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Super Handyman: A supersize sander saves time

Sanding might not be on your list of fun projects, but it’s usually on your to-do list if you are making household repairs. Here’s a tip: The bigger the sander, the quicker you can get the job done! To make a supersize sander, just cover a two-by-four with sandpaper. Your extra-large sanding block is going to be great for sanding wall repairs, floors and even a table.


Most nail aprons cost very little, and they hold a lot. I have to admit, I have several and probably use them way more than I do a tool belt. You also can use them to store your tools right in your workshop. Use staples or screws to attach them directly to your walls or tool bench, and load them up with things you need to get to without having to dig in a drawer or toolbox. If you make holes in the top, you can hang them on a pegboard wall, too.


Q: A neighbor had a break-in through her air conditioner. I have one in the window on my patio, too. What can I do to make this window more secure? – R.P.

A: Just take a look at your hardware store for window locks. There are some great add-ons that can be screwed onto the tracks to prevent the window from being raised. I don’t know if you are in an apartment, but these locks are portable, so they aren’t going to damage the window frame in any way. They work great, too.

Tips from readers

This spring has been pretty warm already, and I started smelling a funky odor in my kitchen. I cleaned and still was smelling it. I finally figured out that it was the food disposal in the sink. I threw some lemon scraps, baking soda and some crushed ice into it and let it run. This really did a great job of cleaning out whatever mystery gunk was smelling up the place. I need to do this more often. – T.A.


I found that my rental house had an old iron clothesline stand in the backyard. I was able to find some vinyl clothesline at the hardware store, and installed it on the old metal stand. It’s great. The clothes smell wonderful, and it’s a lot more economical than the electric dryer. I guess it does take more time, but the fresh, clean smell is worth it! – S.R.


I have to store my ladder outside now. (I need to have a garage sale, too!) I installed a couple of heavy-duty hooks on the fence and store it there, out of sight. I also use a locking cable to keep it secure.

My neighbor suggested it after seeing my ladder there. He said that it might be easy to steal or used to gain access to our home! Needless to say, the cable was on there the next day. – C.R.

A super hint

Before discarding any appliances, take off any parts that you might need later. Things like screws, springs, knobs and other small parts can really come in handy for other projects.

Super HandyMom tip

My next-door neighbor has some plastic covers that she puts over her outdoor table, chairs and grill. They have ties on them but are hard to secure, as I occasionally find them in my yard after a storm.

We talked about some possible fixes, but ended up sewing some heavy metal washers onto the bottom edges of the covers.

The covers seem to stay on better, even when the ties don’t hold.

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