Q&A / 

May 29, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend - a big start-of-summer holiday here in the USA. As I said last week, it's a solemn day of observance where we honor those people who gave their lives in the military so we can enjoy freedom.

You may have soaked up the sun where you live, but It was a rainy and cool / cold weekend here in New Hampshire.

Saturday it was a steady cold rain all day. Saturday night it SNOWED at my house! Watch the video I shot of this epic event.

If you do Facebook, be SURE to stop by my Ask the Builder Facebook page and Like me. I share some neat tips on Facebook that DO NOT make it into this newsletter each week.

The sun finally came out, and it warmed up on Monday, Memorial Day.

I spent part of Saturday afternoon with my son sighting in a cool .22 caliber Walther G-22 semi-automatic rifle I own.

Somehow the telescopic sight got out of adjustment. After we took the time to set up a firm target at 50 yards and create a platform to steady the rifle, it took little time to get it zeroed in.

We set up our sighting station just inside the garage so we'd stay dry. It's really important to have great visibility at all times so no one can walk into the line of fire.

Once complete, I was putting successive shots inside a postage stamp square with no effort. Imagine - at 50 yards (half the distance of a football field) - putting a shot inside a postage stamp.

It's possible, and expert shooters can put each bullet in the same hole time after time.

I'm not that good, but I can hit what I'm aiming at. That's all that's important.

I really enjoy target shooting and plinking tin cans. If you've never done it, you should give it a try.


Trinie Thompson, from Long Beach, CA, wrote to me:

"I have concrete in my backyard. The joints are currently filled with sand. I have been looking into grouting the concrete joints to give it a better look. Then I would like to use concrete paint to finish it off. Is there any special type of grout we should use?"

Trinie, you need to make a very strong mortar using Portland cement, coarse sand - and in your case - some small pea gravel. The joints in your patio are so wide, over five-eighths inch, that it requires gravel in the mix. Be sure you put in at least one and one-half inch of mortar between each patio stone.

I explain, in great detail in a past column of mine, how to mix and apply the special high-strength mortar.

I would not recommend painting the concrete when you're finished. The paint will eventually peel.


Do you live in Milwaukee?

I'll be in Milwaukee for a little over 36 hours on business beginning June 11th. I can do a meet up that night if you'd like to get together.

How about 7:30 p.m.? Please REPLY to me if you want to get together. Change the Subject Line to: Pabst

We can meet in the lobby of the historic Pabst brewery that's now a hotel and then decide where to hang out. I'm open to suggestions if you're a local.


I had the distinct pleasure over the years to work with some real professionals. Along the way I tried to memorize all of the tricks they used to get exceptional results.

Often the little secrets they shared were not hard to do, but they made such a difference.

This video shows you one trick that prevented countless service calls on my jobs.


You may find yourself sanding something in the next few months. My oldest daughter Meghan was here at the house on Monday sanding some flat surfaces on some used furniture.

"Dad, you may want to share with your newsletter subscribers a tip. Over the past month I've tried a bunch of the hand-sanding tools, and you know what I feel works best? Your old standby rubber sanding block. Nothing delivers the performance it does, and it's easy to insert new paper," she remarked.

I have to agree.

If you don't own one of these simple, yet remarkable tools, you should. BUY ONE NOW - Don't procrastinate.

I do suggest that when you insert the paper on the block, you get it tighter than what I'm showing in the photo above. I left it loose so you could see how the paper wraps around the block.


Last week when I announced the newest video series I'm producing, I forgot Memorial Day weekend was looming.

I set a deadline of Sunday night - this past Sunday - when prices for online access or for the DVD set - would go UP.

I've extended it to this coming Sunday because of the holiday.

I'm going to show you in this video series, the entire process of what's involved in cutting into a solid wood-frame wall to create the rough opening, install the window, trim it out, etc.

Remember, this is a wood-frame wall with lap siding on the exterior and drywall inside. I'm not going to show you how to do this on a brick, stone or other exterior surface. I've discovered it's really important to manage expectations.

This is a job that most feel can only be done by a pro. The truth is an average DIYer can tackle this job if you just think it through. You don't need lots of special tools to make it happen.

You can pre-order your online access NOW for just $10.

You can pre-order the DVD set for just $19.

This allows you to watch the videos offline. Many seem to prefer that convenience.

The prices will nearly double a week from now.

This is fair warning.

More tips and news next week!


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