How to fix a crooked valve stem on a bike

How to fix a crooked valve stem on a bike

My son asked me to help him air up his tires on his bicycle because the valve stem was crooked. His friends tried to help him and couldn’t figure it out, and it was a new one to me too. Here’s how we learned to fix a crooked valve stem on a bike.

The good news is you don’t need a new bike or even a new tire, necessarily. Crooked valve stems are caused by a deflated inner tube bunching up. Sometimes you can deflate the tire and straighten the stem, but other times you have to pull the tire and stretch out the tube.

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Change or remove a doorknob faceplate

Change or remove a doorknob faceplate

When you buy a new doorknob, they almost always have a rectangular faceplate on the mechanism. In some older houses, the doorknobs just have small, round faceplates, or no faceplate at all. Here’s how to change or remove a doorknob faceplate so a new doorknob fits without you having to mortise the door.

To change or remove a doorknob faceplate, you literally pry the faceplate off with a screwdriver. The trick is just knowing where to pry. If you’re changing a lot of doorknobs, the time you save by not having to mortise the door adds up quickly.

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Why making a table saw from a circular saw is dangerous

Why making a table saw from a circular saw is dangerous

Table saws are extremely useful, but a good table saw is expensive. Even a cheap table saw can be rather expensive. So it’s very tempting to make your own, using a circular saw. But here’s why making a table saw from a circular saw is dangerous.

A homemade table saw lacks the safety features of even the most basic saw, including the riving knife, kickback pawls, and blade guard. Although frequently overlooked, kickback is the most common cause of injury from table saws, and building your own saw leaves you susceptible. It’s much safer to buy an inexpensive table saw.

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Add an outlet to the garage from the adjacent room

Add an outlet to the garage from the adjacent room

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to build garages and put only one electrical outlet in them. But it’s common in houses built before the 1970s. I don’t need to put the Taj Mahal out there, but I don’t like snaking extension cords across the garage to plug a tool in. So here’s how to add an outlet to the garage from the adjacent room.

To add an outlet to the garage from the adjacent room, knock out the metal knockout in the electrical box in an existing outlet, then drill through the drywall on the other side. Run a wire from the outlet to the other side. The project only requires a wall-mounted electrical box, a short length of wire, a cover plate, and a GFCI outlet if the circuit isn’t already GFCI-protected.

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Buying tools at estate sales

Buying tools at estate sales

While there are some potential pitfalls, you can do very well buying tools at estate sales. Probably 1/3 of my hand tools came from estate sales, and so did my most expensive corded power tools. Here’s how to find the best tools and the best deals.

The key is knowing what you’re looking for and what the tools you’re after are worth. Whether you’re buying tools to use or tools to collect, you don’t want to overpay. After all, you’re investing a lot of time, gas, and mileage. Factor that in.

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Northern Tool vs Harbor Freight

Northern Tool vs Harbor Freight

When a Northern Tool opened up near me, I assumed it was something like Harbor Freight. So did everyone else, it seemed. But there are significant differences between the two stores. Both have a reputation for being stores that sell cheap Chinese tools. When it comes to Northern Tool, that’s an oversimplification. Northern Tool vs Harbor Freight isn’t necessarily an obvious comparison, it turns out.

Both Northern Tool and Harbor Freight sell things you won’t find at your local home center. But while Harbor Freight devotes most of its store to cheap Chinese tools, Northern Tool also sells costlier brand-name tools. Each store also sells things the other doesn’t. If you want a big tool chest, go to Harbor Freight. If you want a lawn mower, go to Northern Tool.

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Fix a Craftsman table saw that won’t turn on

Fix a Craftsman table saw that won’t turn on

My Craftsman table saw broke the third time I used it. That was nice of it. Fortunately there isn’t a lot that goes wrong with these, so they’re easy to fix. Here’s how to fix a Craftsman table saw that won’t turn on.

There are two or three things to try. Unplug the saw, then first, just clean out the sawdust from the underside with your vacuum cleaner. Second, look for a red reset switch on the motor. Press it if yours has one. Third, take off the power switch, check its connections and clean it.

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13 ways to save money on power tools

13 ways to save money on power tools

Have you ever looked into a DIY project and the person talks about how they built something for $10, but you count up $5,000 worth of tools they used to build it? It’s hard to save much money when a project requires expensive tools. So here’s how to save money on power tools. 13 ways, in fact.

Most projects assume you have about six common tools to get them done. In a pinch, you can get most of them done with four or five essential tools. The essentials should cost you less than $200, and with careful shopping, you can assemble a reasonable collection of tools over time and spend less than $500.

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Grades of power tools

Grades of power tools

Much like cars, power tools come in different grades and price points. Just like General Motors sells you a Chevy in hopes you’ll move up the ladder to eventually buy a Buick or a Cadillac from them, toolmakers do the same thing, selling different grades of power tools at increasing price points, under different brand names for each.

Most tools that hardware stores sell fall into three ranges: consumer, prosumer/enthusiast, and professional grades, at increasing price points. As long as you use the tools how the manufacturer intended, you can be happy even with inexpensive tools.

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