Q&A / 

February 28, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

What's in This Newsletter?

Latest News
Siding Survey
Tip of the Week
New Work Pants
Google Search History News
Wireless Router Privacy
New England Old House And Barn Tour
Video of the Week
Q&A of the Week

I'm writing this from rainy Okatie, SC, just west of Hilton Head Island. If you live near here, you're happy about the rain. My hosts tell me that it's been very dry here.

I'll be in Savannah until early Friday morning of this week, and then I start my journey back to NH. I'll have been gone 14 days when I get back.

I'm only home for two days and then I fly to San Francisco for a quick two-day conference. I'll be so glad to get back to NH so I can be with the family and hunker down to work for you.

I want to tell you that huge changes are coming to Ask the Builder. They'll all be good and you'll benefit enormously. Please be sure to open all future newsletters because breaking news will be right here.


Siding Survey

I'm very interested in what you want to know about any type of siding material that could be put on a home. It could be vinyl siding, brick, stucco, wood, stone, etc.

Can you please take this very simple survey so I can flood you with all you want to know?



Tip of the Week - Cutting the Rug

Last week on Ash Wednesday, I was invited to a first-ever-for-me visit to a United Methodist church service. I was in Richmond, VA, staying with great friends. When I arranged the visit, we both forgot that it was Ash Wednesday. They politely asked me if I would go to church with them after supper. Without flinching, I said yes.

We went to the St. Matthews Church that was close to the home of my friends. The pastor, Rev. Gordon Pruitt, gave an amusing homily where he talked about capturing monkeys with a box and how he replaced the worn-out carpet in the parsonage with a new carpet.

He talked about how he had rolled up the heavy carpet and lugged it to the garage where it sat in the way as it was such a hassle to get it to the dump. The homily was about changing bad habits and his way to ignore the carpet.

It was all I could to contain myself - not knowing the protocol about raising one's hand at a Methodist service. Of course, I would never think of doing such a thing at a Catholic mass.

I wanted to tell Rev. Pruitt that all he had to do when he removed the carpet was to cut it up in place in the living room. He just had to flip over one edge of the carpet about 40 inches onto itself and the backing of the carpet would be right there.

The backing would be elevated off the floor and using a sharp razor knife he could easily have cut the carpet into manageable 3-foot strips that could be rolled up, secured with twine or duct tape and easily put in the trunk of a car to take to the dump or recycling facility.

Don't let this happen to you. Don't break your back trying to carry the entire carpet out of the house. Only take it out in one piece if you know the old rug can be cleaned and reused by someone else.


New Work Pants

Last fall I told you about some pants I had to buy out in Montana because I had forgotten to pack them for the big trip up into Northwest Canada.

Well, last week I started testing a new set of work pants from Duluth Trading Company, and they are much better than the ones I got from Columbia.

These new Duluth Fire Hose work pants fit superbly, they have a multitude of pockets - even a hidden one on the inside of the pants, and much more.

I love the little loop that hangs down from a front belt loop that's perfect for a small carabineer you might use on your key chain or a small camera case.

I just checked the Duluth Trading website and they're on sale right now.

I do NOT get a commission for any sales. I'm just sharing this with you because they are very nice pants. There's no doubt I'll be getting another pair.


IMPORTANT Google Search History News

This is not really home improvement news, but it absolutely could affect you.

There's been a major tectonic shift in Google's privacy policy. Tens of thousands of words have been written about it.

But for years, if you've used Google search, you may have unknowingly ALLOWED Google to save and record every single search you've done on THEIR servers.

Last week, I goofed up BIG TIME.

This is important for one reason.

I never turned on this feature years ago, but you may have and forgotten about it.

You have just two more days to erase all of that history. The trouble is I don't believe that they will erase the data from their servers.

My gut tells me that everything we do online is really tracked and stored. Just be as aware as possible and know that what you do can be tracked.

For more information, click here.


Wireless Router Privacy

While on the topic of computer stuff, did you know that you may be able to add a layer of protection to your wireless router? You may have one of these in your home so you can surf the web without a cord.

Once again, I'm NOT an expert but I'm staying at a private residence here in South Carolina where the homeowner has a secondary layer of protection in his standard router.

Each computer, smartphone that has wireless, a Kindle, basically any wireless device, has a unique identifier number or code. Think of it as a social security number.

To gain access to my friend's wireless network HE HAD to enter into the router the unique address of my laptop and my new Kindle Fire. Dig into the settings or preferences of any wireless device and you'll discover this identity code.

You can learn much more about this at the websites of two friends: Ask Leo or AskBobRankin


New England Old House and Barn Tour

Do you want to see hundreds of gorgeous old Victorian houses, old post and beam barns and just travel some great back roads this summer? You can see tons of stuff and get immersed in old home improvement right here in central New Hampshire.

Want to see a fantastic old granite home built from special stone shaped in hexagons? Then you need to tour Castle in the Clouds. I could go on and on.

But if you want to stay in some quaint cottages along the placid Pemigewasset River, then you better make reservations NOW.

Last month, I met the owners of the Gilcrest Cottages here in New Hampshire at my meet up. Gary and Julie have done a fantastic job at this retro vacation haven. Want to step back in time, but have all the modern conveniences? Then stay at Gilcrest Cottages as you do day trips around New Hampshire's White Mountains. WOW is all I can say.


Video of the Week - How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

You better watch this video now. It's a long story that I'll soon be sharing here in the newsletter.


Q & A of the Week - Terrific Workbenches

DEAR TIM: I'm sure you know about workbenches. My New Year's resolution was to build a home workbench. I've seen workbenches for sale, but they seem too small for me. I'm up for the task of building a custom workbench, but am worried about the best way to do it. The surface needs to be durable, but affordable. Do you have any secrets you'd like to share about building a workshop workbench? Andy M., Enola, PA

DEAR ANDY: I have many secrets to share, and will try to give you as many as I can in this limited space. Tool workbenches are my favorite, and over the years I've built...

To discover ninja secrets about workbenches, Click Here.



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