Q&A / 

June 4, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

This past weekend was a hot one here in New Hampshire. I started troubleshooting a circuit breaker that keeps popping. That's a BAD thing.

If you have a circuit breaker that pops all the time, TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION. Failure to do this can cause an electrical fire. You, and/or your loved ones, can DIE.

For starters, turn the breaker off until such time as you can fix the problem or have an electrician do the repair.

The problem circuit feeds the lights in my mud room and garage. After just 30 minutes, I narrowed the problem to one of two fluorescent light fixtures in my garage. But the high temperatures drove me out until this week. My guess is that a ballast has blown in one of the fixtures creating a dead short.

I'm giving serious consideration to transforming these light fixtures to LED lights. When you do that, you simply get rid of the ballast and just wire up the bulbs directly to the 120 volts of AC current.

I'm in the process of locating LED bulbs that are 8-feet long and have the single rounded contact point at each end. I know they exist. I'll keep you posted on this retrofit project.

If it's a success, next up will be retrofitting all the recessed lights here in my house.


Last week I talked about a tip shared by my daughter Meghan. She was extolling the virtues of the simple rubber sanding block.

I received quite a few questions after that about sandpaper - specifically what type I prefer. It turns out there's lots of confusion about sandpaper.

I wrote quite a few past columns about the topic that are still quite up to date.

What if I told you one type of sandpaper gets dull as you use it. This can be beneficial if you're trying to burnish a wood surface.

But another sandpaper is actually self-sharpening! That's cool! As you use the sandpaper, the abrasive particles crack off exposing new sharp cutting edges. Now that's a sandpaper to use.

Read about all them here:

Sandpaper History - What do you think was the first sandpaper?

Sandpaper Facts

Sandpaper Comparison Table


You've heard me harp on tools for years if you're a seasoned subscriber to this newsletter. You may have a great circular saw, but if it's got an also-ran blade on it, the saw simply will not perform well. You need great accessories for your tools, and I happen to use Bosch Daredevil ones when I'm working.

Bosch Daredevil is a compilation of best-in-class accessories for speed, precision or long life. Products that range from spade and auger bits to reciprocating saw blades and circular saw blades are included in the Daredevil™ lineup. Bosch Daredevil™ is the new definition for best performance.

The Bosch team wants you to get the most out of your Daredevil accessories so they put together a list of common applications and tips for each product. It includes information like what's the best tool to use with each accessory, tips and tricks from the pros and features that make the accessories stand-out from the crowd. This information will help you use your accessories to their fullest potential.

Visit the Accessory Tips section of boschdaredevildotcom and choose the category you want to learn more about. You can also find tool reviews from tool blogs who have first-hand experience with Daredevil accessories.


I'll be in Milwaukee a week from now - June 11th.

How would you like to meet up on either the evening of June 11th or the morning of the 13th?

We're doing a meet up for sure on the evening of the 11th! It's LOCKED in. The response has been great so far.

What do we do at meet ups? We talk about anything and everything. I love getting to know you, and you typically have questions about your home or what's behind the magic curtain at AsktheBuilder or Stain Solver.

We're going to meet at 7:30 p.m. in the lobby of The Brewhouse Inn and Suites. I'm told this used to be the old Pabst brewery. If you want to attend, please reply to this email and change the Subject Line to: Pabst. If you've already done this, I've got you on the list.

If you can't make the evening meet up on the 11th and want to have breakfast on the 13th, I'll do that too. Reply to this email, change the Subject Line and tell me what day works best for you.

You don't have to eat to come to a meet up, but many who have come to past meet ups know that food is almost always part of an AsktheBuilder Get Together! Don't be bashful, come to one of the meet ups.


This has absolutely nothing to do with home improvement. I was sent this by one of my ham radio buddies, Dick Christopher.

Remember the theme to the Lone Ranger? Well, I'll bet you never thought it would be performed in Carnegie Hall with a musical instrument that could fit in your shirt pocket.

Watch the entire video, as there are several songs played.


There's going to be a huge sale next week. There WILL BE LIMITED SUPPLIES of each sale item.

BE SURE you OPEN next's week's newsletter as soon as it arrives if you want to get the sale price.


Julie from San Jose, CA wrote to me about her cracked driveway. She wants to make it look better, but not at the expense of new concrete.

She was wondering if she could apply colored thinset grout to the driveway. What do you think I told her to do?


As you read this, I'll either have started to frame the openings in the wood-frame wall for two new Simonton AAMA-approved windows, or will have already finished the project!

Did you think it's possible to install a new window in a solid wood-frame wall in one day? If everything goes well, the answer is yes!

Now, if you don't feel you can do it yourself, just Click Here to find a great pro to install your windows.

My son is helping me with this job, and will be taping the entire process from start to finish. One of the first videos is one where I do something sort of cool on the existing drywall inside the room. Wait till you see that!

Here's where the first window is going:

I offered this video series at a nearly 50% discount over the past two weeks. I promised that the price would go up for online access to the videos and the DVDs.

Well, if you were a snoozer, you missed out on a great opportunity. It really pays sweet moola to open each of my newsletters.

You can pre-order the video series now right here:

Online Access Only to Videos

DVDs of Video Series

More tips and news next week!


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