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The Super Handyman: Trough steadies round pipes

Even if you have a bench vise, which many of us don’t, cutting a piece of round pipe can be difficult. It is hard to hold something round while you are applying pressure to cut through it. I created a simple holder from an old plastic bucket I had on hand. I used a hacksaw, the same one I was going to use to cut the PVC pipe, to cut a couple of notches into the top of the bucket on opposite sides. This created a sort of trough to set the pipe in to steady it while cutting through it. This really works!


Dear Ms. Carrell: My apartment has older radiation units. They work OK and, besides the occasional odd noises, I like them. However, I did place some large aluminum cooking sheets behind them against the wall to reflect more of the heat back into the room. I had seen one of my neighbors do this, so I tried it. It actually works and was inexpensive to do. It doesn’t show much, either. This should be a much cozier winter this year! – C.S.

Super hint

If you want to have a greenhouse but don’t have a big budget, make a small one from PVC pipe and fittings, and cover it with plastic sheeting. It can get you through some chilly nights and comes in handy for starting seedlings in the spring.


Dear Kelly: We finished our basement and were picking out colors for the walls. We found three colors that we liked and bought sample-size cans to paint some swatches to see which one would look the best. I thought the darker gray would look much better, but after seeing it, chose the lightest shade. Now that the room has been painted, I must say the lighter shade looks great. More importantly, it really brightened up the room. Without any windows, this light paint reflects a lot of the light from the lamps. I think it would have looked like a cave with the darker color. – G.L.


Q: My basement has concrete block walls. They are good and dry, but I want to install wooden paneling. Do I need to do anything else before adding the paneling? – K.M.

A: It probably wouldn’t hurt to install a plastic vapor barrier on the wall behind the paneling. Another little tip would be to bring the paneling into the room and let it acclimate for a few days before starting to hang it.


Dear Super HandyMom: I made some wooden trees for our front porch for the holidays. They needed to be painted, and I wanted to spray them. It was too cold outside, so I decided to do them on the back patio. To protect the trees from the wind, and also shield my patio from the overspray, I placed the trees into a large cardboard box, set on its side. My little “spray booth” worked well, and they trees look so cute! – N.J.

Shop talk

WD-40 just got better, I swear! The New WD-40 with the EZ-Reach Flexible Straw gets the best lubricant in the world right where you need it. The flexible straw is 8 inches long and bends (and keeps its shape) to get into just about any hard-to-reach place. You can find the new WD-40 EZ-Reach container at your hardware store or home center. To find out more, just go to

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