Steve Maxwell

Multi-tools usefulness growing in popularity

Multi-tools are small, versatile, hand-held power tools that help you sand, saw and scrape in dozens of home renovation situations in tight quarters.

Build it yourself know-how now easier to get

It won’t be long before the new year makes some of us feel like setting new lifestyle resolutions for ourselves, and if this means getting intentional about upgrading your home improvement and renovation skills, there’s something new you should know about.

Trees add lots of value to a property

Cutting trees more than meets the eye

Mature trees are beautiful, but they can also be expensive. At least that’s what I hear from homeowners who’ve paid $600 to $700 to have unwanted single trees removed or professionally pruned.

Trees add lots of value to a property
The TEK4 lineup includes many tools outside of Ryobi’s usual scope

Exceptional cordless line raises the bar

Over the last 22 years I’ve had the best job in the world. Power tool and electronics manufacturers send me their latest gear,

The TEK4 lineup includes many tools outside of Ryobi’s usual scope

Wood stains don’t have to come in ‘wood’ colours

When someone says the words “stained wood”, what colours do you think of? Probably some shade of brown, perhaps with a golden or reddish hue.

Electric chainsaws are surprisingly useful for building projects involving wider-than-usual cuts. This insulating concrete form can be cut in one pass using a 16-inch model.

Electric chainsaws more than just toys

Chainsaws are the fastest way to cut tree limbs, brush and wood of all kinds in landscaping situations, but the noise, expense and fuel involved in running a gas-powered model puts them out of the realm of what’s reasonable for many Canadian homeowners.

Electric chainsaws are surprisingly useful for building projects involving wider-than-usual cuts. This insulating concrete form can be cut in one pass using a 16-inch model.
Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective option for disinfecting sink overflow passages. Flood the passage with this liquid and it kills microbes that can cause sink odours.

Plumbing puzzles can be easily solved

Plumbing can be puzzling. It all seems simple enough as long as pipes work like they’re supposed to, but that’s not always the case.

  • Apr 23, 2010
Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective option for disinfecting sink overflow passages. Flood the passage with this liquid and it kills microbes that can cause sink odours.

Pliers and wrenches for the kitchen drawer

No matter how basic your DIY aspirations, life is better with at least a few good implements.

Left: Carving is one of many creative alternatives to prepackaged leisure activities. Introduce a little intentional boredom into your life and it’s amazing the things that get done.

Boredom a powerful creative force

In the 1920s, the fields outside my windows resounded with the music of bagpipes and violin.

Left: Carving is one of many creative alternatives to prepackaged leisure activities. Introduce a little intentional boredom into your life and it’s amazing the things that get done.
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Living by the lake

I met Mike and Alice Ogden almost 25 years ago as cottagers with a summer place next to a little lake near my house.

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Unlike the rigid plastic flaps in traditional dryer vents

Dryer vent proves worth over the long haul

Winter is the time when the quality of your dryer vent really matters, and if your vent is like most in Canada, you’ve got some work to do.

Unlike the rigid plastic flaps in traditional dryer vents
Steve Maxwell wears the right kind of winterwear that makes outdoor home improvements and cottage chores possible at any temperature. The fuzzy lining and soft cotton exterior make this jacket more comfortable than all-synthetic versions.

Winter work wear makes outdoor activities bearable

How come so few have a nice, fuzzy lining up around your neck, where it counts? The ToughGuy’s cotton exterior and sheepskin-like lining prompts me to wear the coat way too often, in settings where my wife reminds me I really should be wearing something fancier.

Steve Maxwell wears the right kind of winterwear that makes outdoor home improvements and cottage chores possible at any temperature. The fuzzy lining and soft cotton exterior make this jacket more comfortable than all-synthetic versions.
Beware of efficiency claims applied to electric heaters. With rising energy costs

Watch for false energy claims

With winter just around the corner, you need to brace yourself for more than just cold blasts of arctic air.

Beware of efficiency claims applied to electric heaters. With rising energy costs
Maxwell has been using this cart-mounted generator since 1988. Inflatable wheels make it easy to move the machine around

Getting down to generator basics

Most of us live just an extension cord away from the stone age. Cut off our electric power — even for just a day — and we’re pretty much helpless. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Generators have been getting smaller, lighter, more powerful and less expensive during the last 10 years.

Maxwell has been using this cart-mounted generator since 1988. Inflatable wheels make it easy to move the machine around

Installing a bathroom fan that works

Cold weather is on its way, and this means bathroom exhaust fans will become more important.

A rectangular metal cabinet scraper sits inside a scraper holder during use. The scraper is bent by the holder

Cabinet scrapers effective but often overlooked

If you’re stripping wood finishes, repairing antiques, building new furniture or smoothening any kind of wood surface, there’s an ancient alternative to sandpaper that’s faster, less messy and healthier for you.

A rectangular metal cabinet scraper sits inside a scraper holder during use. The scraper is bent by the holder
Canadian-designed and built Bradley Burner grate allows wood heating pellets to be burned cleanly in any ordinary air tight woodstove or fireplace insert.

Cheaper, easier to reduce fossil fuel dependence

ossil fuels are one of the more common necessary evils of modern life.

  • Sep 8, 2009
Canadian-designed and built Bradley Burner grate allows wood heating pellets to be burned cleanly in any ordinary air tight woodstove or fireplace insert.

Protecting your wood and laminate floors

Laminates and wood floors have a lot going for them. They look good, they’re easy to keep clean and they don’t harbor dust mites or odours.

Coping with eavestroughs

Of all the homebuilding hardware used on Canadian houses, nothing annoys me more than standard, aluminum eavestroughs.

Do-it-yourself home improvements make more sense than ever. Given the improvements in tools and materials

DIY offers big potential

I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself home improvements, and whenever I wonder about the wisdom of this strategy I talk to my non-DIY friends.

Do-it-yourself home improvements make more sense than ever. Given the improvements in tools and materials