Stretch your sanding surface for big jobs

If you have a big sanding project, then you need a big sander.

If you have a big sanding project, then you need a big sander.

You can make one from a scrap of two-by-four lumber.

Just look for a scrap about 12 inches long. Then wrap sandpaper around the wood and staple it in place. Now you have a larger sander that you can use to get the task completed quickly.

If you want an even larger sander, use a larger piece of wood and maybe two hands instead of just one. You can get the job done twice as fast with your super-size sander!

Dear Carrells: I bought a ceiling fan for our back patio at my neighbour’s garage sale.

It was a real bargain. I covered the blades with contact paper to prevent moisture from getting into the wood and to make them easier to clean. I added some exterior paint to the edges of the blades to seal them in as well. I’ve seen fans that are outdoors that look really bad. It’s going to be great this summer when it gets really hot! — B.O.

A Super Hint — When painting out of the can, make a place to wipe your brush by cutting a spare paint-can lid in half and placing it over the top of the paint can.

Now you have a great place to wipe the excess paint from your brush as you paint, and it will drip right back into the paint can.

Dear Al: Our annual spring block party was a huge success. We brought a large wheelbarrow full of cold drinks to share and just wheeled it to the party.

Everyone thought it was such a great idea. I just thought it was easy to do and didn’t want to have to buy a new, super-size ice chest just for one party. — G.N.

Q: I am starting to hear a shrill whine coming from my deep-freezer. What should I look for that might be causing this? — D.B.

A: It sounds like it might be a fan.

If you can access it, usually from the back of the unit, make sure that nothing is blocking the blades of the fan.

You can also try lubricating the fan motor shaft. You might have to replace the fan if these things don’t fix it, but this should be a fairly easy and inexpensive thing to do.

Dear Kelly: We used to have a clothesline in the backyard, and I decided to have my husband put a new one in.

One thing I had forgotten about pinning things to the line was that they crease easily.

I took an old garden hose and cut it into small sections about two inches long, slit them down the side and slipped them over the line in various places.

You can place these under the fabrics before pinning them to the line. The wide, rounded object under the fabric prevents most of the heavy creases.

I just toss them into my electric dryer for a few minutes before folding the clothes and putting them away. This softens them up, and they really smell good. — R.D.

Shoptalk — Buy bulk containers of glue and put the glue into a good dispenser like the Glu-Bot to save money. This specially designed, dual-chambered dispenser won’t drip or spill and, most importantly, won’t clog.

When you need the glue, it’s there, but when you close the container, the glue is siphoned back into the bottle and the tip is left virtually free of clogging adhesive. To learn more about this product, visit and see it for yourself. It’s available at many hardware stores, home centres and woodworking sources.

A Super Hint — When you commit to a paint job, you need to bring more to the table — or ladder — than just a brush and the can of paint.

One thing that we think is a great tool to include is a simple shower-curtain ring — the metal type that closes securely.

These are great to hang on your ladder, belt loop or any number of other places.

You can clip a paint brush to it (most have holes in the handle).

You also can make a hole in a rag to keep it hanging around, or just use an old golf towel; most of them have grommets to hang on a golf bag. If your ladder doesn’t have a good place to hang the hook from, just drill a small hole near the side or on the paint shelf.

Dear Carrells: I found that you can buy spray paint that looks just like the standard green, matte finish on most patio furniture.

I have collected a variety of pieces of metal furniture over the years, and all of it was looking pretty bad. I brought it all into the garage last week and started sanding and cleaning.

After it was all done, I took it back outside and sprayed it with a couple of coats of this spray paint.

Now it all looks brand new, and it all matches. I saved a bundle too, as I was sure my wife was wanting to buy new stuff this year. — W.L.

A Super Hint — An attractive idea for most every shop is a magnet. You can buy strips of magnets at your hardware store or craft store.

Glue them to your workbench, toolbox or just about anywhere else you need a magnet.

Dear Al: Our front porch has a loud squeak that really drives me crazy. At first it was charming, but not anymore. I got curious and crawled under the edge to take a closer look at things.

I found a place where the planks were warping and not sitting right on top of the framing. Sure enough, my wife confirmed this by walking around until she found the squeak.

I could easily see that this was the problem area, and I just drove a small wooden shim between the wooden members.

No more squeak! — A.M.

Q: We have decided to go with some small, window air conditioners in our apartment. What is the best way to secure the windows in which these are placed? — H.D.

A: Check out your hardware store or home center for some window-track locks. These use a thumbscrew to hold them in place on just about any window frame. They are easy to install and cost very little.

A Tip From the Super HandyMom — I have a lot of plants, both inside my home and outside, so I try to find sources of water that are more conservative to use.

I save water that runs in my kitchen sink while waiting for it to get hot. I also save water that I have cooked with in making things like pasta or tea.

After it’s cool, it’s ready to use. I am even thinking about getting a rain barrel to hook up to my guttering so I will be able to use this in my garden.

Shoptalk — Leatherman Tools have been a staple of many DIY’ers for years, and Leatherman’s Hybrid Gardening Multi-tool is super for those of you with a green thumb.

The 11-in-1 tool has stainless-steel bypass pruning shears, grafting knife, saw, sprinkler-head adjustment key, soft-wire cutter, ruler, both types of screwdrivers, weed remover, bark lifter and, of course, a bottle opener. Non-slip rubber grips protect even wet hands, and it has a 25-year warranty. Look for it at your hardware and home center, as well as many gardening stores.

To find out more, visit Leatherman Tools at

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman in care of this newspaper, or visit our Web site at Those of general interest will be used in future columns