14 Old School Tips And New School Hacks
Handy men and women from the old school of DIY often knew the best way out of a jam and passed their skills on by word of mouth, or through an apprentice.
Today’s handy men and women can crowdsource solutions and if nothing suits, probably download an app.
We take look at the best handy tips and tricks to come from both generations.
The great thing about hollow wall anchors is that they provide a cheap, fast method for attaching heavy items to stud-framed walls.
There are many types of such wall anchor devices, and each works slightly differently. So what happens when you want to change the location of a family photo or mirror?
Some plastic, cone-shaped, expanding anchors can be pulled out from the front of the wall.
But flanged wall anchors can’t be pulled out intact, because the four folding arms lock up against the inside of the wall.
Here’s how to remove one.
1. To remove an expanding wall anchor, grab, bend and snap off the flange using long-nosed pliers. Avoid digging the pliers into the wall itself.
2. Push the anchor body into the wall cavity with a nail. Repair the wall with patching compound, then apply some touch-up paint to the spot.
Move twisted framing members into alignment by skew-nailing in the direction you want the board to go.
Continue pounding on the nail until the board is in the desired location.
Add a second skewed nail to move the board further if necessary.
For long-distance levelling, use a length of plastic tubing attached to the cap end of a plastic cordial bottle with the base cut out.
Pour water into the container until it reaches the desired height at both ends; mark the spot on the tube.
It doesn’t matter how far apart the ends are or how irregular the terrain is between them; the water, when aligned with the mark, will always be at the same level at both ends.
If a picture or mirror has been bumped or nudged, straighten it up on the spot by holding a half-full glass of water against the top edge as a makeshift spirit level.
Don’t expect this simple tip to hide deep scratches, gouges or damage to car paintwork from a sharp-eyed critic.
But for a quick fix, touch-up markers are just the ticket.
These are available from hardware and specialist paint stores, and come in a range of popular car paint colours.
You’ll be surprised how easily you can hide glaring scratches and dings from the casual observer.
Think of it as a temporary measure.
Level and secure a temporary 42 x 30mm cleat to the wall to support wall cabinets while you attach them.
Drill pilot holes in the cabinet to line up with the wall studs and begin to secure the screws.
Make sure the drill is within easy reach.
Then hold the cabinet against the wall with one hand while you secure it to the studs with the other.
Drill a second key ring hole near the edge of your house key so that it will hang at an angle and stand out from the others.
No more fumbling with your key ring in the dark trying to find the right key.
Secure the screws in the holes with a nut on either side of the clamp jaw.
If you secure a small plywood cleat to the top of a joist, this will hold it in position while you attach the opposite end.
Plus, it will keep the tops flush while you secure the joist hanger.
Use offcuts of 19mm plywood, rather than ordinary timber.
Plywood won’t split when you drive large screws into it.
If you’re assembling flat-packed furniture but don’t have the right size driver bit for the hex socket bolts, clip the supplied tool with bolt cutters and wind it into the chuck of a cordless drill.
It will make the job much faster than winding in all the fasteners by hand.
Just keep the torque control on a light setting as the joints often rely on cam bolts and similar hardware that does not need to be secured tightly.
If you don’t have bolt cutters, it will still be quicker to cut down the key with a hacksaw than opt for unpowered assembly.
To clean venetian blinds, first dust them.
Then, wearing cotton gloves with cotton wool packed into the fingertips, dip your hand in warm soapy water and run your fingers along several slats at once.
Squeaky floors are one of those irritations that homeowners endure for a long time before undertaking repairs.
Each set of floor conditions favours a particular remedy.
Here’s one fix.
When the floor framing in your house is accessible, and there’s a slight gap between the top of the floor joists and the subfloor, try using polyurethane sealant to silence the squeak.
Inject the sealant into the gap and work it in with the back of a plastic spoon so that it flows towards the nail shanks causing the squeaks.
1. Locate the floor squeak and inject polyurethane sealant into the gaps between the joists and flooring. Ventilate the area while using the sealant.
2. Push the bead of sealant deeper into the flooring gap using a plastic spoon. Polyurethane sealant is extremely sticky, so wear gloves when handling it.
You can get a clean pour out of an old paint can that has dirt and rust in its rim.
Just wrap the rim with tape to seal in the debris while you pour.
Take a tip from artists and use baby oil to remove dried acrylic or oil based paint from your skin.
It doesn’t work as quickly as other solvents, but it’s more gentle.
If red wine is spilled on your carpet, sponge it with soda water, or cover the stain with salt and let it absorb the wine; vacuum the residue.
If a stain remains, wipe gently with a solution of detergent, water and a few drops of white vinegar.