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Nov 26, 2018

How to: Add Additional Lighting to Your Workshop

tools and suppliesHave you ever tried to do any woodworking, leather working, metal working or anything else in your shop if it’s dimly lit?­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­  It’s hard to see cut lines, find your tools and it can be really unsafe while you’re trying to make any cuts.  My garage, which doubles as my workshop, only had two lights in the center of the structure.  Those two lights probably would have been adequate if they were directly over my working area, but with them being in the center of the garage I wanted more light.  In order to get that extra light, I had two simple options: 1.) get brighter bulbs for the two

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Nov 09, 2018

7 DIY Tools and Products I Can't Recommend Highly Enough

I get this question a lot, and it's my privilege to answer and help folks out. Whether its someone looking for a gift for a creative friend or family member, or a somebody just beginning their DIY journey, people simply want to know "what should I get?"

And so, here are my picks from some of my most recent conversations. They're all over the spectrum, but all are solid, go-to options that I can't imagine working without. I think you'll enjoy them too. 

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Aug 30, 2018

How to: Build an Outdoor Sofa

For the last couple of years, we had two ugly rocking chairs on our patio that I never really liked.  They were a little awkward to get into, the fabric was hideous, and they took up way too much space when they were reclined.  So, when my wife asked me to build an outdoor sofa for our patio, I didn’t have any hesitation to say “yes”!  

outdoor sofa feature

To figure out what style of seating we wanted, I searched “outdoor sofa” on Pinterest to get some inspiration and figure out a basic design.  Once that was decided, I tasked my wife with finding the outdoor sofa cushions. I wanted to find the cushions first and then build the couch based on the

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Aug 22, 2018

How to: Set Up an Inexpensive DIY Garden Irrigation System

diy inexpensive irrigation system

What's not to love about a vegetable garden at the zenith of the growing season? More than a sum of its parts—a patch of dirt with some roots sending shoots out of it—a garden gives more than it takes. The average American spends 90% of his or her day indoors, and I use my garden to beat that statistic. I revel in its smells and textures and the satisfaction that comes from the results of tangible work. However, there are certain tasks I find needlessly tedious, and when I expanded my garden by about a hundred square feet this year, I began to count manually watering it with a hose as one of those tasks to eliminate with a timesaver.

But after I decided to set up my own DIY irrigation system, I quickly figured out that I didn't want to use soaker hoses (too expensive for the quantities I'd have to buy) or a rigid structure of PVC pipes (too permanent for the constantly changing setup in my current plot).

The solution was a pleasant surprise:

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Aug 06, 2018

How to: Direct Water Away from Your House

How to drain your patio with a channel drain

Proper water drainage for your property is one of the most important long-term preventative measures you can implement. Water build up due to insufficient drainage can cause significant damage to basements, garages and building foundations. If there is a lack of proper drainage, water can build up near or under the foundation of your property, which causes the soil to swell. This can lead to the foundation cracking or buckling under the extra pressure, or flooding in your basement. All of which will require costly and time-consuming repairs.

Knowing this information, I decided it was necessary to take the preventative measures and add

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Aug 01, 2018

My Total DIY Mudroom Remodel + Makeover

Most people refer to the “heart of the home” as the kitchen, and for good reason. However, the first thing you see when you walk into my house is the mudroom, and its honestly the space that gets the most action.  We moved into our house about fifteen months ago, and ever since we first walked through the house, I wanted to make the mudroom/laundry room more functional.  Not only did I want to add more storage, I wanted the room to be an area that I was proud to welcome people into when showing them our home.

my mudroom, the before

 

As you can see, before I started the project our mudroom worked on many levels but it was very boring and it seemed to get cluttered easily. After completing some other more important projects on our home during the first year, I knew this summer was the time to tackle this space. 

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Jun 15, 2018

Weekend Aftenoon Project: How to Make a DIY Clothesline

This just in: there's a giant ball of fire up in the sky, and it's really hot. 

When it's 80 degrees and sunny, I have a hard time finding a good reason not to harness that free energy, instead of pulling in electricity from the burning fuel at my local power station (in my case, I think it's the nuclear plant just south of Raleigh) all to just dry some clothes.

A clothesline is a fantastic supplement to your laundry routine, so if you're like me and you've been putting off building one, here's a simple plan you can follow on a single Saturday—a shopping trip in the morning, a building session the afternoon.

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May 23, 2018

How to: Simple DIY Brick and Mortar Repair

I side with my colleague Bruno as he stated in his Curbly post on painting his garage floor—some home improvement projects you can DIY, and some you should definitely consult a professional. When I tore out the ailing metal railing on the brick entry steps to my fixer-upper 1970's ranch house, it became clear that it was time to replace some of the crumbled and broken bricks. It seemed like way too small a project to hire a bricklayer, and what can I say? I really like bricks.

Read on for the process to do your own simple brick patch and masonry repair!

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Mar 22, 2018

How to Choose and Install Flooring for Your Laundry Room

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then I nominate the laundry room as the all-important hands and feet. This is the space that keeps things running and moving: a clean clothing command center that helps us process the moving parts that keeps us sane each week. 

When it came time to redo our laundry room, giving it the proper respect deserved by such an important space, we knew we wanted to do everything we could to de-beige-ify the space. And that certainly meant changing out the lovely, worn out faux-stone sheet floor you see here.   

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Mar 20, 2018

My Total DIY Laundry Room Makeover

This post is sponsored by Lowe's

Ideally, a laundry room would belong in one of the more private sections of your house – a space to do the behind-the-scenes work of running a home, fold unmentionables, and stash things that simply have no where else to go. 

In our house, it's in the dead center of activity. Because of plumbing and venting access, it's the first thing you see when you walk down the stairs into our basement, and in addition to our kitchen and dining room, our basement has become the heart of our home. There, both my wife and I have our own offices where we welcome business collaborators, take meetings, and do video

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04739

Jan 19, 2018

11 Things to Do Before Leaving Town for a Long Weekend

When I was younger, my mom always gave us a list of chores to do before we left town for an extended weekend.  At the time, I didn't fully understand why my clothes needed to be put away or why all the dishes needed to be washed if we weren't going to be home, I just wanted to get to the hotel so I could jump in the pool.  Luckily for me, my older brother is an absolute neat freak and he would get up early and finish most of the tasks on the checklist before I even got out of bed.  Fast forward 20+ years, and I completely understand why my mom always made us complete that list of chores before we left town.  Being older and slightly wiser than my 8-year old self, now I make sure to always do these 11 things before departing for my next adventure:   

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Aug 14, 2017

(How I Totally Screwed Up) Trimming Out My Final Shop Window

When I built out my basement shop space last fall/winter, there remained a couple of unfinished spots that I knew I'd need to deal with. Case in point: this obscure glass window. (This half of the shop was intended to be a bathroom, and this would have sat right over the tub.)

Last week, I got a new, very large, very heavy stationary woodworking machine (more on that soon), which I'd planned to store right along this wall. So, I figured if I didn't trim it out now, I'd never do it, and it'd look exactly the same in twenty years. 

So, I got to work. And it was kind of a disaster.    

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May 05, 2017

Fact: A $5 Can of Spray Paint is the Best DIY Value Out There. Here's How to Get it Right.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through my spray paint arsenal, and I took stock of my collection. It occurred to me how much I really use those little rattle-cans in the shop. I picked up a few this weekend, and gave a few things around the house a quick upgrade. Take a look.   

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Dec 12, 2016

Tackling a New Project Doesn't Have to Be Intimidating

This post is sponsored by DIYZ 

The story goes like this: I'll wake up early...usually on a Saturday, or perhaps the Monday of a three day weekend. I'll pull on my work jeans — not the trashed, paint-splattered ones; just the wornout pair with the ever growing hole in the right knee I need to patch. I'll tie my workboots, and grab a few quick measurements before I head out the door. I always remember to put the tape measure in my pocket to take it with me. Today is project day. 

And I'll get to the home improvement store, and I'll wander the aisles, and I'll realize: I have no idea what I'm doing. I need more information, more measurements, more details. So, I'll desperately look up something on my phone, but the reception in the back of this huge concrete box isn't good enough. Plus, all those content farms have tricked the search engines so that the quality of information that comes up is poor, and so generic that I struggle to trust it. 

Plus, maybe I have the basic materials figured out, but what tools do I need? Do I have the right screws, or are all mine too short or have the wrong head type? And - for goodness sakes - do I need another pack of #2 Phillips driver bits? (Thankfully, that one is easy. Yes. The answer is always yes. )   

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Oct 20, 2016

How to: Choose the Right Lumber for Your Next Woodworking Project

I'm in the midst of an apartment decoration overhaul (look forward to some fun posts on that soon) so trips to the lumberyard are becoming a more regular part of my day (and I'm loving it). Whether you're a regular woodworker or a just a casual remodel-er, here are some good tips on how to find the best boards in the lot...   

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Sep 19, 2016

You Should Make a Throwback "Frankenstein" Lightswitch for Your Home

As a kid, I shared a bunk bed with my younger brother and every night we'd argue about who had to turn off the light and make the frightful journey through the dark to the safety of his own covers. Eventually our parents bought us The Clapper which was swiftly taken away from us due to the racket we made every night for fun...   

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Jan 07, 2016

9 Secrets for Saving Money at Lowe's

Donald Glover has a great stand up bit about Home Depot being where your childhood goes to die, and while that may be true, there are few places that get me as amped up as a supply run to a hardware store. The more you go, the more you know, but I was surprised to find out that many of these tips were new to me. Who knew Lowe's could haggle?   

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Nov 19, 2014

DIY Idea: Master Bedroom Ceiling Upgrade

Ceiling Upgrade

Adding character to a room can take quite a bit of work, sometimes it's crown moulding or new windowsills. Then there are the bold upgrades that make a room stand out. This project turns a plain ceiling into something worth showing off.   

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Oct 09, 2013

Winter is Coming: Installing Attic Insulation

created at: 10/08/2013This ManMade post was written by Al Daniel

My wife Meghan and I moved into our first home about 2 months back. A nice little 1940’s cottage on a sleepy street. While stowing away extra boxes after a long weekend of moving, I noticed the insulation seemed a bit thin. It was there, just not much of it. I made a mental note to do something before winter hits. Meghan likes a warm house and I like saving money.   

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Jun 01, 2011

DIY Flood Levees in Action

If you've been hanging out on the internet for the past week or so, you've likely seen one of these images of homes surrounded with a heavy mounded ring of earth and sand, and that ring surrounded by miles of water. These photos are quite striking, especially seen in contrast with one another.

The Daily Mail has rounded up a collection of these amazing photographs that you simply gotta see.

   

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