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Here's How: Remove Old, Worn Finish From Woodwork

Home & Leisure / Here's How /

Dear James: I want to strip and refinish some very old woodwork in our farmhouse. What is the best method to do this so that this antique woodwork is not damaged and looks original? -- Adam C.

Dear Adam: Older, ornate woodwork is beautiful and an attraction in older houses. It is important to not damage or alter its appearance, otherwise it can...Read more

Here's How: Stock a Toolbox for Minor Electrical Tasks

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Dear James: My house was built decades ago and there are some electrical issues I want to improve. Will I need special tools for common electrical projects to make them easier? -- Marye R.

Dear Marye: Before buying any tools, buy a book about electrical codes. Never deviate from accepted electrical codes even if you are the only one living in ...Read more

Here's How: Reduce Noise From Outdoors and Indoors

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Dear James: We are in the planning stage of our new house and want it to be quieter than our current one. What design features should we consider to make it more soundproof? -- Eddie F.

Dear Eddie: Noise generated from indoors, especially if you have children, can often be louder and more annoying than sounds from outdoors. With the proper ...Read more

Here's How: Board-And-Batten Fence Is a Simple Project

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Dear James: We have a new unpleasant neighbor, so we want to build a low-cost board style of fencing ourselves. What is a good design to build to block the view? -- Angie M.

Dear Angie: As they say, "Good fences make for good neighbors." Your choice of a board-type fence is good for several reasons. It is one of the simplest designs to build ...Read more

Here's How: Manufactured Stone Is Attractive and Durable

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Dear James: My house now has siding, but some of it is deteriorating. I would like to replace those spots with manufactured stone accents. Is this a reasonable project? -- Tim D.

Dear Tim: This definitely can be done by an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Plan to use the stone for just accents, so you may still need to replace some siding. Adding ...Read more

Here's How: Select the Proper Circular Saw Blade for the Job

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Dear James: Last time I used my circular saw, the blade was dull, and the cuts were rough. When I get new ones, what type of blade works best and how many teeth should there be? -- Megan R.

Dear Megan: If you have already shopped for a circular saw blade, you probably noticed a huge selection with prices ranging from $30 to more than $100 ...Read more

Here's How: Use Glue and Clamps for Strong Project Joints

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Dear James: Screws seem to eventually come loose when I make cabinets, so I want to use glue this time. What type of glue and clamps are most effective for making cabinets? -- Mark L.

Dear Mark: For most cabinets, other than ones holding heavy items, glued joints provide plenty of strength and often look the best. Using glue and clamps provides...Read more

Here's How: A Stacked Masonry Barbecue Can Be Strong

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Dear James: Our gas barbecue grill just rusted out and I want to build a masonry one that uses charcoal or wood. What is the simplest construction method that still looks nice? -- Kevin W.

Dear Kevin: Propane or natural gas barbecues are convenient to use, but they do not provide the same flavor as food grilled over charcoal. For more of a wood...Read more

Here's How: Redwood Is a Good, Insect-Resistant Material for Decks

Home & Leisure / Here's How /

Dear James: My kids are getting older, and a backyard deck would be great. I am on a limited budget and want to build it myself but have no idea where to start. Any tips? -- Maria S.

Dear Maria: The addition of a deck, usually adjacent to a sliding glass door, is one of the most common home improvement projects. It can add much resale value to ...Read more

Here's How: Flat Roof Leaks Are Tricky to Find and Fix

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Dear James: Our five-year-old room addition to our house has a flat roof that has started to leak. What is the best method to find the leak and fix it ourselves if possible? -- Wendy L.

Dear Wendy: Flat roofs do not typically have as long a leak-free life as pitched shingle roofs for obvious reasons, but one should last longer than five years. ...Read more

Here's How: Cultured Marble Creates Elegant Bathroom Decor

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Dear James: Our bathroom has ceramic tile walls and floor. When we remodel, we want something more contemporary, yet easy to clean. What do you think of cultured marble? -- Gary C.

Dear Gary: There are some very attractive new ceramic tile choices, and ceramic tile is one of the most durable materials for a bathroom. One of the problems with ...Read more

Here's How: Add a Sloped Ceiling for More Openness

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Dear James: I think our small living room would seem larger and more open with a sloped ceiling and a skylight. Can I change the flat ceiling to high sloped one? -- Kathy J.

Dear Kathy: Increasing the height of your ceiling by sloping it and adding a skylight will certainly make your living room seem more spacious. Just the natural lighting ...Read more

Here's How: Proper Use of Woodworking Tools Makes Projects Easier

Home & Leisure / Here's How /

Dear James: I just moved into a house and bought a toolbox and a general woodworking/carpenter hand tool set. Do you have any general advice on how to use the various tools? -- Jenny L.

Dear Jenny: Woodworking tools can be used for much more than just traditional cabinetmaking types of projects. Many do-it-yourself new and repair projects ...Read more

 

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