Monthly Archives: July 2014

7 Best Practices for Keeping Your Work Site Safe

7 Job Site Safety Best PracticesWhether you’re preparing for a heavy construction job or a home yard project, one of the most important tasks you have in front of you is making sure that the work environment is safe. This includes the work site itself, the surrounding area and your workers. Even with safety precautions fully in place, people can still get injured, but dangerous work zone conditions, putting the public at risk and injuries are less likely if you follow these seven best practices.

  1. Walk through your work site to identify any situations that could be considered unsafe, writing down the details and potential solutions. Bring this list with you to your rental supply company – the folks there should be able to help you alleviate workplace hazards.
  1. Identify any potentially hazardous chemicals or materials at the work site. Label and store these materials in proper containers, placing them in a safe location. Include a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and post handling precautions close by.
  2. Inspect all tools and equipment, including those that are rented, making sure they are working properly. Do not operate any faulty machinery until repairs are made.
  1. Train all personnel, not only in operating procedures, but work site safety. Include proper lifting techniques, specific tool operation, how to get on and off machinery, where to get rid of rubbish or demo materials, etc.
  1. Every worker needs to be using personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, work boots and gloves, earplugs, face masks and other forms of protection. Workers should use harnesses and other safety equipment for roof work or working on scaffolds.
  1. Prepare for emergencies. All site workers should know what to do in case of injuries, electrical, mechanical or power failures and potentially dangerous weather.
  1. Protect the public during working hours from the rigors of heavy construction or worksite dangers with barricades such as construction signs, construction cones, safety barricades, crowd control fences or flashing safety lights. Site workers should direct traffic using standardized stop signs. After hours, protect ongoing work areas or holes with street plates and lock down all entrances to the work zone.

One regulatory note: Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace, including keeping it free of serious recognized hazards. If you own a company or are in business for yourself, it is your responsibility to comply with and enforce all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Follow all recommendations and mandates from occupational health and safety inspectors. OSHA’s Law and Regulations are easily accessible online.

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Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Ways to Pamper for Your Container & Houseplants This Summer

With the summer season halfway over, it’s time to think about your container and house plants. Thankfully this summer in Indiana hasn’t been overwhelmingly hot, rather cool this past week actually, which is perfect for your growing flowers and plants. That said, here are two quick tips for your mid-summer gardening regimen.

Feed Flowers in Containers

You want your annuals to stay in tip-top shape of course, so it’s essential that you feed them, which in plant form means fertilizer. You can either use a slow-release fertilizer, more granular in nature, at the start of it growing season and then again in 2 months. Or, you can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer every two weeks i.e. Miracle-Gro.

Move Your Houseplants Outside

Houseplants love the warmth and sun summer provides, so summer is an ideal time to move your indoor tropical plants outdoors for a little extra pH. However, slowly reacclimatize them to the outdoors by first placing them in the shade, protected from our strong and gusty Indiana wind. Doing this will quickly add an abundance of new growth to your leafy friends.

These are two really easy and beneficial suggestions for you container and houseplants this summer. If you have any questions, or if you’re interested in renting a few garden tools to help you in all your green-thumbed glory, please visit our website. We hope to hear from you soon!

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[DIY Project] How to Convert An Old Record Player Into A Coffee Bar

How to Turn a Record Player Into a Coffee BarRepurposing furniture is one of the most satisfying and self-accomplished thing an avid DIY-er can do, myself included. My husband and I were thrilled at the prospect of making a personalized coffee bar for our new apartment, perfect to house all our tea and coffee essentials. Coming from a fairly handy family, it just so happens that my dad had the perfect piece of furniture…an old record player with loads of character. With a little help from him [and all his power tools] we turned this dated record player into a fun and functional coffee bar.

First things first, we assembled our tools and materials….

Tools & Materials:

Then we got to work transforming our soon-to-be coffee bar. You can see what it looked like before (let’s just say my dad had other plans for it before I got ahold of it…hence the green spray paint). Then, see the painted and waxed pieces ready for assembly. [Note: a few key steps are left out of the gallery, but read about them in the steps below].

The Steps:

  1. Clear and Spray Paint the Hardware: use your screwdriver and pliers to remove hardware, such as handles, hinges, etc. All the removed hardware was then spray painted with glossy black paint.
  2. Flush Cut the Wood: for removing wood pieces precisely and accurately, use a vibrating saw. For this piece of furniture, the bottom piece where the lid lifts up was removed (see the lid picture above). In addition, the back of the cabinet was removed and a new panel was installed (see how in next step).
  3. Cut and Mount Louwon Board: a new back for the cabinet was installed, made from Louwon. In order to get a precise piece, a paper template was placed and a handheld power jigsaw (or band saw) made the exact cuts. Then the board was put in place and attached with an air nailer. [Note: for this coffee bar there is actually a secret compartment in the bottom right compartment, so that back part was carefully cut out and a new bottom was installed to make a shelf for more storage].
  4. Paint the Doors, Frames and Coffee Bar: the lattice frames, two doors (from the top lid and front right), as well as the coffee bar itself, were painted thoroughly with Annie Sloan paint and then sealed with Annie Sloan wax. This paint is easy to apply and only takes one well-covered coat. The beauty of it is the shabby-chic look it portrays.
  5. Reupholster and Mount Door Inserts: the old door inserts were removed, as were the old fabric panels by unscrewing from the lattice frames. While the lattice frames were painted and drying (as seen in the picture above), new leather panels were measured and mounted to the insert boards with contact cement. After the leather panels dried and the lattice frames also dried, the panels were screwed back into the frames.
  6. Reattach the Doors and Frames: the doors and frames were reattached to the coffee bar with their respective hardware. Then voila! The completed coffee bar!

A Word From Me (the author):

Although your next DIY project probably won’t entail turning a record player into a coffee bar, there are many ideas out there for repurposing old furniture into functional and stylish pieces for your home. Check out Pinterest for a little inspiration! That said, some of the tools and applications from this project can definitely be used for yours. Simply let us know what tools you are looking for, because we do daily rentals out the wahzoo! And please comment below if you have any great ideas for DIY upcycles or your own projects to share.

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Keep Gardens Thriving with 3 Simple Maintenance Tips

One of the pleasures of summer living is enjoying a homegrown bowl of salad greens and vegetables harvested from your garden. Not only are these meals super fresh and bursting with flavor, harvesting your garden is one of the ways to keep it healthy. In addition to watering, weeding, mulching and composting, home gardeners need to tend to their patches of produce and petals all season long. Below are three more ideas to keep your gardens thriving.

3 summer garden maintenance tips1. Replant Leafy Vegetables

As the summer heats up, cool-season salad vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard grow stalky and bitter as they go to seed. Pull them out, pitch them unto the compost pile, and replant the area with quick-growing, warm-season veggies and herbs like loose leaf and oak leaf lettuce, red romaine, beans, summer squash, basil or rosemary.

2. Protect Berries and Fruit

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are not only nature’s candy for people, but critters love them as well. As your plants bear fruit, covering them with bird netting or synthetic fabric row covers will protect from a raccoon’s midnight raid or a bird’s early morning breakfast. Another possible deterrent from birds stealing your harvest is stringing Mylar flash tape over and around your garden.

3. Secure Climbing Plants

Climbing roses, clematis, even string beans and hops produce new growth faster in the summer and will benefit from the help of an arbor, trellis or garden stake. Secure plants loosely with any soft or flexible material such as hook-and-loop plant ties or garden tape, allowing for expansion. Avoid using twist ties with wire centers, which can rust and cut into plants over time.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From landscaping tools to garden tillers, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening Checklist

5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening ChecklistFor do-it-yourself gardeners, the summer season is just starting to heat up! Now’s the time to enjoy all the beauty that your garden, yard and landscape have to offer — at least until summer’s end, which isn’t until September 23.

Yet, a gardener’s work is never done – from mowing the lawn to weeding flower beds – the best way to keep your home grown oasis looking fabulous is regular maintenance. The more care and passion you put into making your garden grow, the more enjoyment you’ll receive, not only from puttering among the begonias but from relaxing to take a look at your handiwork. With this helpful gardening checklist, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing your garden experience!

1. Re-plant Annual Flower Beds: Replace cool-weather annuals that have stopped blooming or have already died back with heat-loving varieties such as verbena, lantana and geranium (in some areas of the country, these plants are considered perennials). Adding new annuals refreshes the garden with color and abundant flowers.

2. Add Tropical Flair: Surround your patio or deck with bird-of-paradise, fig, elephant’s ear, hibiscus, dracaena or bougainvillea, warm-climate plants that love the heat and humidity, which intensifies during the dog days of August. In the fall, move these tropical plants indoors and enjoy them as houseplants. Also, check the supports of palm trees, which are required for the first six to eight months to deter them from toppling over. Do not nail the supports to the trunk of the tree.

3. Add a Water Garden: From in-ground ponds with water lilies to container water gardens that display green and burgundy cannas, papyrus or pitcher plant, a water garden can actually add a cooling element to your landscape.

4. Tend to Vegetables: At this time of year, stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb so these perennial edibles can prepare for next year’s crop. Mulch the area to prevent weeds from taking over the beds. Protect precious tomatoes from hornworm by inspecting the foliage in the morning and evening, when the big green-and-white caterpillars are feeding. Pick them off the plants with gloved hands and drop them in a jar of soapy water.

5. Prune Shrubs: Spring flowering shrubs such as lilac, hydrangea and spirea should be cut and shaped immediately after flowers fade. Wait until late summer or early fall, when there’s no danger of pruning away next year’s developing flower buds.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From planting advice to landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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5 Ideas to Spruce Up Your Garden with New Plants

Create a Garden Oasis with These 5 IdeasThe long days of summer are just right for getting all those garden improvement projects underway. Along with abundant sun and warmer weather, new plants have a chance to establish root systems and thrive during summer months… just like people tend to do, enjoying a tall glass of lemonade (granted, plants prefer a cool drink of water). Although you may have a fabulous garden already, there are so many ideas for expanding it, or creating designated areas for entertaining or relaxing. This time of year is perfect for enjoying the outdoors, so make your backyard oasis your own. All it takes is a little hard work and a passion for making your garden vision a reality. Below are five ideas for sprucing up your garden.

1. Plant New Trees

If you live in a frost-free or rainy region, give your garden a tropic vibe by planting palm trees. To protect tall palms from wind damage, support them with stakes for at least a year, until roots are established. Other trees that lend themselves to an exotic landscape are Japanese maples, which can add vibrant color in the summer and fall. Ginkgo balboa, sumac and flowering fig have the added benefit of a voluptuous fruit harvest, ready in September. (Helpful Tool: tree spade)

2. Add a Shade Garden

Almost any yard or garden has shady areas. Don’t let them go to waste! From hydrangeas to hostas to hardy fuchsias, fill those dark areas with shade-loving perennials or shrubs and see it come to life with beautiful greens, gentle lavenders, stunning blues and pinks with some showy flowers for good measure.

3. Aquatic Life

Aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus add depth and breadth to any water feature, especially those located in a sunny spot. Fill two-thirds of a 12-inch diameter pot with garden soil (do not use potting mix). Then place the roots of one plant into the center of the pot. Cover with two to three more inches of soil, and add a light pea gravel covering. Place the entire potted plant in at least 12 to 18 inches of water, and watch them flower.

4. Carpet of Succulents

Succulents such as hens-and-chicks, aloe and sedum are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant sun-lovers that will grow anywhere, from pots to cracks in a stone wall, even in the shade. With so many varieties in striking shapes, colors and blooms, succulents also provide visual interest in nearly any type of garden. Protect succulents from extreme cold and don’t over-water, otherwise, they are easy to maintain, keeping your garden lush.

5. Garden Path of Herbs

Hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme not only flower in the summer, but also add intoxicating fragrance, especially when planted along a garden path. Group the herbs with a sprinkling of Alyssum in white or purple to intensify the sweet smell (especially after a summer rain). Plus, with a little judicious clipping, you can enjoy an herb-filled marinade or dressing for all that summer grilling you plan on doing!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. From landscaping tools to tree spades, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Advanced Tutorial: How to Reupholster a Chair in 5 Steps

Reupholstered Chair (before and after)Reupholstering any piece of furniture, let alone a complex wingback chair, is not for the faint of heart. It takes a decent amount of hard work, familiarity with sewing and using power tools, an eye for detail and a precise hand. Although this particular project took several weeks to finish, the result was well worth it all. Now, there is a lot involved in reupholstering a sturdy piece of furniture on your own, so below is a loose set of steps. Also, consider the following tips before undertaking such a project, or for you ambitious DIY-ers, keep them in mind throughout the project.

Difficulty: moderate-hard

Necessary Tools and Supplies:

  1. Fabric (this project took about 6 yards)
  2. Sewing machine and thread
  3. Pliers and/or flathead (for prying up staples)
  4. Scissors
  5. Fabric marker
  6. Staple gun
  7. Nailer
  8. Screwdriver

Reupholster Your Chair in 5 Steps:

1. Prep Work: First things first, you have to take off the chair legs (unscrew with a screwdriver). Then you must begin taking staples out of all the fabric. This may seem simple (I certainly thought it would be), but be prepared for a lot of prying — having the right tools really makes a difference here. I used a pair of pliers and a flathead screwdriver for popping out the staples.

Now, be sure as you take each piece of fabric off that you label which part of the chair it came from so you don’t mix them all up. Then once all the upholstery has been removed from your chair, you can start tracing and marking the old fabric pieces onto the new fabric, again being sure to mark which piece goes where.

2. Sew Back Together: Next, you have to sew together your new fabric pieces (based on which of the old pieces were sewn together…be sure you make note of this too). Again, this was a process, and it took really careful detail, being sure to cut and sew very close to the original fabric.

This chair had piping as well, so I also had to sew the piping and then sew each between the two respective pieces they went between. The cushion cover was crucial in this step because I had to make sure it fit correctly. And keep in mind, it is much easier to make a piece smaller than to try and make it bigger.

3. Assemble It All: After the upholstery is sewn and categorized by where it goes, you can begin placing each piece onto the chair form. My suggestion is to begin placing each piece in the same order with which you removed each piece. So, the first piece I took off on the old chair was the bottom side panels, so I put those back on first, then worked my way up. Again, this will be as complicated or as simple as the original chair, ottoman, couch, etc. that you choose. I also chose to add tufts, so this was something I made sure to place before stapling anything down.

4. Secure Down with Staples: After each panel is in place, you can begin stapling them in an organized order. For this chair, the back panel and the bottom panel were the last to go on. Keep in mind, you want the fabric secured well, not too tight, but also not too loose. If worse comes to worse, you can always take staples out and re-do them. However, this would be arduous and counterproductive, so be sure the fabric is placed well before pulling the trigger.

5. Final Touches: The last step is to put your legs back on the bottom and the cushion back in the seat. Then, as long as everything looks clean and crisp, you’re done!

Resources and Help:

This was definitely the down-and-dirty version of reupholstering, not as specific as a post explicitly for reupholstering a wingback chair. That said, if you would like a resource for step-by-step pictures and nitty-gritty details, check out this blog post. It helped me a lot. Really once you start though, it all starts making sense. If you have any questions about how to reupholster, the tools to use, renting tools, specifics on my process, etc. please comment below or email me (heidi@runyoncompanies.com) Happy reupholstering!

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How to Choose the Right Drill for the Job

The drill is an essential part of any do-it-yourselfer’s toolkit. Drills are versatile beyond a doubt, with reliable design, adapting to functional improvements such as keyless chucks, the addition of work lights and the subtraction of cords and weight. For most everyday jobs like drilling holes and driving screws, it’s the workhorse of the work bench.

Special Jobs Benefit from Specialized Drills

For some special jobs however, drill manufacturers have come up with specialized models that handle specific tasks more efficiently than the traditional drill. You may not need to include one in your home workshop though, as they’re readily available for rent. Here’s a look at the differences between impact drivers, hammer drills and rotary drills.

Choosing the Right Specialized Drill for the Job

1. The Impact Driver

The impact driver is smaller than a regular drill, with a hex socket in place of the chuck. It only works with bits that have a hex shaft. This drill not only grips the drill bit, but it applies torque automatically when needed to spin the bit, resulting in better control.

Ideal for…

  • Driving very long screws with little effort
  • Driving screws for on-site cabinet installs and general construction work
  • Making DIY projects easier

Because of its powerful torque, impact drivers are generally not appropriate for use with fine woodwork or brass hardware.

2. The Hammer Drill

The hammer drill looks and works like a regular drill, using a clutch to hammer a punch. However, in addition to drilling, the hammer drill hits the surface thousands of times per minute, with torque similar to a jackhammer to make the work faster and easier. Hammer drills also include a lock that stops the hammering, while drilling continues.

Ideal for…

  • Driving screws though concrete and other masonry
  • Driving screws through softer materials that do not require as much power as a rotary drill (see below)

3. The Rotary Drill

The rotary drill is a more powerful type of hammer drill that moves the hammer in a circular motion, making it a better choice for jobs with harder materials. The rotary drill is powered by a piston, which puts more force behind its punch, allowing it to work faster and bore bigger holes than a hammer drill.

Ideal for…

  • Drilling or boring holes into a surface
  • Drilling into masonry, stone, concrete and metal
  • Larger jobs that benefit from using a hammer drill

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next construction project. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store – we’re open seven days a week. Ask us about our full line of regular and specialized drills available for rent!

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How to Properly Maintain Your Garden by Weeding, Mulching & Watering

Maintain Your Garden This Summer in 3 Simple Steps

Summer is the perfect time to maintain and enjoy your garden. That said, there are three key components to summertime garden maintenance: weeding, mulching and watering. Pruning and increasing shade when necessary can also improve the lives of your flowers and plants. Disturbed soil loses its moisture rapidly and makes it hard for gardens to recover, so keeping up with your outdoor oasis is crucial.

Step One. Eliminate Pesky Weeds

The idea is to smother weeds before they germinate, and to do so by keeping the soil moist, thus making it easier to pull weeds up. Another preventative measure is to remove weeds before they go to seed and spread through your garden. The key indication being that they are still small at this point, not too big, only 2-3 weeks old. Using a trowel or hoe to scrape below the surface will cut and uproot these tiny weeds. This is an example of cultivation as a weed elimination method.

Another type of weeding is just that, weeding in the literal sense…pulling weeds out by hand. Having really moist soil allows for this because they pop right up if they’re small enough and not deeply rooted.

Step Two. Mulch Every Square Inch

Mulching is also a method for preventing weed growth — depriving them of light and air, essentially smothering them. Mulching conserves moisture and allows your plants to maintain a constant temperature range. Not surprisingly, mulch reduces evaporation from the soil up to 70%.

In addition to this, mulch improves soil structure, increases water retention, soil nutrients and worm activity. Mulch is essential if you want to maintain your garden through periods of low rainfall. And even better, mulching eventually destroys most if not all weeds.

There are a variety of materials you can use for mulch, including:

  • straw
  • compost
  • shredded bark
  • grass clippings
  • other organic material

*Quick Tip: compost, straw or bark mulch are ideal for garden beds. Whereas stones or wood chips are better for paths and non-growing areas because they reduce soil splash, dust, etc.

Step Three. Water With Purpose

First things first, before watering, push aside the mulch and put your finger into the soil. If it’s moist, then there is no need to water. If it is dry, then you know it’s about that time. There are two types of watering systems you can implement: fixed or portable.

1. Fixed: built into your garden. i.e. drip irrigation. This includes soaker hoses, which literally leak throughout the area. Fixed systems are at soil level, so water goes directly to the roots. For a soaker hose specifically, lay it through your garden where plants are small (for easy access) and then cover with loose mulch.

2. Portable: a cheaper alternative that can be moved exactly where needed i.e. watering and sprinkling cans, hand-held hoses and sprinkler systems. When choosing a water hose, consider a few qualities:

  • 4 ply construction for superior resistance
  • Large diameter (5/8″)  for faster delivery
  • Brass couplings, which reduce leaks

A few things to keep in mind when watering…

1. With existing plants, water less frequently and then not at all.

2. Observe for signs of stress i.e. wilting and leaf fall to determine if your watering schedule is effective or not.

3. Less frequent deep watering equips deep-rooted plants to withstand hot, dry days (i.e. drought resistance).

4. Set your sprinkler in one part of garden while hand watering in another to save time.

5. Water where crop plants are and drip plant in beds and out of paths.

Additional Resources

Good luck getting your garden in shape this summer. The sooner you finish weeding, mulching and perfecting your water schedule, the more you can enjoy it. Check out this Guide to Good Garden Watering for more insight. If you’re thinking of creating a new garden, or you don’t have one, take this quiz to find your perfect garden plan. Oh, and if this proves a pretty harsh summer where you are, read this article about how to protect your garden. Please reach out if you have any questions. Happy gardening!

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