Ryobi Battery Powered vs. Campbell Hausfeld Pneumatic Finish Nailer Comparison

Ryobi-nail-strike

 

finish-nailer-comparison

A finish nailer is a great tool to have in your workshop.  It’s great for small projects, installing moulding, wall planking and more. After using both types of finish nailers for many projects, I wanted to break down the pros and cons of each.
Compressor_finish_nailer_combo_kitI was able to score this Campbell-Hausfeld nailer and compressor combo around Father’s Day at Lowe’s for $69! (Normal MSRP is $99.) I’ve used the compressor-powered nailer for many years on an assortment of DIY projects (like my Art & Craft Studio scrap wood wall.)  I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s reliable, lightweight and can fire a variety of length finish nails and U-staples. For the value, you can’t go wrong. The cons of the Campbell Hausfeld are mostly related to the compressor. It is very loud when the air tank is recharging. It’s a little bulky to store and haul around. You are limited to the length of your air hose and a power source. And you must empty the tank and maintain it periodically.

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Ryobi-nail-strike

In all the ways that the Campbell-Hausfeld fails, the Ryobi Air Strike excels. It doesn’t take up as much room to store. No compressor needed because it is essentially built into the tool. As long as the battery is charged you are ready to fire nails on a moment’s notice. The light helps illuminate in dark working areas. You aren’t tethered to an air hose or compressor. This allows you the freedom to wander anywhere with the nail gun. And it is quiet (with the exception of the bang when firing the nail.)

The downsides are it doesn’t shoot U-staples. The gun itself is heavier to hold because of the battery and size of the gun. If you lose charge in the battery you have to wait a while for it to charge. Finally, the price is slightly higher than the MSRP of the Campbell-Hausfeld at $129.

I hope this comparison helps you select your own finish nail gun.

PHGFancySign

 

Want to learn how to use a finish nailer? Check out my tool tutorial videos and more!

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

A few months ago I got an email asking me if I wanted to test an Xtend + Climb telescoping ladder. I said I’d be happy to try it, but I couldn’t promise I’d blog about it. I try lots of products, but only the ones I love get mentioned on the blog. The litmus test is if I would recommend it to a close friend. If I would, then I share it with you (because y’all are like friends I just haven’t met yet.)

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The 760P Xtend + Climb ladder arrived in a compact box. When it arrived, I doubted that it really contained a 14.5ft ladder. But, sure enough inside was the telescoping ladder. Over the course of three months, I truly gave it a work out. I used it to clean the gutters and… [Read more...]

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

Christmas is next week? Christmas is next week! Who else is still running around buying those last minute gifts? {Me raising my hand.}

If you have someone on your list who is an avid DIYer, I have a new list of the Top 10 Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer in your life! These tools will transform the newbie DIY junkie giving them better street cred and true rock star status! (Results may vary.) In all seriousness, these are the tools and products that I found helpful this year.

In order from  least to most expensive Top 10 DIY Gift Ideas: [Read more...]

DIY Cable Installation

Cutting Drywall With a Keyhole Saw

It would seem that every time I’ve considered moving my TV to a new spot in the house, that there’s never a cable outlet where I need one. I recently remedied this issue and wanted to share with  you how to tackle your own DIY Cable Installation!

DIY Cable Outlet Installation

This tutorial is specific to installing “through the wall” cable lines in houses with a crawl space.  Since many cable customers have HD receivers, I think it’s important to install a home run aka an uninterrupted run of cable.  Doing so will result in a higher signal and better quality picture.  With that being said, let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

Materials List

  • Low Voltage Electrical Box
  • Keyhole Saw
  • RG6 Cable
  • 3/8″ x 54″ Auger Drill Bit
  • 3/8″ x 12″ Drill Bit
  • Drill
  • Cable Clips
  • Hammer
  • Coax Cable Receptacle Wall Plate
  • Coax Cable Stripper
  • Compression Tool w/ F-Connectors
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Fish Pole or Straightened Coat Hanger

Instructions for Installing Your Own Cable Outlet:

When you’ve decided where to install the new cable outlet, measure up 15″ and mark an area 1-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ .

Marking for Cable Installation

Using a keyhole saw, cut through the drywall to create the opening for the installation of a low voltage electrical box.

Cutting Drywall With a Keyhole Saw

Before you complete the next step, make sure that the area you plan on drilling into, doesn’t contain any hazards (i.e. electrical cable, duct work, gas lines, etc.) With open access into the wall, place the tip of the auger bit into the cutout and drill into the bottom of the stud wall to gain access into the crawlspace below. [Read more...]

How to Install a Scrap Wood Wall

remove_baseboards


I’m so thrilled to be healthy again, that I’m doing a happy dance (see the video below if you want to witness it.) The pneumonia is gone and my boys are back in school. Can I get a “Woot Woot!”?

The bonus room/art studio renovation is rockin’ and rollin’ again and I have some progress to show you: [Read more...]

How to Solder Metals Together – Tool Tutorial Friday

wipe_off_excess_solder

 

Wheee, it’s another episode of Tool Tutorial Friday! Do y’all miss TTF? I do too, but this handy gal only has so many tools in her toolbox. I added a new one a few weeks ago, a soldering iron.

When I was in college, I took a stained glass elective (one of the benefits of going to art school.) I really enjoyed the course, but once the semester was over I didn’t pick up a soldering iron again. That was 20 years ago. Just this month, someone in our neighborhood posted online that they were selling a soldering iron. I immediately jumped on the chance. But, this time I didn’t have stained glass in mind, I had these DIY farmhouse lights on the brain!

As promised, here is the tutorial on how to solder. [Read more...]

How to Salvage Wood from Shipping Pallets

scrap_pallet_wood

Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. [Read more...]

10 Cool Gifts that Every Handy Guy (or Gal) Would Love

kobalt_xtreme_socket_set

 

As an avid DIYer, I know that Father’s Day is a great time to pick up great bargins on DIY tools and more. But, sometimes picking out the right gift for that handy person in your life can be a little daunting.

I decided to create a list of cool products that I know I’d want in my workshop and I think your “handy” person would too. And hey, if this list is great for the handy gal or yourself instead, then so be it!

There are a variety of gifts to fit every budget (and all under $60!) [Read more...]

Scraping Your Own Popcorn Ceilings – It’s a Messy Job, but Someone’s Gotta Do It!

smooth_painted_ceiling

Many of you guessed correctly that I would be scraping my own popcorn ceilings.

It wasn’t hard to do, but it also isn’t for the bad neck or bad back sufferers. Normally I hire out this job — but because our laundry room is so small — it seemed silly to pay someone else to do the work. Now that it is done, I’m really glad I decided to tackle this project. The sense of accomplishment and the resulting smooth ceiling is HUGE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in a house that was built around 1978, take several small samples of your ceiling and test it for asbestos before you begin. Eventhough the cutoff date for asbestos in popcorn texture was 1978, the inventory could still be bought from store shelves well into the 1980′s. Do yourself and your family a favor, If you have asbestos popcorn contact a professional who is trained in asbestos removal to handle the job. If you want to learn more, you can read more about our experience with asbestos remediation.

 

[Read more...]

Demolition Day

going_gray_hair


This past weekend I was able to make some serious progress on our laundry room. Yeehaw! Sometimes in order to make a room pretty, you have to make it uglier first. That was certainly the case with this project. If  you are just joining me, a few weeks ago the nice folks at Flow Wall sent me a custom wall system to install in the laundry room. The FlowWall system of storage will look something like this: [Read more...]

Installing Your Own Sprinkler System

connect_pvc_pipes


Last week I shared with you how to grow a better lawn based on what I learned from my education at Pennington Seed. Part of growing a more beautiful lawn is learning how to water it properly. Did you know that the majority of homeowners overwater their lawn and plants? Typically your yard only needs 1 inch of water per week (1/2 inch waterings two times a week) If you install your own sprinkler system with a timer and a rain gauge, you can insure that your lawn and/or landscaping gets just the right amount of water.

When we lived in our old house, Pretty Handsome Guy and I received a quick tutorial on installing a sprinkler system in our yard. Our neighbor — the previous owner of our current home (Yes, it’s complicated like that.) — showed us how to piece together pvc pipes, add spray heads and set up a timer to water our lawn. Now I’m passing this information on to you.

Here is the Pretty Frugal Girl’s method for installing your own sprinkler system! [Read more...]

White-washed Window Box from a Wine Crate

corner_view_after_window_box

The other day I was wandering aimlessly shopping at Costco and spied an empty wooden wine crate. The angel stamped on the side was beaconing me to take her home. Actually, I read Funky Junk Interiors’s post about making tool boxes last year and have been looking for just the right wood to make one. The angel may not have beaconed me, but I wasn’t about to leave the store without her.

I thought about tucking it under my coat and making a break for the front door, as I was sure there were other crafty ladies eyeing up the lonely wine crate. But, I resisted the urge and asked the manager if I could have it, and he graciously let me take it home. I was exuberant because I’ve been missing my rustic wine crate that Cherie won. [Read more...]

Best of Pretty Handy Girl 2011

It’s the end of the year and I know y’all have been busy. So, I thought I’d give you the cliff notes version of Pretty Handy Girl in 2011.

Gift Bucket Liner from Goodwill Pants

How to Paint a Dandelion Wall Mural

Fork Photo and Note Holder

Spring Paper and Button Flowers

How to Paint Doors the Professional Way

 

How to Paint Like a Pro Series:

 

Build Your Own Ladder Display Shelves

Photography Secrets for Shooting Indoors

 

Toilet Repairs Series:

 

Dream Big Butterfly Window

Backlit Cut Out Bookcase

Rustic Wine Crate

How to Replace an Ugly Hollywood Strip Light

Board and Batter Tutorial

How to Make a Branch Towel Bar

Light Bulb Comparison

How to Install Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Ombré Paint Chip Lampshade

 

Cabinet Door Revamped to Chalkboard Message Board

Kitchen Cabinet Turned into Shoe Storage Bench

 

Dollar Tree Placemat Garden Flag

 

Beveled Glass Light Fixture Ornaments

DIY Matchbox Car Race Track

 

And Finally, A Whole Slew of Power Tool Tutorials:

Compound Miter Saw

Jig Saw

Finish Nailer and Compressor

Cordless Drill

Circular Saw

Table Saw

Band Saw

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for 2012! I hope you’ll stick around for some more DIY tutorials and empowerment!

Did you have a favorite post of mine this year that I forgot to mention? Do tell! Chosing from almost 200 posts makes for some tough decisions.

Tool Tutorial Friday – Table Saw Tutorial

cross_cut_rip_cut

Welcome back to another Tool Tutorial Friday. I have a secret to tell you, this is one of the two power tools I own that I fear the most (the other is my router.) However, everytime I use my table saw I get a little more comfortable. Regardless, I will always keep that “healthy fear” so I won’t forget to use caution when using this power tool.

If you are just getting used to power tools, I would use a jigsaw or miter saw before tackling this big bad boy! That being said, I believe in all of you and know you can use a table saw, so let’s get to it!

A table saw is a great tool for ripping long pieces of wood. Unlike the miter saw which is limited to a certain width stock, the table saw can handle long sheets of 4′ x 8′ plywood.

Explanation of a cross cut vs. a rip cut:

  • Rip – ripping a board is cutting with the grain along the length of a board. This is usually done with a table saw, but can be done with a circular saw and a straight edge.
  • Cross cut – a type of cut that is perpendicular to the grain or along the width of your board. Cross cuts are usually made with a miter saw or circular saw, but can also be made with a hand saw. (I’ve been known to make this cut using my band saw before I had either a miter or table saw.)

We bought our table saw when we laid the wood floors in our living room. I knew that we’d probably have to rip a board or two once we reached the end. Well, wouldn’t you know that our living room ended up being the perfect size for all full width boards. I kept the table saw anyway knowing that I’d use it (and I have used it a fair amount.)

Table saws come in either a stationary or a portable style. I prefer the portability of my table saw. I can roll it out into the driveway (to keep the sawdust outside.) And, because the stand is built-in, I can fold it up on its side, roll it back into the garage and store it away when not in use.

Table saws cost anywhere from $120 up to $1,000 or more. The Ryobi 10 inch table saw with transportable stand that I use costs $300 at Home Depot.

I highly recommend wearing ear protection, safety googles and a dust mask when using a table saw. Hooking your table saw up to shop vac will greatly reduce the amount of saw dust that is discharged (and it spits out a lot of sawdust!)

Two common dangers of using a table saw are kickback (the board being thrown back toward the user) and hand injuries from forcing material through or feeding the wood with the hand too close to the saw. Kickback will happen if the wood is pinched too tight between the rip fence and the blade. When making a cross cut with a table saw, DO NOT use the rip fence! This can cause kickback to occur.

Table Saw Features:

Safety features are super important on a table saw. A blade cover is essential to keep hands away from the blade. And for that reason a table saw should never be used without the guard in place. For even more protection from hand injuries, there is a table saw that is manufactured under the name Stop Saw, that retracts in a split second if it detects flesh against the blade.

Behind the blade on my table saw are anti-kickback pawls. This is a close up view of this safety mechanism. They are basically teeth that will dig into the wood should the blade start to “kick back” the material toward the user.

 

The rip fence is used to setting the width of a cut and keeping the board straight when making a rip cut. Never use the rip fence when making a cross cut. My saw has a miter fence for making angled miter cuts. I honestly haven’t used that feature yet.

The blade depth adjustment and bevel adjustment knob are one and the same on the Ryobi. To adjust the bevel, push the knob in and then turn it.

The material support and the sawdust chute are located on the back of my table saw.


When using a table saw, be sure to have a clear work area. Set up supports or have someone help you to support large pieces of wood after they exit the saw. Use a push stick to assist when making a narrow cut. Do not wear any loose clothing or jewelry that could catch on the machine. Always use a table saw when you are well fed, alert, and are not in a hurry. This is a serious power tool and requires all your focus to use it.

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic table saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a table saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If I haven’t scared the sawdust out of you, here is the video tutorial for using a table saw:

I hope I have empowered you to use a table saw at some point. It is a good saw to have in your shop. Especially if you need to lay wood flooring, install beadboard wainscoting and many other projects that require you to rip a board.

And now the moment y’all have been waiting for: The winner of last weeks Tomboy Tools Magnetic hammer is Seansmom! Congratulations. I clicked over to her profile link and am determined to stay in their Carolan guest house if I’m ever in the Northwest Iowa area. What a view from their guest house:

Check your email and get back to me to claim your hammer!

I can’t believe how few comments I had last week. If the same happens this week you have a great chance of winning! So, once again leave me a comment below and let me know if you are willing to try a table saw after watching my video tutorial. I hope the answer is yes! Your comment automatically enters you into the 13 oz. Tomboy Tools magnetic hammer giveaway. Good luck!

 

 

 

Linking this tutorial to Serenity Now’s Weekend Bloggy Read

Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Cordless Drill

battery_bit

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about my cordless drill. Yes, I really do love it.

He’s my right hand man. I can’t think of a project that I have completed that I haven’t used my drill.

A cordless drill is an essential tool for any homeowner. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, they are that important to the DIYer!

Cordless drills can range in price from $30 – $200. The Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion cordless drill I use costs $79. The drill came with two batteries, a charger, a fabric case, the drill and a screwdriver bit. That should be the bare minimum that any cordless drill kit includes.

You may be curious what the volts mean. In short, the volts equals the power of the drill. The higher the voltage the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I think I need to upgrade to an 18 volt drill this year. The 12 volt has been good for 90% of the projects I complete. But, I want the 18 volt to help me drill and drive screws through harder wood.

If you are in the market for a new drill, I highly recommend a lithium-ion drill. Lithium-ion is the newest in battery technology. It lasts much longer than a traditional battery.  And, they don’t lose power as the battery runs low. It will just stop when the battery runs out.

Most drills have a torque adjustment. I rarely take mine off the high setting (because my drill isn’t super strong to begin with.) But, basically the torque is the setting where the drill disengages so that it won’t burn out the motor. If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are just starting out, try it on a lower setting. Some drills have an adjustable speed setting. This is a nice feature and really helps when you need to switch from drilling through soft wood to a harder surface.

 

There is a button on each side that is used to change the drill rotation direction. Clockwise to drill and drive screws. Counter-clockwise to remove screws and bolts.

The chuck is the part of the drill that accepts your bits. Keyless chucks are pretty much the norm right now unless you have an older drill. Back in the day, drills came with a key to loosen the chuck. If you lost the key you were out of luck. Thank goodness for innovation!

Besides the obvious uses for a cordless drill (hole drilling, driving screws and bolts), I also use my drill to mix paint!

I bought this paint mixer attachment and use it all the time to mix new colors or just to mix paint that has separated. There is also an attachment for your drill that will dig holes in the ground when planting bulbs. I tried this attachment, but I couldn’t keep the chuck tight enough on the attachment to bore through our southern red clay ;-(.

Okay, let’s get this video started!

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic cordless drill tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If you don’t own a cordless drill, I implore you to add this DIY essential to your holiday wishlist!

(I was not paid or compensated to write this post. This is my honest opinion and true feelings about my cordless drill!)

Winner announcements…

First, let me say, WOW! We had some interest in the Bogs Footwear giveaway. Rightfully so — those boots are super comfortable. I have to add a pair of McKenna’s to my Christmas wishlist this year ;-). If you didn’t win, you really need to add them to your list as well!

The winner of the Bogs Footwear gift certificate was: Jacque K. She said, “Oh wow these are GREAT! I love the McKenna and the Classic High Tuscany!”

AND, the winner of last week’s magnetic hammer was : Carla. She said, “Thank you so much!! I recently bought a compressor/finish nailer combo (awesome deal @ Home Depot!) and I hate to admit that it still scares the crap out of me. I have so many plans for it and now, thanks to your video, I’ll be much more confident about using it. Your video was my prize for the day, but if I should happen to get luckier, I’ve been wanting a smaller hammer for some of the projects I do (& I could use it for some of my sewing projects) – the 8 oz. pink magnetic hammer would be great!”

To be entered to win your own hammer from my sponsor, Tomboy Tools:

  1. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have any questions or comments on the Tool Tutorial Friday series.
  2. For a second chance to win, head over to Tomboy Tools and name one of the Tomboy tools that is available in blue (not pink!)

You really want to win one of these hammers. It is just as tough as any hammer I’ve owned. And the pink hammer insures that it will remain in YOUR toolbox, not your man’s ;-).

Have a great weekend y’all. I’ll be at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday for a demonstration. Hope to see some of you there!

 

 

How to Use a Miter Saw – Tool Tutorial Friday

my_miter_saw

Hello and welcome to the very first Tool Tutorial Friday! Come right in and have a seat. If you give me less than 10 minutes of your time, I will empower you with some new power tool skills! Today, I’m going to show you one of my favorite power tools. In fact, I dreamed of owning one for years. Using a hand saw and a cheap plastic miter box was really putting a cramp in my DIY style (if you know what I mean.)

My Makita 10″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw (I just love saying that) was a Mother’s Day present to me a few years ago. That’s right, I don’t ask for jewelry for big occasions. Pretty Handsome Guy knows to ask one thing before a upcoming holiday, “So Honey, what power tool do you want now?” It’s true, I’m a power tool junky.

Here is the deal, I really want these workshops to be interactive, so don’t be shy! Ask questions, leave comments, let me know you are learning something new.

Okay, let’s get started…

This is my Sliding Compound Miter Saw (oooo, ahhhhh.) She’s a diva of a power tool and therefore demands a little respect.

 

Miter saws come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The size (usually from 7.25″ up to 12″) refers to the diameter of the blade on the saw. The larger the blade the wider the boards it can cut. However, if you purchase a “sliding” miter saw, you can usually cut a few inches wider than your blade diameter. Miter saws run anywhere from $80 up to $800 depending on the features and brand you choose. 

A non-slide (regular) miter saw will not slide forward and back. Most of the lower end models will still cut a miter and a bevel. Sometimes, these “lower end” models are affectionately referred to as chop saws.

I highly recommend a sliding miter saw, if you can afford it. Being able to cut a few inches wider means the difference between using your miter saw or having to break out the circular saw or table saw.

The modern miter saws have a trigger built into the handle. Some also have a safety button that you must push with your finger or thumb before you can squeeze the trigger. To start a straight downward cut, press the safety button, squeeze the trigger and wait for the saw to reach maximum rotation. Then slowly lower your saw into the board you are cutting. Never force the saw through the wood. Let the saw cut and then guide it downward. Once you have completed the cut, bring the saw back up and out of the wood, then you can release the trigger.

A compound miter saw has a blade that will cut miters and bevels at the same time (thus the name compound, as in compound cut.) The diagram below shows the bevel and miter adjustments.

Most miter saws should have a fence. The fence lets you rest the back of your board against. It keeps the wood steady and helps your miter saw cut true to the degree setting you have chosen.

My miter saw has a clamp, if yours has one, use it! Let the clamp be your right hand man (literally). If you don’t have a clamp on your saw, be sure to always position your hand far away from the blade as you hold your board up again the fence. AND NEVER reach under the saw while it is rotating (guard or no guard!)

When using a sliding miter saw, there is a proper way to make a sliding cut (used to cut wider boards):

  1. Start by putting your board against the fence and clamp it.
  2. Before you start the blade, pull the saw toward you until the blade is directly over the board’s edge that is closest to you.
  3. Squeeze the trigger to start the saw and wait for it to reach peak rotation speed. Then pull the blade down and into the wood.
  4. While the blade is still rotating, push the saw back and away from you as your blade cuts through the rest of the wood (see photo below.)
  5. Once the blade has finished cutting through the wood, raise the saw and release the trigger to stop the saw.

Before you watch the video — a few necessary words of caution:

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic miter saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a miter saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-).)

And now, let’s get you more familiar with using a miter saw!

I hope you have been empowered! Go on and give the miter saw a try if you own one. If you decide to buy a new miter saw, I recommend buying a reputable brand with a decent amount of features. My goal has always been to save up to buy a saw that will last my lifetime, and not settle for a cheap saw just because that is what I could afford at the time.

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Board & Batten Moulding Tutorial

furring_strips

Board & Batten moulding is very popular right now. And why not? It is easy to work with and looks great (after it is painted)! If you remember, I used board and batten in my  my son’s closet turned reading nook last year.

I decided to create a similar look in the boys’ bathroom. Only this time I wanted to round the edges of the battens for more visual interest. I’m warning you now, this tutorial is a bit photo intensive. But, how else would I give you a step-by-step tutorial?

I started by purchasing my lumber at Lowe’s. Did you know you can buy cheap furring strips for your battens? It will save you money. Especially if you don’t mind sifting through the stacks to find the straighter boards and sanding the face of your boards after cutting them. I bought 1x4x8 boards for the battens. And 1x3x8 boards for the upper ledge. I also purchased quarter round moulding and decorative moulding for underneath the upper ledge.

Removing Baseboard Tiles:

The bathroom had baseboard tiles that had to be removed. I grabbed a few tools and made quick work of removing them. The ear muffs and safety glasses were definitely a must!

Score the edges of the tile with a utility knife.

Hammer a flat pry bar behind the tiles.

Remove each tile one at a time.


Take some time to patch any holes that are in your wall. You can view a tutorial on patching drywall HERE. I needed my walls to be as smooth as possible since I wasn’t going to add board behind the battens.

Installing Board and Batten Moulding:

Mark the height where you want the top of your moulding to be. I used 5′ as the height, but then ended up lining up the bottom of my boards on the 5′ mark. So, for the 8′ ceiling room, the top of my moulding was at 65″. Use a level mark as a guide line across the width of your room.

Next measure the widths of the sections that your horizontal boards will be attached to.

Cut your boards to size.

Test fit your boards.

I cut the board that butted up to my mirror at a 30 degree bevel.

Once you have cut all the boards and they fit. Sand down the face and edges.

A nail gun and compressor are not a necessity, but they do make the job a lot easier! Otherwise, you will be doing a lot of hammering and nailing while holding boards in place.

I used the compressor at 110psi, which worked well for the 1″ pine boards. I used 2″ nails for the boards and battens and 1.5″ nails for the quarter round.

Be sure to wear your safety gear. The compressor is LOUD and no need to risk your eyesight. I know, you are jealous of how attractive I look in my safety gear (not!)

For the horizontal top boards, I added some construction adhesive. This is not 100% necessary unless you have monkeys for children. And I do, so the extra adhesive seemed like a good idea.

Press the board onto the wall.

Shoot several 2″ nails into the moulding to hold it in place. Be sure to angle your nails to make it more secure.

That board shouldn’t go anywhere now!



Repeat the same steps for the baseboard boards (minus the construction adhesive.)

Next, measure the vertical distance between the top and baseboard battens. Be sure to measure at the exact location that a vertical batten will go. I’m sure your heights will vary.

Cut all your vertical boards and sand them down.

When you are figuring out the spacing, be sure to take into account if you will be adding a towel bar or other fixtures to the wall. My old towel bar was 24″ wide, so I made sure to space the battens to accommodate the towel bar.

While installing the battens you may run into a few inconveniences. Like, a toilet or something that can’t be moved. To deal with the toilet, I cut a piece of cardstock the same width as my batten. Then I slid it behind the toilet and scribed around the edge of the toilet.

Then I cut along my line and transferred the line to my batten.



Use a jigsaw to cut out the scribed profile (I tried to use my Dremel Trio to cut out the small section, but it failed miserably. I think the Trio is best used for thin stock like the back of a bookcase.)


Then you can install your batten around the “inconvenient” object.

By now your room should resemble something like this:

Installing Quarter Round Moulding:

Now comes the step that requires a little more precision. Cutting the quarter round moulding can be a little tricky, but don’t fear I know you can handle it. Remember the old carpenter’s adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Well, I admit it, I forgot! Ugh. Even I can make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to mess up once in a while. We all learn from our mistakes:

You will need to meaure the width and heights of the rectangle between your battens. Be precise for better accuracy and less caulk later!

Set your miter saw at a 45 degree angle.






This is what it should look like. The saw should be straight up and down at a 90 degree angle from the saw stand (in other words, no bevel cut).

 


Cut your quarter round so that the longest point on the moulding equals the measurement you took from the rectangle. You may have to face the “round” edge in towards the fence for some cuts. And it might take a few cuts to figure out the angles. But, I know you can do it. Once you have all your quarter round cut and dry fit, you can proceed with the install.

Remember those “inconvenient” objects. End your quarter round right before the toilet.

Add a 30 degree angle when butting up to objects like light switch covers and outlets.

Load the 1.5″ trim nails into your nail gun. Aim your nail gun into the quarter round at an angle so the nail ends up going through the quarter round and into the battens.


Hey, you are about 80% of the way done with installing the moulding!

Installing the top ledge and decorative trim moulding:

Cut the top ledges to size and sand them down. It is a good idea to round any exposed corners with the sander. This will undoubtedly prevent future dents to the head.

Lay the ledge boards on top of the upper battens. If your walls are uneven, your ledge will likely look like this.

No biggie. Grab your grade school compass. And set the two arms to the width of the widest gap. Then drag your compass along the ledge and the wall.

Get out your trusty jigsaw again and cut off that scribed line (have I told you how much I love my Porter Cable Jigsaw?! It pays to buy good quality power tools.)

Ahhh, much better. Any smaller gaps will be filled in with caulk later.

Nail the ledge into the batten below it. You can use construction glue for extra stability. (Yes, it is monkey protection for us.)

My favorite part of the moulding project is adding a little extra “bling”. I chose this decorative moulding to sit below the ledge and to give it extra support (again I have monkeys!)

Don’t forget to cut a 30 degree angle wherever you cut a batten at that angle.

Nail the decorative moulding onto the batten just below the ledge.

Now doesn’t that look beautiful?!

Fixing a few nail problems:

Remember how I said I make mistakes too? Well, here are two easy mistakes to fix when using a nail gun. When the nail doesn’t go all the way in (this usually happens if you don’t keep pressure on the gun when you squeeze the trigger), simply use a hammer and a nail set to hammer it into the wood.

Occasionally a nail may hit something when entering and end up popping out. Grab the end of the nail and pull it all the way through the wood. You may take some wood with it, but you can patch it with wood putty.


I’ll be back to show you how to caulk and paint this beautiful moulding! And then the final reveal of my Boys’ Fishy to Fabulous Bathroom! Finally, a bonus post on creating a branch towel bar.

 

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New Life for a Borders Bookshelf

light_seeping_out_back

I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

Irwin Tools Giveaway

Irwin_tools

Irwin Tools has graciously donated a pair of groove lock pliers and a Universal saw to my readers. They have sent me various tools over the past few months to try, and I can honestly say that they have all been top notch and many have exceeded my expectations!

I have been using my own pair of groove lock pliers around the house. You saw them in action in these posts:

Replacing a Flush Lever:

Retrieving Dropped Objects from the Drain:

Removing Door Knobs and Latches:

I think it is fair to say that my groove lock pliers have become my right hand assistant. I may have even used them to undo a stuck mod podge jar lid (shhhhh, don’t tell Irwin.)

And the Universal Saw crushed my hand saw in a sawing competition:

I know you will really like these tools. They have ergonomically designed handles and are very comfortable to use. They make a great addition to any DIYer’s workshop.

Here is how you can enter to win!   Sorry this giveaway has ended.

 

 

A Serious Talk about Safety While You are DIYing

Meri_K_Appy

I had the pleasure of talking to Meri-K Appy the other day. She is the president of the Home Safety Council and has over 30 years experience talking about home safety. Meri-K has a wealth of knowledge about preventing injuries while working on and around your home.

I recorded my talk with her and hope you will take some time to listen. It is very valuable information! Feel free to put the audio on and then do something else while you listen.

You may also want to take some time to browse the Home Safety Council website. The site is filled with loads of information about how to keep you and your family safety (not just during DIY projects.)

SafetyTalk.mp3

 

Cliff Notes:

I took some notes during the talk. These sum up some of the important information:

 

There are 3 Parts of the Body that are Most Important to Protect:

1. Eyes (Vision) – Wear safety goggles when doing any type of DIY project

No need to look like Professor Scientist! You can wear eye protection that is fashionable and comfortable!

3M Tekk Tortoise Shell Safety Glasses

3M Tekk Fuel Light Safety Eyewear

When should you wear eye protection?

a. Using Power Tools

b. Mowing the Lawn

c. Sanding, cutting glass

d. Any activity where objects can become airborne

2. Ears (Hearing) – About 30 million people are exposed to dangerously high levels of noise. Anything over 85 decibels can damage your hearing.

Some examples of common decibel levels:

    • City Traffic Noise (inside a car) – 85db
    • Lawn Mower – 107db
    • Power Saw – 110db
    • Rock Concert – 115 db

When should you wear ear protections?

Ear protection should be worn anytime you are participating in an activity that has loud noise. Even noises that don’t seem excessively loud can cause hearing loss when sustained exposure occurs.

Ear protection is cheap! Foam inserts cost only a few bucks and will protect your hearing.

Inexpensive Ear Protection - Foam Ear Plugs

For better protection and comfort, use ear muff style ear protectors. Check out these! They have a am/fm radio built into them. So you can rock out (at a safe decibel level) while working on your projects.

3M Digital Work tunes ear muffs

Be aware, that one danger while wearing hearing protection is not being able to hear a child come up to you. So make sure your children are being attended to when you need to use power tools and hearing protection.

3. Lungs (Breathing) – Great care should be taken when working with anything that has dust or chemical particulates.

    • Some examples of when you should wear a mask or respirator:
    • Sanding
    • Scraping
    • Spray Painting
    • Using Chemicals
    • Disturbing anything that contains lead, asbestos or other potentially dangerous particles

You’ve seen the scary chemical warfare respirators:

You don’t have to wear that fashion for home repairs (unless you are working around lead or asbestos.)

Protection can be as simple as this dust mask:

8661Pc1-A/8661 - Dust Mask 5Pk

Better yet, 3M has a cool flow valve dust mask for a few dollars more that is more comfortable and less hot:

3M 8511 N95 Particulate Respirator Mask (10 pack)

Test lead paint in your home with these easy to use Lead Check testers:

3M Lead Test Kit - 2 pk - $12.45

Top Causes of Home Improvement Injuries:

  1. Falling from a height (beyond broken bones you could receive head trauma)
  2. Harsh chemicals and poisons (Using and not following the warning labels)
  3. Electricity (electrocution and/or fire if wiring is done improperly)
  4. Power tool injuries (cuts, burns, lacerations, etc.)
  5. Fatigue (tired, using medications, or controlled substances)
  6. Poor Lighting (Unable to see what you are working on.)

Home improvement Injuries are Completely Preventable:

  1. Be sure to 3 points of contact on ladders ( i.e. one hand and two feet on a ladder at all times.)
  2. Always read labels and follow directions (ventilation, safety gear, disposal, etc.)
  3. Electricity (hire a licensed professional if you are unfamiliar with building codes and wiring safety.)
  4. Get trained on how to use power tools (don’t trust an instructor that isn’t wearing proper safety gear.)
  5. Be alert, awake, healthy, and not taking any substances that can impair you when DIYing.
  6. Work in a well lit area.
  7. Consider hiring a professional for lead paint remediation, plumbing, electrical or any profession that requires a license.

 

Important Websites and Phone Number:

If you ever have any questions about lead in your home and how to deal with it:

3MLeadCheck.com

National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD(5323)

If you have any questions about the presence of lead, asbestos or radon in you home, contact the EPA or go to their website for more information. These organizations have been set up to protect your health. Not to make your life more difficult!

EPA.gov

National Center for Healthy Housing

More information about 3M safety gear and where you can get your own:

3MTekk.com

 

Disclosure: Meri-K Appy and Pretty Handy Girl are not paid sponsors of 3M. However, 3M made a donation to the Home Safety Council to fund more research and development preventing injuries.

Some of the images above are linked to affiliate links which pay a very small percentage to Pretty Handy Girl. Other images simply link to online stores where you can purchase the product for your convenience.