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Super Handyman: Little trick helps keep paint cleanup to a minimum

Painting can be a lot of fun. We like to keep our work area as clean as possible to cut down on cleanup later. One thing you will need is a good place to set your brushes down when you need to switch to a roller, stir your paint or just take a break. Grab a clean aluminum can and use tape or cable ties to attach it to your ladder, paint can or anywhere else that will keep it handy, upright and close to your working area. You can set your brush in the can when you need to and pick it back up when you are ready to use it again. Just throw the can away when you have finished using it. That might be the only cleanup you’ll need to do, other than cleaning your brushes and rollers.


Q: I’m not ready to replace my kitchen sink faucet just yet, but I have a problem that I need your help with. How can I get my vegetable sprayer working again? – T.C.

A: Hopefully it’s just clogged with mineral deposits, which is a common issue. Try taking the sprayer apart and soaking the parts in vinegar. This will dissolve the mineral deposits. Then put it back together and give it a test. That ought to do it.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: I still have a couple of old metal gas cans. I really like them and, even though they are old, they still hold gas. I repainted them, so they look great, and I also put petroleum jelly on the cap threads. This helps them twist off and on easier. Why would you get rid of things just because they are old? If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it. – H.G.


Dear Al: Our old spa came with some plastic steps – not very sturdy. My husband and I made some better wooden steps that even match the rest of the patio furniture. We hinged the top step so that we could store things right under the steps. We are able to keep the spa chemicals there. They are much sturdier, and I love the extra storage. – S.G.


Dear Kelly: We have an old folding card table and chairs that were looking rather ragged. So I found some new fabric to use to cover the seats as well as the table top. I stripped the old stuff and used metal paint to spruce up the frame. Then I covered the seats and the tabletop with the new fabric. It looks brand-new, and I feel a lot better using it, too. – H.G.


Dear Carrells: My wife wanted me to paint all of our molding a dark color. I knew that it would take forever, so I proposed a compromise: I wanted to use a glaze instead. It could be quickly and easily wiped on, and would take a fraction of the time, but it still would accentuate the different layers and carvings. We tried it in the back hallway, and it looks fantastic. I was able to do the rest of the house in just one weekend. It would have taken a whole lot longer to paint it with several coats of paint, masking and all the rest. – S.T.

A Super hint

It’s time to take care of those bald spots in your yard with a little grass seed.

To get a very even “sprinkle,” fill an empty spice or grated cheese bottle, the kind with the holes in the top, with grass seed and use this to distribute the seeds more evenly. Press them into the soil, then water.