Thursday, March 27, 2008

DIY Handyman Tip - Don't Rush

Too many times we here stories of the Home Handyman (and professional contractors) rushing to get a job done and causing themselves or others injury. But rushing can also make make your job actually take a lot longer to complete. One thing that is always drummed into your head as an apprentice is:

"Measure twice, cut once"

A simple philosophy that works on more than one level.

How many times have you been in a hurry and "measured once", and ended up having to cut twice or more?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ladder Safety for the DIY Handyman

Here is a great new product that should help prevent some of the usual DIY accidents around the home. It is called Laddersmart and it has been designed to secure your ladder to the gutter of your house to prevent accidents and falls. It should also protect your gutter from damage that can be caused by your ladder leaning up against it.

Laddersmart is a quality ladder safety device that is fitted into the gutter from the ground using a telescopic pole. The ladder is then placed against the device and is effectively locked into place. The Laddersmart device prevents sideways and backwards movement of the ladder assisting in preventing ladder accidents and also protects the gutter from damage caused by ladders leaning directly against it.

The unique feature of Laddersmart is that the ladder is locked into place from the ground using a unique 'jaw' system. It can be used by anyone as it is so simple to use; tradespersons or the domestic home will have a use for Laddersmart.

Click here for more info and to see the Laddersmart in action.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Water Hammer Update

As an update on my Water Hammer post, I found some interesting info on the subject at the "One Project Closer" blog.

Ethan has written an article that gives a good description of the possible cause and effects of this problem and also alternate solutions.

Friday, March 14, 2008

DIY Fix Water Hammer Solution

Here is an easy solution for the DIY handyman.

After having water hammer problems in our pipes for a few weeks, it was time to go looking for a solution. I thought I'd try an easy fix by going to the local hardware to see what was available off the shelf.

I decided to try these new "Hydroseal Anti-Hammer O-Ring Tap Valves. And it worked. How easy was that. Also with the "spring" there seems to be no need to over tighten the tap to turn it off. The spring pushes the valve closed with very little pressure needed on the tap handle itself.

The Hydroseal is manufactured by Ryemetal. Click here to go to their website.

"Hydroseal's anti-hammer valve silences noisy pipe shudder by incorporating a cushioning spring. This spring allows for the gradual opening and closing of the tap.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What You Can Expect from your Bricklayer

By: India Cooper

Have you hired a bricklayer and you're not sure what he'll get up to? Here's a quick guide so you know what's in store...

Bricklayers do small one-off jobs but they are also an essential part of a building team, constructing and maintaining various structures. These include internal and external walls, chimney stacks and tunnel linings on both domestic and commercial buildings. They can also build fancy stuff like arches, garden walls, barbeques and benches.

A bricklayer coming to work on your project will use a variety of tools (both hand tools and power tools such as a cement mixer) and materials (bricks, blocks, mortar, lintels) depending on what the job involves.

Your brickie can't just turn up and start building a wall. He first needs to measure out the area and make sure he understands the architect's or designer's plans. He then works from the corners building up with bricks and mortar. He may work in a team, or at least have a labourer with him to keep supplying him with materials. The trade can be quite hierarchical, with labourers handing out tools, materials and tea, junior bricklayers doing straightforward laying and the more experienced bricklayers taking care of corners and decorative brickwork.

As he builds up a wall your bricklayer will be using a spirit level and plumb-lines (string stretched horizontally as a building guide) to ensure the wall is straight. He may also use tools to cut and shape the bricks (for instance around openings for doors and windows). And he will shape and make neat the mortar in between known as "pointing".

Your bricklayer will either use a corner lead or corner pole method to build. Corner lead involves building a pyramid of bricks at each corner. Once these are complete the walls in between can be filled, often by a less experienced bricklayer. But corner leads need to be really precise so they are time consuming and expensive.

Corner poles, also known as masonry guides are the alternative. The corner poles or posts are fixed and plumb-lines stretched between them, to guide the bricklaying. A layer of mortar (a cement mix) is then laid and bricks are laid and built up, with mortar to hold them in place.

On a big project a bricklayer may need temporary platforms of even scaffolding to reach up high. And if windows and doors are being inserted into a wall then a joiner will follow close behind to put in the frames.

So what sort of person do you want your bricklayer to be? He should be able to follow plans and be methodical, careful and physically fit - there'll be a lot of heavy carrying involved. You may also need him to be a good team worker and get on with other contractors if he's working as part of a bigger project.

And what sort of qualifications is he likely to have? Most brickies learn their trade on the job but there are formal qualifications they can get if they are happy to study. Local colleges can provide courses to gain NVQ qualifications in Trowel Occupations levels 1 to 3. This involves learning the essentials such as setting up and taking down working platforms, building structures (e.g. walls) and safe loading and unloading of materials.

Beyond the basics there are areas for specialist training including bricklaying, stone fixing and craft masonry. Once fully experienced bricklayers can become supervisors or estimators and beyond that construction managers.

If you are hiring a bricklayer it's worth taking an interest in what he is doing (while allowing him to get on with the job). Not only will it put you in a position of confidence but like anyone, your bricklayer may appreciate the interest you are taking in his trade.

Author Resource:-> Expert bricklayer India Cooper explains what one should expect when hiring a bricklayer. To find out more please visit

Article From Niche Article Directory

Monday, March 10, 2008

Must Have Tool Tip - The Level

They come in many different shapes and size, but the humble level (spirit level) is a definate tool that every handyman should have around the workshop. Whether you are checking for level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical) there is no simpler way. Some models also check for a 45 degree angle.

Here are some images of different types of levels I found on the "" website.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Using Treated Pine - What is the "H" rating?

I needed to purchase some treated pine for 2 different projects. One was for some internal framing, which I wanted to protect against termites, and the other was for a gate post which would be outside and in the ground.

After talking with my local timber merchant I found I needed "H2" for the internal and "H4" for the outside gate post.

Here is a list of the different "H" ratings and their applications:

"H1" : To be used indoors, above the ground. Not resistant to termites.
"H2" : To be used indoors, above the ground. Resistant to termites.
"H3" : To be used outside, above the ground. Resistant to termites.
"H4" : To be used outdoors, in ground or ground contact. Resistant to termites.
"H5" : To be used outdoors, in ground with water contact. Resistant to termites.
"H6" : To be used when in constant contact with salt water.

Hope this clears things up a bit when deciding on the timber you need for your next DIY project. Make sure to ask your timber merchant for a more in depth description and application for each type.

Solar Panel Roof Tiles

Here is a great environmentally friendly building product.

Why have solar panels added onto your roof when the actual roof tiles themselves can be the solar panels and collect all the energy you need.

"instead of having a huge solar panel system fixed to the roof, this new system has actually built the solar panels into roof tiles, which will make the whole process easier and much more secure as the tiles are actually built into the roof instead of on the roof as with conventional solar power systems"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Men and their Sheds

Here is a fantastic book called "The Complete Blokes and Sheds - Stories from the shed". describes it as:

The Complete Blokes and Sheds goes to the heart of what's sacred to many Australian men. Like the dunny (outside toilet), the footy game (football), and the meat pie with sauce, the shed has acquired an important place in Australian culture and mythology. It stands as a symbol of the Aussie male's integrity and a testimony to his ability to fix anything with a length of fencing wire, a hammer and a piece of 2 x 4.

In this good-humored and affectionate portrayal, author and photographer Mark Thomson peers into the gloom, past the dartboard, the beer fridge, and the piles of timber offcuts, to discover what really goes on between a bloke and his shed!

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Light Bulbs in Plain English

Here is a great little video showing the benefits of changing from the old style light bulbs to the more energy efficient and eco friendly CFL's. (Compact Flourescent Lightbulb).

Bookshelves, Bookshelves and more Bookshelves

Here is a very interesting blog highlighting different styles and designs of bookshelves, like the "Bookseat" and the"Cantilever Bookshelf" both pictured here.

As the site states: "Welcome to the blog on the bookshelf. The home of interesting bookshelves, bookcases and things that look like them."

Roof Tile Ventilation System

Here are some images to a  brilliantly simple idea that provides ventilation to the roof cavity. 

"This vent allows natural effective ventilation removing the hot air trapped in the roof cavity in summer and condensation problems in winter"

This product is called the Universal Ventilator System and was invented in Australia by Kevin Baker. Click here to get more info from his site.