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Super Handyman: Getting creative with recycling

In trying to find easy storage for some of my most often used tools, I got creative with my recycling. I was trying to find a better way to store my cordless drill, which I use more often than any other tool. I took an empty juice jug and cleaned it out. Then I cut off the bottom and punched two holes into one side of the top part of the jug. I then flipped it upside down and hung it on a couple of hooks on my pegboard wall. The drill slips down into it, with the bit sticking through the open spout, which is now facing the floor. It’s cordless, so there’s no problem with a cord getting in the way. If you were using a corded drill, you could wind up the cord and stuff it into the holster. It’s great for storage and super handy.

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Q: I want to give my older cedar chest to my daughter, but I need to fix a few things first. There are some water spots on the top of it. It’s just stained, not sealed or clear-coated with anything. I would like to remove the water spots and put a clear finish on it. What do I need to do? – G.C.

A: Do a little light sanding to remove the water spots. Then you can re-apply matching stain in the areas that need it. Once you have it looking good again, apply a coat of clear polyurethane. Don’t seal the inside surface. Sand the surface inside to bring the cedar smell back out.

Tips from readers

I wanted to spruce up our house before we put it on the market. I decided to paint our shutters, since every window on the front of the house has them. I chose a contrasting color and painted all of them and the front door, too. It made a huge difference, and the real estate agent said we should get more money when we sell it. – A.S.

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I’ve tried some of the new abrasive sponges, but I still prefer to use steel wool pads, especially when I am cleaning extra-rusty or corroded metal surfaces. But they do have a tendency to rust and fall apart if left wet. To keep them in good shape and lasting longer, I keep a small jar of olive oil right on my workbench. I store the steel wool pads in the oil. This keeps them ready to use, and there’s no rust on them. They definitely last longer this way. – J.N.

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I use cooking oil for some of my tools, especially the garden tools. It doesn’t matter if it’s old because nobody is going to have to taste it – at least, I hope not! It’s better than throwing it away. – B.R.

A super hint

You can clean more than dishes in your dishwasher.

Fill it with the kid’s toys and let the washer do the cleaning. It even sterilizes them if you use the right settings.

Just make sure not to put in items that will melt or get lost in the drain. It will clean plastic pet toys, too.

Shoptalk

If you recycle batteries like I do, then you probably have a container to store your used batteries in, which you take to a recycling center when you get a chance. But then what?

Well, the folks at Energizer have just announced the new Eco-Advanced Battery. It’s actually made from recycled batteries. They have done several things to make the battery as “green” as possible, including giving it a 12-year life span when stored properly.

The plan is to keep working with the formula until they are made from 40 percent recycled batteries.

They are available in AA and AAA versions, and sold practically everywhere you can find batteries. To find out more, go to energizer.com and check it out.

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