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The Super Handyman: Painting hard-to-reach areas

I still like to paint, but I’m not as fond of moving the furniture around to do it as I used to be. However, I’ve found ways to get around some of this. To reach behind some appliances and other heavy pieces, you can attach a brush or paint pad to the end of a broomstick or dowel rod. This also is a great way to paint behind a toilet in a bathroom or behind your radiators in any room.


Dear Ms. Carrell: I painted the dining room before Thanksgiving. It looked great, but the smell was powerful. I didn’t think the smell would subside before the big day, so I poured a big bowl of vinegar and set it on the table. I had heard that it would work, and it did. Overnight, the smell was gone. And it hasn’t come back. Amazing stuff, this vinegar. – G.S.

Super hint

If you discover an area that needs to be caulked outdoors, and it’s too cold to do it, you can warm up the caulk by holding a heating pad against it for several minutes. This will help make it easier to spread, and as long as it’s not below zero, it will cure just fine.


Dear Kelly: My brother told me that I could pull a dent out of my car with a toilet plunger. I thought it was a joke. It actually worked! The car is older, and the dent was new, but I figured it was worth a try. It wasn’t a deep, creased dent, but one that I thought might pop out. It worked with just one pull. I did wet the edge of the plunger in order to get the best suction. We should have filmed it – and surely would have had a million views by now! – D.B.


Q: Our mailbox was knocked down by a careless driver. I want to install it in concrete this time to prevent future damage.

I’m concerned about the cold weather interfering with the setting of the concrete. What are your suggestions? – H.V.

A: It’s not a good idea to pour concrete when the temperatures are going to be below 40 degrees for more than a day or so. The warmer it is, the better cure you will get with the concrete.


Dear Super HandyMom: I have a tip to share with other readers. If you have to thaw out a frozen pipe, take your time and do it very slowly. You should also (and this is very important) turn on a nearby faucet, even though it’s not working. As you heat up the pipe and water, steam can be created, which needs room to escape, and this open faucet will give it a place to do so.

I learned this the hard way last year when my pipes burst while I was trying to thaw them out without doing this. Good luck! – J.Z.


Have they actually reinvented the shim?

I didn’t think it was possible, but the WinBag is something you need to check out. I’ve seen the large air-lift bags used for lifting building materials, but this is cool. It’s placed under the door, drywall or whatever you are needing to lift and hold up while working.

Once in place, you can inflate it with the special bulb that’s attached. It sort of looks like a blood pressure cuff.

Anyway, the WinBag works great, can be used again and again, and when removed after use, it won’t scratch up your floors like wooden shims can do. Check it out and watch the video at

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