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Super Handyman: Avoiding injury while using a sledgehammer

What could be worse than smacking your fingers with a sledgehammer? Smacking your hand, or your helper’s hand, with a sledgehammer! Here is a super way to avoid doing this. You can hold the stake, spike or rod with pliers or a wrench. Then you can use a sledgehammer to safely drive it in without harming yourself or your friend!


Q: We had a small leak in our roof that we didn’t find for a while. The water got into the wall, and we had a lot of mold there before we finally found it. I’ve pulled off the drywall and tried to scrub it clean. What else can I do to get rid of the mold and make sure it doesn’t come back once I seal up the wall? – J.B.

A: Liquid laundry bleach will kill mold and mildew, so use it to clean these surfaces. Let it dry completely and then repeat the process, including the drying time. Don’t reuse any materials that have mold or mildew on them. That means replacing the drywall and any insulation that was there.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: We needed to replace our old, worn-out window screens. In shopping around, we discovered that we had a lot more choices than we originally thought. One of the more interesting options was a sun-blocking material. It’s a little thicker and more expensive, but we chose it for the west side of our house, which gets a lot of direct sunlight during the summer. The sun-blocking material really should make a difference, and we’re excited about getting them installed next week. – H.D.


Dear Al: Our oven is not built into our cabinets, but it can be moved for cleaning or if we need to replace it. I was trying to cook and lost a shrimp. Since it wasn’t on the floor, I figured it might be under the stove. I knew it would smell in a few days, so I had to find it. I finally got out a hand mirror and was able to spot it down the side, between the cabinet and the stove. I had to stick the broom down there to get it out. Thank goodness for the mirror. – G.W.


Dear Kelly: I found a good way to clean my leather tabletops. I really like them and am glad I was able to keep them after my grandparents moved to a retirement facility. I clean and protect them with oily furniture polish. It’s really good at cleaning them and makes them shine. – T.D.


Dear Carrells: I found the perfect place to store my hardware: a spice rack. I found one at a garage sale and mounted it on my pegboard wall. It even had some labels, so I put the hardware into the individual jars and then put labels on them. It’s so much easier to find what I need now that I don’t have to pull out a box full of little bags and boxes of hardware. – R.U.

A Super hint

Foaming oven cleaner, like Easy Off, is great for cleaning your oven. It’s also pretty effective for oil stains on a driveway or garage floor. Treat them like oven stains, and you’ll be amazed at how well this stuff works to clean them.


Spackling and filling dents in walls is not rocket science, but it does take some practice. One thing that makes it easier is to find a good-quality filler that is easy to spread, won’t crack or shrink and is mold- and mildew-resistant. Flex ’n Fill is a super choice. It does all of that – and more. The high-strength polymer formula sticks to your surface better and, because of the built-in primer, can be sanded and painted in only 30 minutes. Check it out at your hardware store, home center or online at

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.