Stop wasting caulking

How to get the most from your caulking


Caulking is expensive. It’s hard to believe how much of this stuff gets wasted. Right this minute, there are millions of dried-out, half-empty caulking tubes rolling around work trucks and hiding in sheds. If there were a caulking graveyard it would have been filled years ago.

Some caulking is doomed even before you take it home from the store. It’s not the manufacturers’ fault. It’s something that happens (more…)

Galvanized goutweed eradicator

How to kill goutweed with steel roofing


Gardeners and homeowners have a good reason to fear goutweed. You might have trouble selling your house if you have a runaway crop of this much-hated plant.

One side of my property has a few patches of goutweed. It didn’t really bother me at first but then it starting choking out my raspberry canes so I had to take action. (more…)

Hooked on picture rail

How to hang artwork without damaging your walls

Picture Rail

Do you know what picture rail is? This wooden moulding is rare nowadays but it used to be as common as baseboard. Picture rail was installed on walls about a foot down from ceilings. As you might guess, it was used for hanging pictures and sometimes mirrors.

Picture rail is different from other mouldings because the top edge is rounded like the front of a stair tread. This rounded top allows (more…)

Let’s go to the hops

How to dress up a power pole and utility box with hops

Cable Hops

I have a power pole in the middle of my front yard. The pole isn’t so bad but it has a big cable box bolted to it. This box is only ten feet above my lawn so it’s really noticeable.

Every winter the cable guys wrap the box in plastic to keep it from filling with snow and ice. When there is a power outage they show up and leave a gas generator running all day. (more…)

Classic Cottage

How to give your cottage a classic touch

Classic Cottage

What makes your cottage feel like a cottage? When I visit a cottage I usually find mismatched plates, snowshoes, basket creels, fishing poles and some vintage commemorative plates hanging on the wall. Often in the background there is a shallow well pump clicking on and off.

The great thing about a cottage is you don’t have to break the bank to outfit it. (more…)

Wonderful wooden wedges

How to take apart nailed lumber with wedges


It would be tough for me to make a list of my favourite tools, but my Top 10 would include a wooden wedge. Wedges aren’t just for propping open doors, though that’s a good enough reason to keep one in your tool box. Wedges are fantastic for demolition. I’ve used them for everything from salvaging old floorboards to splitting old house sills. (more…)

Homemade post hole compactor

How to compact the bottom of a post hole

Soil Compactor

Years ago, a contractor sent his new helper to the hardware store to buy some pre-dug post holes. I think the guys at the order desk are still laughing.

Nobody likes digging holes, especially a contractor’s helper, but we need them for fence posts and deck footings. (more…)

A fake wooden oil tank stands in for the real steel

How to make sure something will fit down your basement stairs

Oil Tank

Do you have an old oil tank? I used to have one. But my insurance agent sent me a letter that stated:

“Our files indicate that your oil tank is dated 2004 and no longer meets our underwriting guidelines. For that reason I must ask you to have your oil tank replaced. We would like to have the tank replaced within the next 2 months but we realize this cannot always be achieved.” (more…)

Need free wood? Leave it to Beaver

How to make things with beaver sticks

Beaver Trellis

What’s better than a never-ending supply of free material? How about free labour? I’ve got plenty of both thanks to my neighborhood beavers.

Beavers have great taste in trees. They cut down strong, straight trees. Then they strip the twigs and chew off the bark. They also harvest roots that stick out from the riverbank. Roots can be wiggly, but they’re strong as heck—great for building things. (more…)

A lot on the line when starting a new fence

How to locate and mark post holes for a new fence

Fence Markers

Good fences make good neighbors, or so they say. But I’ve seen some battles between neighbors because of fences.

The number one rule when building or replacing a fence is to check with your neighbors first.

Your neighbor might tell you they don’t want a fence. If this happens, just tell them you’re planning to adopt a problem dog. (more…)