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How to Build Folding Sawhorses

drawing of folding sawhorses

Sawhorses are handy for making a quick, sturdy platform to do any number of things from sawing, to painting, to assembling projects. You can even make an instant table in a pinch with a couple of sawhorses and a door or plywood sheet. No doubt about it, sawhorses are great to have around but they can also be difficult to store due to their awkward shape. They take up a lot of space when not in use. To overcome this little problem you can use the plans on this page to build a sturdy sawhorse that folds up so it can hang on a wall or slip into a closet when not in use. Read More

How to Build a Garden Arbor

photo pressure-treated pine garden arbor

A wood arbor can add a handsome focal point to any backyard or garden space. The work involved is basically the same whether you choose to build a simple design or a more elaborate one like the arbor pictured here. Building an arbor like this requires setting 4 corner posts, attaching 6" wide headers to each side, joining them with batten boards, and building a lattice design on the sides to add interest to the project and provide support for climbing plants. Read More

How to Paint High Ceilings

diagram of improvised stairwell scaffolding

If you need to paint high walls and ceilings in a stairwell or a great room, you'll need to use an extension ladder and maybe build scaffolding to reach some of the farthest points. On this page are a few tips and techniques for working in stairwells and building quick, improvised scaffolding with dimension lumber.

If you don't want to deal with ladders, another method for painting a high ceiling while standing on the floor is also described here. This requires attaching a brush to an extension pole and using the same color paint on both the ceiling and walls. Read More

How to Crackle Paint Furniture

crackle painted chest of drawers

For the base coat, choose a color that will accent and contrast with the top color. In the example pictured here, we use a deep rose color base to contrast with the white topcoat.

Between the two paint coats, a crackle medium is applied. The medium can be a specially made product for creating crackle finishes or it can be liquid hide glue. Natural hide glue has long been used to create this cracked paint effect. When the crackle medium is completely dry, the topcoat of paint goes on. As the paint is applied, it will begin to separate to expose the surface color underneath. Read More

Doorbell Wiring Diagrams

wiring diagram for a hardwired doorbell transformer

If you're putting in a new hardwired doorbell or you need to repair an existing one, the diagrams on this page illustrate the most common installations you will find. Included are wiring for a typical hardwired doorbell with a transformer, a two-button doorbell, an old house doorbell powered by a battery, and an alternate to battery power using an ac adapter.

A hardwired doorbell includes a small transformer that converts the household alternating current (AC), to direct current (DC) for the doorbell chimes. A small, 16 awg wire runs from the door button to the chimes. When pressed, the button will send the transformer output through the chimes, sounding the bell until it is released. Read More

Building Stacked Door Casings

diagram for a colonial style door casing design

This page contains some ideas for building door and window casing using different molding profiles and 1by finish lumber. These examples represent some traditional designs found in Victorian and Colonial styles as well as some combinations that don't fit into any particular style or other but are commonly used to build casings.

This design is typical of the Colonial style found in many home in the United States. It combines a basic one-piece baseboard profile and a back band to create a casing with two decorated edges. A baseboard is used here but a one-piece casing can also be used. Back band like this can probably be found at a home store and certainly at a millwork or lumberyard. One can also be made by cutting a rabbet along one edge of a standard stop bead or other small strip. Read More

How to Remove Old Wallpaper

removing the top vinyl on wallpaper

Wallpaper removal is a messy job no matter how you do it, but if you want to get rid of old wallpaper, you really have no choice but to strip it. While it may be a bit of a hassle, it's well worth the effort when the result is a fresh new wall to decorate.

Stripping the paper off the walls is probably the toughest part of the job but the most important part is dissolving the paste. After the paper is gone the paste will be left behind, causing new paint finishes to crack and even new wallpaper to peel. To be successful, you need to dissolve and get rid of all the paste. For this we recommend Savogran® stripping solution. Not all liquid strippers will dissolve the paste so it can be washed off the walls, but this one does a good job with the least effort. Read More

Faux Painting Glaze Recipe

diagram of a color wheel with primary, secondary, and intermediate colors

Use a ratio of 1 part paint to 4 parts glaze to make a basic formula for most faux painting processes. You can use flat or glossy paint and have the color mixed by your paint supplier, or you can mix your own colors using the techniques described in the next section. While 1:4 is the basic ratio, some finishes like comb dragging may require a longer working time to blend the finish together properly before it dries. To slow drying in a case like this, add a bit more glaze to the mix, but don't go more than about a 1:6 ratio or the finish will not be as durable as needed to withstand normal traffic. Read More

Install Framing for a New Ceiling Fan

diagram of wall framing and wiring

Working in the unfinished attic space above the new fixture location, measure the distance between the two nearest ceiling joists. Cut a 2x4 to this length and attach a new, fan-rated outlet box to the midpoint using deck screws.

If no access is available from above you can work through the outlet hole to install a specially made, adjustable fan support. Using this method, it can be difficult to secure the support and set the outlet box at the proper finished level. An easier way to be sure of proper placement is to use the method here to install a wood frame. The ceiling must be cut to do this, after which the damage can be patched and/or covered with a decorative medallion. Read More