joxler


Nine tools everyone should own. You won’t guess number nine.

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Check out the video below to see my Lennox tool backpack in action as well as the rest of my everyday carry.

But first, nine must have tools.

1.

Vice Grips can save you from many a situation. Stripped nuts, broken screws, etc. I like the ten inch shown here because they can open large enough for small pipes as well. They are also available in needle nose but for that,

2.

A pair of needle nose pliers. I like the 45 and 90 degree bend because sometimes you need a little more holding power and find them more versatile.

3.

Rubber mallet. There are many styles to choose from and a larger one may be better, but I like the one here because it fits neatly in smaller toolboxes. A must for Ikea furniture assembly.

4.

Allen bits for drill/driver. You can get sets that have all the sizes you will never use but the 4 and 5mm are very common in furniture, and we use the 6mm for exercise equipment. I have a video explaining how to make your own, in which I also explain why the ones pictured here are better for use with your cordless drill. Which brings me to…

5.

Cordless drill.  A corded drill will work as well but be sure to get a variable speed or you wont be able to control it on small jobs. And you might consider a hammer drill if you have concrete walls. I have met a few contractors that prefer the impact drivers, but for the best all round I recommend a keyless cordless with a clutch, which I explain in this video. I use Dewalt, guaranteed tough, because the batteries outperform some of the others I have tried. Ryobi was a great value, we used them in my furniture business, but they are only available at Home Depot.

6.

Drill bits. Here I prefer Milwaukee Electric to Dewalt. You can get kits that have both drill and driver bits, might be important if you choose the impact driver over a drill.  I just think you need at least three things that are not common to all sets.

A. A longish #2 Philips. number two is the most common, it fits drywall screws and a host of other stuff but do not expect it to be universal. Small things like electronics sometimes use a number one and on occasion I have to reach for the three. I say get a long one because often the diameter of extensions is too big and you cant reach recessed screws.

B. 1/2″ bore. Useful for toggle fasteners. Check back later for video.

C. Socket adapter. Like this 1/4″ drive, useful with the next tool…

7.

Socket set, like this 1/4″ drive fits most of your stuff. You might consider a SAE combo to cover both metric and fractional, as the 1/2″ is also very common around the home, but cheap and light I find this universal to easily  fill the gaps.  And when you can’t use a socket…

8.

An adjustable wrench, sometimes called a crescent wrench, you will need this for the other side of bolts. This is another tool that should be high quality as loose fits will strip hexes. Good thing you have vice grips 🙂

9.

Magnets. Useful for all kinds of things like keeping tools together, fetching dropped fasteners and finding studs! Really, I prefer this to a stud finder, just locate the drywall screws as shown in this video by MyDIyDork.

 

Now I assume most already have a level and a tape measure and I could go on about the reciprocating saw and telescoping ladder I keep in my wagon, but I think this covers the most important overlooked tools used for making your living space your own. From hanging tvs and shelves to putting together furniture, don’t start a project without them.

Also important is keeping them organized, see how I do it below.

Don’t know what the right tool for the job is? Ask us in the comments below.

Don’t park on the curb, try this instead.

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Storage rack

We always see people park their car on the curb instead of the garage. After several installations of garage storage racks, we found out the reason. Customers have so much stuff in the garage they don’t have the space for their car.

But the question is are they really running out of space? Is there a simple solution to that?

Yes!

Hanging garage shelves is a great way to reclaim unused space in your garage. Let these shelves provide more space for your holiday decoration, travel luggage, sports equipment, tools, and more! Show up your neighbors with an optimized storage!

Room to Grow

Double and even triple your storage space with garage shelves. Keep your space clean and organized. Free up your time by organizing your belongings with shelf storage.

Your neighbors will be extremely jealous of your new and improved garage space. Get more storage, increase organization, and feel less cluttered. Become a master of your garage now!

Only requires a drill with a 3/16th’ish drill bit, a rubber mallet, a 5/16 socket and pair of 7/16 wrenches.

Manufactures howto is here, however we install for a competitive price,  with a flexible schedule. Leave me an email or message and get started!

It's like a whole new garage

Posted by Hang with Denny on Monday, January 23, 2017

Are you still using that old bubble level? Try lasers!

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Useful tools

I could argue the melamine sponge is more important to our work as there are fewer alternatives, but this tool still gets the most adoration by customers.

Don’t get me wrong, chalk lines, plumb bobs, and bubble levels still have their  place, I carry a torpedo level in my bag as well for Tv mountings and to supplement the laser, but this by far the best way to handle large hangings like whiteboards and mirrors. In the video below I use a tape measure because that is probably all you have, but a yardstick is easier to hold in one hand. I prefer a masons ruler like this one.

I have only tried two brands, Bosch and Dewalt because the former met my needs at a price half of the Dewalt. And while I would love to see features like automatic measurements or built in protractor for stairs, both have worked every time employed. And while the Dewalt is more durable, the clamp accessory included with the Bosch is the smallest and most universal way to use these tools. Also I find the out of level blinking on the Bosch to work faster than Dewalt which saves me time over a long period. Max pointed out while we were setting up for this video that  the Dewalt line is brighter and thicker, but that isn’t a feature we need here.

Can you replace your own shower head?

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Shower head

I see these requests all the time from our Amazon customers, and it has to be the simplest thing to do. If you have seen my EDC video or my post about tools, then all you need is the ten inch vice grips and some silicon tape!

Pipe wrenches and channel locks will also work, in some cases there are two flat sides on the female fitting that allow for a adjustable wrench or spanner to be used. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. Again don’t over do it, which can be easy with any of these tools. I repeat, do not over tighten. I see this all the time here, where a tenant has over torqued the fitting in an attempt to stop a leak and cracked the female fitting. Many of these are plastic and just can’t hold up, and brass fittings are fairly soft and can be stripped.

That is why you use the silicon tape. You could probably use plumbers putty and pipe dope or other sealants, but the tape never goes bad and they usually have them in the impulse bins at the cashwrap of hareware stores. Sometimes its even included in the new shower head. Try to keep it wide as possible and go clockwise around the female fitting like two turns. Cover as much thread as possible but stay clear of the openings. Screw the new head on with your hand as tight as you can.

If you use enough tape this would actually be sufficient, but a 10 degree turn with your wrench will make it snug. Using a towel in between to protect the finish if its chromed.

One more time, not more than an eighth turn and check for leak. If there is water from the joint, take it off and try again. Many fittings have a gasket inside, if your head leaks start there, but enough sealant around the threads and it won’t matter.

Just a note on removing the old shower head. If the pipe going into the wall starts to turn  when turning the head, stop, either employ a second wrench to hold it or consult a professional. Just not us because I have a no plumbing rule.

Do you really need a whiteboard?

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Whiteboard

Some know them as dry erase marker boards but here on the West coast the start up culture is prevalent and almost every office has a whiteboard.

I noticed that many of the searches relating to whiteboards involve magnetism. Now if you didn’t take chemistry, you may not be familiar with the adjective ferrous but its from the Latin word for iron, the primary element used for attracting magnets.

Most whiteboard materials are non ferrous like glass and MDF but have a steel film on the back so that you can attach magnets to the board anyways.  For many its not the dry erase that is important, its the ferrous content, which can even be painted on to surfaces, but if you ask me nothing is better than just a sheet of steel. 

Be wary though that these self adhesive skins require enough space to lay flat before installing because they are easily bent in transit and you are going to want to hammer any creases out with a rubber mallet before peeling the back. And as always I recommend using this laser for guidelines to insure perfect fit, because you only get on chance to adhere them.

Most whiteboards I see are framed MDF, particle board, composite or melamine, the materials vary slighty but most are wood based similar to RTA furniture. Usually the back is shiny as the steel film is exposed, and with glass you want to take extra care as to not damage this shiny surface because  it can be seen.

Regardless of your choice, glass, wood or steel, office managers are usually in charge of installation. Of course I think you should hire a pro, that is how I pay my bills, but if you own a variable speed drill and a level, DIY is an option. Remember the old cliche, measure twice cut once. Drywall repair is not expensive but can be time consuming as you need several passes, sanding, painting etc, to get right. Do it right the first time and you can clean small scuffs with melamine sponges like Magic Eraser.

Some boards are more forgiving than others. Glass and many others use a fixed mount so the whole must be perfectly aligned. Others hang on a french cleat or similar hardware and being level is the only requirement. This is an area where you get what you pay for and lower cost items are more difficult to install.

I have also seen boards that have been drilled through, which if you use a drywall bit to countersink the screws it will look OK, and you can easily screw to stud location, but moving to a new location usually means new holes and the finish will never be restored. Some boards are devoid of hardware and usually I drill straight through the frame. This can also prove not ideal as I have seen boards separate from the frame so screw placement is key and mounting should start from the bottom instead of the top, which is fine as it is usually easier to see your laser line from below but will certainly need the help of friends or coworkers to hold it in place while you drive the screws.

I’ll leave you with the screws. In most offices, studs are metal, so select sheet metal screws if you are going into the studs. Machine screws have a finer pitch to grip the steel. Also metal studs are often 24″ on center instead of 16″ common in residential.

This morning I had a customer in Pioneer Square here in Seattle. Being the oldest part of downtown, the walls were lathe and plaster. Do not hammer plaster, if you break the “keys,” the access on the back side, the plaster can literally fall off the wall. You probably won’t be using nails but if you are hanging art whatever also around the office, pre drill plaster before using nails.

Most installations will be drywall, because most construction after WWII is sheetrock or gypsum. A variety of anchors are available and since most boards are mounted flush to the wall, only concern is shear weight, so whatever the board came with is sufficient but I prefer these.

The plastic ones will spread giving better hold on sheetrock, but will break if you hit lathe or stud, so drive the bare screw first to see if you’re on hollow wall. When driving or drilling always be wary of utilities, water (the plumbing here is $500/hour, no joke), power, even vents.

If you have drop ceiling its easy to get on a ladder and see what drops through, otherwise just having a look around is about all you have. Good news is that plumbing is usually in a stack, so if your not hanging in the kitchen you won’t likely find water, and sprinklers are cast so it will be difficult to breach, but power can be anywhere so again measure twice.

If you do decide to take my advice, also look for the anchors that come to a point, like the ones that say for studs and doors because like the plastic ones they will still break at about 20# of force. The pointed ones drive flush almost every time and will even work with plaster, and although they leave a large hole and don’t have the flange that hold them in place when the screw is removed, they still save you a ton of time and headache.

I invented an effective way to hang the whiteboard in the video. Please have a look if you are interested in it.

 

Bissell Carpet Cleaner is superior to the Rug Doctor

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Useful tools

See me use it on Twitch.tv/producerdenny/

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As the property manager of the apartment building in Des Moines. Sherry and I sometimes help to clean the carpet after the tenants moved out when the vendor was too busy to come.

There are two grocery stores close to us– Fred Meyer and Lowe’s. We tried the Rug doctor in FM first because we wanted to get some food at the same time. However, the machine did not appear to be very user-friendly. For some stained spots, even if we cleaned them for four or five times, they could not be cleaned. We turned out to replace the carpet of the whole apartment.

We decided to try Lowe’s Bissell for the second time and it worked out. For a 2B1B unit,  it only took about 45 minutes to clean and the machine was really effective.

If you also want to get the carpet cleaned, you can either hire someone or Do-It-Yourself.

It is not hard to clean the carpet with the machine. Two boxes-upper one with diluted detergent and the other one to hold the dirty water, refill the diluted detergent of the upper box and pull the dirty water out of the other box for each 10-minute cleaning.

The rental cost is $29.99 for 24 hours and we noticed that the cheapest second-hand Bissell Carpet Cleaner in Lowe’s was only about $120. If you clean the carpet frequently, we suggest you buy a machine instead of renting.

Let’s get the carpet cleaned!

I still don’t know why anyone would want the TV above the fireplace but…

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TV mounting

Hardware needed to mount your TV on the wall comes in two varieties, flush mount and full motion.

It seems no two brackets are the same, and “flush” are hardly that. Most actually have some inclination adjustment so they can tilt forward, especially helpful when hanging high on the wall like above your fireplace.

Full motion usually tilt as well but can be turned to a wide variety of angles. Sometimes they can be rotated to portrait, like the one I use here at my desk for my monitor.

Demonstration of full motion mount

They also allow easy access to connections so new devices can be easily added.

A quick note on wire fishing, we don’t do it, mostly because I don’t think life is that permanent, and the payoff is limited as there are simple solutions  that can be easily installed and painted to color and are way more versatile. Additionally new “service”, outlets, 110-240v wires require a licensed electrician and the outside casing of many power cords do not meet code for use inside walls. Plus most new homes here in the Seattle area already wired for TVs.

Customers often ask me for recommendation but the brand I used to prefer has a new design I do not like, you can see my comment on this in the video below. Just remember the old adage you get what you pay for. I bought a flush mount once at a grocery store for a bargain price that was obviously made of thinner steel, yet was still adequate for the task.

Flush mounts are much easier to install as they can be installed on drywall with a variety of easy to find anchors, I prefer these and often some are included with the mount. Full motion on the other hand have to be secured to studs.

Use the chat app below if you need help hanging your TV.