Archive | February, 2012

Repairing a Dryer Vent

19 Feb

The art of the handyman begins when conventional solutions fail. The standard elbow wasn’t going to fit in this space so it was time for a different approach.

Ramp Up!

17 Feb

Down at my mom’s again for a long stay. First order of business was getting the ramp assembled so we could more easily go out for field trips. The first ramp got delivered to my house in Minnesota rather than my mom’s house in Florida. Carry on luggage? It was too short anyway so back it went. This beauty was only supposed to take 45 minutes to assemble. WRONG! The directions bore no resemblance to the ramp that arrived here. But handyman just keeps screwing up until he gets it right. About four hours to get this thing done but worth it. Now that I know how to do it the next one will be easy. But don’t call me.

Mansfield Toilet Repair

12 Feb

So you go to replace the leaky flapper in your toilet and discover it doesn’t look anything like you normally see. You may have a Mansfield toilet. They have a different flush valve system from other toilets. Don’t let that throw you. Here’s a how to.


10 Feb

 Google ‘widgets’ and you get hundreds images of electronic buttons. For those born after 1980 (or maybe even earlier) a widget is a manufactured item used as a place holder. These iconic Monopoly pieces are widgets. This is the kind of knowledge is utterly useless except for the sense of superiority you can gain by knowing the true meaning of the word.

Don’t Do This!

9 Feb

Pass the 1/2″ Dap

8 Feb

Here is a common omission in a DIY bathroom remodel. Without a splash guard on the right hand side water will seep between the wall and the cabinet and make a holy mess in time. Adding a splash guard is a simple finishing step. It also hides the fact that the cabinet isn’t quite square to the wall. You can buy them pre cut to match the sink.

Inventing Success

7 Feb

One unexpected surprise of my handyman work has been coming up with solutions to everyday problems. Installing and servicing disposers is difficult work. You have to lift, align, and compress the mounting gasket of disposer all in one movement while twisted in an awkward position. Its hard on your hands and back. Handymen use all kinds of methods from piling up phone books to scissor jacks to make the job easier. I’ve tried them all and was still frustrated. I came up with a much better solution using a bottle jack with a special attachment I fabricated. Delighted by my own brilliance I went looking for a tool manufacturer to develop my concept (and pay me $$$$). Commercializing an invention is nearly folly. But by a series of accidents I ended up connecting with a wonderful company, Fast Cap, that makes tools for cabinet makers and wood workers. We collaborated on the development of the jack featured in this video. If I make $100 on royalties it will be the best money I ever made. And as they say on late night TV..”It really, really works.”

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