A couple of years ago I demonstrated a technique to cut a fascia miter on site with
a hand held cabinet flush cut saw when I climbed up on a roof with a camcorder
in tow and taped (in somewhat Bob Villa fashion) an actual repair in the field.
(CLICK THIS LINK)
Never at a loss to risk my life for the benefit of my viewers, this spring
I repeated the previous performance, this time atop a 30 foot extension ladder
with a power tool in one hand and a small Vivatar Camera in the other.
(With my third hand I firmly grasped the ladder of course!)
It is impossible to say too many good things about this marvelous invention- the
oscillating multi-tool and I have posted several examples of it at work on the job.
CLICK THIS LINK HERE or
CLICK THIS LINK HERE or
CLICK THIS LINK HERE
So enjoy this, my latest adventure, as I document a common repair in the life of a
As always, remember this is a demonstration, not a tutorial.
Contact an experienced local woodworker if you need help with this type of repair.
HERE, OF COURSE, IS A LINK TO THE VALUABLE MULTI-TOOL
A fairly common problem: how to fix a partially rotted or damaged window sill without disturbing the interior woodwork or sash assembly?
As it happens the solution is not that complicated even with window sills built circa 1940!
Modern replacement plates will work, though in this case I did make a custom nose with the original as my pattern.
A standard operation for anyone who retrofits doors into existing frames or must resize a door or opening to the available space, door hinge installations will crop up in the life of a woodworker or cabinet maker sooner or later.
Most videos offer a benchtop demonstration on a piece of scrap wood.
In this video you will see how to mount a hinge on an actual door with two techniques – “old school” with a scribe and hand chisel and “new school with a router and template guide.
You can buy a commercial guide or make one out of thin plywood.
I used a piece of thin plywood for my template.
As always, remember this is a demonstration, not tutorial.
If you wish to do this yourself seek the assistance of an experienced woodworker.
To see another variation of “old school” mortise technique take a peek at this guy at work:
(The good stuff– old timey chisel “chopping” technique– in the video starts at minute 2:14)
And then in this video you can watch a pretty good old timey size – to – fit door installation with hand tools and everything!
UPDATE: The router I used was equipped with a template guide bushing set attached to the baseplate. They came in three sizes to be used with different diameter bits. This was the system used before router TEMPLATE BITS were sold which, of course, simplified things immensely.
Router Template Bushing Guide
In a previous episode we discussed the construction and use of a homemade DIY paintbrush
spinner to keep clean brushes on hand during a paint job. CLICK THIS LINK
Today learn how to clean a paint roller cover with almost the exact same parts.
Take a length of PVC pipe to match the size of the roller cover, a cap for the pipe,
and a garden hose attachment and use the assembly to quickly and efficiently clean
the roller cover by simply pushing it into the tube until the paint is completely rinsed out.
Out with the old! In with the new!
Metal sash basement windows! They survive everywhere!
Rarely assaulted by children’s baseballs or random vandalism and firmly mortared into the brick facade as part of the original construction they quietly rust into oblivion.
But they can be updated with fancy new age vinyl just like any other window!
The removal and new installation are a little more complicated than the average window, but the result is worth it!
Cutting the old frame out takes little more than a pry bar and metal cutting wheel- either a circular saw or grinder will do the job in short order!
Watch the action – packed – sparks – flying video for details!
People ask: “Why don’t you post more stuff to your blog?”
Simple answer: “Most of the jobs I do on a daily basis are neither photogenic
nor the stuff of Shakespearean Soliloquies.” (Knew ye not of mine many mighty
Shakespearean labours? Why fie upon thee!)
Truth be told the daily bread and butter of a handyman consists of necessary mundane
maintenance and repair known as THE SERVICE CALL
For example, a short list of routine maintenance household chores:
… assemble half dozen (+/-) mail order knockdown pieces of IKEA type furniture
… prepare (3) field sketch(es) of interior store dimensions
… reset house window screens and order necessary replacements
… repair (3) kitchen drawers
Fancy Floating Deck with Diagonal Planks
Retrofit Deck Over Back Door Steps
Deck Assembled With Quick Disconnect Girder Pins
Really Big Deck (for the time)
Today, the cantilever deck is found everywhere, but back in the dark ages the design was considered to be a somewhat radical proposition.
Until I browsed through the archives, I did not realize what a diehard proponent I must have been in those early days, because most of my deck pictures, even those just a few feet off the ground, are of the cantilever variety.
The advantage, then and now, of course, is the ability to build a square frame that is more or less parallel to the attached house without corner post alignment difficulties.
LINK NUMBER 1 TO DECK PLAN SITE
LINK NUMBER 2 TO DECK PLAN SITE
Today’s project, water damage right at the bottom of door threshold.
An all too common job–the damage you see is usually a result of rain water back-splash from some hard surface onto the lower few inches of exposed wood.
In most cases not too hard to fix. Enjoy the video!
Strange but true, in this age of Masonite, vinyl, and Hardiplank, genuine yellow pine Dutch Cove Siding or in the jargon of the vernacular, “German Siding” is still available at a modest price ($1.59 @ linear foot)!
The new siding perfectly matched the vintage fifty year old planks from yesteryear on this Cottage Bungalow in a historic downtown Raleigh neighborhood.
Good ole pattern number #105- a true classic!
Click Image for high resolution picture.
Candle Holder Without Candle
Candle Holder With Candle
(CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION)
So there was this 60 foot Black Walnut tree soon to be claimed by highway construction down in the front field of a little place in farm country.
We knew at some point the construction contractor would cut the family yard tree but no one knew exactly when.
One day I get THE phone call: the tree has been cut down.
Copper Chimney Cap In Raleigh Before Copper Was Cool
Copper Cap On Old Wake Forest Road, Aging Gracefully After 20 Years
Another Copper Cap
This Behemoth was made from plate steel for a ranch style house. Also aging gracefully.
Standard Galvanized Conestoga Wagon Style-Without Bird Screen By Request
As a revival Handyman in the 1970′s;80′s and 90′s one of my great treats was to have people ask me to do just about anything.
Naturally, many job requests were referred to specialty trades, but some trades simply did not exist in Raleigh back in the Pleistocene.
One was Chimney Caps.
Job shops would make them, but no one really wanted to climb up and install them.
So, for good customers I filled the gap and ordered and installed specialty chimney caps.
Before the Internet it was not uncommon to go to the library and find some musty book with specifications and details on the care and feeding of chimney caps.
Many of my chimney caps are still in place today quietly doing the work they were designed to do.
Copper chimney caps-in Raleigh-before copper was cool!
Somehow I wangled a video camcorder way back in the dark ages of 1994-ish.
I may have actually rented it from some now defunct upstart video rental place.
Without benefit of video playback (primitive beast that it was!) I taped about an hour and a half of glazing video.
From that raw stock I was able to glean this three minute montage of the multiple steps involved in the process of putty replacement for the classic single pane window.
All the footage was made on an actual job with no staged preparation or artificial techniques.
These are real windows on a real house with real putty removed and replaced.
Labor and time intensive, this is the way life was before vinyl replacement windows!
Remember, these windows must still be primed and painted, preferably with an oil based exterior gloss enamel!
For more window glazing commentary visit the Window Glazing Archive CLICK LINK
For two other examples of window glazing from around the country CLICK HERE or HERE
Corner Bar In Fiberglass Shower Stall
Grab Bar Installed With No Tile Damage
From the custom job files……….
Job Shop fabricated stainless steel grab bars for a fiberglass shower stall and fully tiled bathtub.
The challenge was to install completely functional safety bars without damage to the existing tile or fiberglass.
The solution was to weld the custom shaped handlebars to a wall-plate which was drilled in place with attachment holes to bolt the entire assembly directly to the wall studs.
The completed bars easily supported the full weight of a 300 lb male engaged in strenuous push-ups and other suspension exercises.
Store Front Door
Full Glass Door
Standard 6 Panel Door
Commercial Kitchen Door
9 Panel Door
Handmade Log Cabin Door
Doors! Fancy doors! Ordinary doors! Handmade doors!
One of the most common jobs for me over the years has been door replacement,repair and accessory installation.
Herewith a small selection of just a few of the doors that found their way into my scrapbook.
Click on the thumbnails for a bigger picture.
Contrary to conventional wisdom the life of a handyman is not filled to the brim with limousines and red carpets.
Most jobs are routine patch-and-plaster fixit repairs invisible when complete.
Note the circular column bases and column repair blanks were not turned on a lathe but cut on a table saw, or in some cases a radial arm saw and dressed with a router.
I have never used a miter chop saw to cut circular blanks but it would probably work as well.
So here in no particular order are examples of some repairs and restorations which are normally unnoticeable when finished.
Click on the thumbnails for a better view.
Another Sash Repair
Garage Panel Repair
Another Garage Panel Repair
Column Base Repair
Another Column Base Repair
Basic Gate Latch
The Shed Files
Sheds! Plain sheds, fancy sheds, backyard sheds, carport sheds, poolside sheds, metal sheds, even cinderblock sheds!
Raleigh has always been a hands-on Do-It-Yourself kind of town and over the years I have been fortunate to assist people who wanted to build their own shed, but needed a certain amount of technical assistance and support.
There is no limit to the number and variety of designs my clients have created for themselves. Here are a few from the files.
Probably one of the fanciest sheds I’ve built-vinyl siding, full soffit, recycled entry door and multiple windows.
Basic Metal Swing Set
In the beginning the world was filled with basic metal swing sets. (Okay, in the beginning of the beginning the backyard playground was a tire suspended by a rope from a tree limb! A little before my time!)
Anyway, the metal playground swing was a true kit with factory finished steel tubes and predrilled holes and hardware to assemble it all.
Then came the wood swing set with plastic accessory kits which included instructions for the assembly of the swing set from stock lumber to which the plastic accessories could be attached.
Early in the 1980′s Lowes Lumberyard came up with a unique marketing idea called the Treeless Treehouse. Crude by today’s standards this was a backyard playhouse designed to be built by Dad over the weekend.
Three Panel Two Track Cabinet
Another example of a built-to-order cabinet base made from birch plywood and clear fir trim.
Two panel doors slide on one track, the third panel door slides on a separate track behind the other two.
Interior adjustable shelves.
If your dogs run free at home in a big fenced-in yard and they need a safe place down at the farm where the territory is a little more unfamiliar here is a genuinely fun project made from odds and ends and careful planning. A regular doggie Taj Ma Hound, it is adaptable to endless variations.
In this specific case you have to bless the fork lift operators at the Big Box Lumberyard! Of six panels in a premium upscale kennel one was completely destroyed and three were mildly mangled by careless handling!
Naturally, the manager marked it down to slightly higher than a scrap metal price and the five usable panels became the foundation for a nifty doggie bread and breakfast outdoor kennel. The ultimate scratch and dent bargain!
With an ordinary $50.00 fence panel to replace the broken metal section; some deck lumber; T-111 siding to fill the gaps and bingo! a really attractive and inexpensive kennel came together from odds and ends!
Cute Project- 2 sheets of cabinet grade Birch plywood, an unfinished ornamental glass French door from Habitat For Humanity ($65.00 A BARGAIN) and bingo! a built-in display cabinet for fishing rods,golf clubs and even the odd pike or spear!
This story has got to make you scream.
The 3’0″ x7’0″ (3 foot wide x 7 foot tall) door on this cottage bungalow had been in continuous service since original installation sometime in the 1930′s.
UNTIL some punks in 2009 destroyed it in order to steal a few hundred dollars worth of TV’s and Laptops. ( Hey guys! Next time use the window. It’s cheaper!) (Next time the owners maybe inside with a shotgun!)
As it happens a careful examination of available special order doors uncovered this exquisite modestly priced all wood reproduction door.
For an authentic installation I used a hand plane from the shop to dress the edge when I sized it to fit the original jamb.
This idea works best on a painted door. (New glazing muntins on stained doors have color disparities).
A glassworker supplied custom dimension bevel glass panes for the existing panels on these two six panel doors.
With very sharp tools I very, very, very carefully split off the muntin section from the one piece molded rail and stile, removed the panels and inserted the glass.
A little touch up paint on the reattached muntin pieces and a dramatic difference inside and out for this entryway!
Try it, you will like it!
In a previous episode almost exactly a year ago it was hot! It was humid!
The dew point was in the mid 60′s!
Regardless, I repaired a deck in need of a long overdue refurbishment.
Click Link to yesteryear’s deck refurbishment
Imagine my surprise as I went back to the future last week when another deck
in need of a long overdue refurbishment appeared on the assignment list!
And yes, it was hot! It was humid! Summertime in Raleigh!
In a previous episode, the world’s largest cat scratch post was unveiled.
CLINK THIS LINK FOR PREVIOUS EPISODE
Today video of the cat post in use. Not as dynamic as I would have liked,
but the cat sensed the cameras were rolling and did not want to show off.
Since I labor in obscurity most of the time, nothing surprises me more than the number of people
who watch my videos.
I actually got a phone call from a guy in Oklahoma a few days ago!
A few months before that a clockmaker in California called with some questions about another video.
So I guess I should follow the example of McDonalds from a few years back and put a sign on my truck: “Over 300,000 served”
Hidden Termite Trails behind 50 year old door casing
To paraphrase the famous philosopher Forest Gump, “Repair work is like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re gonna get.”
People ask me what it will take to fix this or install that or finish the other thing.
My short answer is usually “I do not know”.
And the reason for uncertainty is the surprise that lurks just behind a board or
covered by siding or underneath a threshold –usually in the form of critter
damage or sometimes just ordinary dry rot or water damage.
Each repair is unique unto itself.
Twice have I waxed eloquent about Carpenter Bees.
CLICK THIS LINK or
CLICK THIS LINK.
Today’s picture reveals a slightly different problem — Termites!
A routine storm door installation became something of a major discovery in terms of
possible (expensive) pest control and abatement.
For first time in maybe fifty years, someone (me) pulled the trim casing off this
door frame and what to my wondering eyes appeared but a significant number of
Naturally the desired outcome for a “simple job” this is NOT.
Unfortunately howsomeever, such aggravations WILL frequently occur with houses old or new.
Such is the way of all repairs.
Step #1 Remove Interior Casing
Step #2 Remove existing sash and liner
Step #3 Unwrap and insert new sash and liner
Step #4 Screw new liner to frame
Reattach trim casing
Vinyl Replacement Windows- the 21st Century solution to the endless maintenance
of the putty glazed 12 lite wood sash of yesteryear.
Easy to clean from inside,just tilt the sash down for quick access to the outside glass.
Easy to repair, just remove the entire sash by releasing two upper and lower pins.
Easy on the utility bills, the furnace and Air Conditioner run less and cool more with
double insulated glass.
No paint, no putty, no hard-to-open, hard-to-close operation in humid weather.
Definitely an innovation for any homeowner to consider.
Previously Wood Boring Carpenter Bees or beetles moved me to video their efforts in relatively small pieces of wood.
CLINK THIS LINK TO PREVIOUS REPORT and VIDEO
Today’s news is much more spectacular.
When I detached two 16 foot 1×8′s from the eave of a house the bees had carved out as many as three tunnels the length of each board!
If you see Carpenter Bees buzzing around your house, this is the project they pursue!
In the perpetual struggle between attractive symmetrical handrail bracket layout and safe
robust attachment to solid wall studs there are only two real alternatives:
1. Preinstalled wall cleat reinforcements between the studs at the handrail location
before wallboard is attached or
2. A surface mounted decorative backboard securely fastened to available wall studs
however they are spaced.
In most homes, the only practical balance between the two opposite requirements is
the surface mounted backboard firmly attached to every wall stud with brackets located
as needed evenly spaced the length of the handrail.
In this picture from the Wayback Archives handrails run up each side of the stairwell.
The backboard is ordinary stock pine outlined with cove moulding and fastened to
each individual wall stud with countersunk screws. The brackets are spaced evenly
along the length of the backboard as needed.
Of course, a backboard is not necessary if the placement of handrail brackets
eclectically follow the wall stud pattern without regard to symmetry.
A return to the heyday of the legendary Potato Shooter from the 1990′s!
This time the food of choice— MARSHMALLOWS!
Yes! But real shooters still need a real source of power.
Say, something along the lines of a homemade paintball shooter
that fires snack food!
So I tinker with a compressed air version, but have yet to design a portable
tube tank to replace the messy compressor air hose connection.
Here at Handyman Blog we love to talk about balustrades (CLICK LINK HERE),
their design, their construction, their layout… so naturally it was hard not to
admire the vintage circular mezzanine balustrade in the lobby of Hill Hall at
the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill when attending a concert this week.
A sturdy example of Victorian Era workmanship with perfect symmetrical balusters
assembled on a continuous circular curve around the entresol opening at the
building’s main Entrance Lobby directly attached to the music auditorium.
There is every reason to believe this handrail has seen continuous service since it was
first installed over a century ago.