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Handyman Techniques Explained

Nov 25, 2007
There are many jobs the home handyman must do, and below some of these are listed, with tips which will make these jobs easier.

Rust Removal

To remove small patches of rust from polished metals and tools, try rubbing the rusty spot with a hard typewriter eraser. The fine grit content of these erasers will polish out the rust, but will not scratch or otherwise damage the metal finish.

Renewing Putty

When putty that has been stored for some time is taken out of the can, it will often be too stiff to use easily. In most cases, kneading and slight warming will make it soft and pliable once again. Both can be accomplished by working vigorously between the hands. To avoid getting the hands oily and stained, place the putty in a plastic vegetable bag first. If the putty is exceptionally hard, a few drops of linseed oil placed inside the bag with the putty should do the trick.

Using Putty

Fresh putty has an annoying tendency to stick to the hands when used for filling nail holes in exterior woodwork, or for replacing a broken pane of glass. To prevent this, rub a little powdered whiting (available at all paint stores) or a little flour on the hands before starting.

Removing Damaged Screws

If a screw slot gets so damaged when the screw is part way out that it can no longer be gripped with the screw driver blade, use a hacksaw to cut a new slot at right angles to the old one. A narrow-bladed screwdriver can then be used in this new slot, and will permit backing the screw the rest of the way out. Another trick that usually works is to grip the outside of the screwhead with a locking-type pliers, then use this as a wrench to turn the screw out of its hole.

Broken Screws

When a wood screw breaks off below the surface of the wood it is almost impossible to remove it without damaging the wood. Rather than trying to get the screw out, drive it deeper by hammering with a nail set. Then fill the hole with plastic wood and start with a new screw.

Save Sawdust

When finishing hardwood cabinets or wall panels where a great deal of sanding is required, the wise handyman will save the sawdust and store it in glass jars or clear plastic containers. When mixed with glue and water later on, the sawdust makes an excellent crack or nail hole filler which will blend in perfectly with the natural wood.

Space for Expansion

When putting up large sheets of wall paneling, the home handyman should avoid butting sheets together too tightly. A slight gap is necessary to allow for expansion and settling action later on. Besides this, sheets which are forced tightly together will often buckle or warp later on when pressure builds up due to natural expansion of the panels in humid weather.

Prevent Dents

When forcing tightly fitted pieces of finished wood together, avoid striking with a metal hammer since dents or other marks will result. A handy way to do this is to slip a rubber crutch tip permanently over the hammer handle end. The handle can then be used as a "persuader" for tapping or forcing. pieces together by rapping sharply with the rubber-tipped handle end.

Man-Sized Thimble

When a handyman is faced with the occasional job of sewing canvas or other heavy materials which call for use of heavy needles, a thimble to protect the finger-tip can be quickly improvised from adhesive tape. Wrap several thicknesses around the finger, doubling it over several times at the point where pressure must be applied.

Clip It On

A nail set is a frequently used tool whenever carpentry is being done. However, because of its size it is continually being misplaced or lost. To keep it always handy, slip an inexpensive pencil clip over the shank so that it can be easily clipped on to your pocket much like a fountain pen or pencil.

Try some of these methods and you will make your repairs so much easier.
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