Rockwell F50 – The “F” is for “Freakin’ Awesome!”

rockwell1

Rockwell’s tagline for their new F50 oscillating tool is “F50: The F is for FAST.” After trying it out, I’m going to say the F is for “Freakin’ Awesome!” This oscillating tool is really moving the bar for the whole oscillating tool market, and I say that as a long-time Fein MultiMaster user. [Read more...]

Create A Bed Murphy Bed Kit Review

The full Murphy.

As a kid, I was fascinated with Murphy beds. A bed that folds up into the wall! Amazing! It just made so much sense…not to mention it looked totally FUN! In reality, I had only seen Murphy beds in the movies. Watching old black and white comedies on TV, the Murphy bed was an irresistible prop for slapstick comedians like the Marx Brothers (to this day, Charlie Chaplin’s drunken wrestling match with the Murphy bed is an all-time classic). It wasn’t until I moved to New York City in my early 20’s and began renovation work on older apartment buildings that I actually saw my first Murphy bed in real life. I gotta admit, the old steel-spring jobs do look a bit like an instrument of torture by today’s standards! [Read more...]

Water Chestnuts at Home – Easy to Grow Tropical Plants

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In the beginning, the water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) was without form and void. It was small with long, green leaves but otherwise barely resembled a plant, as is often the case with specimens that are sold in 4 inch containers. I had purchased it as my experimental plant for the year. Incidentally, you should definitely get a few experimental plants every year, because sometimes these unexpected additions to the yard can be the most fun. [Read more...]

Delta Shower Doors – Design Your Own Shower Doors In Three Easy Steps!

View Your Design

delta-logoWhat's This?The last time we remodeled our master bathroom, Ronald Reagan was president, a first-class stamp was 24¢, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 1,900. At the time, we tiled the walls and floor, put in a stock vanity and toilet, and installed a 4’ one-piece shower with sliding glass doors. A few years ago, we replaced the vanity, and the room still looks pretty good overall. Taking a closer look, though, the faucets are getting tarnished, and the glass doors are looking pretty dated and beat. Recently, the folks at Delta offered us an opportunity to try out a new service they are offering in conjunction with the Home Depot. Put down your copy of 1984, and take a look. We’ll show you how easy it is to customize and order your own Delta Shower Doors! [Read more...]

Milwaukee Compact Blower 0884-20 – My Little Red Housekeeping Buddy

milwaukee compact blower

Using power tools is a messy business. Drilling holes, cutting lumber, sanding trim smooth and pretty – everything seems to generate an amazing amount of wood chips and sawdust. And while it’s gratifying to see the result of all that work, someone’s got to clean up the mess at the end of the day. If that someone is you, you may want to take a look at the new Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Blower. Milwaukee recently sent one for us to evaluate, so put down your broom and take a look! [Read more...]

How to Plant a Tree – as Easy as One, Two, Tree!

planting a tree

I’m a tree hugger. Not in any kind of political sense, but simply in an I just love trees sense. Sadly, we had to take down one of our old aspen trees this year. It was a large one that provided shade and seclusion to our deck. In its healthy years, it also provided that quaking aspen sound that made me feel like I was in the mountains. It was hard to see it go. And it was really, REALLY hard to remove. It took most of the day. We sawed off branches and then the upper sections of the tree. We kept moving down until we got to all of the underground roots and shoots where we dug, yanked, sawed, and hacked. When we finally wrangled the stump out, we had a huge hole to place a new tree into. So we went and bought ourselves a new tree. [Read more...]

Kitchen Table Facelift – Refinishing with Chalk Paint

refinishing with chalk paint

I’m not one who will ever lift, nip, or tuck any part of my own person. However, I have been known to use the above mentioned methods to recreate my furniture. One of the simplest ways to give just about any piece of furniture a better-than-Botox facelift is to employ the miracle of chalk paint. [Read more...]

To Backup or not to Backup – That is the Solar Question

solar2

As a solar installer, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is: “The solar panels will give me electricity when the power goes out, right?” The questioner inevitably exhibits a disgruntled facial expression when I give them the least satisfying answer of all time… “It depends…” Whether or not to include solar battery backup into your system is determined by your particular needs and how your system will be used. Read on for all the ins and outs of solar and battery backup. [Read more...]

Growing the Homemade Dill Pickle – A Tasty Morsel Indeed

cucumber

I have enjoyed pickles since I was a small child. They make the perfect snack. They are sweet, crunchy, and tangy all at once. And my grandmother makes the best sweet pickles in the entire world. I have yet to get her to part with her secret recipe. No amount of pleading seems to budge her on the subject, and mentioning that she should tell us before it’s too late didn’t seem to have the desired effect. Instead, she swatted me. All of her descendants are, therefore, going to be in quite a pickle if anything happens to her (more likely, without pickles). But, the tedious politics of acquiring top-secret family recipes aside, a quick Google search reveals all. Or at least, the main ingredients in most recipes for a homemade dill pickle so I can expound upon how to grow these things in more detail. [Read more...]

Guilt Free Shopping Spree – Salvaged Building Materials

salvageflooring

I experience a lot of internal conflict when shopping for building materials. I like to buy from the local lumber yard, but the home center is cheaper. I want to buy American, but all the fixtures are made in China. I want to buy “Greener,” but I’m almost always disappointed in the quality of the products. What’s an old carpenter to do? One thing I have learned over the years is that you don’t have to worry about any of this if you use salvaged building materials. [Read more...]