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The Super Handyman: Use a level for easier drilling

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how straight you drill a hole, but other times it can make a huge difference. That’s why a lot of newer drills have a built-in level on them. Of course, if your drill is older, then you probably don’t have this luxury feature.

You can add one without a lot of trouble. Just see if you can locate a small level and tape it to your drill. Line it up with the drill bit for an exact level. You can use a rubber band or even glue if you want a more permanent addition. This will not ensure success, but it will give you an edge, anyway.


Q: I can feel air leaking around my window. One gap is almost a half-inch-wide crack. What can I use to fill a larger area like this? – G.I.

A: They make foam filler strips that you can buy in most hardware stores. These are soft and pliable and can be stuffed easily in larger cracks like this. Just scraps of regular insulation also can be used. Once the large gap is filled, you can cover the area with wood trim and/or caulk. This can make a big difference in your comfort level and should also cut down on your utility bills.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: It doesn’t seem like I’ve had my newest shovel that long, but the fiberglass handle has started to age, and I get a lot of those horrible splinters in my hands when I try to use it. I ended up with some leftover foam pipe insulation after weatherizing this past winter. I took a long piece of it and wrapped it around the shovel handle and taped it in place. Now I can work all day in the garden and never get a splinter. – H.S.


Dear Al: Our sunroom is great during the winter. We keep a lot of our plants there on cold days and keep our home gym there for workouts when we have to stay home. Typically, we’ve just had to suffer, until this spring. We found great fans that are mounted in a special bracket that sits in a window. It’s working pretty well so far. We also bought a cut-to-fit filter for it because we both have allergies. I didn’t think that would help that much, but it has. I guess I’ll have no excuse not to work out now! – T.K.


Dear Kelly: My daughter wanted to paint her room green. I thought we had found the perfect color, but after doing a whole wall, discovered that it didn’t look anything like it did when we picked it out in the store. It didn’t even look green in our house. So we went back to the store and brought home a couple of more colors to try, remembering what a difference it made in our own natural light. What we thought was a nice brown turned out to be the perfect shade of green for us after all. I wanted to warn others BEFORE they start painting like we did. – N.L.


Dear Al: We had some leftover shingles from a roof repair after the last storm. I will save them to use later on if we have any more storm damage. I took some of the damaged shingles that were still in pretty good shape and tacked them to the steps on our deck – they get slippery when it rains – and these shingles increase the tread on the steps. It’s a great way to recycle old shingles. – N.M.


Dear Al: I found a mesh laundry bag that we have used to keep delicates from getting destroyed in our heavy-duty washing machine. I rarely use it, so I thought we might get rid of it. My daughter wanted it to use for washing plastic baby items in the dishwasher. She can put toys, pacifiers, spoons, bowls, lids and lots of other small items into the bag, set the bag in the top shelf of the dishwasher and do a load of wash. These items stay in the bag and get cleaned without falling down into the bottom of the dishwasher and becoming ruined or damaged. She’s smart and, I guess, takes after her mother! – N.R.