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The Super Handyman: Easy-to-do paper towel holder

We needed a couple of paper towel holders and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on them. I just made some simple ones from a scrap of wood and a dowel rod. The piece of wood for the bottom needs to be stout enough to hold the roll upright and keep it from tipping over. The dowel rod should be a little longer than the roll of paper towels and about half the diameter. Drill a hole about halfway through the base, in the center, with a spade bit. Drop some glue into the hole and twist the dowel into it. Slide the roll of paper towels onto the dowel, and you’re ready to go. It’s a simple holder, but it will work well, and it’s great for picnics, workbenches, craft rooms and your kitchen.


Shop liquids can be a little dangerous. Things such as solvents and acids are commonly used, and you always need to be careful when handling them – especially when you need to pour, mix or transfer them from one container to another. Funnels are a wise choice, but they may need to be disposed of afterward. A simple but effective funnel easily can be made from an empty tin can. One end is cut out, and the other end needs to have a hole in it, which you can make with your can opener. Position the can over the container with the open end up and the small end just over the opening. It’s easy to pour the liquid into the can and let it flow out the bottom and into the container, hopefully without any spillage. Toss the can when you are finished.


Q: I have a water pipe that runs through my closet downstairs. It is dripping condensation and has ruined the floor. What can I do to make it stop dripping? – H.G.

A: It might be just as simple as adding some insulation to the pipe. The inexpensive foam insulating pipe covers will be the easiest to install and should do the job.

Tips from readers

I wasn’t sure what I had run over, but I just knew that there was something under the mower deck. I remembered reading years ago in your column to disconnect the spark plug to prevent it from accidentally starting up. Well, I did this, and it took only about a minute extra. It was a good thing I did, too: There was a wire cable wound up around the blade. It took me about 30 minutes and a hacksaw to get it off. Never work under your mower without doing this! Just a reminder to keep you safe. – J.B.


We always wanted a flag, but just have never really had a good place to mount a holder for it on our house. We bought a metal umbrella stand and a large flagpole that fits into this. We just set the flagpole into the stand, which is made heavy enough not to tip over, and twist the set screw to hold the pole in place. It’s easy to bring in every night, and it allows us to fly our flag every day if we want to. – G.A.

A super hint

Rubber gloves are great for protecting your hands from paint, stains and chemicals. The biggest problem you can have with them is the tight fit and the problems getting them on and off. If you sprinkle a little powder into them and put some on your hands, the gloves will go on and off easier, which also can make them last longer.

Have a question or a handy tip? Visit Those of general interest will be used in future columns.