Helping the Handyman Help You

I told Handyman I would post this from the comment he made on the nailgun post:

I am definitely sold on nail guns, after years of not having one. They make the task at hand go much quicker (once you have done the initial set-up). Also, I have found that you do less damage with a nail gun than with a regular hammer. The repeated bamming on a nail with a hammer can cause plaster to crack, items to vibrate/bounce off shelves, hammer indentations in the wood, etc.

Anyway, I got a Campbell Hausfeld compressor, a Porter Cable brad nailer/stapler, a Bostitch finish nail gun, and a Campbell-Hausfield framing nail gun. I am happy with them, and recommend these brands in contrast to some of the “cheap” off-brands that are out there. You generally get what you pay for. I did keep my eyes open for these and when they were on sale (various times), I bought them. I got them at very good prices.

As the wife said, you do have to be much more careful with a nail gun. They can cause serious injury, whereas a regular hammer generally only causes a painful, swollen and bruised thumb (and sometimes some cussin’).

You cuss? Really…tell me it isn’t so. I guess if I can call you “the Handyman” you can call me “the wife”. I guess that is one step up from “the little woman” (which I hope I never hear, JSYK)

I always like to know what brands people find the most satisfactory, so I hope that helps someone with the decision making process.

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Deck Maintenance

BACKGROUND:

First a little background on our decks. I built stage one about 6 years ago. I constructed this one totally of pressure treated lumber. It is about 10×12, and I subsequently roofed it and screened it in to make a nice back porch which is entered from the dining room thru outswing French doors. About 2 years after building this deck, I built stage two deck. This deck is attached to the original deck and is @ 16×16 and also is constructed of pressure treated lumber. About 2 years after that, we decided it would be nice to have a Spa/Hot tub. This resulted in building another deck, sited on the other side of the house in a more sheltered location. Since this deck was to support a hot tub weighing up to 6000 lbs (weight of hot tub, 500 gallons of water and up to 6 people), I had to design this deck to support this load. (I always try to err on the side of caution – so this deck is substantially more than adequate). The main under structure of this deck is pressure treated lumber, with decking and trim being cedar.

PREPPING FOR STAINING:

I got good results with Olympic Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner(cost about $7 at Lowes). You use this stuff full strength in a pressure sprayer. I found it did a very good job. After you let it sit for about 10 minutes, you hose it off. After hosing it off, I went over it with my new pressure washer. This was sufficient for the enclosed porch, and hot tub deck, but I found I needed to give the 16×16 deck a second cleaning. This was due to fact that large part of it is under a large tree and it had a fair amount of moss/algae(?) on it. Second cleaning did the job here. Again rinsed and pressure washed. The decks are now ready for staining (which I am hoping t0 do this weekend, weather permitting). I will detail this operation when completed.

PRESSURE WASHERS:

My only experience is with the electric powered pressure washers. I originally purchased a Karcher brand electric pressure washer (yellow color). It was a piece of junk . After one season, the plastic elbow failed at the glue joint. I called Karcher and was told I would have to buy a new part since it wasn’t “defective”. However, when I called the supplier for Karcher parts, the parts people knew immediately what part it was, because it was such a common problem. Why buy another junk part for a junk pressure washer, and have to pay for it along with shipping and handling every few months. My solution – trash can for this worthless piece of s..t. I have noticed a huge availability of “factory refurbished” Karcher units. Something is only as strong as its weakest part – and this pressure washer definitely had a “guaranteed to fail” part. But now I wanted another pressure washer. My first inclination was to get a heavy duty gas powered model. The gas units cost more, are more cumbersome to operate (larger, bulkier, gas storage, starting, etc). These factors outweighed the versatility/power advantage that the gas models offered. So, I was at Home Depot and almost purchased one of these models, when I happened to notice the Husky electric model. It looked similar to the Karcher one but upon close observation, I noted that the fittings were brass, it had quick connect/disconnect brass fittings, had more power (psi). It felt much more solid. So I ended up getting it (I think for about $169). I have had no problems with it and am very happy with its performance. I might mention that we only occasionally need a pressure washer – like for deck cleaning, etc., and this one is easy to use and does a great job for our use. Easy to store, set-up, etc., and I don’t have to deal with gas, oil, spark plugs, tune-ups, pull cords, etc. Now if I was using one daily on a commercial/professional basis (heavy duty usage), I would opt for the more powerful gas units.

Making Work Stations

The Handyman is serious, totally serious, about getting a handle on life. This includes organization around here, and I am on board with him 100%. We are tired of misplacing tools and looking for hours when ready to start the job now. We are tired of wasted money on multiples because we can’t find something. We are tired of frustration in trying to find things. And the last straw came when I was mowing with the tractor and Whomp! Loud sound and dead tractor. Turns out someone last season left a shovel…a shovel mind you… in some overgrown grass. And yep, I mowed over it. We went to the Hardware store for some tool hangers that evening.

Furthermore, Handyman has set up his work station in the garage. My father had made his own intricately organized workbench- I remember it from when I was a little girl- and we inherited it. It is now ensconced in the garage with a large pegboard area. There is room to saw and do all the odd jobs that Handymen do; very impressive. He will work more pleasurably knowing where things are, and it makes it better for us to know where to put things – no more shovels in the grass, or in this case, hammers under the couch or whatever ( ok, I’m now exaggerating). HOPEFULLY.

I have the tool hangers and my favorite garden tools hung on the tool rack and there is a piece of pegboard waiting for me- it will go up between the toolracks and hold my handtools etc. I can’t tell you how often my slave garden helpers leave my tools all over the place. At least now there is no excuse.

Since we painted that dining room, I am now in the process of setting up everything in more organized manner for the fine dining and hospitality I hope to work into this year. We have had things so wrecked with all the remodeling work we fell out of the habit of having people over. No More Excuses. And much more organization. Yay us!

I am hopeful…very hopeful that we will keep true to our resolve; and with proper work stations in place, and a place for everything, we will accomplish the uncluttered lifestyle with time to enjoy our life plans that we have.

Getting back to that workbench. I wish you could see how nifty it is… oh yes, cameras. I’ll try to take a picture or two and post it.

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