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Super Handyman: Entertain a larger crowd with a makeshift tabletop

If you are going to have a crowd over for dinner and all you have is a small table, add a new tabletop. All you need is a large sheet of plywood. Lay it evenly over the top of your existing table to make it bigger. If you can secure it with screws, clamps or anything else, do it. Even a rubber mat would help make it steadier. If it’s not secure, just make sure it’s not so much larger than your table that it’s not balanced properly. Throw on a tablecloth, and nobody will ever know!

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Q: I am having a really difficult issue with my washing machine. It has started wiggling around and making a lot of noise. Everything seems to be working just fine, but it’s shaking really badly. Got any ideas? – B.D.

A: Hopefully it’s just out of balance. The front legs actually are screwed in, so by using a bubble level, you can adjust them so that the washer is level in all directions. This should take care of the problem. If not, it’s going to be something more serious.

Tips from readers

I found a great deal on a multipack of nail aprons. I turned one into a gardening apron, which holds a few small hand tools and some seed packets, along with my cellphone. I also created a super housekeeping apron. This one is filled with a general-purpose cleaner, some rags and a duster. I gave the other two to my kids, and they keep their crayons, snacks and some other things they like to have inside. Oh, and I gave the other one to my husband, which he’ll use for nails, I guess! – T.D.

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I’m with you on the pegboard. It’s so great for storage, and it frees up my workbench. One idea I used for storage wasn’t part of the standard package of hooks I bought, but it works great. I installed some hooks, facing upward, about 18 inches apart on the same level with each other. Then I set a dowel into the hooks. I store lots of screwdrivers behind this dowel, which holds them up by the handles. It’s easy to see the blades, so you can pick the right one for your project. – G.Z.

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We have been renovating two bathrooms in our house – at the same time! I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea, but it’s too late to stop now. To keep the carpets clean in the rest of the rooms, we found a great plastic protector for carpets. It comes in a roll at the home improvement center and looks like plastic wrap, but it sticks on the carpet and keeps all of the dirt off it. It will just pull off when we are finished. – F.W.

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Both of our kids are into soccer, so we spend a lot of time at the fields. We have a couple of lightweight chairs and a rolling ice chest. I put a stick-on decal of the initial of our last name to make our ice chest easy to spot. Now it’s easy for us to see just where it is at all times, even when we are in a big crowd. – R.V.

A super hint

Waterless hand cleaner should be on every workbench or in every workshop. It’s the first line of defense against grease and grime. But it also can be used to clean paintbrushes. Work it into the bristles to clean out thick, latex paint. Follow it up with warm water and soap.

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit thesuperhandyman.com.