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Super Handyman: An easy way to make simple storage bins

I like storage bins, especially when you can see what’s in them. The bins also need to be easy to access, and I have a super way for you to make small storage bins that you can attach right to your garage or shed wall. Plastic jars, like the ones peanut butter comes in, work well. Remove the lid and attach it to the side of a wall stud so that the container will be in the wall cavity. Screw the jar into the lid, which will now be sideways. Use a utility knife to cut out the side of the jar. Now you have a super see-through storage bin right on your garage or shed wall. Plus, it will be inside the wall cavity area and not sticking out into the work area.

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Q: Our front porch has an old-type metal railing and some columns around it. I want to paint it, but the old paint seems dusty. I’ve cleaned it, and it still has a layer of white dust on it. How can I get this off, and what kind of paint should I use? – U.F.

A: Some older paints were meant to slough off dirt, and this is called “chalking.” Clean it off again with TSP and water. This is available at a paint store. Use a rust-preventive primer and enamel paint meant for metal surfaces, and you should be good.

Tips from readers

I decided to make larger house numbers, as the only ones visible were small and faded. We had painted the front door and were looking for the numbers, but couldn’t find any large enough to spot from the street. I got on my computer and found a font that I liked and created stencils for the numbers in a large size. Then I used a contrasting paint to put them directly on our front door. They look great, and you definitely can see them from the street. – J.T.

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Our home has copper water lines, and so I’ve learned how to do the sweat soldering so I can make some of the repairs. Here’s a plumbing trick that I learned from my dad: The pipe has to be dry when you work on it, so you can make a wad of white bread and stuff it into the pipe to absorb any small amounts of water that still might be in the pipe. After soldering, you can test the pipe. When you turn on the water supply, it will dissolve the bread and the bread will go away. – R.G.

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My wife asked me to try to fix her iron. It was coated with gunk on the bottom and wasn’t steaming any longer. I took it out to my workshop and dumped the water out. Then I filled it back up with vinegar and plugged it in and turned it on HIGH to steam it out. I let all the steamed vinegar run out, then refilled it with water and let all of that steam out. The base was easy to clean with some steel wool and WD-40. I then polished it with warm, soapy water and a soft towel. She said it’s working great now, like new. – M.W.

A Super hint

Butcher-block countertops are great in a cook’s kitchen. You need to keep them clean, though, to avoid contamination. I use kosher salt and lemon juice to scrub them clean. Do this after each use to keep them in good shape.

Shoptalk

G/Flex Epoxy is a super tough, versatile, liquid epoxy that will permanently bond with fiberglass, plastic, ceramic, metal and even damp wood. It’s a little more flexible than other epoxies so is great for outdoor situations.

For more information, visit www.westsystem.com, or find it at your hardware our outdoor supply store.

Super HandyMom tip

My neighbor, Carol, made the cutest backsplash and it cost her practically nothing. She just put up a wallpaper border above the countertop under the cabinets. It was cheap and super easy to do, and looks fantastic!

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