Should I paint my basement?

Should I paint my basement?

Painting a basement is a cheap way to really improve its appearance. It also takes a fraction of the time it takes to finish it. But it’s not a zero-maintenance option. So, should I paint my basement? Only after you weigh all of the factors.

Painting a basement isn’t a one-time effort that you can just do and forget about. Over time the paint will degrade and you will have to paint it again. It can take years or decades. But as long as you don’t look at it as something you do once and forget about, painting a basement can improve its appearance and make it less humid, making it a more pleasant and useful place.

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Cut plywood without a table saw

Cut plywood without a table saw

There are tons of woodworking projects available online that allow you to build some great-looking stuff with inexpensive lumber. But so many of them assume you have a table saw. How do you square up cheap dimensional lumber without a table saw? How do you cut plywood without a table saw? It turns out you can.

You can buy or make clamp-on jigs that allow you to make long cuts in a straight line with a circular saw or jig saw. This lets you do many things people normally do on a table saw, such as cutting the rounded edges off 1×4 or 2×4 lumber or ripping plywood. It’s much less expensive than a table saw, and in some cases, it’s also safer.

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Change batteries in a 27 LED Harbor Freight work light/flashlight

Change batteries in a 27 LED Harbor Freight work light/flashlight

If you shop at Harbor Freight, you know their little blue 27 LED work light/flashlight. It sells for $3.99, but they almost always have a coupon to give you one free with any purchase. But you don’t have to throw them out when they stop working. The batteries are replaceable. Here’s how to change batteries in a 27 LED Harbor Freight work light/flashlight.

The Harbor Freight work light/flashlight has three AAA batteries inside. Simply remove the three Philips-head screws from the back, pop off the back, and replace the batteries.

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How to sort screws and nails

How to sort screws and nails

I think it’s happened to all of us at one point or another, for various reasons. You have a bunch of coffee cans, pill bottles, or baby food jars full of assorted nuts, bolts, screws, and nails. And you’d like to use them, because they’re expensive. But they aren’t useful if you can’t find anything. So here’s how to sort screws and nails and nuts and bolts.

The important part when you sort screws and nails and nuts and bolts is to identify the parts that are most useful to you, then set those apart. Also set apart items that exist in large quantities, figure out what those are, and determine if they’re useful. Then group them in a way that makes sense to you so the next time you need a bolt, you can spend two minutes in the garage instead of making a trip to the hardware store.

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How to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox

How to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox

I bought a Stanley toolbox to get some extra tool storage space. I had to take drawers out to put it together. If you got a used or floor model one without a manual, here’s how to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox.

Most Stanley toolboxes use small hand-operated levers on either side of the drawer. Extend the drawer as far as it will go, then push the levers on each side in opposite directions. This releases the drawer so you can pull it out the rest of the way.

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Insulate an overhang properly and safely

Insulate an overhang properly and safely

When the polar vortex brought single-digit temperatures to St. Louis, our kitchen pipes froze. They didn’t burst, but we had to go without a kitchen sink until I could thaw the pipes. Our kitchen is partially on an overhang, which makes it colder than the rest of the house in winter and warmer than the rest of the house in summer. I finally did something about it. Here’s how to insulate an overhang properly.

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How to cut thin metal at home

How to cut thin metal at home

When I first became interested in electric trains as a hobby, I noticed the construction of a lot of parts was pretty simple. I wanted to replicate some of it myself. But I quickly became frustrated at paying $4 for a tiny sheet of brass and ruining half of it when I cut out my part. Here’s how to cut thin metal at home without wasting half of it.

The tools for cutting metal vary depending on the type of metal, but generally speaking, you can use relatively simple and inexpensive tools to do it, including a paper guillotine, electric metal shears, a nibbler, a rotary tool, or hand shears.

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Are Harbor Freight tools any good?

Are Harbor Freight tools any good?

As a longtime homeowner, a landlord, and a train hobbyist, I’ve collected a fair number of tools. Enough tools that I recently had to buy another tool cabinet because I was out of room. A fair number of my tools came from Harbor Freight. So are Harbor Freight tools any good? Sometimes. But definitely not always. They aren’t all junk, but they aren’t all good either.

It’s hard to generalize with Harbor Freight because some of their tools are a good value for the money, or even an excellent value for their money. Others are a poor value. Harbor Freight has a reputation and has started offering better quality in recent years, but many of their cheap tools also remain on the shelves. But if you’re careful, you can do very well at Harbor Freight.

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White spots on polyurethane: How to fix them

White spots on polyurethane: How to fix them

Sometimes when the polyurethane dries on your project, it leaves white spots on the finish, marring otherwise nice-looking work. Maybe that only happens to me, but I don’t think so. Fortunately you can fix white spots on polyurethane. And when you know what causes them, you can prevent them in the first place.

White spots on polyurethane are generally caused by two things: Not stirring thoroughly enough before applying it, or a buildup of moisture. While preventing the white spots is easier than fixing them, you can fix them by sanding down the high spots and then drawing out the moisture. If the spot is small, you can touch it up with a furniture marker.

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Organize tool box drawers cheap

Organize tool box drawers cheap

Sometimes I dig through my toolbox drawers looking for something and find tools I’d forgotten I had. And I might or might not find the tool I was looking for. Sound familiar? You can spend hundreds of dollars on organization systems, but you may not want to. Here’s how you can organize tool box drawers cheap, and without blowing your whole holiday weekend.

Toolbox organization trays can help you sort and group similar tools and keep the tools from jumbling into a mess, striking a balance between foam systems that look nice but offer no flexibility, and chaotic junk drawers that hide your tools from you. If some of your tools have instruction booklets, having trays lets you keep them right next to the tools if you ever need them.

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