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November 6, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

This issue of the newsletter is LOADED with home improvement tips. But first, I want to tell you what happened two nights ago.

On Monday night, I spent two hours plus with a group of New Hampshire writers. We meet the first Monday of every month. Several in the group have published a book or are just weeks/months away. I'm part of the group because I'm working on a book series. My book series has nothing to do with home improvement. More about that in a moment.

One of the authors is Doug Smith. I met Doug last month and at that meeting he told us about his mystery book, Five Minutes of Blackness. It's a thriller that employs a swizzle stick to mix a serial killer with an alcoholic former FBI agent turned city police detective.

Doug also said the book had a very strange ending.

I was so intrigued I went home and bought it. Wow! It was really, really good. Yes, you hear people say all the time a book was a good read. Doug's book was a GREAT read.

Prior to reading Doug's book, I pretty much shrugged off alcoholism. I've heard the word ten thousand times. Maybe you have too. I didn't know much about the disease, but I sure do now. I rarely drink alcohol, and now have a much better understand it's vexing power.

I wrote a review about Doug's book on Amazon, and he and a few others in the group loved my review. If you've never read one of my book reviews on Amazon, they're pretty quirky. You can find my review with no problem on Amazon.

I recommend you read Doug's book. Period. It's very affordable if you have a Kindle. It costs less than a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte made with whole milk. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download FREE SOFTWARE allowing you to read Amazon Kindle books on computers and other devices.

Ask Santa for a Kindle this year. I LOVE my Kindle!

Next up is a mystery written by another NH writer I met on Monday - Garry R. Lane. His book will be available in about two weeks. I'm ready to download it into my Kindle the moment it's for sale.

Oh, you want to know more about my project? Okay, I've been teasing you for weeks. Go to MikeyOsgood.com.

Be SURE to sign up for Mikey's email list. You'll be getting free samples of my first book in the series very, very soon.

Please click through to Mikey's blog. You'll see the blue button connecting you to the blog.

Watch the short video clip from Field of Dreams. Listen carefully to what James Earl Jones says.

Tell me if he is talking about you. Are there days where the news, drama and stress of your real life make you want to dip yourself in magic waters and go back to a simpler, more peaceful, time?

If so please do two things. Sign up for Mikey's upcoming tiny book snippets and reply to this email and change the subject line to: Mikey Osgood!

I hope to have the first draft of the book complete before Christmas. I'm already 30,000 words into book one.


Wood is wood, right? Yes and no. Many of the trees used today to make wood products may look on the outside like the trees of old, but believe me it all stops just under the tree's layer of bark.

Forest products companies have hybridized trees for years to get them to grow faster. Trees are not much different than corn or wheat. They're crops. It just takes years to harvest them, so the timber companies strive to shorten the time span between harvests. Doing this boosts their profits.

The wood you get today is not as dense as the wood from old trees. Less dense wood can rot faster, it can warp easier and it just doesn't perform as well as old growth lumber.

You can trace the issues of today's lumber to the spring wood. That's the lighter band of wood you see when you count tree rings. In many of today's trees spring wood is a much greater percentage of the tree than in trees of old.

When you determine the age of a tree, you always count either the dark band of wood or the light band, not both. A tree puts on two rings of growth in a year, one is light the other is dark.

Older trees have a higher percentage of darker summer wood. Look at this photo I took yesterday. The larger 2x4 on the bottom was from a tree cut in the late 1800's in Colorado. The modern 2x4 probably came from a tree in Maine or Canada in the past two years.

Look at the difference in the size of the lighter-colored spring wood growth bands! Yeeowza!!!!

The lighter band of wood grows aggressively in the spring. That's why it's called spring wood. As the year wears on and water is not as plentiful in the summer, the tree growth slows down and the tree puts on the darker band of wood called summer wood. This wood is very dense and hard to chisel, cut and sand.

The more surface area or mass of dark rings (summer wood) you have, the more stable the wood. Lumber with a higher percentage of summer wood is more naturally rot resistant. Spring wood soaks up the water faster than the summer wood. This means the lumber can warp, twist and change dimensions more readily if there's lots of spring wood.

Where is all this going? I needed a new door at my home last year. The jambs of the door had mushrooms growing out of them because the wood was rotting! I'm serious - mushrooms growing out of the door jambs. Give me a break.

I would have gladly installed a new wood door IF I could locate one made from trees cut down in the late 1800's, not the wood we get today. This is why I decided to put in a new front door made of a material that looks like real wood, but doesn't subject me to the rot, warping, twisting and splitting issues of new wood.

What door did I install in my home? Watch this video and see. Tell me if it doesn't fool you.

Do you want to install a door like this yourself in less than a day? You CAN do it. Watch this video series I produced of me installing the door.


Would you like to PREVENT ceramic wall tile from falling off a wall?

Follow my suggestions and your tile will never fall off a wall. NEVER!

Read my Why Tiles Fall Off Walls column now.


Did you respond to me last week with a "Heck Yes!"? You may be to blame for tilting my inbox! The good news is I'll be working on creating the deck safety guide. The response was over the top.


Would you help me help you? I want to review power tools and power tool accessories that interest you. Since I don't possess the superpower of ESP, I need you to take this brief survey. It should take you no more than 60 seconds. Thanks in advance!


Click here to view past issues of AsktheBuilder.com newsletters.


Did you take chemistry in high school? Remember the day you did the electrolysis-of-water experiment? That experiment was simple. You applied electricity to liquid water. The electricity caused the water to break down into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Remember the Hindenburg dirigible?

Some clever European scientists are welding, brazing and soldering with WATER in this video. I'm a master plumber and believe me I'd LOVE to be able to solder copper with water rather than use acetylene.


I subscribe to several trade publications about the construction industry. As you might expect, there's always an article about the state of construction jobs and how that field, like so many, seems to be stuck in the mud.

Terry, a subscriber to this newsletter, sent me this short video about a simple idea to create more jobs here in the USA - jobs of all types. I believe this concept would work in any country on the planet. It just so happens I'd like to see more great USA jobs right now.

One of the points made in the video hit home with me. I know of a product that competes with my Stain Solver oxygen bleach. Its name begins with an O. This O product says on its label it's "Made in the USA". Well, I guess we need to define the word "made".

The truth is the ingredients in the "O" product come from offshore but they're blended and packaged here in the USA. If you really want to get products Made in the USA with USA ingredients, you need to do a little homework.

In my case, I went to the "O" product website, used their contact form and sent them this question: "Are the ingredients in your product made in the USA, or do they come from an offshore country?" They responded telling me it's none of my business where their ingredients come from. Well, well!!!

In my case, Stain Solver is truly a Made-in-the-USA product. The active ingredient, which is Certified organic, is made in Houston, TX and the pure natural soda ash comes from a mine in Wyoming. Stain Solver is blended and packaged in Chicago near Midway airport.

Watch this video and pass it along to everyone you know if you think it makes sense. If you want a better job, then buy a few more Made-in-the-USA products! We, the consumers, have the power! People like me who make products will hire more people and the factories I buy from will hire more to make more stuff. It's basic economics.


There are countless homes where you have an attic space with short vertical knee walls, sloping roof rafters and then a small flat space at the top of the attic.

Imagine you want to build a man cave or ham radio shack in the attic and need to build a wall. How do you get the wall studs just right when they contact the sloping roof rafters?

Read my How To Build a Sloping Partition Wall to get the easy answer!


I routinely get private requests from subscribers to help a person, family or group who is sick, has fallen on hard times, or has a need. Each person that asks realizes I have a huge subscriber base and figures my subscribers will respond. Just about every request has involved raising MONEY for the person / family / group.

My response has always been, "If I do this for you, I'll be flooded with requests and then will have to do it for everyone."

Last week Dave from California told me about Sam. Sam is very sick, but she's not looking for money.

Sam is looking for someone else who contracted Lyme disease, and has been able to beat back the late-stage symptoms. Sam's doctors, and she's seen many specialists, have asked for your help.

Please watch this video, the last half can be slightly upsetting. Contact Sam if you believe you have a clue as to how she can recover. Her doctors feel there is SOMEONE out there that's beat the disease with something they don't know about.

Thank you for doing this.

More tips next week.


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