Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for May, 2009

Wire Is All You Require to Remove a Mirror

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Many slab mirrors are installed with adhesive or tape rather than mechanical fasteners. But you can still remove them easily with a bit of care and this simple tip.

To remove the mirror safely, you can make a wire saw (Photo, right). Just head for the hardware store, and pick up a length of picture-hanging wire, a dowel, and a couple of small cable stops. Cut the dowel to make handles, and drill holes for the wire to pass through. Cut the wire to length, and then secure it to the handles using the cable stops.

To use the saw, just slip it behind the mirror, and cut your way through, as shown in the Illustration at right. On a larger mirror, you may need one person at each end.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Repair Broken Chairs

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Too often when a chair comes apart, the tenons that hold the rungs in the legs get snapped off inside the leg. With simple tools and a bit of patience, though, you can remove the tenon, repair the rung, and make the chair good as new.

Start by trying to pry the remnants of the tenon out of the mortise, as shown in Fig. 1. Use gentle pressure.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to drill the tenon out. To do that, first use the rung to determine the angle at which the tenon enters the leg. Then drill a small-diameter starter hole, centered on the end of the broken tenon. Follow up with progressively larger holes (Fig. 2).

Now you’ll need to make a new tenon to fit into the rung. Here again, just drill progressively larger holes in the end of the rung, and then insert a dowel (Fig. 3).

Now reglue the chair. Use ratcheting straps to draw the assembly tight (Photo, above right).

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 3.89 out of 5)
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Leverage Tames Bowed Flooring

Friday, May 15th, 2009

If you ever come across a bowed board while installing tongue-and-groove flooring, don’t throw it out. Many boards can be bent to your will by simply using leverage

To do this, just set a 2-ft. long section of scrap flooring against the bowed plank at about a 30° angle, making sure to line up the grooved side of the scrap with the tongue on the bowed board. Then drive a screw into the scrap about 6″ from the end to act as a pivot point (Illustration). This creates a lever that can be used to push the plank into place. By rotating the opposite end of the scrap piece outward, it forces the bent board tightly into place for nailing.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Stash More Stuff with Drop-down Storage

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Basement workshops are hardworking hubs of activity for do-it-yourselfers. But in tight quarters, space comes at a premium. One solution is to add extra storage by using the space between the floor joists overhead. To do that, install a pull-down storage bin to hold power tools and other building supplies

This handy drop-down bin is easy to build. It’s just a box made of 3/4″ plywood and pine that’s sized to fit between the floor joists. Shelves divide the bin into compartments, and wide rails keep items from falling out.

After building the bin, it must be mounted securely. To do that, start by cutting a 2×10 brace to fit between the floor joists. Then attach a continuous hinge to the bin and brace. The bin is secured in its closed position with a wood turnbutton.

A screen-door closer gets attached along one side. It prevents the bin from swinging down too quickly and holds the bin in position when it’s open.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)
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Install a Programmable Thermostat

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to decrease your cooling and heating costs. Claims vary, but it’s reasonable to expect a savings of 10 to 20 percent.

Installing a programmable thermostat is easy. After shutting off the furnace and air conditioner, remove the old thermostat. The dial will either pop off or unscrew, revealing wires connected to the wall plate. Each wire connects to a terminal that is marked with a letter. Remove one wire at a time, and mark it using the labels that come with the new thermostat (Photo, above right). Then remove the wall plate.

Next, install the wall plate for the new thermostat using screws and hollow-wall anchors. Make sure the plate is level. Then reconnect the wires to the terminals on the new plate. Put batteries in the new thermostat, and snap it onto the wall plate (Photo, right). Now, all you need to do is program the thermostat for the times and temperatures you want.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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