May 21, 2007

The Ultimate Backyard Guide

checkerboard.jpgHome Depot has 24 projects for your backyard ranging from the commonplace (storage bench) to the truly bizarre (10’ square lawn checkerboard). The projects are separated into three categories; play, entertain, and retreat and are mostly one weekend affairs, with the notable exception of the putting green. We’re pretty impressed that Home Depot chose such a strange selection of projects and really hope that somewhere out there someone is in the first stages of building an outdoor puppet theater.

Read on to see a list of all the projects

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 11, 2007

How Nail Guns Work

hitachi_finish_gun.jpgIf someone asked you to describe how your nail gun works, what would you say? Probably something along the lines of, “you see, there’s air that, like, comes in this hose and it’s under a lot of pressure and it, like, pushes the nail out, right?” Well, thanks to Tom Harris over at, those days of sounding like a boob are over. Harris is the author of a fascinating article called, How Nail Guns Work.

The article covers a wide variety of nail guns including pneumatic, electric, and combustion. For each type of gun, Harris gives an overall description of how it fires and then a step by step breakdown of what exactly happens when the trigger is pulled. Each description is accompanied by a cool little interactive schematic where you can fire the gun by clicking on the trigger. It’s pretty captivating, even if it does have that “children’s museum” feel to it.

It’s a good article and worth at least a few moments of your time. Read it here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 21, 2007

How to Design a Workshop

workshop_diorama.jpgIs your workshop a total mess? If it is, it’s probably not built around a thought out plan, but rather it has formed itself out of convenience; as things come in, you sweep off a counter and find a place for it and that’s where it stays for all eternity. Yup, we’ve been there and let us tell you that it’s worth spending a weekend thinking through how you really use the space and how to maximize it, tailoring it to specifically to your needs.

In that spirit, we found this extremist over at who went so far as to make little scale (1/4” to 1 foot) models of his tools. This gave him the freedom to move them all around his little workshop diorama with practically no effort. He could do in moments what would normally take an entire afternoon of exhausting labor. Imagine shuffling a drill press from one side of your shop to the other only to find that it gets in the way of the tablesaw outfeed.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 19, 2007

The Art of Pressure Washing


If you’re thinking about painting your house this summer, then you should know by now that the first step is somehow cleaning it. There is no faster or easier way to do this than with a pressure washer. But pressure washers are powerful tools and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with half of your shingles in your neighbor’s yard wondering how you managed to get your bedroom floor wet. That’s why we recommend you read The Art of Pressure Washing, brought to us by the good people at Fine Homebuilding.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 15, 2007

How to Make Your Front Entrance Safer

Burglar.jpgWe ran across this interesting article at and think it's worth reading for anyone who owns a home. It deals with how to make your front entrance safer from intruders and it offers some sound advice on the subject. First, they suggest installing a deadbolt. This is pretty much a no-brainer and if you don't already have a deadbolt, it's just a matter of time before that new flatscreen comes up missing. Other tips include changing out your hinge screws with longer ones (3 inches or more), and replacing your strikeplate with a larger one. Once you've done that, you'll need a SWAT team to kick down the front door.

The article also includes advice on how to lessen the chance of break in of you go on vacation (stop regular deliveries, have a neighbor park in your driveway).

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 13, 2007

How to Use a Hammer

John-Henry-Stamp.jpgDon’t laugh. We’re always surprised when we see what people do when they swing hammers. Even many carpenters hold the hammer in the wrong place or swing it the wrong way. If you use a hammer a lot, doing it incorrectly can put a big strain on your body, slow down your work, and with dents all over the coffee table you just made, it can cause a lot of frustration. We found a few articles on the subject; here, here, and here. But, essentially, they all say the same things:

  • Hold the hammer in middle of the grip. Don’t choke up on the head.
  • Swing from the elbow, not the wrist. This is probably the most important part.
  • When the hammer connects with the nail, make sure that the face of the hammer is parallel with the head of the nail. If it’s not, you’re going to end up straightening a lot of nails.
  • Let the weight of the hammer do the majority of the work.

If you're still having trouble with these concepts, check out Ed the Handyman.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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