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Super Handyman: Make the most out of your kitchen space with dowel rods

Kitchen space can go a lot further if you customize it. A tall, narrow cabinet can be wasted space unless you add a few pairs of dowel rods to turn it into the perfect place to store trays and cookie sheets. The dowels can be wedged into place by friction or by drilling a deep hole into the top of the cabinet and a matching shallower hole into the base of the cabinet and install the dowels. The dowels go into the top hole first and then drop down into the bottom hole.

You can line up a few of these and store several trays in this otherwise wasted space.


Q: We had a leak in our kitchen cabinet from the sink. It’s fixed now, but the floor of the cabinet was ruined before we fixed the problem. Now I want to try to install a base. How do I do this? – H.T.

A: If the space inside the cabinet is larger than the opening of the doors, a common problem especially with corner cabinets, you may have to cut it in two pieces. Install 1x1s around the inside base of the cabinet so your replacement pieces will rest on these. Good luck!

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: My son-in-law is an electrician and, when we got our hot tub, he did the wiring for it. I was able to help, too, and learned a neat trick. Before running the wires through the conduit, he squirted some soapy water into the conduit. This made the wires slide through it much easier. I thought you might need to know this at some point and thought others might want to try it, too. Be sure there are no live wires and the power is turned off before attempting this trick. – N.G.


Dear Al: I am sold on vinegar to clean paintbrushes. I’d heard it would work well, but I was surprised at just how well it worked. Now I soak all of my paintbrushes in warm vinegar, especially if they are caked with paint. After soaking them, the paint comes off much faster with brush cleaner or just soapy water. Try it yourself and see how great it works. – K.J.


Dear Carrells: After the big storm last year, I am better prepared now. I have a couple of tarps, the right kind of nails and a wooden lathe to hold them down. I also have trimmed our trees back quite a bit to prevent them from hitting the roof again. My neighbor has a chain saw, too. If you don’t think it can happen to you, think again. Keep a few emergency supplies on hand just in case! – W.R.

A Super hint

A slight leak in an outdoor faucet can leak quite a bit over time. Install a screw-on hose end cap to shut off the drip. This isn’t a permanent fix, but a pretty effective temporary solution to the problem.

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