Saturday, May 30, 2015

One Room Down and Eight to Go: Replacing Ugly, Dated Ceiling Fans

Harbor Breeze Springfield 52-inch Fan

Realtors tell homeowners that painting the walls white makes it easier for a potential buyer to visualize his or her stuff in place, and therefore more likely to sell. Maybe that’s why the previous owners of our house turned everything white: the walls and ceilings, the floor tile, the kitchen appliances, the molding, bathroom fixtures.... and ceiling fans. There were nine ceiling fans in the house, all totally white or white trimmed in bright brass. "Yuck!" We replaced them all, one after another. 

The first fan out the door was the noisy, wobbly critter in the upstairs room. It was also butt-ugly and not big enough for the space. The neighborhood Lowe's sold us a Harbor Breeze Springfield 52-Inch model. It didn’t have a bit of white: it was black. The next day, the old fan came off and the new one took its place in a fairly typical DIY fashion (I estimate that I’ve installed almost enough ceiling fans to be considered a “pro”)

Friday, May 29, 2015

You're Still Running Black Tires? Mine are Bright Orange!

Fenner Urethane Bandsaw Tires

I once picked up a 14-inch band saw for free – all I had to do was haul that hefty ol’ Delta 28-243 from Houston to Austin, Texas. You can’t beat that kind of deal with a stick. When I got it, it was about fifteen years old and had spent its entire life in an un-air conditioned Texas garage. In other words, the original rubber tires pretty much disintegrated the first time I used it, so I picked up a pair of replacement tires online – Fenner Urethane Band Saw Tires, most notable (at least at first glance) for being the precise shade of orange of a Tennessee Vols fan’s favorite t-shirts. More to the point, though, I slapped them on and the saw has functioned just fine ever since. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is a Framing Nailer for You? Heck Yeah: Hammers are so Twentieth Century!

Porter-Cable FR350 Round-Head Framing Nailer

In case you hadn’t noticed, no one uses a hammer on a construction site any more. Instead, at most sites you’ll find air hoses snaking everywhere and the air filled with the sounds of the “sneezes” that are the trademark of air nailers. After owning a Porter-Cable FR350 Round-Head Nailer for several years, I know why: they beat the heck out of a hammer!

Specifications and Usage 

If you thought your bulging biceps would miss that 22-oz framing hammer, you’ll appreciate the 12.7 pound heft of the FR350, about the same as other brands’ competing models. Using the nailer is easy once you get used to the weight and bulk, thanks to its dual-mode trigger and quick-load magazine. The nailer is shipped with a ¼” male quick-connect and an adjustable exhaust vent, You'll be glad you can rotate the vent after one a face-full of exhaust! The nosepiece comes with a removable rubber cushion to protect more delicate surfaces, its removal reveals a barbed foot that improves toenailing. The FR350 comes with a bottle of oil, the 3 hex wrenches you’ll need to adjust it or clear nail jams, and a plastic carrying case. The case has space for about a dozen nail strips. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

If You’re Building a Cabinet with Plywood, Here’s how to Hide the “Sandwiches”

Band-It Wood Veneer Edge Banding

Every time a woodworker plans a new project, he (or she) must make a choice:  build with solid lumber, or use furniture-grade plywood? It’s easier to decide when we're building a project without large, flat elements; but if you’re crafting a cabinet or some other enclosed piece, quality plywood means saving on material cost; plus plywood is sometimes easier to work with than solid lumber. I've used plywood to build bookshelves from birch and maple, and built a Mission-style media cabinet with oak. Most times the "sandwich" edges of my plywood are hidden by solid-wood face frames, but in some cases the edges remain exposed. Where an edge would be prominent, like the top of a cabinet, I’ll use solid wood to frame the plywood; but for the surfaces that remain hidden most of the time I use Band-It Wood Veneer Edging