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Office hole punch also useful in the shop

Lots of small hardware pieces are sold on plastic bubble cards that hang on a rack at the store. These can be hung on your shop wall the same way. But when the holes tear through, then what? That’s what a home-office hole-punch is for. This same hole-punch can be used to make holes in lots of other shop supplies to make it easier to hang on your shop wall, too.


Q: We need some advice. We found a new pedestal sink that will replace our old pedestal sink. The only problem is that it’s shaped differently at the base, so there are gaps around the current tiles. What do we fill these gaps with? – J.V.

A: If you can find matching replacement tiles, you can cut them to fit and grout them into place before putting the new base in. If the gaps are small, you might just fill in with some matching grout.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: I added some of the battery-operated lights in our dark closets. This helped in some of them, but not so much in others. I added some mirror tiles in a couple of the closets to see if this would make a difference. It really spreads the light around. I went back and added more to the other dark closets. Not only does it reflect the light from the battery lights, it also brings more light in from the rooms. Who knew? – G.R.


Dear Al: In our city, we have a fantastic store that sells used office furniture to profit a children’s hospital. Most of it, if not all, is donated by businesses. The store is full of great stuff that you can use in a home workshop. I bought metal lockers that I store some of my tools in. I’ve also had my eye on a great work table. Check around in your city to see if there are charity-run resale shops that you might take advantage of. Another good outlet for supplies is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. – J.M.


Dear Kelly: I needed hardware cloth to patch up my birdcage, but ended up with quite a bit of extra screen. I made some storage boxes out of it. I just cut out the box shapes and “sewed” them together with wire. These boxes are perfect for holding mail that used to sit on the kitchen counter and for pens and pencils in my office. I think I will make a hanging basket out of some, too. – T.W.

A Super hint

Even the slightest bit of moisture can turn a box of plaster into a rock. Transfer all powdered shop compounds into plastic bags and seal them to prevent moisture problems while stored. You can put the material back into the box to keep your label and instructions if you want. You’ll be glad you did.


We get a lot of questions about how to insulate an attic stairway. Well, there are lots of ways to do it and several good products you can use. One of the easiest to install and afford is the Duct Brand Attic Stairway Cover. It comes in a small package and is sort of like one of those pop-up tents. You carry it up into the attic and set it up over the stairway opening. It doesn’t interfere with the stairway when it’s folded into place, but does a nice job of insulating this leaky spot. Additionally, if you need to get up into the attic, it’s easy to move aside and to put back into place when you are ready to close it back up again.

Check for it at your home center or hardware store in the insulation aisle. For additional information and a cool video, go to

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit our website at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.