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The Super Handyman by Kelly Carrell: Craft a paper towel holder

We needed a couple of paper towel holders and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on them. I just made some simple ones from a scrap of wood and a dowel rod. The piece of wood for the bottom needs to be stout enough to hold the roll upright and keep it from tipping over.

The dowel rod should be a little longer than the roll of paper towels and about half the diameter. Drill a hole about halfway through the base, in the center, with a spade bit. Drop some glue into the hole and twist the dowel into it. Slide the roll of paper towels onto the dowel, and you’re ready to go. It’s a simple holder, but it will work well and it’s great for picnics, workbenches, craft rooms and your kitchen.


Q: I have a water pipe that runs through my closet downstairs. It is dripping condensation and has ruined the floor. What can I do to make it stop dripping? - H.G.

A: It might be just as simple as adding some insulation to the pipe. The inexpensive foam insulating pipe covers will be the easiest to install and should do the job just fine.

Reader hints

Dear Kelly, I wasn’t sure what I had run over, but I just knew there was something under the mower deck. I remembered reading years ago in your column to disconnect the spark plug to prevent it from accidentally starting up. Well, I did this, and it took only about one minute extra. It was a good thing I did, too: There was a wire cable wound up around the blade. It took me about 30 minutes and a hacksaw to get it off. Never work under your mower without doing this! Just a reminder to keep you safe. – J.B.


We always wanted a flag, but just have never really had a good place to mount a holder for it on our house. We bought a metal umbrella stand and a large flagpole that fits into this. We just set the flagpole into the stand, which is made heavy enough not to tip over, and twist the set screw to hold the pole in place. It’s easy to bring in every night, and it allows us to fly our flag every day if we want to. – G.A.

Uses for boiling water

When I have leftover boiling water from cooking something, I choose where I want to dump it. Of course, it’s great to pour down your drains to melt and flush grease away in the kitchen. I also have used it to kill grass and weeds on my brick patio.

Lighten up laundry room

A laundry room, for many of us, is a multipurpose room. It also can contain cleaning products, pet stuff and even tools, in addition to the washer and dryer.

But it doesn’t have to be cold, dingy or dull. Paint it a light color and install shelves or cabinets for better storage. If you have front-loaders, buy and install a top over these.

You can use a piece of laminate countertop, or even just a piece of plain plywood, painted.

Consider mounting it to the walls, not just setting it on top of the units, as it might move with the vibration. Add some light, too, and your laundry room might even make you want to wash your clothes!


Toolboxes sure have come a long way. Stanley’s Click ‘n’ Connect 2-in-1 Tool Box is a neat one.

It’s a totally customizable toolbox system. The inserts easily can be moved to create smaller or larger compartments inside the toolbox, and several sizes of boxes are available; they can fit on top of each other and snap together. Some compartments are large enough for power tools.

You can bring one box or several, all at once, depending upon your needs. It’s a little wider than the average toolbox, and can be accessed from both sides.

The handle is super strong to make carrying it easier.

Check it out at your hardware store or home center.

You also can find out more at

Go to for questions or tips. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.

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