90-degree bends from the ground into the house
and shed consume 180 degrees, leaving you 180 degrees
more for any additional bends.
With the route planned, you can measure for .the amount
of wire and conduit you need and head to the hardware
store or home center. Add 10 ft. to the length of wire and
pipe to make sure you'll have enough.
It's smart to drill the hole into the house before you start
digging just in case you run into an obstacle and have to
choose a new location. When you're sure of the exit point,
dig a trench from the house to the shed. If you' re going
across a lawn, remove a slice of sod the width of a spade
from the surface and set it aside to reuse after you bury the
pipe. Then use a mattock or narrow spade to dig the trench
(Photo 1). Pile the dirt on plastic tarps so you don't have to
rake it out of the grass later.
Mount the LBs and metal boxes
The rigid conduit will come out of the ground and into a
fitting called an "LB." The LB has a removable cover that
simplifies the task of pulling wire by eliminating a sharp
right-angle turn. The trickiest part of this project is mount-
ing the LBs and connecting them to metal boxes inside the
house and shed. In general, you'll have to choose a box
location and then calculate the length of electri cal metallic
f a m I l y h a n d y m a n . c o m July/August 2011 69
Keep PRADAXA and all medicines out of the reach of children.
General information about PRADAXA
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than
those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use PRADAXA for
a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give your
PRADAXA to other people, even if they have the same symptoms.
It may harm them.
This Medication Guide summarizes the most important
information about PRADAXA. If you would like more information,
talk with your doctor. You can ask your pharmacist or doctor
for information about PRADAXA that is written for health
professionals.
For more information, go to www.PRADAXA.com or call
1-800-542-6257 or (TTY) 1-800-459-9906.
What are the ingredients in PRADAXA?
Active ingredient: dabigatran etexilate mesylate
Inactive ingredients: acacia, dimethicone, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl
cellulose, talc, and tartaric acid. The capsule shell is composed of
carrageenan, FD&C Blue No.2, FD&C Yellow No.6, hypromellose,
potassium chloride, titanium dioxide, and black edible ink.
Distributed by:
Boehtlnoer logelhelm Pharmaceuticals. Inc.
Rldgclleld, CT 06877 USA
,0,\lll Boehringer
\i1llhv Ingelheim
Pmdaxa ls a registered tra0emar1t of Boehringer lngelhelm
Phafma GmbH & Co. KG and used undef licens..
Copyr1ght C 2011 Boehringer lnQGIMim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Issued March 2011
This Medication Guide has been approved by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Coumadln is a registered trademark for Bristol-Myers SQuibb
Jantoven is a registered trlidemark f01 USL Pharma
Plavix is a registered t r c ~ t m r k of sanotl avcnus
Etfient iS a regi$ter&d hadomar1( of Bililly and Company
PX88211 CONS
D U T ~
SEAL
CONDUIT
STRAP
7 TIE THE WIRE TO THE FISH TAPE
Feed the fish tape through the conduit. Loop the wires through the
fish tape and wrap them with electrical tape. Also wrap the hook
on the fish tape so it can't snag. Use stranded wire, not solid wire.
GROUND
WIRE
9 START WITH A SWITCH
Connect the wires inside the shed to a switch. Then run them to a
GFCI receptacle.
tubing {EMT) needed to reach from the back of the LB to
the box. If you're going into a basement or crawl space, the
length of the conduit usually isn't critical. Start by drilling
a small hole with a long bit to make sure you're in the right
spot. Then drill a 1-in. hole for the LB and conduit. Screw a
1/2-in. conduit connector into the back of the LB and then
attach a piece of 1/2-in. EMT that's long enough to reach an
easily accessible box in tho basement or crawl space. After
you've mounted tho LB to tho siding, go inside and add a
70 July/August 2011 f a m II y h a n d y m a n c o m
8 PULL THE WIRES
Pull the wires through the conduit. This is a two-person job-you
need a helper at the other end to feed the wires into the conduit.
conduit connector and a metal electrical box to the other
end of the EMT. This box is where you' ll make the connec-
tions from your house wiring to the new shed wiring.
On the inside of the shed, you' ll screw a 4 x 4-in. square
metal box to the side of the stud. Then connect the LB to
the box using the parts shown in Figure B.
Run the metal conduit
The 10-ft. lengths of RMC are threaded on both ends and
include a coupling on one end. You'll start by bending the
first pipe and threading an LB onto the end. Then thread
the pipes together one at a time until you reach the other
end, where you'll cut and bend the last piece of conduit to
fit and connect it to the LB with a compression connector.
Photos 1-6 show the process. ""
Temporarily attach the LB to the shed and measure
between it and the bottom of the trench (Photo2). Add 3/4 in.
for the threads that' ll go into the LB and subtract the bend-
ing allowance listed on your bender {usually 6 in.) from this
measurement for the bend. Mark this length on a piece of
conduit, measuring from the end with bare threads. Then
find a level spot to bend the conduit. Align the mark on the
conduit with the arrow on the bender. Push with your foot
and pull back on the pipe handle to bend the pipe (Photo
3). Use a level or the bubble built into some benders to tell
when you reach 90 degrees. Take the bent conduit back to
the trench and screw the LB onto the end. Photo4 shows how
to connect lengths of conduit until you reach the house.
Bend the last piece of conduit up and cut it off to fit into
the compression connector (Photos 5 and 6). Start by measur-
ing from the last piece of conduit to the house wall (Photo
5). If the LB is held away from the wall by siding, subtract
this distance from the measurement. Then add 3/4 in. for
Figure B Through-the-wall parts
NUT FOR
CONNECTOR
SETSCREW
4 " x 4"
BOX
CONDUIT
and cut it with a hacksaw. Remove burrs from the inside of
the pipe by smoothing with a file or by inserting the bare
metal handles of pliers into the pipe and twisting. Complete
the conduit run by threading on the last piece of conduit.
You'll have to lift the previous piece of conduit to create
- clearance as you spin the bent pipe around. Finally. slip
the end of the conduit into the compression connector and
tighten the compression nut with a wrench. Wrap a conduit
strap around the conduit and screw it to the house to secure
the conduit. Also press a rope of duct seal" around the top
of the LB to keep water out.
Pull the wires
Remove the covers from the LBs and push a fish tape
through the conduit. Then pull the wire through the con-
duit (Photos 7 and 8). You'll need two wires, one white and
one black, for one circuit, or more if you intend to wire a
three-way switch from the house or add more than one cir-
cuit. Usc THWN-2 14-gauge stranded wire if you get power
from a 15-amp circuit or THWN-2 12-gauge stranded wire
for a 20-amp circuit. Leave enough extra wire on each end
to reach the inside metal box plus 12 in.
the threading and subtract for the bend. Mark the last piece
of conduit, starting from the bare threads. Once again, place
the bender arrow on the mark and bend the conduit. Face
the threaded end of the conduit when you make this bend,
not the end with the coupling. Mark the conduit (Photo 6)
The NEC requires a means, such as a single-pole switch,
to disconnect the power where it enters the shed. Photo 9
shows how to connect the switch, ground wire and neutral
wires. Run wires from the switch to a GFCI receptacle. and
from there to the rest of the outlets or lights in your shed. U
fa m lly handyma n .com July/ August 2011 71
Save 5/o w/coupon
code 4
(Offer Expires 8/ 31/ 11)
fl-. .... 1 People. fl..e ... l s
PexSupply.com
www.pexsupply.com 7 74
concrete patio is made for practicality- not
beauty. It starts out looking plain and goes
downhill from there. As craters, cracks and
stains accumulate, it can go from dull to downright
ugly in just a few years. But there's a simple solution,
whether you want to dress up a bland patio or hide an
aging one. Covering concrete with paver bricks is much
easier than pouring new concrete or laying pavers the
traditional way. It requires less skill and less time, and
it's a whole lot easier on your back.
Assess your slab
This project will work with most patios. Surface
damage like flaking, chips and craters is no problem.
But a few conditions make this method a no-go:
A too-low threshold. Door thresholds have to be high
enough above the existing patio to allow for the
thickness of the border pavers, plus an extra 3/4 in.
to allow for "frost heave"-rising of the slab when
the soil freezes.
Expanding cracks. This method will work over most
cracks-which grow and shrink with seasonal ground
movement. But if you have a crack that has noticeably
72 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman. c: om
Figure

....____---------
-------
Pavers over a concrete slab
grown in recent years,
this method is risky. The
crack may eventually "telegraph"
through the pavers, creating a hump
or gaps.
Money and materials
The materials for this 12 x 14-fl. patio
cost about $850, or $5 per sq. ft. Using
less expensive pavers, you could cut
the cost by almost half. Most land-
scape suppliers and home centers
stock all the materials, but you
may have to do a little hunting
for the right combination of pavers.
The pavers used for the border must be
at least 3/4 in. thicker than the "field"
pavers, which cover the area between
the borders. That thickness difference
will allow for a bed of sand under the
field. A difference of more than 3/4 in.
is fine; you'll just need a little more
sand. If you can't find thick pavers
you like, consider retaining wall cap
blocks for the border. We used cement
pavers for the border and clay pavers
for the field.
To estimate how much sand you' ll
need, grab your calculator. FirSt deter-
mine the square footage of the sand
bed. Then divide that number by 12
for a 1-in. bed or 18 for a 3/4-in. bed.
That will tell you how many cubic feet
of sand to get. You can have a load of
sand delivered or save the delivery fee
by picking up a l oad yourself with a
Standard
Patio
CONCRETE AND SOIL REMOVAL ------, GRAVEL r SAND -, r-- PAVERS --,
Patio
Cover-up
= kkkA.,4.A.kk,4.A.A.A.
Save 12 tons Of tol
'l A tandardpnvcrpatlor won thlck
b !I of compacted iravcl Thl patio
cover-up will r.ava you the cost of that aravel. More Important, It ellmlmlt th
batkbreaklns drudgery of up concr"t , dlgijlng up :.ootl, It all nwny
and hauUng In grav1 l. On this 12 x 14-ft. patio. a patio t ar-ovt and n 'W gtflv 1 bf.l
would have meant mora than 12 extra ton of wheel borrow work.
f a m II y h a n d y m a n . c o m July/Augusl2011 73
SCRUB
THE
PERIMETER
Clean the
edges of the
patio where
you'll later
glue down the
border pavers.
Clean con-
crete means a
stronger glue
bond.

CHALK
LINE
GLUE DOWN THE BORDER PAVERS
After setting each paver, run a bead of construction adhesive up the side of it. That
will keep the sand from washing out between pavers.
truck or trailer. Most home centers
also sell bagged sand. A 50-lb. bag
(1/2 cu. ft.) costs about $3.
Lay the border first
To get started, scrub the border area
(Photo 1) with a concrete cleaner or
muriatic acid mixed with water
(check the label for mixing and
safety instructions). Any stiff brush
will do, but a deck stripping brush
($6) on a broom handle makes it
easier. Hose down the patio when
you're done scrubbing the border.
While the concrete is drying, grab
a tape measure and a chalk line
and carefully plan the locations of
the borders (see Figure B). Using the
74 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman. com
chalk lines as a guide, glue down
the border pavers along the house
and two sides of the patio (Photo 2).
We used polyurethane construction
adhesive for a strong, long-lasting
bond ($5 per 10-oz. tube). If adhesive
squishes up between pavers, don't
try to wipe it off. Just let it harden,
then trim it off with a utility knife.
A flat bed of sand
If the field area is more than 10 ft.
wide, you'll need a screed pipe in
the center of the patio (Photo 3). A
10-ft. section of black or galvanized
steel plumbing pipe ($14) works
best. For a 1-in. bed, use 3/4-in.
pipe; for a 3/4-in. bed, use 1/2-in.
FigureB
Border layout
HOUSE
CONCRETE
SLAB

______________ t _____________ _
CHALKLINE
r.:.1 Snap a chalk line parallel to the house
to mark the location of the border pavers.
Remember to leave a gap of at least 1/4 ln.
between the border pavers and the house.
[3 Lay out field pavers to locate the side
borders. A simple row of pavers will work
even if you plan to lay them later in a "her-
ringbone" pattern as we did. The goal is
to establish a field width that allows each
course to end with a full or half paver, but
not smaller pieces. That means less cut-
ting, less waste and a neater look.
[!I Position the border pavers and mark
their locations. It's OK if the border pavers
don't quite reach the edge of the patio, but
don't let them overhang. Nudge one border
outward by 1/4 in. to allow a little extra
space for the field pavers.
1!1 Snap a chalk line to mark one side bor-
der. To make this line square with the line
along the house, use the 3-4-5 method.
frt Mark the other side border. Measure
from the first side to make sure the two
sides are parallel.
Iii Leave the final border unmarked and
install the border after the f ield is com-
plete. That open end makes screeding off
the excess sand easier and lets you posi-
tion the final border perfectly.
pipe. Keep in mind that each pipe size is
listed by its inner diameter, but the outer
diameter is what matters here: .3/4-in. pipe
has an outer diameter of about 1-1/8 in.;
1/2-in. pipe, about 5/8 in. In both cases,
Y.ou'll get an extra 1/8 in. of sand bed thick-
ness and the field pavers will stand about
1/8 in. ,above the border pavers. Then,
Lay down landscape
fabric to keep the sand
from washing down
into cracks. Then posi -
tion the screed pipe
and spread the sand.
E! FLATTEN
THE SAND
Notch one end of a
2x6 to match the
depth of the f ield pav-
ers. The other end rides
on the screed pipe.
Screed both halves of
the field, moving your
screed pipe as you go.
E) LAY THE PAVERS
Cover the sand with field pavers. When the field is complete, glue down the f inal
border pavers. Then tamp the field with a plate compactor and sweep sand over
the pavers to fill in the gaps.
when you "tamp" the field with a
plate compactor, the sand will com-
pact and the field pavers will settle
flush with the border.
"Screed" the sand flat with a
notched 2x6 (Photo 4). The depth of
the notch should be 1/8 in. less than
the thickness of the field pavers.
If the field is less than 10 ft. wide,
notch both ends of the screed board
and skip the pipe. Screeding is hard
work and it's best to have a helper.
76 July/August 2011 fa m I I y h a n d y m a n c o m
Lay the pavers and
finish the border
From here on out, this is mostly a
standard paver job. Lay the fi eld
pavers as you would on any paver
patio. Scrape away the excess sand
and cut off the excess landscape
fabric with a utility knife. Glue
down the last border. Let the glue
dry for a few hours before you tamp
the field pavers and sweep sand
across the patio to fill the joints. l1
[.i] Why not skip the sand and glue down
all the pavers?
a You could do that. But gluing down
hundreds of pavers will add a few hours to
the job and you'll spend at least $100 on
adhesive.
[.i] I want a bigger patio. Can the pavers
extend beyond the current footprint?
a The pavers could continue onto a stan-
dard r a v ~ l base. But the gravel base and
the existing slab might shift in different
ways, creating a gap or hump where they
meet. So it's best to keep them separate. If
you want to add a grilling area, for exam-
ple, separate it from the main patio and set
a steppingstone or two between the two
paved areas.
[.i] Can I glue pavers over the steps?
a Yes. If your patio includes steps, you
must cover the treads in order to main-
tain the height of the steps. Or you can
completely cover the steps if you like. Just
be sure to leave a gap of at least 112 in.
between the pavers on the steps and those
on the patio to allow for movement.
[.i] Do I have to use paver bricks?
a You can cover the field with any type of
paving product: natural or manufactured
flagstone, pavers of any size or shape.
But paver bricks are best for the border
because they provide a flat, even surface
for screeding (see Photo 4).
~ familyhandyman.com
~ Search for "patio" or "path" to find paving projects
galore.
Cool your scorching deck or patio! Search for "shade"
to see ideas and projects.
Search for "patio furniture" and get complete plans
for chairs and tables.
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CAR&
GARAGE
by Rick Muscoplat
editors@thefamilyhandyman.com
Upgrade
your car's
music box
Your factory tape/CD player may work
fine. But why put up with cassette
and CD clutter when you can install a
brand new MP3 player and listen to all
your tunes from a single CD or thumb
drive? You can buy a basic MP3 player
for about $80 or a full-featured unit for
about $200. Save about $40 by install-
ing it yourself. It only takes an hour
and it's easy. Just make sure you cough
up the $5 or so for radio removal
instructions from carstereoremoval.
com. Then gather up your tools (screw-
drivers , sockets, wire crimpers) and
you're ready to rock ' n' roll.
Start the installation by pre-
fil assembling the adapter faceplate
5
z (Photo 1). Then attach the stabilizing
ffi bracket supplied with the player
~ (if equipped). Next, pl ace the new
b:: assembly on your workbench and
w
~ splice the wiring harness adapter
w
(3 onto the player (Photo 2). Hold the
~ newly assembled unit near the dash
~ and connect the antenna cable and
~
12 the wiring harness. Then power
' ~ i up the unit and test the speakers.
_ Switch from left to right and front
0
if to back to double-check the wiring
6 connections. Test all the pl ayer func-
t/)
~ tions (radio, CD player, iPod connec-
~ tion and USB ports). Once you're
z
ffi sure everything works properly,
g install it in the dash and refasten the
j trim panels (Photo 3). Then crank up
~ the tunes and rock on.
f) SPLICE THE HARNESS. Locate the speaker and
power wires from the new player and match them to
the corresponding wires on the adapter harness. Then
crimp (or solder) them together.
iJ SECURE THE NEW
UNIT. Bolt the new unit into
place and attach the stabi lizing
bracket. Then line up the
plastic snaps on any trim
panels you removed and tap
them back into place.
MP3 shopping tip
You can shop for an MP3
player at any car audio or
big-box electronics store.
But you'll find a much
larger brand and model
selection online (amazon.
com and crutchfield.com
are two sources). Find a
model that fits your vehi-
cle and your wallet. Then
read the reviews for your
selection at sites like car-
audio.com/forums/head-
unit-reviews or reviews.
cnet.com/car-audio. Once
you decide on a brand and
model, order an installa-
tion kit and wiring harness
adapter for your particu-
lar vehicle (some online
sources include the kit
for free). Buy red "butt-
splice" connectors to con-
nect the harness.
fa m II y h a n d y m a n . c o m July/August 2011 79
Factory roof racks can be dicey!
Roof racks are great for moving lightweight cargo around
town. Just secure the stuff to your roof rack and you're good
to go. But if you're moving large, flat items like plywood or
mattresses, you have to tie the load to the vehicle as well as
the rack. A friend tied a matlress to his roof rack and took
off for his cabin. As soon as he hit 40 mph, he heard "pop,
pop, pop." The "air lift" had ripped the rack mounting bolts
right out of the roof (see photo). The body shop repairs cost
more than the value of the mattress (and way more than a
set of tie-down straps). You've been warned.
PREVENT ROOF-RACK LIFTOFF
Secure the leading edge of your roof rack cargo to prevent damage
to the roof rack. Tie It down to a location under the front bumper-
and reduce your speed .
ASK THE MECHANIC
Extra-bright backup bulbs
Can't sec a thing when you slam the shifter into
reverse at night? Try replacing your backup bulbs
with extra-bright bulbs from Sylvania. Its new line
of SilverSlar Minis produces 30 percent more light
than conventional backup bulbs and casts it 10 per-
cent wider and farther. And the light is 20 percent
whiter to help you see better at night. The bulbs cost
about $1 more each than regular bulbs. Remove the
old backup bulb and take it with you to the auto
parts store to match with the new bulb.
Sorting out DC/AC inverter confusion
Q
l'mtaking
a road trip
and need to power
two laptops (for
wife and kid) off a
200-watt cigarette
lighter-style DC/
AC inverter. But it
only has one recep-
tacle. Is it OK to
add a power strip or
"octopus" adapter?
80 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman . c: om
A
Nope. I don't even know why manufacturers sell 200-watt inverters, since
most cigarette lighter sockets only crank out 96 to 120 watts. Check the
wattage shown on the laptop power supply (or whatever other device you want
to power) to find its wattage. If yours is 90 watts (typical for a full-size laptop),
you've already maxed out that lighter socket. Adding a second power supply
would overheat the inverter and most likely blow the cigarette lighter fuse.
Instead, buy a second inverter and
plug it into a different socket if you
have one. The bottom line is
_ that you can power up as
many devices as you want
as long as the total doesn't
exceed 100 watts.
flow, stop and qo
Remove your old aerator
Install your new aerator
Start saving!


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0 ATTACH THE BRACKET TO THE RADIO
Mount a device
holder without
wrecking
your dash
Want a great way to
mount your electronics
without drilling holes?
How abou l a vehicle-
specific bracket/adapter
mounting system? You
can buy a version for just
about any car or device
from pro-fit-intl.com. The
mounting bracket for this
1999 Toyota Camry (Pro.
Fit No. 042VSM; $36) fils
onto one of tho radio fas-
teners (Photo 1). Other ver-
sions mount in different
places. Then the device-
specific adapter mounts
to it (Photo2). This adaptor
(Pro.Fit No. 042TT39; $15
from crutchfield.com) fits
the Garmin ni.ivi GPS.
Remove the trim bezel and one of the bolts that hold the radio in place. Then attach
the bracket and reassemble.
f) INSTALL THE DEVICE-SPECIFIC ADAPTER
Connect the adapter to the dash bracket. Then slide your GPS or celt phone into
the adapter.
82 July/Ausust 2011 fa mIt y handyman. com
0 REMOVE THE OLD THERMOSTAT
Pry off the gooseneck. Then remove the thermostat f rom the engine or the inside of
t he gooseneck.
fJ CLEAN BOTH MATI NG SURFACES
Use a plastic scraper to remove the old
gasket and any sealing compound. Then
dry the surfaces with a rag.
Replace a thermostat
In most cases, the cause of an over-
heating or no-heat condition in your
vehicle is a faulty thermostat. And
since a new "T-stat" costs only about
$8, il makes more sense to replace it
than to spend hours diagnosing the
problem. If that doesn't fix it, at least
you're only out about two hours.
Pick up a new T-stat and gasket, as
well as RTV sealant, fresh coolant (to
top off the system) and a hose clamp-
ing pliers at an auto parts store. And
while you're there, ask the clerk for the
torque specs for the gooseneck bolts.
Then gather up your metric sockets, a
plastic scraper and a drip pan. Slide
the drip pan under the engine to catch
the spilled coolant.
fll I NSTALL THE NEW
THERMOSTAT AND GASKET
Place the new thermostat In the
recessed groove In either the engine or
gooseneck (air bleed toward the top).
Hold it in place with a self-adhesive gas-
ket. Then apply a bead of RTV sealant.
The T-stat is usually located near the
top of the engine under a "gooseneck"
housing attached to the upper radia-
tor hose. If yours isn't there, consult a
shop manual to locate it. Remove the
two or three bolts that hold the goose-
neck in place and remove the T-stat
(Photo 1). Next, clean both the engine
and the gooseneck sealing surfaces
(Phot o 2). If the parts store gave you a
plain gasket, coat one side with RTV
sealant (self-adhesive gaskets don' t
need sealant). Then install the T-stat
and gasket (Photo 3). If the old T-stat
used a rubber 0-ring instead of a gasket,
lubricate the now one with fresh cool-
ant before you insert il. Reinstall the
gooseneck and top off the coolant.
fa m II y handyman . com July/August 2011 83
EVERY
BRUSH
CARRIES
OUR
SIGNATURE.
AND OUR WORD.
t
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by hand to the hi ghest standards.
And ou r brush maker s complete
each brush with a sticker bearing
t heir name. It' s a personal promise
of quality unmatched in the industry,
the signature of Purdy.
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Have a painting question? Ask interior
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to meet her. Scan QR code or text
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The
basi cs of
pouring oil
Ever notice
how oil bottles
have an "off-
center" spout?
It's designed that
way to cut down
on spills. Most
people think the
spout should be
on the bottom
side of the bottle
as you pour.
That's wrong.
Because after just
a fow seconds
in that position,
the bottle will
start to "burp"
and spurt oil.
To eliminate the
"glug, glug, spurt,
spurt, " pour with
the spout in the
"up" position.
Yes, that makes
it harder to aim,
but once you get
going, you'll have
a smooth stream
without any
"glugging."
84 July/August 2011
Remove a stuck Phillips screw
It's easy to strip out a Phillips screw, especially if you belong to the "more
torque is better" club. Rather than mangle the screw head and then have to
drill it out, try these tricks.
At the first sign of "slippage," coat your Phillips screwdriver tip with valve
grinding compound (about $4 at any auto parts store). Then try removing the
screw (Photol). If that doesn't work, buy a handheld impact screwdriver (about
$10 at an auto parts store). Smack the screwdriver with a hammer (Photo2). The
"shock and turn" motion usually frees up the screw.
0 COAT THE T IP AND TURN
Sli p a box- end wrench over the hex-
shaped "boss" near the screwdriver
handle (if equipped). Then coat the
tip with valve grinding compound
and jam it into the screw head.
Push on the screwdriver while you
crank on the wrench.


..,. -\ 'o,!)"' .. ---
fl HOLD, SMACK, T URN
Get a solid grip on the impact tool.
Then smack the end with a hammer.
The blow automatically forces the
Phillips bit into the screw head and
twists it at the same time.


faml l yhandyman.com July/August2011 85
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86 July/August 2011 fa m l ly handyman . com
..rYe.s ..rYe.s ,
..rY e.s
Ken's
saw ponies
For years, Ken, my boss here at The
Family Handyman, and I have been
debating the merits of collapsible metal
sawhorses vs. clunky, heavy, hard-to-
store homemade wooden ones. (Guess
which side I'm on?) He finally came up
with a design that actually makes some
sense to me. They're short, compact,
stackable mini horses that you can
throw together from scraps in about
30 minutes. Shorl is the key. Ken uses
his to work on projects that are too tall
for the workbench but too short for the
floor, such as cabinets that need finish-
ing. They can also be used as mini scaf-
folding for working overhead. OK for
now, Ken, but if mini collapsibles hit
the market, all bets are off. Your horses
will be belly up.
,,
I
Figure A Saw pony
LEGS:
1x4
6 ~
88 July/August 2011 fa m lly handyman .com

.
by Travis Larson
shoprat@thefamllyhandyman.com
.
.
Cloning saw ponies
To build your own ponies, you'Ll need an 8-ft. length of lx4,
3ft. of 2x4, a 3-ft.-long chunk of either 1-in.-thick decking or
2x6, and a few scraps of just about any plywood. Shown is
%-i n. plywood, but you can use lf2-in. or any other thickness
you have lying around. Then:
II Cut all the boards to length, including parallel 15-degree
bevels on the ends of the legs.
El Rip the 2x4 edges on the spine to 15 degrees on the table
saw. Screw the top to the spine with equal overhangs at all
four sides, then screw the legs to the top.
FiJ Scribe the ends of the plywood gussets and staple, nail
or screw and glue them to the legs.
G) Saddle up and ride into the sunset.
Basements are 113 of your usable living
space. DRYWK Masonry Waterproofer
allows you to transform your damp,
useless space into usable space.
Rated#l
Easy to apply
Tintable to c:ustoan colors
Guawanteed to stop water
1-800-272-3235 ~ l.cvlm
My favorite
cabinet-hanging tool
I' ve had these Vise-Grip clamps from
Irwin Tools for 25 years . and they're the
onl y clamp I use for hanging cabinets. The
long reach and articulated end caps mean I don' t
have to take off cabinet doors; I just clamp, drill and
screw the stiles together. You only need one pair,
which is good because they cost almost 30 bucks. J
use the 18-in. version (VSG-22 18SP). You can get
a pair online at usatoolwarehouse.com.
90 July/August 2011 fa m II y handyman . eo m
A fix for
misplaced holes
My buddy Dave Munkittrick dis-
covered a new helper for his shop
while grilling shish kebabs. He
realized that the wooden skewers
would be the perfect size for filling
misplaced screw boles or worn-out
ones that are too big for a toothpick
to plug. The skewers, available at
most grocery stores, are essentially
long, fat toothpicks-perfect for
No.6 and even No.8 screw holes.
When Dave drives a screw in tho
wrong place, he puts a little glue in
the hole and then taps in a skewer
with a hammer as far as it will go.
Then he snaps the skewer off flush
and tries again.
Workingman's bandage
Over the years, as a shop rat and a carpen-
ter, I've managed to cut myself probably about
5,000 limes. An ordinary bandage will stay on
for about 2.5 minutes if you're working. So for
years I've made my own bandages that'll stand
up to a day's worth of shoveling, hammering or
any other hands-on activity. I wrap a small gauze
patch around the cut and fortify it with a strip
of duct tape. It's pretty much buHetproof for the
entire day. When it's time to peel off the tape, just
remember: Big boys don't cry.
Squiggle out your bad lines!
We all do it. Draw a line or two in the wrong place for cutting a
piece of wood. Then it happens. We proceed to follow one of those
lines when we're cutting and wreck the wood. So scribble out your
mistakes right away. Then you can't go wrong. .U
tam II y handyman. com July/August 2011 91
Professional Looks Witho ,t the Pro
Patio a r ~
Brick Laying Guides*
LAY A BEAUTIFUL BRICK PATIO IN MINUTES
Guides align your
bricks perfectly
Holes allow for
complete drainage
Blocks out weed
growth
Choose from
several designs
Plastic guides are
approx.17"x17"
*We do not sell bricks.
ets Edge It.
Plastic Brick Edging with Solar Lights
CREATE ELEGANT EDGING IN A SNAP
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CORPORATION
f rom our readers
editors@thefamilyhandyman.com
You can pay someone to build just about anything. But you can't buy the
satisfaction that comes from doing it yourself-the moment when you stand
back and say, "I built that." That moment is also a good time to snap a few
photos-and then send them to us. See p. 94 for details.
Year-round tree house
"Kids who
playedthere
long ago now
have their
own kids
play there. "
Jim Heim's tree house is
play-ready in any season. In
warm weather, it's an outdoor
playground where kids can
swing, slide and climb. When
winter comes, the insulated
and heated house gives them
a warm play space. No part of
the tree house is supported by
the tree. But since it's inter-
twined with the tree, sway-
ing branches could do a lot of
damage. To prevent that, Jim
dreamed up a clever solution:
92 July/August2011 fa mIt y handyman . com
High above the tree house,
Jim lashed tho branches
together with steel cables.
That limits branch movement
on windy days and has kept
the structure safe and solid
for 15 years. Jim Helm
Retro stereo
Robin Cooksley has a love for ' 60s music and design,
a knack for woodworking and expertise in audio el ec-
tronics (he's a radio engineer). This console stereo
combined all three passi ons. The Baltic birch ply-
wood interior houses the electronics, fabric covers the
speakers and solid walnut makes up the rest. Robin
formed the "wave effect"
doors with a curved jig,
a router and "an insane
amount of sanding."
To see more of his
work, go to rob-
incooksley.com.
"The design
was inspired
by the music."
Robin Cooksley
94 July/August 2011 fa m II y h a n d y m a n co m
Cast concrete
bridge
Fred Beal is a highway engi-
neer, so when he needed a
bridge for his Montana home,
he designed and built it him-
self. With help from his wifo
and son, he first built a huge
plywood form. Then he cast
three steel-reinforced concrete
arches (which average about
8 tons each!).
To dress up the sides of the
bridge, he set cultured stone
into the wet concrete. When
the three arches were cured,
a hired crane set them into
place, resting on a pair of
thick concrete footings.
"It's strong
enough for any
traffic, even the
35-ton rig that
drilled our well."
FredBeal
Show off your project
Send us your project photos and we'll
send you a check for $100 if we use them
in the magazine. E-mail digital photos to
editors@thefamilyhandyman.corfl'.
Please put "Brag Board" in the subject line.
'
Klrb- Perfectll
l1111ar II ,IIIIC 1 ....
.. ,, .... 1t 11111111 th
""'"lltr II IIY IIIII
pmt1r111 tU lim en
liP 1.,"1 Willi Ol
aower curbs.
Jewelry solution
Shirley Bush used to cram jewelry
into any available space: drawers,
the closet, ovon boxes under tho
bed. Thon hor husband, Paul, cre-
ated a s ingle, organized cabinet for
the whole collection. The small
bedroom didn' t have space to spare,
so Paul built a cabinet that extends
4 in. into tho wall and protrudes
3 in. from tho wall, occupying
unused space behind the bedroom
door. Tho swing-out panel provides
two extra surfaces for hanging neck-
laces. and the 16 drawers are remov-
able to make choosing jewelry easier.
96
But with so man'
choices, selection
is never easy .
"We have a
small bedroom,
and my wife
has LOTS of
jewelry. "
Paul Bush
Got a DIY triumph to share?
See p. 94 for details.
Like new (but better)
When Dave Cobb first set eyes on this '39 Ford, it was
under dim, flickering light and the car didn't seem
to need much work. But that changed after he got
it home and began working on it. In the end, Dave
replaced, rebuilt or upgraded just about everything:
new paint, upholstery, transmission and rear end,
plus a larger engine that cranks out about 425 hp.
Seating and storage
Ri chard and Susan Barber teamed up to build this
10-ft. -long window seat. Using 2x4s, Richard first
built a platform on the floor and rerouted the floor
ducts so they would exit at the front of the platform.
He set four 12-in.-deep kitchen cabinets on the plat-
form and covered the cabinets with pine boards.
Then Susan took over, painting the cabinets and
sewing the cushions. The total cost for the project
about $400. i.J
"I planned to
have it done in
a few months.
That turned
into 4 years."
Dave Cobb
"It's a nice,
sunny spot to
sit and read.
Lots of extra
storage, too."
Richard Barber
fa m i l y hand yman . com July/August 2011 97
Protect rain or shine
Use a stain to keep your wood
looking great for years.
Benjamin Moore ARBORCOA"f
premium. low VOC waterborne
stains are easy to apply and
outperform the best alkyd
stains on the market.
Get a FREE ...
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Book when you
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Send proof of purchase
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Supplies are limited. Offer is on a first -come,
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of similar value, if necessary. One per household.
Please allow 6-8 weeks for fulfillment.
n FIND MORE WORK+SHOP TIPS
AND FREE INFORMATION
IN THIS ISSUE or online at
FamilyHandyman.com/freelnfo
byRoyDoty
wordless@thefamilyhandyman.com
WORDLESS
WORKSHOP
One-legged stool
Our thanks go to Robert N. Scudder, Portland, OR, for thls Idea.
Get $100 for your Wordless Workshop idea!
See Contributor Guidelines on p. 2.
106 July/August 2011 fa m II y h a ndyman . com
lio
GREAT

A shocking e-mail
I'll tell you right off that I hate working with
electricity because it scares the heck out of
me. But I had to replace an outlet, so
I shut off the proper circuit breaker
and checked the outlet with a volt- -
age The power was off. OK, p 0
no b1g deal. I started unscrewing the wire
from the outlet, and just as the screwdriver <( t; '""
touched the head of the terminal screw, \ t _
someone sent me an e-mail, which caused L, ..._ L ""'-"'-
the BlackBerry phone hanging at my hip to 'I_ '--v-
vibrate. Thinking I was being electrocuted, I
1
threw the screwdriver across the room, where - J.
it crashed right through the window. This is
one time that hiring an electrician might have
been cheaper.
Jerry Dolak
The benefits of higher education
My husband and I bought some lumber at the local lumberyard and
proceeded to tie it to the top of our car. We' re intelligent and educated
people with an abundance of common sense. (Between us we have 11
years of higher education: one architectural degree, an undergraduate
in prelaw and a master's in social work.) We placed a blanket on the
car to protect the roof, lowered the windows and proceeded to secure
our purchase. When we wero done and tried to get into the car, we two
"geniuses" discovered that we'd tied the doors closed! Our mouths
dropped, and then we looked around and quickly climbed in through
the open windows and drove off before anyone could sec us. So much
for higher education.
Karen Adelwerth, LMSW
108 Juty/ Auaust2011 fa m lly handyman. com
/ '
from our readers
greatgoofs@thefamllyhandyman.com
Trim gun fun
I was installing door frames, and I
had a good system going by nailing
the jambs together on the floor and
then installing them in the openings.
It was getting late and I was getting
tired, so I decided to skip a step and
just nail them together standing ..... up.
I was nailing a frame together over
my head when the nail hit a knot
and shot right into my thumb. I
dropped the nail gun and door frame
to grab my injured thumb, and the
next thing I heard was the sound of
the door frame crashing through the
bedroom window. With only 1/4
in. showing from a 1-1/2-in. nail,
I drove myself to the emergency
room swearing up a blue streak. The
result: $200 for replacement glass
and a $500 ER bill. Fun stuff:
VInce Amparan
Got your own do-lt-yourself mistake?
Get $100 for your Great Goof!
See Contributor Guidelines on p. 2.

u
z
0:
w
ID

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w

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