Posts Tagged With: power tools

The Versatile Wooden Pallet – Who Knew You Could Make That?!

how to diy a pallet wine rackAh, the versatile wooden pallet! If you love to re-purpose found items, then you know about these multi-talented platforms. The internet is filled with how-tos on making everything from lawn furniture to dog houses. However, our favorite project is a wine rack with a glass holder on the bottom. It has our DIY name written all over it!

Wooden Pallets Easy to Find

Why buy lumber for your projects when you can repurpose wooden pallets? If you don’t have them on hand, check with your local stores. These shipping platforms are everywhere; you just have to look for them.

Wine Anyone?

Creating a wine rack out of a wooden pallet is easy and inexpensive. The toughest decision is what size to make it. For a small rack that will hold two to three bottles and four average sized stemmed wine glasses, you will only need to use half of a pallet.

8 Easy Steps for Building a Wooden Pallet Wine Rack

  • Cut the pallet – Use the end section for the base and cut it to the height you want. The standard width of a pallet is 40 inches so adjust it to the width you need.
  • Remove extra boards – Take two boards from the discarded portion of the pallet to use at the bottom of the rack. One board will be the bottom of the shelf where the bottles go and the other will separate the shelves.
  • Create spacers – Cut three 1 x 1 pieces to go between the bottom board for the glasses and the bottom of the wine bottle shelf. You need room to slide the glasses on and off the shelf.
  • Sand the boards – Pallet wood is notoriously rough and splintered, so use a 120 grit sandpaper for smoothing and a 220 grit paper to finish.
  • Openings for glasses – Use a jigsaw to make cuts in the bottom board for the glassware stems. Space them about 4 inches apart.
  • Assemble – Make sure your rack is sturdy by reinforcing the wine bottle shelf with an extra board. Use 2-inch nails and 3-inch wood screws to hold the board together.
  • Finishing – Stain the wood or paint it. If you choose to stain, keep in mind that sanding softens the wood and will cause it to soak up a lot of stain. Due to the rough wood, you will need to work the stain into the cracks and crevices with a cloth or brush.
  • Hanging the rack – Mount it directly into your wall studs to support the weight of the bottles and glasses. Add felt bumper pads to the backside to keep it from scuffing your wall if bumped.

Other Projects to Make with Wooden Pallets

  • Outdoor furniture like sofas and chairs
  • Patio dining table
  • Garden potting table
  • Headboard for a bed
  • Vertical wall garden
  • Dog house

Save Money and the Environment by Repurposing

Repurposing old wood from pallets helps keep them out of our landfills and saves you money. They add rustic charm to the home and garden. Stop wishing for new patio furniture or flower containers and start building what you need with wooden pallets. There are so many DIY projects to use these wooden wonders on – your Winter to-do list may stretch into Spring.

Expert Advice

From circular saws and drills to jigsaws and orbital sanders, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home project. Still wondering what you can do with the wooden pallets around your house? Check out our previous blog, Summer Garden Update 2 – Garden Boxes Add Pizzazz to Planting, to help get those creative DIY juices flowing. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Hummingbird Feeders Liven Up Your Garden

bird feeders liven up a gardenYour garden is not just a random combination of plants and flowers, but an environment for the wildlife that lives there. One of the most entertaining creatures to watch is the Hummingbird as it flits, flies and hovers in search of nectar. Adding a feeder (or two) will attract these tiny birds, providing hours of delight for you and your family.

Fascinating Facts About Hummingbirds

  • According to The Hummingbird Society, 34 of the 342 known Hummingbird species are at risk of extinction.
  • They can hover and fly backwards.
  • They lap up their food with a long thin tongue.
  • Bugs are their primary food source and sugar (that comes from natural or manmade nectar) is the fuel that energizes them.
  • They are voracious eaters, starting to feed as early as 45 minutes before sunrise and continue throughout the day.
  • They are attracted to the color red, although they have no need for red food (forget food dyes!)
  • Leaving a feeder out all year will not entice them to stay. Some birds migrate up to 3,000 miles annually. Bring your feeder in when you haven’t seen a Hummer in three to four weeks.
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are territorial so place feeders in different locations so other varieties such as Rufous, Black-chinned and Calliope will feed.

Flowers First, Feeder Next

Placing your feeder near flowering plants is the best way to attract Hummingbirds. Some of their favorite garden plants are Azaleas, Butterfly Bush, Cardinal Flower and Coral-bells; Flowering Crabtree, Fuchsias, Honeysuckle, Impatiens, Lantana and Weigela. Don’t worry if you don’t see birds while your garden is in bloom, they are too distracted by your gorgeous flowers and will return to the feeder soon.

Hummingbirds Like It Clean

As long as they are kept clean, Hummingbirds have no preference on plastic, glass or homemade feeders. Look for one with feeding ports above the liquid (dripless), that have perches and are easy to clean. Start small until you attract a steady number of birds, then add more feeders.

Fresh Food is Good

Hummingbirds actively avoid a spoiled food source, so changing your feeder every four to five days is essential. Spoiled liquid will look cloudy and may have black mold spots floating in it. Throw away old nectar rather than topping it off.

The Best Nectar Recipe

Because Hummers get their nutrients primarily from flower nectar and insects, skip buying supplemented commercial nectar. Also, avoid using honey, Jell-O, raw (turbinado) or brown sugar, fruit or red dye. Here’s the best nectar recipe:

  • Mix 1-part sugar to 4-parts water
  • Boil for 1-2 minutes
  • Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Prevent Feeder Mold

Use a mild detergent, bottle brush and hot water to clean your feeder before changing the food. Once a month, use a mixture of ¼ cup of bleach to a gallon of water to prevent mold. Full strength vinegar instead of bleach is also a good option, just rinse well.

Bees and Wasps Can Ruin Your Feeder

When Hummingbirds feed they often spill nectar onto surrounding surfaces, which attracts bees and wasps. To discourage them, wipe the feeder ports or dilute the sugar mixture in the nectar recipe. Moving the food source to a new location can help, too – the birds will follow it, but the bees won’t.

Sticky Situation for Ants

Nectar also attracts ants, which is why many feeders come with an ant barrier or water moat. Still, ants can be determined creatures, so try applying a very sticky goo called Tanglefoot to the bottom of the moat tray. Flip the tray upside down on the feeder to keep it out of contact with the birds.

Become a Dedicated Hummingbird Caretaker Today

These delicate aerial acrobats bring zip to your garden and are fun to watch. Become a dedicated caretaker of a Hummingbird feeder today and help save these beautiful creatures for another generation to enjoy.

Expert Advice

Our companion blog, How to Attract Birds and Butterflies for a Livelier Yard, is filled with helpful tips on how to bring more wildlife into your garden. From ladders and drills to shovels and wheel barrows, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next gardening DIY project. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Build Your Own American Flag Cornhole Set in 10 Steps

DIY American Flag Cornhole SetAlready making plans for the 4th of July? Well, we’ve got the perfect DIY project that is sure to get your family and guests in the patriotic spirit. Build a stars and stripes cornhole game set! The fun will last long past Independence Day.

This is No Bean Bag Toss!

The dimensions of a cornhole board, according to the American Cornhole Association, should be a 48-inch by 24-inch rectangular shape that is inclined 12 inches off the ground at one end. All you need are the following materials:

  • (4) 2” x 4” x 8’ boards
  • (2) 2’ x 4’ plywood panels (1/2” thickness)
  • (4) 3/8” carriage bolts
  • (4) 3/8” washers
  • (4) 3/8” wing nuts
  • 5” wood screws
  • 5” wood screws

Find Your Favorite Design

Decide on the patriotic decoration for the front. Stripes can be done with painter’s tape and you paint the stars freehand. Research designs on the internet and print your favorite onto stencil plastic or check with your local sign company to see if they can make the stencils for you.

10 Easy Steps to Building an American Flag Cornhole Set

  1. Cut the wood – use a circular saw to cut the pieces for the frame, face and legs.
  2. Construct the frame – join the sides and end segments together with 2.5-inch wood screws. Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting.
  3. Attach face to frame – apply wood glue to the frame, then add the face. Screw the board to the frame. When dry, fill screw holes with wood filler.
  4. Drill hole for opening – measure 9 inches from top and 12 inches from sides to find center. Cut out a 6-inch diameter hole with a jig saw or a 6-inch hole drill bit.
  5. Round one end of legs – mark 1.75 inches from end of each leg and draw a circle across the end of the board. Use jig saw to round it off.
  6. Drill holes /Attach legs – create holes for carriage bolts to secure legs to inside of frame. The rounded end goes at top and bottom of the frame. Legs should fold up underneath. Sand rounded end if they do not move freely.
  7. Sand – use an orbital sander to smooth the top, sides and inside of hole to prevent splintering and cracking.
  8. Paint – prime the board white on the top and sides. Two coats will give you a good solid white for the stripes (paint the legs if you wish).
  9. Tape or stencil flag pattern – use painter’s tape to mark the stripes and a stencil for the stars. Fill in using a high gloss latex paint.
  10. Seal it – after the design dries, add a polyurethane coating to protect it.

Use the Right Tools

You can use a paint sprayer to apply the primer and the sealant. Depending on your design, you may need to use a brush to complete your flag. The board face should be smooth but not slick. Use fine sand paper to smooth in-between the polyurethane coatings to get rid of rough patches. Allow 24 hours to dry.

Show Your True Colors This Fourth!

The materials listed above will produce a complete game set with two boards. You can make your own bags to toss or buy them online. Show your true colors this Fourth of July with a very patriotic cornhole game. Easy to build and fun to play, it is a great summer time distraction. Just don’t forget to mind the burgers on the grill!

Expert Advice

Want to throw a spectacular Fourth of July BBQ but don’t know where to start? Check out our blog, 3 Things to Help Pull Off Your First Outdoor Barbecue of the Season to get your home ready to entertain guests. From circular saws and drills to paint sprayers and sanders, our expert staff is always on hand to help you tackle your next fun backyard project. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Insulate Your Garage for Winter

insulate your garage for winterWhen planning projects to do around your house to get ready for the long winter to come, remember to include your garage. This often overlooked area is one of the main sources of heat loss in your home. Garages often share a wall with a kitchen or den. Keeping the garage warm will help keep your house toasty and more energy efficient.

The Higher the R-Value the Better

R-Value refers to an insulation material’s ability to resist heat flow. When insulating, the higher the R-Value, the better. Normally for walls, look for an R-Value of R11-R15 and for an attic space, look for R38- R49. Foam board only has an R-Value of R3-R6, but is a good option for insulating garage doors.

Look for Storage Opportunities

Assess your garage, and while you’re at it, why not organize and purge items that have accumulated over the summer. Look for any missed opportunities for storage in the rafters or along the walls. Work these features into your plan of attack for winterizing the garage. Cabinets along walls can do double duty, keeping the cold away from indoor rooms, as well as store items.

Eliminate Cold Air From Entering Your House

Insulating your garage will help protect your car, eliminate cold air from entering your house, and provide you with additional workspace during the winter. Here are some ideas on where to start in your garage:

  • Fix and insulate your garage door. Add foam board to the inside of your garage door. If you have an older door, consider investing in a modern insulated door.
  • Replace weather stripping around your garage door and any outside doors.
  • Insulate the garage walls. Garages are shells and have little if any insulation in the walls.
  • Seal switches and outlets on outside walls. Cold air can seep in through these openings.
  • Cover exposed pipes. It is easy to overlook these pipes, but treat them as if they are outdoors and wrap them.
  • Caulk around any windows, doors and the garage door.

Use Weather Seal

The garage door is a big culprit for letting cold air in even when it is in place. Consider installing a weather seal where the door meets the ground. This will not only keep the frigid air out, but it will help keep rain and insects out, too.

Durable, Protective Epoxy Floors

Waterproofing the floor of a garage will not only seal it to keep the dampness out, but it will also go a long way towards improving the appearance of your garage. Epoxy combines a resin and a hardener to form a rigid plastic material. These floors are easy to install. They are durable, repel stains and can stand up to heavy traffic. Epoxy is an affordable and stylish way to protect your concrete floors.

No More Working in a Cold Garage

Adding a heater may seem like a luxury, but it can help keep the fluids in your car’s engine from “gelling up”. A gas system will cost more to install but is cheaper to run. An electric unit will be cheaper to install but you will have higher operating costs. You’ll also be able to use your garage more in the winter using a heater, so you can work in a comfortable setting.

Keep Your Heating Costs Down

Insulating your garage now will help keep your heating costs down this winter. It will protect your car and other items in the garage from extreme temperature changes. Just think how nice it will be to get into your car without having to walk out into a cold garage. Bring on old man winter!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your home improvement projects. From an insulation blower and epoxy mixer to a circular saw and drill, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. Learn more insulation tips by reading our blogs, Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Home by Insulating the Garage and Find Air Leaks in Your House and Plug ‘Em Up Fast.

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Summer Garden Update #2 – Garden Boxes Add Pizzazz to Planting

Add Pizzazz to Your Garden with A DIY PlanterIf you want to change it up a little in your garden this season, why not try adding some garden boxes? These easy-to-build containers are perfect for adding a splash of color to a boring corner of the yard or growing some delicious vegetables for your table. They can make your gardening chores easier, too. Who doesn’t love that idea?

Big on Benefits

The benefits of garden boxes are vast. They are ideal for small spaces and great if your soil is rocky or of poor quality. They also take less effort to maintain because plants placed close together tend to shade and cool the ground around them. This means less watering, less weeding and less mulching. Vegetable gardens planted in raised beds tend to produce higher yields due to better drainage and deep rooting.

Boxes vs. Planters

There is a difference between garden boxes (beds) and garden planters. Generally garden boxes are raised boxes that are open on the bottom to allow plants contact with the soil in your yard. Garden planters are also raised boxes but they are closed on the bottom with either slats or landscaping fabric to keep the dirt inside contained. Whichever you choose to go with, there will be some basic construction involved. Here is what you will need for a rectangular garden box:

  • (4) 2×6 cut to 8 feet
  • (4) 2×6 cut to 4 feet
  • (1) bundle of 18-24” wooden stakes
  • Galvanized nails or screws
  • A level, a small sledge hammer and a drill

Make Your Bed – Then Plant in it

What kind of material do you use to build your garden bed? Generally they are made from lumber. However, look around your yard for materials you may be able to repurpose, such as:

  • Untreated lumber like pine or cedar
  • Concrete blocks – the pH level in your soil may be affected by concrete, but you can correct with fertilizer
  • Bricks
  • Recycled wooden pallets

Avoid pressure treated lumber, which can contain chemicals that leach into the soil. Pass on repurposing railroad ties, too – these are treated with creosote, which is toxic.

A Bed with Easy Access

Select a level section of your yard to place the bed. Make sure the area has adequate sunlight, access to a water source and is free of tree roots. The width of your box should be no wider than four feet to allow for easy access to the bed without having to step into it. The length is not as important. Most beds are usually 4×8 feet or 4×12 feet in size. The depth of the box needs to be no less than six inches, with 12 inches being ideal.

Keep it Level

Construct the frame of your bed by attaching the sides and ends together with galvanized nails or screws. Once you have the frame constructed, drive stakes in the ground inside the corners at one end of your box. Leave about four to six inches of the stakes above ground. Attach the frame to the stakes. Don’t worry about whether the frame is sitting completely on the ground or not. The important thing to remember is to keep the box level when attaching it to the stakes.

Almost Finished

Once you have leveled one end of the box, go to the opposite end and repeat the process. When your box is level, drive a couple of stakes into the ground along the inside of each side. Attach your frame to the stakes. Finish up by adding the sides for the second layer and securing them to the stakes.

Prepare the Soil

Now that your garden box is complete, prepare the bed. You need to break up the ground inside the box. One tip is to remove the top layer of soil (about the depth of your shovel blade) and till up the soil beneath. Add back the soil you have removed and mix it in. Add compost and additional top soil to build up the bed.

Making Your Gardening Easy

When your soil is ready, it is time to add your plants. Whether you are planting flowers or vegetables, an overall planting design will help. Place your tallest plants in the center with trellises and work your way outward. Garden boxes make gardening easy. So think inside the box for a change. You’ll be glad you did.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From circular saws and small tillers to wheel barrows and shovels, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. Check out our first garden update here.

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How-To: A DIY Rain Barrel Catches Water & Saves Money

The Benefits of a DIY Rain BarrelWe’ve been having crazy weather lately. Some areas have been getting record rainfall while others haven’t seen a drop in days. One sure way to take advantage of all the rainfall and help you out during the dry days of summer is to install a rain barrel. Check out our blog, Build a Rain Barrel for Your Garden in 5 Easy Steps, for more detailed instructions but here are the highlights:

  • Get a 55 or 80 gallon plastic container
  • Place a couple of concrete blocks beneath the barrel and make sure it is level
  • Drill three holes in the container – one a quarter of the way up from the bottom for the main spigot, one at the very bottom as a drain, and one a quarter of the way from the top for an overflow valve.
  • Install spigots on all three with watertight sealant.
  • Drill a large opening in the lid to direct the downspout into barrel
  • Detach a section of the downspout from house and replace it with flexible downspout tubing. Secure with screws.

Think of the Money You’ll Save

Lawn and garden watering makes up close to 40% of total household water use during the hot summer months. By installing a rain barrel you can save up to 1,300 gallons of water. Rainwater is water that is free of chlorine, lime and calcium and is ideal for watering potted plants and gardens, washing cars, and even washing Fido. Think of the money you can save if you didn’t have to turn on the tap outside.

Keeping Rainwater Where It Needs to Go – In the Garden

Rainwater runoff is a big problem in urban and suburban areas, polluting our waterways with fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants. Rain barrels play a part in cutting down on the runoff problem. By installing a rain barrel you can redirect water away from your foundation and at the same time cut down on your water bill. Rainwater helps to stabilize the PH levels in the soil, therefore cutting down on the need for fertilizers.

Things To Keep In Mind When Installing A Rain Barrel

  • Make sure wherever you decide to place the rain barrel that the ground is level to avoid it tipping over once it is full.
  • If you treat your roof for pests, unhook the rain barrel for a couple weeks to avoid contaminating your barrel.
  • Use round barrels rather than square containers because corners can crack from water pressure.
  • Make sure your garden hose fits the spigots. Garden hoses do not follow standard plumbing pipe thread sizes so you may need an adapter.
  • If you live in a cold climate, you will need to disconnect the rain barrel, drain it and store it over the winter. Don’t forget to re-attach the old downspout.
  • You may be eligible for a rebate on your rain barrel from your local water company so check their website for information.

Rain Barrels – Smart Investment, Big Payoff

Constructing a rain barrel is an easy do-it-yourself project as long as you follow a few guidelines. You may find that you use your rain barrel so often that you want to add several more. Think of all the outdoor projects you can accomplish without ever having to turn on your outdoor faucet! A rain barrel is a smart investment that pays off in big ways.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From ladders and wheel barrows to shovels, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Go Wild with Your Garden – How to Attract Birds & Butterflies for a Livelier Yard

Build A DIY BirdhouseYou have been diligently whipping your yard into shape this gardening season, yet something is still missing. Then you realize you need to add a little wildlife to your landscape.

When gardeners start designing, they sometimes forget to add plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Adding a few birdhouses to your landscape will provide hours of entertainment as you watch all the wildlife interact.

Building a Better Birdhouse

Building a birdhouse is fairly simple; however, you can’t just put one up and expect your new tenants to move in immediately. You first need to decide what species of birds you wish to attract. Many bird varieties have preferences when it comes to the type birdhouse they will occupy, so do your homework first. Here are a few basic rules to follow for building a birdhouse.

  • Location, location, location – Select a suitable nesting location based on the type of birds you are trying to attract. Some like their houses to be in an open area while others prefer to have the protection of trees limbs or shrubs.
  • It’s all about design – Different species like different type houses. Some will nest in apartment style houses (Purple Martins) while others want to be alone, away from other birds (House Wrens) in smaller houses.
  • The right opening – The “front door” to the bird house is important. One size does not work for all birds. Different species like small openings (Chickadees) while others like different shaped openings (owls like oval front doors).
  • Height matters – Birds like Purple Martins like their houses built high (15-20 ft) on poles and House Wrens like houses 6-8 ft high hanging from tree limbs.
  • The more the merrier – Make several houses from different designs and place them in different locations in your yard. You will be able to see which design and location works.

Natural Selection

The best material to use for a birdhouse is untreated wood. Make sure your birdhouse design has thick walls that provide adequate insulation. Cut ventilation slits at the top of the house and holes in the floor for drainage. Extend the roof out in the front and slant downward to keep rain out. Adding a baffle will help to keep raccoons, snakes, cats and other predators from getting into the house.

Butterflies & Hummingbirds, Oh My!

Now that you have taken care of the birds, it’s time to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard with nectar- and pollen-rich plants. Wildflowers and old fashioned varieties of flowers are great for this. Adding a water feature like a fountain or bird bath not only attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, it helps them beat the heat, too.

Keep in mind that a yard where dogs or cats roam about, or one with very little tree or shrub shelter, may cut down on how many butterflies and hummingbirds you attract. Try one or more of these plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard.

Butterflies Love:

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Daylily
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
  • Liatris
  • Marigold
  • Phlox
  • Russian Sage

Hummingbirds Love:

  • Bee Balm
  • Canna
  • Crape Myrtles
  • Foxglove
  • Fuchsia
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

Many of these plants do double duty and appeal to both butterflies and hummingbirds. Select a variety that have different flowering seasons, extending the freshness of their food supply.

Hummingbird Feeders

Designed specifically for hummingbirds, commercial feeders use the color red to attract them. Gardeners add food – usually a mixture of ¼ cup sugar in a cup of water – to mimic natural flower nectar. Hummingbird feeders come in two types, bottle or saucer. The most important things to consider when choosing a hummingbird feeder is the size and how easy it is to take apart and clean. Bacteria and mold grow in sugar water, which also ferments, so change it often (daily in very hot weather).

Bottle hummingbird feeders can be glass or plastic, often with red plastic flowers and bee guards on the feeding ports. Choose one with red bee guards, because yellow ones can actually attract bees. Saucer hummingbird feeders are usually plastic and have feeding ports in the top, making them fairly bee-and wasp-proof. If the feeders have large enough perches, Orioles, Downy Woodpeckers, Cape May Warblers, and other bird species may visit them. Hummingbirds tend to be territorial when it comes to feeding sites, so you may see a little action at the hummingbird water hole, so to speak.

All in all, planning ahead to attract wildlife such as birds, butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard will provide months of entertainment as you watch your garden come to life.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From circular saws and post hole diggers to wheel barrows and shovels, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Create a Custom Picture Frame in 6 Simple Steps

How to Make A Custom Picture Frame

Have you ever come across an incredibly unique poster, painting or photograph that doesn’t fit into a standard frame size? If you live in Indianapolis you’ve probably seen the Neighborhoods of Indianapolis poster, which unfortunately falls into this category. Because of this, I had to find a new solution for framing mine, and since a custom frame from a craft store costs a small fortune, I decided to utilize my dad’s expert DIY ability instead.

First things first, gather the tools…

Thankfully my dad has a mecca of power tools in his shed, so he was able to come up with everything we needed. However, for those of you without an extensive tool collection, Runyon has a huge array of tools for rent and purchase. Stop in or check out our website for the full catalog of products. Here are all the tools you need (assuming you already have trim for the frame and plywood for the back frame piece):

Things to keep in mind, according to good ol’ dad…

The goal is to find a way to join the corners of the trim that will ultimately form the frame. If you want to get fancy with it you can use a router bit to form tongue and groove joints, but this is only optional. You could also consider a layered frame look, i.e. stacking trim to create a shadow box style. The key to this whole process though, is to make sure your parallel sides are exactly the same size in length and that the corners are cut to perfect 45-degree angles. Accuracy is crucial for this to work properly.

And now the steps…

  1. The first thing you have to do is measure and cut your frame sides into parallel pieces i.e. make sure parallel sides are equal in length. Also, make sure you leave enough length for the 45-degree angles in the next step.
  2. After cutting the trim pieces to the correct length, it’s time to measure and cut 45-degree angle corners. The miter saw is integral for this step because it will ensure accurate cuts. Test and fit your pieces as you go to make sure they line up with no gaps.
  3. Once all your frame pieces are the proper length and have well-fitting corners, glue and clamp the corners together for at least an hour.
  4. Then for additional stability, toe-nail the corners together with a brad gun (nailer). At this point your frame should be complete with the exception of the back piece and hanging hardware.
  5. Attach the back piece of plywood with a nail gun after ensuring it’s the correct dimensions (i.e. enough to cover the frame opening, but not too big that it overlaps outside the far frame edge).
  6. And the very last step, install hardware for hanging the frame. You can pick up brackets, a wire set, etc. from a hardware store. Just be sure whatever you buy is rated for at least the weight of your frame – for instance, mine weighs about 50 lbs.

And voila, you’re ready to hang and admire your picture for years to come! If you have any additional questions about this process or the tools used, please don’t hesitate to comment below or contact us. Happy DIY-ing!

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Spring Refresh DIY Idea #2 – Building a Backyard Playset

How to Build a PlaysetWhen you think back on your childhood, you may recall playing on a rusty old metal swing set with hard plastic seats. Remember how the whole thing threatened to flip over if you swung too high? The backyard play sets of today are a far cry from those rickety contraptions. Now kids have their choice of towers and forts in addition to swings and slides. What about a rock climbing wall?! We have the technology. The choices are endless … and the cost can run in the thousands of dollars. So what’s a parent to do? Here are a few things to consider in your quest to build a better playset.

Shop Smart

Before you start shopping stores or the internet for a playset to assemble, consider this:

  • Know your audience – What’s the age of the child you are building the playset for? What interests a toddler is less engaging for a 10-year-old. Look for a playset that can be reconfigured as your child grows up. Some sets will have features that can be removed and replaced with more age appropriate ones using very little additional construction.
  • It’s going to be how big? – Determine the size of the area where you want to put the playset. It will help to narrow down the choices in design plans. Consider placing the structure off to one side of the yard rather than in the middle. That gives the kids an open space where they can play football and other games. Besides, you don’t want to step out you back door and onto the jungle gym.
  • Avoid any trips to the ER – Know the weight limit of the playset you select. If you expect a neighborhood of kids to be on it at one time then spend the money for the highest rated play set. Accidents will happen so cushion their falls with a protective surface like bark or rubberized mulch. Spread it in a dense layer and extend it around all sides of the structure. Make sure all platforms and ramps have guard rails.
  • Can I mortgage that playset? – Focus on the quality of the building materials and the inclusive safeguards more than the elaborate play features. A playset made from good hard wood like cedar or redwood is the preferred choice of most professional playset builders. Sure, you will have to clean and paint it, but if properly maintained, a set built out of this kind of wood could last 7-10 years. Pressure treated lumber is less expensive but it has been created using chemicals that you don’t want to expose your children to. Manufacturers say the toxicity levels are low but ultimately it is your call as a parent on whether the risk is worth it.
  • Stick with the classics – Forget all the fancy construction plans. Swings and slides will always be in fashion. Elaborate features like rock climbing walls or trapezes only add to the cost of the project. Remember these are the same kids that happily played with your pots and pans just a few years ago. That swinging pirate ship may fall out of fashion with them in a heartbeat, and if isn’t not easy to remove, you’re stuck with it marooned in your backyard.

A Family Project

No one knows your kids the way you do. Select the type playset that will make them want to put down the smart phone, remote or other device and run out to play on it. Make building it a family project. Even young children can hand you a hammer or help spread mulch. It is all about creating memories of childhood days spent playing with friends on a backyard playset – one they’ll remember was built just for them by you. Priceless.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your backyard projects. From circular saws and nailers/staplers to pressure washers and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Repair and Replace Window and Door Screens

How to Fix a Window or Door ScreenSpring fever is on the rise – Get ready to enjoy it!

Very soon now, the warmer, milder weather of spring will motivate us to open windows and doors and feel the fresh air. This goes for flies and insects, too – it doesn’t take much of a hole in a screen for them to fly right into your home. Now’s the time to make sure all of your screens are in good condition. What might you find?

  • Holes and punctures in the screen
  • Screens torn away from frames
  • Window, door or screen parts that are rusted, corroded or damaged
  • Screen windows and doors in perfect condition (do a little jig!)

Depending on the condition of your screen windows and doors, you may decide to buy new ones, which can be an expensive proposition especially if your screens are custom-made.

However, do-it-yourselfers are likely to decide on repairing or replacing screens themselves.

How to Repair a Screen

Repair small holes or tears in screens using a patch. Patches will look obvious, yet still do the job of keeping insects out of the house. You will need screen material that matches the original, scissors, a block of wood and a tape measure or ruler.

  1. Trim the hole of excess or damage.
  2. Cut a piece of screen two inches larger than the hole on all sides.
  3. Secure the patch to the outside of the original screen by lacing a piece of wire through completely. Twist the end of the wire around one section of the original screen to finish.
  4. Or, use about ½-inch of the wires on the edges of the patch on all four sides to secure it to the original screen. Bend the ends over a wood block or the ruler edge of a ruler to form prongs.
  5. Place the patch over the hole and push the prongs through the screen.
  6. Bend the prongs toward the center of the hole to secure the patch.

How to Replace a Screen

A less obvious repair job is to replace the entire screen. You will need screen wire fabric, screen staples or tacks, bedding strips or splines for metal frames, scissors, screwdriver and hammer. Metal or nylon screen fabric comes in rolls or large pieces, which is attached differently on wood or metal frames.

  1. Work with each frame on a smooth, flat surface.
  2. Remove the damaged screen from the door or window:
    1. Wood: To free the wire fabric, use a screwdriver to pry up moldings, then remove old staples, tacks and brads.
    2. Metal: Lift and pull the cut end of the bedding strip up and out.
  3. Measure and cut the replacement screen fabric on the grain.
    1. Wood: Cut the fabric 6 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the opening.
    2. Metal: Cut the fabric 3 inches larger than the opening on all sides.
  4. Position screen fabric on the frame. Make sure the grain of the screen fabric lines up parallel to the sides of the frame.
    1. Wood: The screen fabric should extend about 1 inch from the top opening and 1-½ inches from each side.
    2. Metal: The screen fabric should extend about 2 inches from the top opening and 2 inches from each side.
  5. Attach screen fabric to frame.
    1. Wood: Insert screen staples or tacks across the top of the frame every 2 inches. Stretch the screen fabric from top to bottom of the frame, and attach the fabric in same manner as for the top. Tack or staple the sides every 2 inches. Attach the fabric to the center rail last.
    2. Metal: With a screwdriver, seat the bedding strip and edge of the screen fabric into the metal channel. Push the bedding strip into the channel on top of the screen. Pull the screen fabric taut across the frame and secure the other side, then secure the top and bottom by pushing the wire fabric and bedding strip into the channel.
  6. Trim excess wire fabric with a sharp knife or scissors and remove.
  7. Attach molding or quarter rounds. Touch up wood frames with paint, if necessary. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home repair projects. From power tools such as drills and hammers, saws, nailers and staplers, 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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9 DIY Projects That Inspire Holiday Decorating & Entertaining

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be feeling the pressure to get all your Christmas shopping done, your holiday decorations down from the dusty attic and as many baking and family meal-time groceries checked off your grocery list as possible. Well, not to add any additional stress to your to-do list, but we find getting out the craft supplies and power tools is a great way to relieve some energy and personalize your home for holiday entertaining and get-togethers. Who doesn’t love a little drilling and cutting? To get your creative holiday juices flowing, below is a list of DIY Thanksgiving and Christmas projects compiled from several famous bloggers. Pin your favorites and have fun with it!

[4 DIY Thanksgiving Ideas:]

Idea 1. Branch Centerpiece

Branch Centerpiece

Source: Marty’s Musings

Tools Needed: drill1″ drill bit & wood chisel

Idea 2. DIY 2×4 Pumpkins

DIY 2x4 Pumpkins

Source: Su Soutter

Tools Needed: electric sander & handheld saw

Idea 3. DIY Pumpkin & Gourd Planters

DIY Pumpkin Planters

Source: DIY Network

Tools Needed: handheld jigsawdrill & drill bit

Idea 4. Give Thanks Sign

Give Thanks Sign
Source: Nikki, In Stitches

Tool Needed: handheld sander

[5 DIY Christmas Ideas:]

Idea 1. Christmas Crate

DIY Christmas Crate

Source: The Idea Room

Tools Needed: nail gun, drill & jigsaw

Idea 2. DIY Holiday Ladder

DIY Holiday Ladder

Source: Tatertots & Jello

Tools Needed: drill, drill bit & screw gun

Idea 3. 4×4 No Melt Snowman

4x4 No Melt Snowman

Source: So You Think You’re Crafty

Tools Needed: sander, miter saw, drill & drill bit

Idea 4. Wooden Shim Christmas Tree

Wooden Shim Christmas Tree

Source: By Stephanie Lynn

Tools Needed: miter saw, nail gun, hand saw & staple gun

Idea 5. DIY Wood Reindeer

DIY Wood Reindeer

Source: The 36th Avenue

Tools Needed: drill & sander

These are just a few DIY project ideas for your holiday decorating and entertaining – with your bright imagination I’m sure you could come up with more! So, if you ever need advice or help choosing which tool/s to rent for such an undertaking, let us know and we can set you up. Happy Holiday DIY-ing!

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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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Easy Bush Removal Takes Planning and a Few Power Tools

Remove Unwanted Bushes in 5 Easy Steps

Seasonal maintenance or an update to a mature landscape could mean removing overgrown, diseased or unwanted shrubs and bushes from your yard. You can do it yourself, with a little planning and a few power tools. Here are Runyon Rental’s easy-to-follow instructions:

Step 1. Survey the situation. Look around each bush for bird nests. Schedule the removal after hatchlings leave. Make sure the bush is not a protected species. If it is, you may be obligated to follow certain removal procedures or transplant to an appropriate site. And last but not least, know where utility or sprinkler lines are buried before digging into them. Call your local utility company for this specific information.

Step 2. Choose your tools. Depending on the size of the removal job, you can start with a heavy spade-type shovel, manual hedge clippers and a large wheelbarrow to get it done. To save yourself some sweat, consider renting a power hedge trimmer, a chainsaw, a stump cutter and even a wood chipper, for easier cleanup.

Step 3. Cut down to size. Cut each bush to a manageable size, removing branches first, and cutting the trunk into manageable pieces that fit into the wood chipper. If you’re going the manual removal route, leave enough of a stump above the ground to get a good hold on it. Otherwise, cut the bush down to the ground.

Step 4. Remove the stump and roots. Especially if the bush is diseased, get rid of the stump and the roots with a stump cutter. Most of the roots can be pulled from the ground manually. If you’re working without a stump cutter, dig a trench around the stump and start breaking it down by cutting through the roots and throwing away any soil containing them, until one piece of the stump is left. Dig the shovel deep into the ground near the stump, moving it back and forth until the roots directly below the stump are cut. Then stick the shovel into the trench, angling it to the middle and push and lift. Repeat this procedure around the entire stump until you can lift it out with your hands.

Step 5. Fill the hole…with soil and continue with your new plan for the landscape. Throw wood chips on the compost pile or use as mulch.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping 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. If you plan to plant a new bush or tree, ask us about our tree spade rentals!

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3 Things to Help Pull Off Your First Outdoor Barbecue of the Season

3 Tools to Help Make Your First Outdoor BBQ of the Season a SuccessWouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a juicy steak grilled outside? You could add an assortment of yummy roasted veggies to the menu and grill up pineapple slices served with a little vanilla ice cream for desert. And maybe even invite your neighbors over for dinner too, yeah?

Well, it’s totally possible! With just three tools and equipment, you can pull off the first outdoor barbecue of the season (given you’ve already got a deck and a grill and a few neighbors you like to spend time with). So here’s what you need:

1. Pressure Washer

The first thing to do is clean the deck and all your outdoor furniture, washing away any dirt and grime that winter left behind. Not to mention, that pine or flower pollen that’s coating every surface in your backyard. Using a pressure washer makes quick work out of this traditional warm-weather chore. Chose an appropriate cleaning solution for your equipment and rinse away. Just be careful to monitor liquid pressure. The deck can handle a more powerful stream than an outdoor set of table and chairs.

You can even pressure wash the grill – give it a good cleaning after getting it out for the season. If you need a more thorough refurbishing job, check out our recent blog post, Master of the Grill: Clean and Repair Your Grill in 10 Easy Stepseverything you need to know to get your grill in top form for a season of good eats.

2. Propane

It’s time to stop by for a propane tank for the grill. We carry a variety of tank sizes, which are made of steel, engineered for lightweight strength and manufactured to Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications in facilities that have a Quality Management System certified to ISO 9002 requirements. In fact, propane is so integral to a happy grilling experience, you should consider getting a spare!

Of course, if you’re a charcoal kind of griller, then your number two would be heading to your local hardware store to pick up charcoal fuel for your grilling fire.

3. Power Tools

Once you clean up the patio and get the grill ready, you can focus more attention on making those backyard patio transformations that you’ve been dreaming about a reality. You may remember the projects we wrote about in our recent blog post, Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with These 3 Project Ideas. And with each of these ideas it’s rather likely you’ll need a nail gun, stapler, circular saw, drill or any number of other power tools to help you accomplish such a feat. From new landscape features to new cushions for your furniture and attractive privacy walls, our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project.

So that’s it – the three things to help you and your guests to inaugurate the grilling season. 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. We’d love to help you enjoy that steak dinner in style!

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s That Time of Year to Sharpen Your Blades and Chains

Sharpen your blades and chains this spring

Lawn mowers, trimmers and chain saws, oh my! When you open up your tool shed or garage for the first time this spring, this is probably what you’re looking at. And it feels great doesn’t it, getting ready for the new lawn mowing and yard-work season? Especially if you winterized your power tools last fall. If not, don’t worry – they are ready to be dusted off and spruced up. We know it!

Sharpening Blades and Chains

Keeping your blades and chains sharp is an important step in maintaining your power tools. A sharp blade and chain not only keep your equipment running smoothly, but they make yard work easier on you and your lawn. Not to mention, it’s much safer.

Sharpening blades and chains, and even replacing them, is not always the easiest do-it-yourself project. For one thing, it could require specialized tools. Both jobs use a file, and the lawn mower job may require a power grinder, blade balancer and precision. This is especially true when it comes to sharpening blades at proper angles. Care needs to be taken so the blade isn’t sharpened too much, or it will curl up as it gets dinged by pebbles and debris. Using coarse grit sandpaper for a quick sharpening will do in a pinch, but this method won’t smooth out any big nicks and dings in the blade.

The most precise way to sharpen a chain is by hand, using a file and a guide – if you have a lot of time that is. It also requires patience, especially when it comes to adjusting the height of depth gauges. Special equipment required would be an electric chain sharpener, which works as well as a new chain.

Since sharpening and replacing blades and chains are not as easily done at home, why not stop by our store so we can do it for you? Our in-house service department is full of pros! We offer a high degree of advice, expert instruction and in-store services that customers have come to expect. We carry thousands of tools, and our inventory is frequently updated. We even offer extended hours of operation, so lawn mowers, trimmers and chain saws can get serviced at your convenience. So come in and experience the Runyon Equipment Rental difference first hand!

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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