Q&A / 

May 13, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips


If you live in the USA and were watching the news late yesterday, May 20, 2013, then you know all about the wicked tornado in Moore, Oklahoma that was nothing more than a monster blender. Sadly, even with plenty of warning, over twenty people perished - seven or more small children are among those whisked up to Heaven yesterday afternoon.

It appears it's one for the record books, not only because of the death toll, but also the extreme power of the storm and property damage it caused.

If you're a long-time subscriber to this newsletter, you know that I've talked about getting prepared for disasters like this. Last fall I, along with hundreds of others, put out the alert about Hurricane Sandi. Will the shocking images you see in photos and on TV today be your wake-up call?

If not, how many more will it take?

A good friend of mine, John Meredith, said to me one day after we played golf, "Elephants are best eaten one bite at a time." He uttered that after I complained about this big project I was undertaking.

Maybe that's why you're not doing what's necessary to get ready. You're overwhelmed with what needs to be done. Just take a bite out of it each week.

Make a simple list of things that need to be done, and then just start marching through the list. Set aside two hours each week, just as you would for a doctor's appointment. Religiously work those two hours. Here's a small list to get you going:

1. Take wide-angle and close up photos of every wall (including furnishings) of the inside of your home. Take photos of the inside of closets and open drawers. Take photos of all the walls in your basement and garage. Upload the photos to a file storage website. You'll need these photos to prove what you own when the insurance adjuster comes calling.

2. Scan or photograph important documents. Upload these PDF files or photos of documents to the file storage website. If the data is sensitive, burn a CD and store it in a safe deposit box.

3. Create a bug-out bag or two. A bug-out bag contains items you can't live without for two or three days.

That's enough for now. Pass the A-1 sauce. Burp.......


Years ago when I was still pounding nails each day, you might find me on any given day up in the air walking narrow 2x4 wall plates to set roof rafters, trusses or floor joists. Sometimes they were covered with frost or dew making them exceedingly treacherous.

Last summer while building my ginormous shed with the 12 / 12 pitch roof, my son thought I was crazy balancing on a 2x10 to install pieces of OSB roof sheathing he passed through the open rafters to me. Because I knew my limitations and that of the roof jacks, I had no fear.

The folks at BoschDaredevil.com have a unique "Daredevil Spotlight" where they highlight modern-day workers who find themselves in precarious situations. You could be one.

As you might imagine, there are all sorts of construction jobs, as well as normal maintenance ones, that might take the breath away from a normal person. Dutch Parnell is one of these folks that's lucky enough to have a job that seems like his hobby to him.

Dutch has taken his professional ice-climbing experience and folded it into his current job as a rope-access painter.

I urge you to go read Dutch's story - click here to check out his story. When you're finished with that, be sure to click the link at the bottom of boschdaredevil.com article so you can enter the Bosch contest. Who knows, you may be featured in the "Daredevil Spotlight"! You could win circular saw blades, spade bits or a Daredevil t-shirt. Go Enter Now!


This past weekend, my son and I were selling the cute new Stain Solver bottles at the Fryeburg, Maine Home and Garden show. People loved them. We had an astounding 80-percent conversion rate. This means that 8 out of 10 people that stopped at the booth and watched us demonstrate how fast and easy it was to remove stains purchased a bottle or two.

In a couple of weeks, we're going to have a BIG Stain Solver sale.

But in anticipation of all your summer projects, and assuming you're one who's always WANTED to try Stain Solver, but haven't taken the plunge yet, I'm having a Private SMALL Sale this week for just you.

I've dropped the price, to just $8.97 for this gorgeous bottle of Stain Solver. That includes FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the USA, Guam, US Virgin Islands, etc.

This sale will END as soon as I exhaust the small supply that I came back with from the Fryeburg, Maine show.

Believe me, it's not much, so if you want to TEST Stain Solver and you want a great introductory price, BUY IT NOW before it's gone.

Just CLICK HERE and select the top radio button in the product list to get this nice little Sample Size Stain Solver at a Sweet price. Here's what the order form page looks like:

Don't count on my Sunday Reminder email. By then it could all be gone and the price goes back up. BUY .... IT ..... NOW!


I had the good fortune in college to meet Phil Clymer. Phil was a geology student like me. We really bonded and hung out together in between classes and on our many field trips. He's become a lifelong friend - a very good friend.

We've stayed in touch, and late last week Phil reached out to me to help him solve a vexing problem. He had a leak where the water lines connected to his new water heater.

After some back and forth emails - I should have just picked up the darn phone - I finally diagnosed the issue. He had used Teflon tape where the pipe nipples connect to the water heater.

You may not know this, especially if you're a new subscriber, but among other things I'm a master plumber. I was a card-carrying licensed master plumber for years, but I gave up my license when I no longer did the work each day.

I discovered decades ago that Teflon tape is an also-ran. It's just not that great. For Teflon tape to work, you have to have really tight tolerances between the threaded components, and you have to put on the tape correctly.

I told Phil it's highly likely the plumbing parts he purchased came from offshore where the pipe-threading dies might have been low quality or worn out.

I told him to get some great insulated nipples from a real plumbing-supply house, not a home center. While there, I also told him to get a can of Rectorseal. Rectorseal is the brand of pipe-threading compound I used for years to make sure my threaded joints didn't leak.

Insulated nipples are galvanized iron nipples that have a plastic coating inside the pipe. These help offset the electrolysis that happens when you connect dissimilar metals to one another in the presence of water.

It's not a good idea to directly connect copper tubing to a water heater with an iron tank. I told you you should have paid attention in that high school chemistry class! :->>>

If you want leak-free joints in threaded natural gas, water or air lines, use a pipe threading sealant compound like Rectorseal. I've used Rectorseal for years and only had a leak once. I discovered the leak was from a worn pipe threading die of mine that was cutting inferior threads.

Buy some Rectorseal NOW by clicking this link. You'll never regret having it. Phil reported back to me yesterday that he got the insulated nipples, a can of Rectorseal and there's no leak!


Last week I was able to test a nice grinder that's been begging me to use it. It's the Milwaukee 6121-30 Small Angle Grinder with the trigger grip.

In just 90 seconds I had it unpacked, the shield on and the included grinder wheel tightly secured.

Four pieces of angle iron needed to have the corners rounded off so you didn't get cut by them. I was using the angle iron to support a large hanging platform in my garage, and the one end of the angle iron was at head height.

Suffice it to say the grinder yawned at this job. It only took seconds to round off the sharp corners. There was minimal vibration and I loved how lightweight the tool was.

This is a tool, that if cared for, that will last for generations. I say this assuming you're not using it everyday. If you're going to use it everyday, there's no doubt it will perform well for years and years. I give it two hammers up!


Do you need to Clean Your Exterior Siding? Vinyl, Fiber Cement or Wood?

Do you know the proper way to Connect Wood Post to Concrete Piers? Secret Link to watch FREE videos!!!!!


It looks like next week I'll be taping the videos showing how to install a new Simonton window in a wood-frame wall where there is currently NO WINDOW.

This means I'm going to show you some really cool ninja building tips, including how to install a new header above a window.

Do you have the confidence to cut a hole in the wall of your home?

Would you like to gain that confidence for a ridiculously low price?

I'm PRE-SELLING online access to the video series and DVDs should you want to watch them offline.

This SALE will only last until Sunday night, May 26, 2013 at midnight Hawaii / Alaska time.

You can have unlimited online access to the videos for just $10.

You can purchase a DVD of the videos for $19.

Both prices will go up DRAMATICALLY next Monday morning. I expect you'll have access to the videos no later than the middle of June, if not sooner.

Realize that you're placing a PRE-ORDER if you buy now. The videos have not yet been shot. Please don't email me after you buy them wondering when you're going to get them. I'll CONTACT YOU as soon as the videos are ready to view or when we ship the DVDs.

More tips and news next week!


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