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Gift Ideas for Home Improvement DIY’ers

Over at One Project Closer, the lads have a list of gifts for the DIY’ers and remodelers. Some nice stuff.

I would like to add to the list with a excellent plastic storage container. This is a Workforce parts container I picked up at the orange store about 3 years ago. They are around 12-15 bucks a copy. You may only think you need one, but like potato chips, that won’t fly long. These are very durable made with thick plastic.
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They are 18” wide, 12 1/2” high, and 3 1/2” deep. The handle is integral, and comfortable, especially when you have it filled up with stuff.

The dividers are very well made and sit in the boxes well.  They are adjustable and come with the box. The lid holds them in place when transporting.
This is the one I use for nails.
The top from the left I have 16d sinkers, 10d brights, 8d sinkers, 2” ringshanks
Next 6d commons, 6d finish, 4d finish, and 16d duplex
Next 8d finish, 3d finish, 1 1/2 ring shank, and 4d galvanized.
the bottom spaces on either side of the handle are for misc. stuff although under the plastic bag on the right I have a number of nail sets.

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My screw box.
Here I have deck screws from 1 1/4 to 3”. Drywall screws from 1” to 1 5/8”, both coarse and fine thread. I have specialty screws in 1/2”-3/4”. This is where I keep various plastic wall anchors, and all my counter sink bits.
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Did I mention that they are stackable?
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These are well designed and tough. A worthy addition to your remodeling arsenal.

Demo Tools – The Wonder Bar

A lot of folks are just starting to remodel and need tools. Here is one of the most important tools the home remodeler can have in their tool box.

The 21” Wonder Bar

This is one of those tools that is indispensable for demolition. It is a re-imaging of the crowbar. Basically it is a bent tempered steel bar for prying things apart and removing nails using leverage. Using a lever to move things is not new, and it still works!
Wonderbar

The Safety Note:

Wear Safety glasses when using this. More than 50% of the time you will be using a hammer to start. This is a tempered steel tool and the hammer face is a hardened steel tool. (Yes they tell you not to strike hard surfaces with your hammer, but are you really gonna use a 2×4 to hammer? Just Be Careful!)

Inevitably some piece of steel will chip off and go flying. It will be hot, moving fast and like the bread falling peanut butter side down, will try for your soft tissue. Wearing Safety glasses will help protect your eyes. Your face will be the second closest thing to this impact surface and has a lot of soft tissue. You will jump and cry like a baby, but will be able to see where it landed.

End Note.

This is the Stanley 21” Wonderbar. Leverage grasshopper, leverage. Don’t bother buying a smaller one. There are a number of reasons.

First, is the principle of leverage. The longer the lever, the easier it is to use and the more force you can bring to bear. Most housebloggers and especially the fearless women who are remodeling are not built like linebackers. I am 5′ 8” and thin. Plus I am lazy.

Second, this tool is designed for carpentry demolition. It is lighter than a crowbar of the same size, and has slots for gripping nails as well as tapered edges to get underneath as well as between framing members.

Third, it is useful when you need to move things around or get underneath things like holding a door in place when you are trying to put the hinges back.

Fourth, Do not attempt to save money by buying a off brand cheap unit. You can tell the difference as a well made unit will ring rather than thud like oone that is just twisted and not treated.

The image above shows a front and side view of the wonder bar. Note that it is curved at the top and has a crook at the bottom.Both ends of the bar have slots for engaging nails to lever the out. The top has an additional tear drop shaped opening for nails.

The desire to overuse this for trimming concrete, chipping stucco and other non-wood related activities should be swallowed.

The crook on the bottom can be used to tap (as opposed to slamming it like trying to ring the bell at the fair) the bar between trim and walls, studs nailed together, plates nailed to the floor, and so on.

Unless you do demo daily, one should be enough to pass onto your children.

Wonder Bar

Christmas Ideas – Dewalt Cordless Tools

A cordless drill for all reasons

I don’t recommend tools that I don’t own. That is why the photos I present are of my tools. Every homeowner needs a drill around the house. The best drill for the remodeler and homeowner is the

DEWALT DC920KA 18-Volt 1/2-inch Heavy-Duty XRP Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

This one is mine. Batteries hold a charge for a long time, and when using 3” screws to hold things together, it matters. Having been a corded tool guy for years, and gotten this as part of a set as a present from a client a couple of years ago, most of my plug in tools stay home.

If you buy one cordless drill, this dewalt drill is the one.

Dewaltcordless1

It is a regular drill, hammer drill, has 22 clutch settings(so it acts like a screw gun), a three speed transmission, key less chuck, great balance and runs magnificently.
As a hammer drill I only use it for 1/4” anchors(for steel stud track into concrete)handles up to 2” anchors well.Dewaltcordless2

Serious saw action

Next up in the remodelers tool kit for serious demo work is the sawsall aka Reciprocating saw. This is the next step for slashing walls open and doing rough cutting. The yellow tab is the blade lock and release. Uses standard blades, and cuts forever. Dewaltsawall1

Here is why this tool really shines. See those slots? The horizontal one allows you to insert blades sideways to a standard tool. It takes a little getting used to, but there are some places where this is the tool. The vertical slot allows you to install the blade with the teeth either up or down, which when you are cutting sole plates out, let you cut without cutting the joists underneath or destroy the blade cutting through concrete. Dewaltsawall2

The shoe has three 1/2 ” adjustments so you can start with the shoe extended and move it in as you use the tool getting the most out of your blades.  Dewaltsawall3

Like I said earlier I got a kit. All the tools fit well, and with batteries attached, which some tools don’t.

Dewaltkit

The Circular Saw is not a production tool, due to battery life and not lack of power. Uses standard 7 1/4”’ blades, has a cast  shoe, and depth and angle adjustments.

Dewaltskilsaw

The strangest thing in this kit was the light. It was only until the first time I needed to work in a dark attic that I saw just how useful it is.

Dewaltlight These are really great tools. It is not just me, but most of the sub contractors I have worked with over the past 2 years use them as well. You can buy them at Amazon and get free shipping.

The batteries recharge in an hour, the chargers stop when the batteries are charged when you are not watching the clock. (plus they are recyclable) You can spend less, but you will cry. You can spend more, but why bother? Dewalt has a couple hundred tools in this system. The only thing they don’t have is someone else to do the work.

Purdy XL Cub Paint Brush

Purdyxlcub
I have a large collection of paint brushes. Straight, Tapered, and a bunch of specialty brushes for oddball effects.  But this is hands down my new favorite one. This is the Purdy XL Cub.

It is tapered like a sash and trim brush, made with nylon and polyester, so it can be used with any type of paint or stain.

The real deal with this brush is the way it handles.
A standard brush has a long handle, which on flat surfaces works great, but this brush has a small handle with thumb depressions, allowing you to get into small spaces like the inside of shelving units and not banging into the stuff you have already painted.

The handling of this brush is like the difference between driving a chevette and a porsche 911.

If you are going to buy a brush for working on your house, this is definitely one to have.
Available at Amazon for under 10 bucks.