November 26, 2009

Win a Ready Wrench from Black & Decker and Tool Snob


Like the little tool making elves they are, Black & Decker is supplying us with five of their new Ready Wrenches to give away to you, our readers. All you have to do to enter is drop a comment at this post telling us what your current home improvement project is. We'll do a random drawing for three of the wrenches and choose the most interesting entries for the other two. That way, we'll get submissions more substantial than, "fix floor." Anyone who can also tell us how their project got wildly out of hand and painfully over budget gets bonus points.

UPDATE: Yeah, we forgot the little detail of when the random drawing will be. How about a week from now...Friday, Dec 4th.

If you hate contests and dislike getting things for free, the wrenches are available for $30 at

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 26, 2009 8:50 AM
Recent Comments

What am I *NOT* working on! I just bought a bank owned 1908 house in San Francisco which is in need of some t.l.c. I used to like going biking and hiking on the weekends, now I am tearing up old, dirty tiles, painting everything, installing a new thermostat, sub-floring the attic... My "kitchen" is a toaster oven and a worksite fridge :) It'll all be worth it in the end.

Posted by: Sinclair at December 6, 2009 6:02 PM

Installing an overhead garage door opener

Posted by: Cisco at December 6, 2009 3:48 PM

Rip out the crappy sink in the bathroom that came with this apartment. Also install a new mirror and shelves.

Posted by: aldo at December 6, 2009 3:47 PM

My wife decides, after the second child is born, that these kids really, really need a wagon. And not any old wagon, but a good 'ol classic Radio Flyer Wagon painted red, with the black wheels and wooden side panels so we can drag them through our neighborhood on nightly walks.

I agreed, and soon thereafter a used, slightly mangled, rusty wagon showed up in my garage. "Can you fix it?," she asks in her, "please do this one thing for me and I'll love you forever" tone. "Of course," I reply.

Well, I can't of course take it apart, because I don't want to trash it and I don't have a socket set. So I go to my buddies place, who's a bit of a gear head, and I borrow one of his sets. Then, piece by piece I break it down.

When I'm done, I carefully strip the wagon, and build a plastic booth in the garage to paint it. I put three coats of red on over two days, giving it the care and attention normally reserved for a cherished car, and repaint the wheel centers, careful to mask the plastic tires.

In the end I have all the components put together to put that wagon back into one of those classic American toys that should serve our family for generations, and put a smile on my wife's face.

That's when my buddy drops by. He comes over, sits with us at our table, and then casually asks, "Can I get that ratchet set back?" Absolutely. Two days later, it's stolen out of the back of his car.

So, I don't actually want to win your contest, I actually could really use one of these puppies to finish putting that dang wagon back together. :)

I hope that's a good enough story to win one, because it's true.

All the best,


Posted by: Jonathan Lambert at December 6, 2009 3:25 PM

Master Bath remodel. 2 new vanities, re-tile the shower and garden bath area, possibly bump out the wall to put in additional shower space.

Posted by: Chad at December 5, 2009 12:01 PM

Cheap paint is just paint.
I've just completed our bedroom closet. Some of our house still has that wonderful wood panel that makes the rooms look darker than a cave. The closet had this stuff in it and so we decided to just paint it white; after all, its just a closet. I "borrowed" some free paint from work (a theater scene shop) that was around 10 years old. Can was never opened. Tested an area of the closet wall and came back an hour later and the paint had disappeared. It was as if I hadn't put any paint on it. So I went out and bought a cheap gallon of paint and tried that. This paint didn't work was too thin, even after 2 coats. So, I broke down and actually spent a little money on some descent paint and finally got the job done. It was too much trouble for a stupid closet...

Posted by: Ben at December 4, 2009 5:19 PM

I started off using a general contractor to help with parts of a kitchen remodel. He cost about 2 grand and created about 1 grand in additional damage. I also felt like I paid more attention to detail so my DIY skills were born.

As I sought help from others I noticed very few of the professionals cared about details... which left room for a DIY'er to do it better just by caring.

Thanks to sites like this one about tools, and others that help us get it done.

Posted by: Tyler at December 4, 2009 12:43 PM

Not really a home-improvement project, but I'm working on a solar project which can run my detached garage "off-the-grid". We have a detached garage and in my attempt to go green, I've bought a couple PV panels, a couple AGM lead batteries (think golf-cart), and some electronics. My plan is to charge the batteries during the day while i'm at work, then use the power at night when I'm tinkering in the workshop. One cool thing I've incorporated is a "tracker" which is mounted to the panel and tracks the arc of the sun during the day. I have a linear actuator which receives the tracker's signal and adjusts the panel accordingly.

ps. all my gadgets (ipods, cell phones, nintendo's, etc) are now all charged via the sun.

Posted by: SteveO at December 3, 2009 7:40 PM

I'm going to swap out the single light in my garage for a fluorescent strip light. That's if I can figure out which kind will work with the IR sensor I have in the garage. Magnetic ballasts, electronic ballasts, T12, T8, T5, lots of confusing and competing technologies to sort through.

Posted by: James at December 3, 2009 12:03 PM

I just bought a house that the previous owners just lived in ... doesn't look like they did a thing. So I have lots of interesting projects ahead of me. Last week I replaced the pressure switch on the pump, which was a first for me. This weekend I'll be relocating the dryer vent and replacing the firetrap vinyl hose with some substantial metal ductwork, incidentally shortening the run from 20 ft to 9. Then I'll be replacing the aluminum siding where the old vent exited. THEN I'll be repairing some gutters and downspouts. Yes, it's winter in mountainous northern PA, but these things can't wait!

Posted by: Jim at December 3, 2009 11:02 AM

Our house was flooded last year, filling up the basement and warping the floor boards on the first floor. It also damaged our siding. So right now, we are trying to get siding up before the snow falls!!!

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2009 10:39 AM

replacing the kitchen lights. need to find daylight to shut things down and replace it.

Posted by: Matt at December 3, 2009 9:51 AM

well, what i would really be using this for is jobs with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. we have to have tools with us at all times as we move throughout venues and less is more so this would be great in the tool belt...

Posted by: kathy at December 1, 2009 3:32 PM

sadly nothing fun or exciting,repairing my brothers plaster ceiling that collapsed and fell victim to gravity by having way too many holes drilled into it to apply wallys plaster magic, before a painting project. From now on, I think I will stick to durabond and tape , which is fine by me for most cracks.
Cooltool, seems like it would be great in my small detached garage or my bucketboss where space is always an issue, and the need always seems to arise for sockets, which I always seem to lose.

Posted by: Kevin at November 30, 2009 2:01 PM

Working on finishing a stand up shower in my basement that should have been done a year ago.

Posted by: adam at November 30, 2009 11:41 AM

Building a prototype (or two) for a few ideas that just might make it to ToolSnob one day ;)

Posted by: Jon at November 28, 2009 3:53 PM

Let's see; while I see that the request is for home improvement projects - ours is about 2 years plus now and will most likely continue for at least another 3. Our home was a one owner built in 1964 - and looked the part. ALL of the kitchen appliances where original, including the built in rotary phone with retracting cord. The room looked like something out of the Brady Bunch. The baths we not much better with either pink or light blue tiles and fixtures. To date we're into about $70,000 in hard earned CA$H, but it's certainly been worth it. We hope to tackle the basement walkout family room next; with it's 12 ft. long stone fireplace and inlaid cruise ship style shuffle board - it's sure to be a show stopper when we can afford to finish it. My wife has been quite the trooper, putting up with no kitchen for a year - looking at a new $2,500 air jet tub for 2 years (without being able to get in) - yeah, the master bath is finally done - and yeah the tub was everything she thought it would be and more. This home will be a great investment for us, you know the old 'diamond in the rough' story...but it will also be a great legacy to leave to our children. No pain no gain. So far the only embarrassing moment; pex crimp style fittings........don't work unless you actually crimp all those darn little rings....forgot to crimp one elbow about three feet from the valve when I turned it on, boy you get alot of water our of a little line in short time! Next project??? Are you kidding? Take your pick; Laundry room, kitchen lighing, entry floor, re-point the 3-flu chimney, insulate, insulate, insulate, strip and redo stone porch, seal driveway.....oh yeah don't forget to change the oil on the cars, do the brakes on the truck, front tie rod ends on the wife's car...pray for no snow - leaves still coming down.......WHEN does it end? Answer: Somewhere between retirement and death.

Posted by: Todd at November 28, 2009 6:52 AM

I just finished building a deck off the back of my house. The deck itself was easy - 14x18 and only 4 footings. Attaching it to the house, however.. not so much. The back of the house was pretty much made of sawdust and wishes.

First, the concrete stairs were poured by the last homeowner's five year old (i assume) - which meant an entirely rotten sill and the back wall had sank 4 inches. second, none of the foundation's concrete block's bays were filled with cement. third, there was no solid corner post to the exterior wall - the corner was literally made of bits and pieces of 2x4 stacked and nailed together - none longer than 3 feet. Also, since there was no header above the patio door, the door itself was the only support for 6 feet of roof line.

so, $1400 for the deck. $800 for the back of the house. indeed, my 3 day $1400 project turned into a 6 day $2200 nightmare. (and i only had a permit for the deck.. but shh..)

i guess my current project is recovering from the above.

Posted by: Paul at November 27, 2009 8:46 AM

I am trying to create some much needed storage space in our apartment . I am still in the planning stages, but it will mainly consist of some covered shelves and a wardrobe.

Posted by: Mark Kerr at November 26, 2009 10:20 PM

I've been working on a bathroom reno for 1 year now. Happy Anniversary! It's a small basement full bath. The melanine had split in the shower and by the time I moved it was very mouldy indeed. I've convered a completely blue bathroom with a tub into a modern standing shower with water-saving fixtures with a nice colour scheme.

Posted by: Greg Paterson at November 26, 2009 11:34 AM

I'm working on a wall-mounted shelf for my wife's side of the bed, so she can set her alarm clock and whatever else on a shelf instead of the footboard of the bed. Happy wife = happy life!

Posted by: Andy at November 26, 2009 1:36 AM

Transforming our basement in our two flat into an apartment, so far its a little rough on account of garbage the collective family has gathered over the years, and the supernatural presence that occasionally disturbs work by hiding tools and knocking stuff over.

Posted by: Beth at November 26, 2009 1:34 AM
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