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Super Handyman: Spruce up your wooden gate

I love the look of a wooden gate. They age so well. But they also can get a little loose and can start sagging. All you really need to fix a sagging gate are a couple of blocks of matching wood. These will be placed in the corners where the cross-members and side (vertical) pieces intersect. Place the squares into position, against both pieces and screw them in tightly to straighten the gate. Inexpensive metal corner brackets will also work. You can use a mallet to tap the gate into position if needed.

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Q: I wanted to replace my old metal floor furnace grills with some of the nice brass ones I’ve seen. But I can’t find one to fit. Can you tell me where I can get them? – R.T.

A: You can buy metal paints that look very nice and just paint the ones you already have. You would just need to sand the current grills down to take the gloss off of them and use spray paint to give them a whole new look.

Tips from readers

There have been times when I needed to clean paint off my hands and some other surfaces after I’ve painted a wall or two. Of course, the solvent is either missing or lost in my garage. So I grab the cooking oil. It’s not as good as solvent, but it sure will help get most of the paint off. – K.F.

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I just got finished wallpapering my bathroom. I did a pretty good job, but ended up with a lot of leftovers. I will save some for repairs, but had some other ideas for the rest of the scraps. I wanted to bring the wallpaper into the bedroom, but not in a big way. I covered a couple of frames in it, lined a bedroom serving tray and covered some books with it. It’s just a little of the matching colors in the room, and it looks great. – H.M.

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The next time you have a bunch of greasy wrenches, put them in your dishwasher to get them clean. I just tried it, and it worked great. I also have cleaned my vent hood filters in the dishwasher. Mine are the metal type that have to be cleaned rather than replaced. I plan to clean all of the grill parts next so our barbecue grill will be ready for a cookout soon. – V.S.

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I cleaned my windows last fall when I had more time, so I escaped some of this spring-cleaning thing. I also cleaned the window tracks and greased them with petroleum jelly. This makes them seal up better and slide really smoothly. I opened them last weekend when the weather was nice, and they still glide very easily, opening and closing. – T.S.

A Super hint

Paintbrushes are one of those things that definitely follow the “you get what you pay for” rule. A cheap paintbrush usually will shed bristles and actually could fall apart while you are trying to use it. Spending a little more for a good brush is worth it every time.

Shoptalk

There are a few tub and shower resurfacing products on the market, but Rust-Oleum’s Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit has some advantages over some of the others. First of all, you get everything you need to do the job in one kit - enough for two coats of the finish for the best coverage. There’s not much measuring or calculating involved and, since these products can be costly, there’s not much waste either. You also don’t have to use caustic chemicals to prepare the old surface for coverage, like some products require. It is an epoxy material, so there is mixing involved, but you can apply it with a brush, roller or even a sprayer if you want to save time. You’ll get pretty good results with it, and it should last a long time.

To find out more and even get complete instructions for using the product, just go to www.rustoleum.com and search for “Tub & Tile Refinishing Kits.”