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Super Handyman: Creating stylish den for a dog

Many of you who have dogs crate them. It’s believed that a dog prefers the crate as a den and appreciate the privacy and sense of ownership found in a crate. But most crates aren’t great-looking and, if you want your dog in your family room or bedroom, the dog’s crate should look presentable. You can turn a sturdy crate into an end table or a nightstand by just putting a wooden or stone top on it. You even can attach wooden panels to the sides if you want. That way, the panels are removable. And don’t forget to include a plush and comfy sleeping mat that matches your decor, of course.

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Q: Last year, I painted a “rug” on my back patio. Now it’s starting to peel, and I would like to remove it. What should I use to get the sticking paint off? – H.A.

A: You might try a power washer to remove the rest of the paint. If not, then paint stripper should take care of it. If any of the paint soaked into the concrete, then it’s probably not going to come up.

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Q: Why is my stainless steel sink full of stains? I’m not sure what is going on, but I was hoping it would look good for a long time. What can I clean it with that will get rid of the stains and keep it looking better longer? – G.R.

A: Check your grocery store or hardware store for a special stainless steel cleaner. It really will do the job, and will add a little bit of a protective coating to keep it looking nicer longer. You can make your own by mixing a little vinegar and water. Follow it with olive oil for a shiny finish and a little protection.

Tips from readers

The old file cabinet that we had in our last garage sale didn’t sell, so I got stuck with it in the garage. It turns out that it’s the perfect place to store some of my better power tools. I can put all of them into the drawers and even lock them up to keep them from getting stolen. I even have more room for other things that I might decide to lock up later on. It’s pretty handy after all. – B.R.

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I bought some fake trees to decorate our home. They look good, but were starting to get a little dusty. I cleaned them by blowing off the dust with my hair dryer. Then I went back and vacuumed and dusted up the fallout. I’m sure there’s probably a better way to do this, but this was my best idea, and it should take care of the problem for a good while. – K.D.

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The workbench I made is great, and I’ve used it for years. Lately I’ve been working to restore a piece of stained glass.

I learned early on that a softer surface was needed for the glass, so I bought a foam floor mat and put it on top of the bench under my work. It’s much better and, unless I ruin it in the process, I can use it in the mudroom when I’m done. – H.S.

A super hint

Cleaning out a garage can be a big chore, especially if you have a lot of leaves that have blown in. Why not use the same leaf blower you use in the yard to blow out your garage and get a head start on that cleaning job?

Super Handymom tip

If you are lucky enough to have more than one or two bathrooms for guests to use, make sure you check them periodically, even if you are not using them. You might be surprised to find leaks, stains and other issues going on that you wouldn’t find until right before your guests show up or damage has been done.

Check closets, attics and basements for the same reason, especially around water heaters or air conditioners. You could save yourself thousands of dollars.

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.