August 15, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips
I'm reading the book Valley Forge at night before I drift off to dreamland. Usually I can only get about six to eight pages done before I pass out. It's a fascinating book that goes into the enormous suffering and hardship the Continental Army was enduring at that time.
I'm not an early American warfare expert, but from what I can tell, armies usually took the winter off because it was hard to travel and there wasn't any food for the horses and mules that moved the armies' supplies from place to place. Warfare back then was a fair weather activity. It makes sense as muddy and frozen roads are not easy to navigate.
The British army holed up in Philadelphia just 20 or so miles from Valley Forge. From what I surmise, had they fought just one more battle before taking the break for the winter we'd have an image of the Queen of England on all our coins and paper money instead of past presidents.
George Washington's army was so out of gas, it would have not taken much to completely wipe out the starving and ill-equipped men. The other fascinating thing were the mercenary soldiers, including officers, that came to America looking for work, if that's what you want to call war. It's a good book, you should consider reading it. I didn't realize Washington was so tall!
The GE Dishwasher Recall
I sent out an emergency email to you last Thursday the moment I heard about the fire hazard recall on the GE Dishwashers. You may be in the group of many who reached out with a big Thank You. Here's one that explains why I send out those notifications. It came from Dan Colwell:
We have one of those dishwashers and I don't think I may have known about the recall if I didn't read "Askthebuilder".
No sweat Dan. I'm just doing my job.
Tip of the Week - Clear Urethanes
Urethane floor finishes aren't all the same. There are superb commercial products that are used for gymnasium floors and other high-traffic areas. The urethanes you might find in your home perform really well under normal conditions.
You can still get oil-based clear urethanes. Water-based urethanes seem to be the belles of the ball now because they contain far fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That's what you smell when you put down an oil-based urethane.
Be aware that most water-based urethanes will not yellow over time. They truly stay clear. But oil-based urethanes almost always develop a patina that many people like. They tend to develop a light yellow to orangish coloration over time. This is really important to know if you're trying to match an existing floor finish.
We Have a Winner! - LE Johnson Pocket Door Contest
Congratulations to John Thompson! He got the most votes in the Pocket Door Hardware Contest. Alice Thompson came in second followed by Heidi Halvorson. Thank you for entering, thank you for voting, and thanks to LE Johnson for providing the door kit!
You should really take a look at this page at the LE Johnson website to see what John won. This page has great links to all the instructions that show how easy it is to install a pocket door. Pay particular attention to the trolleys or trucks that support the door.
Does your pocket door jump off the track? I'll bet it's because you don't have the right trucks. CLICK HERE to see what you need if you want your door to stay on the track at all times.
Tell me if you thought you'd see that many wheels on the truck?
50% Back-to-School Advertising SALE
Do you have a great home-improvement product, tool or service? During the month of September you might be able to catch the eye of the tens of thousands of homeowners that read this newsletter. Just reply to this message and change the Subject Line to: Ad Sale. Remember, I have to test the product first and APPROVE it before you can advertise. You know what that means - get me the product or tool pronto!
Deck Stain Test - Partial Results
I started testing sixteen different deck stains back in May of this year. The test pieces are down on my dock getting blasted by the sun all day until about 3 or 4 pm. I'm testing pigmented sealers as well as a few clear ones.
So far, three of the clear sealers have failed, and a fourth one is looking like it's not going to make it until September.
This test is going to run for at least two years. I put the sealers on both cedar decking and traditional treated lumber, as these are two of the most common deck lumbers used here in the USA.
Jeremy Wren and the DIY Shed Video Series
I had the distinct pleasure to have lunch with Jeremy Wren in Wake Forest, NC this past February. I was on my way to a conference and I always try, when I can arrange it, to meet with you and any other subscribers.
Jeremy owns a fantastic niche home improvement business in Wake Forest. He's been a subscriber to this newsletter for some time. I was amazed to hear that he incorporates my tips to help give his employees a competitive advantage.
Last week Jeremy wrote to me about the sale I had on my DIY Shed Series. You just have to read this:
"I missed the $50 price (I was too busy to be able to get to it at the time), but I did just get it at the $69 price level. I plan to use these videos for training videos for the company, so make 'em good! "
I replied and thanked him for his purchase. As you might expect, he got back to me with:
"Thanks, Tim. Since I've been following you on Facebook & on your website for several years now that I felt 100% comfortable purchasing them. Your info is always right on, and I use your expertise to review our own procedures and methods.
And $69 is a pretty incredible price!"
Jeremy's right. It's an incredible price. I say this because I know what I've already taped during the past three weeks. What's more wait till you see what I taped over the past few days. If you purchase the video series, you'll be getting Secret AsktheBuilder Ninja Tricks about installing flashings for sun tunnels, plumbing vents, turbine vents, skylights and all the basic asphalt shingle roofing videos.
Just THOSE videos that I shot up on the roof are well worth the $69 I'm charging for the entire series. Tell me, if you goof up a roof flashing or make one little mistake when installing shingles, do you think it will cost MORE THAN $69 to repair the damage?
You know it will. Go here to see all the things covered in the shed building video series.
The price for the entire series is going to go UP next week to $79. When the project is finished, the entire series will absolutely be priced above $100. If you decide to purchase each of the videos a la carte', you'll pay well over $200.
I did get one hate mail from a subscriber who thought that paying that much for building tips was "insane, greedy, highway robbery, etc". This man said I should be providing all the information for free. I reminded him that I already have thousands of pages of free information at my website, and hundreds of free videos. His reply was "That's not enough you money hungry thief!" I'm serious - I couldn't make this up if I tried.
Handyman Online Class and Other Classes
A little over six weeks ago, I offered to teach an online class about starting up a Handyman business. You may have been one of the many that responded. This class would be held online much like live television.
You'd purchase a seat in the class and would be sent instructions on how to login and watch. If something came up or you couldn't attend at the live event, no problem! The class will be taped and you could watch it later countless times at your convenience. If you do attend the class while it happens, you can do live chat and ask questions. It's very cool. If you watch the class after it happens, obviously you can't chat or ask questions.
The reason the Handyman Class got sidetracked is because the shed project kicked in and I simply didn't have the time to pull it together. I'm now ready to prepare to teach the class, but I need to know exactly what you want me to cover. If you tell me what you want to know, I'll be sure to cover that in the class. Just click Reply but *please* change the Subject Line to: Handyman Class
If you want me to offer any other online classes, what would you want? Would you like a series on Basement Remodeling? How about a series on Kitchen Remodeling Pitfalls? Would you be interested in a quick series on Bathroom Remodeling?
Tell me what knowledge you want to extract from my brain!
Milwaukee 28-Volt Cordless Circular Saw - 0730-22
I've been using Milwaukee's sweet 0730-22 cordless circular saw on the shed project. It's a husky saw that's sized much like traditional corded saws. This bad boy has some power.
This cordless saw has 28 volts and is very well balanced. I love the hard plastic case that comes with the tool. While soft-sided cases may seem like a good idea, they don't protect tools in the back of a truck where other tools or materials can bang into them.
If you really want to test a circular saw, set it to cut at a 45-degree angle and then try to rip 2x material. I had to finish ripping a southern yellow pine 2x12 and the saw did great. If you've never cut southern yellow pine, let me tell you it's tough stuff.