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Super Handyman: Attach poker to caulking gun

I have an older caulking gun and have used it a lot during the last 20 years. One thing I’ve added to mine is a “poker” to puncture the inside of the tube after opening it the first time. I used to look around for a long nail, but I finally just created the addition from a strong piece of wire I had lying around. I coiled one end of the wire so I could attach it directly to the caulking gun.

This way, I never have to try to find it again. I just snip off the tip of the tube and use the poker to pierce the inner seal. It is much more convenient and does save me time.


Q: Our dining room table is a little small, but it’s a family heirloom, so I try to keep it in good shape. I have noticed that it is a little waxy or cloudy on the surface. Cleaning it doesn’t really seem to help. What else can I use to try to clean it better? – T.K.

A: Try wiping it down with a soft cloth and some mineral spirits paint thinner. This will cut through old layers of grease, wax and dust better than anything else I know. After it’s clean, use an oil furniture polish rather than wax and see if that works better for you.

Tips from readers

I got out some of my garden tools to start getting my garden ready for spring. My tools still were dirty from last fall, and some even were pretty rusty. I hosed them off first, and then I put them in a bucket with some water and vinegar and let them soak for a little while. The vinegar got most of the rust off of them. I put on my gloves and used steel wool pads to get the last of it off, and now I am ready for another season of gardening. – N.C.


I like my washing machine and dryer. They are new and work great. The only problem I have is that they started making a squeaky noise when spinning. I figured out that they were too close together were and rubbing on each other while working. I bought a long piece of foam crack filler at my hardware store and stuffed it between the two machines. It cushions them, and there’s no more squeaky noise! – P.G.


We have an old baby monitor set that we are not using any longer. I found that I could put one unit in my workshop and the other one inside the house. Now I can hear my wife if she needs me or if someone comes to the front door. It’s almost like an intercom, and it works great. – D.P.

A super hint

A new look for your floors would be super easy to achieve with carpet or vinyl tiles. No tools needed except a pair of scissors are required to use them, and the designs you can create are practically endless. You even could mix them if you like to.


I just discovered a super product at my home center. It’s called Stick-It Tile, and it’s a peel-and-stick tile grouping that would be so easy for installing a new backsplash in a day. Since it comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, you could get pretty creative, too. There’s no grouting or gluing involved, and it’s flexible, too.

All you need to do before installing it is to clean the surface you’re working on, and then you’re ready. You also could use it in a bathroom, bar and lots of other places. Check it out at your home center or its website and see what options are available.