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Handy Hints[R] Classics.

Higher window wells

A heavy rain can fill my basement window wells with water. The easy and inexpensive way to solve this problem is to dig down a couple of inches around the wells and attach heavy-duty plastic lawn edging to the tops, using self-tapping screws, 6 in. apart. Then backfill lightly around the edging with soil. No more flooding.

Downspout blower

Downspout clogged for the umpteenth time? Poke the nozzle of your leaf blower tightly into the bottom of the downspout and turn it on. It won't clear out heavy debris, but it'll blow out lightweight stuff like leaves and might save you a trip up the ladder.

Ever-level pictures

Here's a way to keep pictures hanging level--forever. Push a straight pin into each lower corner of the frame, then clip off the heads so that 3/8 in. of the pin protrudes. Level the frame, then push the pins into the wall. This works better on drywall than plaster.

Redrill a lockset hole

Occasionally a replacement lockset requires a larger hole than the original. A hole saw will bore the hole, but you can't start it without a stable pilot hole in the middle. One solution is to take a piece of square stock, cut it to fit the hole very tightly (you have to jam it in), and draw diagonals to mark the center. Start the pilot drill of the hole saw on the center mark. Once the hole saw cuts an initial groove, it'll guide itself.

Screen door closer fix

Sometimes the little doohickey that holds a screen door open gets so worn it won't work. To fix it, hold a sledgehammer or a brick under the doohickey, then give it a few smart hammer blows to bend it back slightly. It'll work good as new.

(Editor's note: For you trivia buffs, that doohickey is called a "snub.")

Post puller

Here's a way to pull fence posts without a fancy jack. With an 8-ft. 2x4 as a lever, you can produce about a ton of lift, as long as the fulcrum is close to the rope. Ex-Boy Scouts and sailors will use a "timber hitch" knot because it's so easy to undo, but just about any knot will work. A short length of chain also works well instead of rope.

Silicone door silencer

Tired of doors banging shut and disturbing your peace? Here's how to quiet them: Apply two or three 1/4-in. dabs of clear silicone caulk to the edges of the doorstops, then keep the door propped open a few hours until the silicone sets up. This cushion for the door is just about invisible.

Refrigerator gasket fix

Here's how to repair a torn or broken section of door gasket on your refrigerator or freezer door: Clean and thoroughly dry the damaged gasket. Tape pieces of wax paper to the refrigerator door edge opposite the damage. Close the door on the wax paper, and apply a large bead of 100 percent silicone caulk over the broken area. Gently wipe the area with a wet paper towel to remove any excess. Let the silicone cure overnight, then open the door and remove the wax paper.

Easy grout sealing

Use a postage stamp moistener to seal the grout for ceramic tile. It puts the sealer right where you want it, so you use less. Rinse out the tool or just toss it. They cost about 69 [cts.] at office supply stores.

Smooth caulk spreader

Get a smooth, even bead of caulk using an old credit card to form your joint. Snip the corner of the card to make the size and shape of the joint you want.
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Publication:The Family Handyman
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2000
Words:611
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