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The Super Handyman: Use carpet cores for storage

My next-door neighbor just got new carpeting in her bedroom. It looks great, and I encouraged her to save some large scraps to use for repairs and rugs later on. I asked her if I could have the cardboard core that the carpet came on. I brought it home and used a hacksaw to cut it into 24-inch sections. I set all of them into my lumber bin and will store trim pieces in them. This way, they won’t get lost or damaged by the larger scraps of wood that I also have stored in the bins. If you have an opportunity to save one of these cores, do it. They offer all sorts of storage solutions.


Dear Kelly: I made a couple of birdhouses for my brothers for Christmas. In our family, we make things for one another other instead of buying things every year. This year, I got a little creative with my designs and needed to sand down some curved areas. I had to do this by hand to get the results I was looking for. I wrapped the sandpaper around a piece of PVC pipe to act as a backer. This got me the smooth results I was trying to achieve on these curved areas.

I can’t wait for my brothers to see my masterpieces. I think they will really like them. – T.G.

Super hint

A standard roll of electrical tape lasts forever, at least for the average do-it-yourselfer. But over time, the tape will start to age and be less pliable. Renew it by putting it into the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften it back up. This makes it last even longer!


Dear Kelly: We have this bathroom door that closes by itself and is always a little squeaky. We have to spray the hinges with WD-40 all the time. But this last time I was out of it, so I grabbed some petroleum jelly that was right there in the bathroom and wiped some of it on the hinges instead. It works great, hasn’t left residue behind like the WD-40 did and doesn’t smell as bad, either. I’m switching for good! – E.R.


Q: Our old desk was nice but needed to be refinished. I took it to a place to have it stripped because I knew it would be a chore. It looked clean when I got it home, but it stinks! How can I get rid of the chemical smell? –H.J.

A: Once the new finish has been applied, the smell will be sealed in. Just make sure to finish the inside of the drawers, cabinets and all other surfaces, even though they won’t show. Any clear sealer will work.


Dear Super HandyMom: s Before the first freeze, I started moving all of my patio plants inside the sun room. It was a chore, but for the larger ones, I set them on my son’s old skateboard and rolled them into the room. It was much easier. I had to steady the two really big plants a bit, but the rest were a breeze. – J.D.


Dremel has done it again! The VRTI-1/5 Rotary Tool has no motor but is powered solely by the suction of a standard shop or canister vacuum. Brilliant!

It also sucks up the dust created by your grinding, sanding or cutting at the same time. It’s super lightweight, too, so you can work longer and make less of a mess, resulting in less cleanup time, too.

Check it out at your favorite home center or online. Find out more by visiting

Have a question or a handy tip? Visit