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Super Handyman: Power strip solves bedroom gadget dilemma

It used to be that all you needed was one outlet next to the bed, for your clock radio. But now you need an outlet for your phone charger, mattress heater, air-bed inflator, air filter, reading lamp and who knows what else. A power strip will solve this dilemma and give you the added bonus of surge protection. You can mount it right on the side or back of your nightstand to keep it where you can reach it.

Dear Ms. Carrell: I have some very delicate candleholders. We used them this past Thanksgiving, and as usual, they got wax on them. I didn’t want to put them away like that, so I started off by putting them in the freezer to harden the wax. This made it easy to get most of it off. Then I used a toothpick to chip off the rest. They look good again, and I’m starting to think they might look better if they were holding candles that I never actually use.

– J.G.

Super Hint

A grease or oil spill needs to be picked up quickly and easily with cornmeal, salt or even cat litter. Absorbent material really will make a big difference.


Dear Kelly: My home office is looking better every day. I had a couple of old file cabinets that were nothing special, just plain black. I found some spray paint that is made just for metal cabinets, and it came in tons of great colors.

I painted my file cabinets a light tan color to match the rest of the room. They look great, and now I don’t have to hide them in the closet.

– D.M.


Q: We have a problem with our back door. It’s wood, and the dogs have scratched it up a lot. Is there some easy way to patch over these gouges to fix this door?

– D.T.

A: There are a couple of things you could try. A wood putty can be used to smooth out the surface. If the scratches are too deep, you can use epoxy wood filler, which is a little tougher.

Sand the surface smooth, and then sand or paint to match the rest of the door.


Dear Super HandyMom: Masking tape still is my favorite way to mask off an area before painting. I have found that if you go back over the tape after putting it down initially to really press it in and make the best contact, the edges will seal better and prevent more bleed-through. I use a roller to do this, and it saves time. It really does make a difference.

– C.S.


Cordless screwdrivers just keep getting better. The new Flipout 8-Volt Max Cordless Driver by SpeedHex uses a lithium-ion battery, the best battery for cordless tools. It’s included with the tool, along with the charger, which will fully charge the battery in only 45 minutes. A full set of the most commonly used bits also is included and stored onboard in the 2-inch aluminum magnetic-bit holder. The 170-RPM motor has 50-65-inch-pounds of torque to enable you to tackle just about any project around the house. It’s called the “Flipout” because of the amazing range of motion built into the design: The head moves a full 360 degrees, and there are 380 possible positions to lock into. If you find yourself working in the dark, never fear. The built-in LED light will help you see what you are working on clearly, and the rubber handle will give you a little extra gripping of the power tool. All of this comes in a ballistic nylon carrying case. Check it out at your Lowe’s store.

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