Q&A / 

April 10, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

Last week, two young California hikers made the national news. They were rescued after they got lost. It happens to thousands of hikers every year. The Grim Reaper was right behind them as they wandered through the canyons. He was a little too slow this time, as the hikers slipped through his bony fingers.

I'm a hiker, and now a member of my local CERT team. Dehydration leads to most hiking and outdoor mishaps, even if you don't get lost. You need to stay hydrated to have a clear head and make good judgements. When you're dehydrated, even stepping over rocks can be what does you in. You could misjudge your step, slip, fall, hit your head and it's literally lights out.

A little over a year ago, my son-in-law gave me a fantastic book that's full of information about this topic. You'll be stunned at all the helpful tips and discover exactly what you need to do if you want to survive outdoors. The book's title is: opens in a new window98.6 Degrees - The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!

opens in a new window

If you hike or know someone who does, I urge you to opens in a new windowbuy this book for them as a gift. Do it now.

If you're not a hiker or camper, you need to know what's in this book. It's possible for you to get into deep trouble as you drive cross country. You may get stranded out on the road one day.

Just a few years ago, two elderly women driving to a shopping mall took the wrong turn, went down a dirt road, got stuck in some mud and they died right there because they had no idea what to do. They were very close to civilization and could have easily survived.

Don't become a statistic, be a survivor.



Do you have small children or grandchildren? How about your neighbors?

Not only are kids naturally CURIOUS, they simply don't have enough life experience to readily recognize danger. I know - as I'm very lucky to be alive myself. More on that in a moment.

Over the weekend, I saw in the news opens in a new windowa story about a small girl in Maryland who was crushed by her garage door.

Here's another opens in a new windowvery sad tragedy to report. This happened this past weekend.

I can totally relate to this happening. When I was a small lad, I was attracted to construction sites like moths to a porch light on a summer's night.

Let me tell you a true story about a very stupid thing I did one day with my friend Charlie Deters. We were young teenagers and both loved firecrackers and smoke bombs.

A new road was being constructed in the woods near my house. Storm sewers were installed in the base of the ravine and large concrete pipes were stacked to create the manholes. Thousands of tons of fill dirt were brought in to fill the ravine to construct the road.

Like a D * * * A * *, I went down into one of these wide open pipes. It was easy to do as they had the iron ladder rungs built in. Of course, I took matches and a few smoke bombs with me. There was no water running in the sewer, but there absolutely could have been invisible gas down there that could have knocked me out.

I'd say I was down a good 20 feet or so in this manhole. I lit two smoke bombs and delighted in the streams of smoke that lifted off the base of the sewer. I did this for about five seconds.

Then I looked up. I couldn't see anything but smoke. I panicked and started grasping for the iron rungs breathing in the acrid smoke as I raced up the ladder.

I barely made it to the top. As you might imagine, I was coughing and very scared. I could have passed out while climbing, fallen and broken my neck. What a totally stupid thing to do.

But that's what most kids are. They're oblivious to dangers. They don't think about the secondary effects of a decision. They just don't have enough life experience.

Please pass this newsletter along to anyone you know who has small kids or grandkids. Let's try to save a few lives.



Jerry McRorie wrote to me overnight wondering how to clean off algae from his roof. He discovered Stain Solver and wondered if it really worked to clean black and green algae from roofs. Of course it does Jerry!

I told him to opens in a new windowwatch this video showing how to use Stain Solver to clean a roof.

The most important tip I gave him was how to keep the algae off the roof once it's clean. I then asked him to opens in a new windowwatch this video explaining the mystery of no algae or moss on PART of a roof!

You can use opens in a new windowStain Solver outdoors to remove algae, mildew, mold, etc. from any surface. I don't care if it's your roof, wood or vinyl siding, tiger stripes on gutters, gross patios, retaining walls covered with slime, patio stones, etc.

Remember, the oxygen bleach in opens in a new windowStain Solver will NOT harm any of your plants or landscaping.



You may use great power tools, but they'll perform like an also-ran if you don't equip them with the right bits or blades. Believe me, the performance is noticeable.

I can clearly remember years ago using a flat spade bit my dad gave me. I had to lean into the drill to make the hole, but push too hard and the wood would start to smoke from all the friction.

Fast forward to today's technology: Bosch cutting accessories, specifically the Daredevil line, transform your power tools into the professional-grade workhorses they were meant to be. For example, the threaded screw tips on Daredevil spade bits and the helical paddle shape pull the bit through wood so you can drill more holes faster with less fatigue.

That's the story with every Bosch Daredevil product - best-in-class in speed, long life or ease of use. I guarantee that you'll see and feel the difference.

Learn more about Daredevil accessories and opens in a new windowenter their contest! You could win one of the 20 sets of Daredevil products that Bosch is giving away. opens in a new windowGo enter now. I so wish I was allowed to enter!



A good friend of mine, Lee Hillsgrove, Sr. has a fascinating hobby. He loves to drive. If you need some small or medium-sized objects moved between two points both within New England, Lee could be your man.

If what you want moved can fit in or on the back of a pickup truck, on a 6x12 flatbed trailer or inside an enclosed 6x10 trailer, you might consider Lee. He's a true professional and will not let you or your load down. Lee's moved boats, motorcycles, engines, small farm tractors, Jeep frames, etc. just about anything you can imagine.

If you want to contact Lee, just REPLY to this email and change the Subject Line to: Lee



I was all prepared yesterday to take the stunning photos of the deck boards that have been out in the weather for the past 11 months. However, there was a light rain overnight and the sample pieces were saturated with water. There are 16 products being tested!

opens in a new window16 deck boards for stain testing

I took the boards into my shed and started to take the photos, but stopped after I took the second one. The first photo is just below. The wider boards are cedar decking and the smaller ones are traditional treated pine.

All of the pieces of wood were stained at the same time. The wood was clean and dry before the stain was applied. One piece of each was allowed to dry and spent the last 11 months indoors in a cardboard box away from all sunlight and moisture. The other pieces were put down on my boat dock to bake in the harsh sun. All of the outdoor wood samples were put next to each other on my dock.

opens in a new windowSample A Test Boards

The overnight rain water was affecting the color of the wood samples. Since the other samples were bone dry from being indoors, I felt that all the samples should be dry for a true side-by-side comparison.

Look at the amazing FAILURE of this one deck stain! Can you believe how bad the cedar board on the left looks? Believe me, you'll see far worse when I take the other photos!

I now have the boards drying and will check them at lunch today to see if they're really dry. It's been pretty damp and overcast, so the boards may still have moisture in them.. I'll send out a SPECIAL email to you, probably on Thursday with all the finished photos.

Wait till you see how HORRIBLE some boards look. When you look at all the photos, you're going to see something unusual. I'm going to quiz you on this and see how many of you can speculate as to what's going on. I think I know the correct answer. Let's see if a number of us are in agreement.

Watch for the email with all the photos any day now. We just need some DRY weather here in New Hampshire!



When it rains it pours. It's the season to test new power tools. As you might imagine, the power tool companies are constantly bringing to market new tools with new technology.

About two years ago, I did a survey about tools in this newsletter. The results were shocking to some, but they didn't surprise me.

Eighty-one percent of the respondents said that the quality of tools they buy is very important. Sixty-one percent of homeowners said they wanted to purchase the same tools pros used. Ninety-one percent of the survey takers said they felt high-quality tools helped produce better results faster.

That's why I try to review great tools for you! Look at the tools that just arrived for me to test and review!

opens in a new windowTools to be tested and reviewed

Dremel 4200 Rotary Tool

Senco DS212-18V and DS215-18V Auto-Feed Screwdriver

Milwaukee 1/4-Hex Impact Driver Kit

Milwaukee 1/2-Inch Drill / Driver Kit

Milwaukee 1/4-Hex Two-Speed Screwdriver Kit

Milwaukee 3/8-inch Impact Wrench Kit

Milwaukee 1/2-inch Hammer Drill Driver Kit

Rumor has it that I'll soon be reviewing some green power tools.

What power and hand tools do you want me to test for you? You need to speak up or just go to the tool manufacturer's website and fill out their Contact Us form.

Tell them, "Hey, I want the AsktheBuilder.com guy to do an independent review of your tool!" Believe me, it carries much more weight if YOU make the request!

Watch for the SPECIAL email that contains the link to all the deck stain photos!!! I should have it for you no later than Friday if Mother Nature cooperates.


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