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DIY Tips

How to Tile Your Floor Using a Tile Saw

Jul 1, 2011

Tiles are both waterproof and durable. What better time to think about tackling a tile project then right now! The summer always means family and friends will be getting together. While you spend a lot of time outdoors, I’m sure you think about making your bathroom look presentable and enabling your mud room to handle the added traffic the backyard pool will add.

One of the most important first steps before you place even one tile on your floor is making sure you prepare the surface thoroughly and plan and design your work carefully. If you take the extra time to prepare, I guarantee you that the time spent will save you a whole lot of aggravation later on. I’m certainly guilty of rushing my tiling project and regretting it in the end.

When planning and laying out your tiling project always remember that the type and the actual size of the tile will affect your overall design and how you work. Obviously the larger the tile the less time it will take to install a room, but large tiles also have their pitfalls, especially if you are dealing with an uneven surface. Visualize your room and dry layout your design using a square, level and chalk line, insuring that your design will be straight.

Tile Floor Layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When cutting your tile, we recommend using a wet-cutting electric tile saw. However, we do not recommend using one of those throw-away, under $100.00, big box store tile saws with an inexpensive blade.  What we do recommend is buying one of the Lackmond “The Beast” Tile Saws. Now many of you do-it-yourselfers probably have not heard of this company, but our Tile Contractors certainly have.  Lackmond only manufacturer’s products specific to this industry with products such as: Diamond saw blades, grinding wheels, drill bits, concrete saws and tile saws. Too often your tile project is impeded by faulty equipment and a bad diamond blade. When quality counts and you do not want to have to replace a tool a short time down the road, then the Lackmond “The beast” Wet tile saw and Wet Tile Circular Saw is the answer. The Lackmond WTS75L, at just under $200.00, is an awesome deal for a contractor-grade, portable tile saw.

Lackmond WTS750I Tile Saw

 

Tools Needed for this Project:

Plumb Bob

Chalk and Chalk Line

Rubber Mallet

Tape Measure

Knee Pads

Bucket, Sponge, Rubber Gloves

 

 

Tips on Maintaining Your Lawn

May 27, 2011

Tips on Maintaining Your Lawn

If you read my last blog post, you learned some of the benefits to maintaining your yard such as increased home value, lower air conditioning bills, and better water quality. I suggested the Worx WG500 TriVac as a great tool to get your lawn and garden maintenance on the right track. However, all that leaves you with is some good info and possibly a TriVac. So I decided to write a Part 2 in honor of this daunting seasonal task that you may or may not enjoy. I’m going to share with you several tips on some best practices when it comes to maintaining your lawn in particular.

Tips on Maintaining Your LawnThe reality is everyone mows their lawn (well, almost everyone) and many of you may get frustrated when your grass starts to turn brown, or will only grows in patches. It’s at this time when you do one or all of these three things: scratch your head, kick your ineffective sprinkler, or Google a solution. When Googling a solution there is no guarantee that the information you find is going to be accurate, and you have to always keep that in mind. Unfortunately nowadays, everybody and anybody can publish content to the internet. But enough with back story, let’s get right to the tips, shall we?

Tip #1: Don’t leave your sprinkler on all day. Just like you can drown a flower, you can drown your lawn. Many experts agree that an inch of water once a week is about right for most lawns. I can’t tell you how many people I know personally who leave their sprinklers on all day. It’s an easy mistake, but a very costly one. Keep in mind though that an inch of water isn’t a global rule, the amount of water you need also depends on the climate, soil composition, and season. For the majority however, the best way to determine your lawn’s watering cycle is by placing containers on the lawn. Time it! Once they fill up with an inch of water you’ll know how long it takes to water your lawn with the sprinkler system you have.

Tip #2: Don’t cut your grass as short as possible. I know what you’re thinking. The shorter I cut it, the longer it’ll take to grow back which means I won’t have to cut it as much. However, that’s the wrong way to look at it. Longer grass prevents many weeds from growing up through the lawn, which in the long run really saves you more time. Who likes to pull weeds, or take chances on what weed killers actually work?

Tip #3: Only cut a 1/3 off your lawn. Just like any other plants or trees, you can’t cut too much off it or it will wither and possibly die. It’s the act of regeneration. Cutting more than a 1/3 off of your lawn’s grass shocks it and causes it to turn yellow or brown.

Tip #4: Don’t remove lawn clippings. This isn’t a requirement, but it does allow you to use less fertilizer which in turn saves you money. Lawn clippings are organic materials that can decompose and become fertilizer themselves. Lawn clippings will not cause thatch, but if you have thatch you should remove the lawn clippings until the problem is solved. Aerating your lawn prevents thatch which is Tip #5.

Tip #5: Always aerate your lawn. By always I mean make it part of your routine once a year. Aerating is simply poking holes into the lawn’s soil. This pulls out little round pieces of soil called plugs. Aerating is a form of “turning your lawn”. It allows deeper root growth and reduces soil compaction. Aerating allows air, water, and several nutrients direct access to your lawn’s root system. Plugs created by aerating hold water which allows hard soil to moisten, and clay soil to expand.

These five tips alone should greatly improve your lawn if you aren’t practicing them already. Of course always keep in mind that climate, soil composition, and time of year will cause variance in your results. In that case, take these tips and adapt them best to your situation. Now you will probably need something to trim your lawn in hard to reach places that a mower won’t pick up. As I said before I love the products that Worx makes, especially their trimmers. So take a look into the Worx WG151.5 Cordless Lithium-Ion Grass Trimmer.

Worx abandoned the need for gas power, and made it lightweight and convenient with an 18V battery. No cords, no need to buy gas. A friend I work with has a gas powered trimmer, and hasn’t touched it in over a year since getting the WG151.5. The battery takes only a ½ hour to charge, and a rack comes with it so you can mount it on to the wall while you wait. The WG151.5 has an automatic single line feed system, which means you never have to tap your trimmer head to feed additional line. It’s unique pivoting head and ratchet mechanism tilts 90 degrees so it can easily fit in tight spaces or sloped landscapes. So if you’re looking for a way to start putting these tips in action, check out the Worx WG151.5.

Written By Joseph Scovill

Polishing Your Vehicle Should Be Routine Maintenance

Mar 18, 2011

Polishing Your Vehicle Should be Routine Maintenance

Consider the Porter Cable 7424XP and Lake Country Pads

You know spring is coming when you wake up and hear the sound of birds chirping outside your window at six in the morning. Whether you live in the city, country side, or suburb it’s hard not to notice the remains of winter 2011 vanishing from your everyday lives. Your backyard is a little soggier, the roads you drive on to go to work are a little wider, and hopefully the fears of your roof collapsing have begun to fade. Whatever the case may be, you and your property have taken a toll from the snow, sleet, and freezing rain during this past winter season.

Although you feel like you’ve gotten the worst of it, one of the biggest victims of this year’s winter abuse is your vehicle. It’s had dirt, salt, and snow caked onto it for possibly three months. And who knows where that snow has been before it decorated your vehicle. I know personally that plenty of people walk their dogs on my street, just saying.

Cars need an automotive manicure. Bringing them to the car wash every once in a while is a necessary, and preventive step to auto care, but so is polishing your vehicle by hand. You could make the argument that most car washes do all of this for you and the convenience is unmatchable, and I’ll agree with you. However, polishing your car at the car wash is like brushing your teeth with a large wire brush. It can generally hit the highlights, but it does a spotty job and I wouldn’t recommend it as the first option.

Then why it is important to polish your vehicle?

Polishing removes imperfections such as scratches, oxidation and spotting. Polishing helps level the paint’s surface to give a lustrous shine. During the past winter your car’s probably seen its fair share of ricocheting rocks, salt on the road, and maybe even accidental scratches. With the coming of spring, now is the perfect time to repair your car’s look from these winter elements.

Porter Cable 7424XP Diagram

First, you’re going to need a Polisher. There are several different brands you could go with but many people prefer the 7424 XP made by Porter Cable. The Porter Cable 7424XP provides smooth handling, an electronic variable of 2,500 – 6,800 OPM, and a 4.5 Amp – 500 Watt Motor. Unlike its 7424 model, the Porter Cable 7424XP shape is more ergonomic, and has a speed switch which allows easy speed changing on the fly.

Next, you’ll need pads to slide on to that polisher. Lake Country provides you with the best quality for the best price. They make both CCS styled pads, and Kompressor Foam Pads. Both are more or less just as effective, but allow you to choose which look and feel you prefer. Kompressor pads are slotted in two different directions while the foam isn’t compressed, but when the foam is compressed this creates a sweet spot on the face of the pad. The CCS pads have dimples across their face to allow for more control when polishing at angles, and a back beveled Velcro platform that helps center it on the polisher to provide extra flexibility.

You’ve invested your time and money into your vehicle, whether it’s straight off the lot or just hitting the 90,000 mile mark. It’s helped you get from point A to point B when you asked it to. So just as you would bring it for its routine maintenance to improve its function, you should polish your vehicle to maintain its look and as well as its body.

Written By Joseph Scovill

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Sharpening Tools = Delta GR275 Bench Grinder

Sep 23, 2010

It’s a basic fact that sharp tools cut more safely and predictably while producing better results than dull tools. There are about as many different methods and tools for sharpening and maintaining an edge as there are edged tools.  Woodworkers have long recognized the grinder as a fast and efficient machine for shaping bevels prior to honing.  It’s also an excellent tool for putting the finished edge on cold chisels, shears, axes and other cutting tools.  If you have a tool that is nicked, rusted or has a broken edge, restoring them is as simple has having a Delta GR275.  This versatile tool isn’t just limited to ordinary grinding operations. Just substitute the grinding wheel with a wire wheel and you’re ready to remove rust, scale and paint. You can switch to a buffing wheel for polishing metals and plastics. Compared to most other machines, a bench grinder is the essence of simplicity. It’s basically an electrically-powered motor with a shaft on each end where wheels are mounted. Each wheel is held by a nut, with pressure distributed by washers. Of course, Delta took it one step further with their quick change nut and tool-less wheel cover and adjustable tool rest.

Delta GR275 Grinder

Delta GR275 Grinder

Unleash Your Cordless Drill: Torque Adjustment Ring

Apr 19, 2010

ezwoodshop – Wood Plans and Designs  

One of the most valuable (but mostly ignored) features in a cordless drill is the torque adjustment ring. Now I know it’s tempting to overlook all the techie-looking controls spattered around the handle of a modern drill. I certainly did when I bought my first Makita cordless drill. After all, how complicated can it be to drive a #8 woodscrew into plywood? Not too complicated, really. But that doesn’t mean features like a torque adjustment ring have no use. You might be surprised just how much this little control can change the way you work with wood.

 Staying in Control

 

The best way to understand what a torque adjustment ring does is to think of how we use hand-held screwdrivers. We let the of the screwdriver tell us what to do – when to bear down on the screw to prevent stripping the head – and when to back off to avoid driving the screw too deep. However, put an 18-volt power drill in our hands, and we no longer have that kind of subtle control over what’s happening. In a second we can completely strip out the head of a woodscrew, or drive a woodscrew so far into a board that comes out the other side.Enter the adjustable torque clutch! This is a great feature that lets you decide just how much power to unleash on a woodscrew. On most cordless drills, the torque clutch is located just behind the chuck. It’s a twistable ring that starts at 0 and goes up to something like 20 or 25. Zero means full brakes are on – providing a super gentle twist of the bit. At 25 your drill is totally unleashed – giving all the muscle it has to offer. So what does that mean for you?

Using the torque clutch to avoid stripping heads We’ve all had this problem. A stubborn woodscrew won’t go flush to the board. So we bear down and force the screw in. Sometimes that works. Sometimes not. More often we end up stripping the head. Of course the problem has nothing to do with the drill itself. It usually means the pilot hole is too small for the screw. The nice thing about a torque clutch is that it gives us advance warning of this kind of trouble. A noticeable clacking sound tells us the clutch is engaged, and that the drill is holding back it’s muscle to prevent stripping the head.

 

 

 

 

Using the torque clutch to avoid buried wood screws

Just as much a problem as screws not going in far enough are screws that go too far. Be assured that when you see the head of a screw start to disappear into the face of a board, you’re asking for problems. The adjustable torque clutch can help prevent this. If you can get your pilot holes and screw sizes matched up the way they should be matched, the adjustable torque clutch will do a nice job of knowing exactly when to stop driving the screw.

How to Set the Adjustable Torque Clutch

It’s a trial-and-error process more or less, so the numbers themselves on the ring (0-25) don’t really mean anything. For example, if your project calls for brass woodscrews that can easily get stripped out, start out at zero just to see how far in the drill will take them. Then gradually move up in numbers till you have just right amount of torque to set the screw flush to the face of the board – without going too far in. Once there, you might want to keep a note of where the clutch is set for doing similar projects in the future.

Top Rated Tool Bags

Oct 17, 2009

Any job is easier when your tools are placed and organized in a Tool Bag. Not to mention all of the time you will save not having to search for your favorite hammer or screwdriver. 

Our favorite Open-Top Designed Tool Bag is the DeWalt DG5587  14″ Open-Top Tool Carrier.

DeWalt Tool Bag

DeWalt Tool Bag

 Handy slots and compartments for screwdrivers, files, carpenter’s pencils, utility knife, electric tape strap and measuring tape clip. Open-top design with collapsible bar handle allows for excellent visibility and access to all contents. Includes Two Flap-Covered pockets with a nifty hook and loop closure which is great for your cell phone. Made from heavy-duty and ballistic poly fabric construction gives this Tool Carrier long life and durability. This Tool Bag also has four rubber base pads for added protection on the bottom of the bag. Costing under $40.00

Think about the tools you most often use, and choose a tool bag that has the right number of slots, pockets or loops for your tool load.

 

 Another  Top Rated Tool Bag is the Bucket Boss 06004 Gatemouth Tool Bag.

bucket-boss-06004Quality and price, costing under $25.00, is what sets this bag apart from the pack. Bucketboss brand of Tool Bags have always made durability their #1 priority when manufacturing their Tool Bags and Tool Belts. This Tool Bag has 23 pockets with a large interior for power tools, extension cords or anything else.  Padded sides and reinforced bottom made from 600 denier fabric. This Bag is appropriately named because of its 9″ x 15″ opening and this bag measures 17″ in length by 9″ wide X 12″ in height. You can accommodate most mid-sized power tools, along with additional accessories.

Blogs We Like: The Drummond Home Restovation

Sep 15, 2009

The Drummond-Revere Home “Restovation” blog is the brainchild of Jerad Foster, a “third generation home builder” and furniture designer in the Kansas City area.

The home takes its name from its architect – Don Drummond.  No, not the trombone player, although he’s pretty cool, too.  Drummond was one of the pioneers of modern home architecture in the American midwest.

Not just a regular remodel, the Drummond-Revere home is also a historical renovation, which adds its own layers of complexity and complication to the already unpredictable business of doing a renovation.

In addition to updates on the house, Jerad also shares tidbits from his personal life (like his search for a classic Eames lounger) and his business.

Jerad’s blog is an engaging read and showcases a really awesome modern home.  It’s definitely worth a look.

Perform Routine Maintenance On Your Power Tools

Sep 4, 2009

Whenever you invest in a heavy piece of equipment or even a small hand tool, it is recommended for safety and quality purposes that you perform routine maintenance before and after every use. Not only will this keep your equipment clean and in working condition, but it will also keep you safe. Here are a few maintenance tips that you should use to ensure your equipment is up to par:

1 – Check for dull, broken or bent blades on your different saws. Starting a job with a less than perfect blade may not produce the results you intended for, which can botch a whole job and cost you lots more time and money in the long run. Blades that are not in the right condition can also lead to injury if they break while using your saw or if you force a dull blade. Make sure you are routinely changing/sharpening blades to stay safe.

2 – Clean any dust away from all of your machines. It is inevitable working in a wood shop that you will have wood dust on all of your equipment. When using your machines, make sure all wood dust is cleared off the piece of equipment that you are working with. This prevents any kick back of dust when you power up the machine, which can potentially damage your eyes. This will also make sure that your equipment does not get clogged up with dust, which can cause it to malfunction. A dust collector is recommended on all of your heavy equipment to keep the dust out of the air and your machines.

3 – Oil your tools as much as possible. Check to see if all moving parts are working correctly and in good order. Once you are done cleaning out all the dust and debris, put a few drops of oil in all the gears and moving parts. Some equipment has specific parts that need consistent lubrication to keep it running well.

4 – Examine power cords and check batteries to make sure nothing is leaking or damaged before using.

By performing these simple tips you will be kept safer and your equipment will last longer. Trust us – we’re the tool experts.

DIY Tips
, Safety Tips | No Comments

How To: Painting Furniture

Aug 21, 2009

More often than not, a ratty old piece of furniture can be salvaged and saved at a fraction of the cost of buying a new piece. When Grandma’s armoire or Dad’s old desk is about to hit the last yard sale of the season, try refurbishing it instead with some of these great tips for repainting furniture.

  1. Repainting furniture can be a great way to revitalize your home, however, it’s practically useless if the furniture is already in bad shape. Check to see if the condition of the wood is good and then sand or dispose of as needed. Hardware can be easily replaced, so don’t focus on it.

  2. The first thing to do if you’re painting furniture is to sand it lightly to rub off any coatings that could prevent the paint from sticking. Be sure to use a gentle method if you’re working with antiques. Remove all hardware.

  3. Next, apply a coat of primer, which can help prevent stains from bleeding through the new paint.

  4. Primer must match the type of paint you have chosen. For furniture it’s best to use a satin or semigloss finish in either a latex or an oil-based paint. Never leave primer unpainted.

  5. Once you’ve primed, now it’s time to paint. Latex paint is great for painting most furniture pieces without the odor of oil-based paint, although oil-based paint can offer more stain resistance. Either way, be sure you repaint your furniture in a well-ventilated room.

  6. In addition to choosing between latex and oil-based, choose the right kind of sheen for your furniture piece. Gloss allows for more shine while flat will work as a matte surface. It’s really up to you.

  7. When painting, start at the tip and work down, smoothing paint drips as you go.

  8. Once the paint has dried, spot check for any touch ups and paint as necessary. Reattach hardware.

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