How to choose a pressure washer

Pressure washer

How to choose a pressure washer? We’ll show you which pressure washer is best for your job.

What is a pressure washer?

Pressure washers pumps water at an increased pressure and speed of water to clean many different surfaces. A typical pressure washer will deliver 50% more power and use 80% less water than a garden hose.

Water blasters can be electrical or petrol powered, and deliver cold or hot water. Most pressure washers come with accessories such as different nozzles, brushes and detergent pickups.

Water blasters are measured by their PSI (pounds per square inch).

1000 – 4000 PSI pressure washers are good for general domestic jobs. Such as washing cars or decks and washing down siding. Washers in this range are usually electrically powered. Being electrically powered means that you are restricted to places with electricity and the length of your electrical cord.

The next step up in power is around 2500 – 4000 PSI. To get this sort of power the washers are powered by petrol engines. Petrol powered pressure washers are much more versatile than electric models. With petrol engine washers you are able to use them almost anywhere.

Bigger and more powerful pressure washers are over 4000 PSI. Some of these models can also produce hot water to clean tougher stains and chemicals. Models over 4000 PSI are used by professionals for commercial cleaning jobs.

Stanley pressure washer

Which pressure washer is best for you?

Questions to ask yourself are:

How often will you use a pressure washer?  If your only going to use your pressure washer on the odd occasion, maybe hiring a pressure cleaner is your best option. You may want to regularly clean your car or a outdoor deck. Then a electrical powered pressure washer could be the best model for you. Are you going to be using your pressure washer on a daily or weekly basis. A petrol model will be the model for you as these are more suited to commercial applications.

How big a job do you want use the pressure washer for?  The size of the area or job will also help you determine which model is best for you. If your only going to clean your car or have a small deck area, a electrical 1000 – 2000 PSI model would be suitable. Petrol powered washers are better for large jobs such as driveways and trucks and tractors.

What is it that you are trying to clean?   Electrical pressure washers for backyard decks or patios and cars.  For ground in dirt or oily stains a petrol power washer is the way to go. Commercial cleaners will often have pressure washers that heat the water to around 90 degrees Celsius to clean difficult stains without using harsh chemicals.

Do you have access to electricity and water?   Access to water and electricity allows you to use a electrical pressure washer, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use a petrol powered washer. If the area that needs to be cleaned is out of reach of your power cord and or hose, use a petrol powered washer.

RECOMMENDED PSI FOR APPLICATIONS

What’s the difference between PSI and GPM?

PSI is the pounds per square inch of pressure a washer puts out and is the usual method of rating pressure washers. Another measurement that helps determine the power of a pressure washer is GPM which stands for gallons of water used per minute. You get a deeper clean from a pressure washer with higher pressure and more water. Hence the best all round pressure cleaner has a high pressure output and uses more gallons per minute.

For example, you have a large driveway to clean. Using a pressure washer with a high PSI but low GPM will take a lot longer than using a high PSI and high GPM. A pressure washer with 3000 PSI and 4 GPM would be the ideal washer to clean your average driveway.

The PSI is what gets the dirt and grime off your surface, GPM is what washes the grime away.

Accessories

Most pressure washers come with accessories such as different nozzles, brushes and scrubbers.

Interchangable nozzles allow you to apply different amount of pressure to your cleaning surface. Red and yellow nozzles are hard and fast cleaning. Green nozzles are not as hard and white nozzles offer the widest spray. Black nozzles are generally for applying detergent and very light pressure. Turbo nozzles operate in a spinning fashion and increase the cleaning efficiency.

PRESSURE WASHER NOZZLES

Brushes are good for washing your car and usually have a spinning action.

Scrubbers are for cleaning large flat surfaces, such as decks, driveways and roofs.

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Pressure washer safety

Pressure washers exert high forces when in operation. Always use two hands, don’t point the lance at people or animals. Test surfaces to determine pressure required for the job. Don’t blast electrical wires or power points. Keep the nozzle moving to avoid cutting into the surface. Take extra precautions when using a ladder or on a roof.

Don’t use petrol or diesel powered pressure washers in enclosed areas.

Check out my post on How to set up a small workshop

Which pressure washer should you choose?

If you only have small, lightly soiled surfaces around the home, a electric pressure washer is for you. These are light and easy to handle.

You need a petrol powered pressure washer for your larger jobs. The PSI and GPM will depend on the type of jobs you want to carry out.

If you are going into the pressure washing business, you’ll need an industrial model.

I hope this has helped you choose a pressure washer for your specific needs.

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DIY How to make a raised vegetable garden box from pallets

raised garden box

DIY How to make a raised vegetable garden box from pallets

Follow the steps in this post to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden box.

What you will need

Follow the steps in this post to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden box. You will need to get 2 pallets to dismantle and recycle to make a raised vegetable garden box. Make sure they are not chemically treated. You can determine if they are chemically treated by looking for the initials MB stamped on the pallet, somewhere.

Tools you’ll need include a wrecking bar, hammer, saw and power drill.

Check out our post on  basic tools handyfolk need here

Materials needed beside the pallets for timber, you’ll need galvanized screws, geo mesh or shade cloth and soil.

Dismantle pallets.

The easiest way to pull your pallets apart is to start with the bottom side. This way allows you to get the most boards from the pallet without to much damage.

A good tip when pulling a pallet apart is to soak the pallet or wait until the pallet has been soaked by rain. The timber will swell and it allows the nails to loose some of their grip in the timber.

Pallet terms

Use your wrecking bar to get the bottom deck boards off. When you have the 4 or so boards off the bottom of the pallet, the stringers are able to be levered off. I find hitting the stingers with a club hammer helps to loosen them. Because this gives you a small space to get your wrecking bar in between the stringer and deck boards.

From a good pallet, you should get around 10 deck boards and 3 or 4 stringers.

Plan for DIY raised vegetable garden box from pallets

The raised vegetable garden box should be a comfortable height for you. So that you don’t have to bend or reach to far. We make the length the same as the shortest deck board.

Here is a drawing of the raised vegetable garden box.

garden box plan
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The length is 1000 mm allowing you to cut off split ends. Your stringers are cut to your comfortable height. We cut cross braces from the stringers and check them into the legs.

Mitre saw
Sliding compound mitre saw

A deck board runs between the cross braces and forms the bottom of the garden box. You can have the sides go straight up & down or have them on an angle. Deck boards are used as diagonal braces and give you somewhere to screw rest of the deck boards. An example is the image below.

Raised garden box

Putting it all together

Screw your legs and cross brace together with galvanized bugle screws. you’ll need 50 mm and 75 mm screws. Then connect the 2 sets of legs together with a deck board.

frame

The rest of the raised vegetable garden box will use the deck boards from your pallets. Therefore use these for the top cross bars and diagonal braces for each end. Like so.

garden box frame

Once you have the diagonal braces at each end, you simply fill in the rest with deck boards. Then place some geo mat or shade cloth in the box before filling with soil because this helps contain the soil..

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raised garden box

That’s all there is to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden bed from pallets. You just have to plant the vegetables that are in season. We made several of these which let us have vegetables all year round. Furthermore recycling pallets helps the environment.

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How to make pallet wood weatherboards

Pallet wood weatherboards

In this post, I will show you how to make weatherboards from pallet wood.

Weatherboards made from pallet wood are a useful way to recycle old pallets. I have used these for garden sheds and playhouses for the grand kids.

Pallets

You can find pallets all over the place for free. Pallets vary in size,they are usually 1165mm by 1165mm or 46″ x 46″. But, larger and smaller pallets can be found.

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A pallet may be heat or chemically treated, and you can figure this out by the ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15) code you may find on a pallet. An example of the ISPM-15 code is below.

Pallet ISPM-15 code
ISPM-15 code

The XX is the country code. YY shows the type of treament, heat treatment is HT, MB is for Methyl Bromide treatment and should not be used. 000 is the code number for the producer of the pallet.

However, a pallet is not treated if it does not have a ISPM-15 code.

Pallets may be hardwood or softwood. I prefer softwood pallet wood to make weatherboards.

How to demolish a pallet

There are several ways to pull a pallet apart. I use a crow bar and hammer to get the pallet deck boards off the stringers as I want to get the longest lengths possible. However many people are happy to saw the stringers off each side and then pry the deck boards off the center stringer.

Pallet terms
Pallet terms

A tip – to get more deck boards off without damage, pull the pallet apart when it is soaking wet. The pallet wood is more pliable and comes apart much easier.

Once I have the pallet pulled apart, I remove all the nails so that they don’t damage my tools.

The wood you get from pallets is usually 100mm by 20mm or 4″ x 1″ for the deck boards and 100mm by 40mm 4″ x 1 1/2″ stingers. I use the deck boards for many different projects, however in this post I will show you how to make weatherboards from pallet wood.

Check out my post on building a playhouse for your kids HERE

Cutting the deck boards

I use a table saw to cut the deck boards into weatherboards. My weatherboards are a chamfer profile, which is to say they look like this.

Chamfer profile

The first cut is the diagonal face. Set the saw blade angle to 5 degrees to 10 degrees depending on the thickness of the board. Use a smaller angle on thin boards. The saw fence should be set to 5mm – 7mm. Cut the face on your boards, then I cut the rebate on the bottom of the board.

The rebate cut takes a bit of hit and miss to get right. I usually start with the saw fence about 10mm from the saw blade, and the saw blade height about 10mm and 0 degree angle. This should give you a neat step out that will take the top of another weatherboard.

Saw blade angle If the saw blade doesn’t cut through the deck board on the diagonal cut you need to increase the angle of the face cut.

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What can you do with the weatherboards

These photos are an example of the pallet wood weatherboards I have made and used to construct a cubby house. You can use the weatherboards for any small shed. Other uses of the pallet wood weatherboards could be as planters and wooden chests.

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Here’s a video on how to pull apart a pallet

Although making pallet wood weatherboards is time consuming, you can save lots by using recycled pallet wood and your even helping the environment by reducing the number of pallets going into landfill.

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How to paint your house exterior

How to paint your house exterior

Painting your house exterior is one of the easiest ways to spruce up your home and add value.

Painting your house exterior yourself will save you mega bucks. Labor is the expensive part of painting.

A professional painter will charge around $50.00 per hour for labor, and the average total for a exterior paint job starts around $2500.

You can do many of the painting preparation work yourself, saving a lot of money. And if you have done all the preparation, why not finish the job and paint the house yourself.

It is a huge job to paint your home, but breaking it down into smaller steps is the way to go.

Follow the steps below and you will be able to paint your home with confidence.

preparation – clean & inspect your home exterior

Clean the exterior of your house with a pressure washer and inspect for any damage that needs repairing.Pressure washer to clean your home exterior

Remove and replace any rotten or decaying timber. Fill any holes or cracks with an exterior grade filler.

Remove any loose or flaking paint and sand any timber that has been exposed to the weather.

Tip – Get a power sander, we found it cheaper to buy a sander than to hire one, and have used it for other projects since buying it.

Different materials used on your exterior require different preparation.

Timber exteriors

As above, clean exterior and remove any loose or flaking paint. Repair any rotten timber or holes and cracks. Then give it a good sand with a power sander and clean off sanding dust.

Render, stucco and concrete exteriors

Render or concrete exteriors always require preparation before painting. New render or concrete must be allowed to cure for a minimum of 28 days before painting. Previous finishes on old render or concrete will need to be removed and sometimes special primers or sealants applied before you can paint. Fill and fix any holes, cracks or chips

Metal exteriors

Rust or damaged areas are the main concern when prepping metal exteriors for painting. After cleaning and repairing any damage give the metal a light sand to provide a key for the paint to bind to. A metal primer is required for any bare or new metal prior to painting. Never apply oil based paint directly to bare metal as the finish won’t last very long.

Vinyl cladding

Plastic or vinyl cladding is usually easy to clean with a sugar of soap and water. Once it is cleaned and any repairs made vinyl cladding can be painted.

Previously painted exteriors

If you’re freshening up your exterior or just changing the color to something more appealing, you should test the current paint finish. Scour the paint finish in several places with a sharp knife and apply adhesive tape to the cut. Remove the tape quickly and if any paint comes away the paint will need to be stripped or sanded back to  a solid paint finish.

Flaking or peeling paint

Paint that is flaking or peeling can be caused by several reasons. Moisture may be getting in behind the painted surface through cracks or condensation. If condensation is a problem, install vents to improve the air flow.

Or the paint may be exposed to the elements  for long periods of sunlight or heat. Dark colors are also more likely to flake or peel as they retain more heat from the sunlight.

When you have determined the cause of the flaking paint and repaired the cause. Remove any flaking or peeling paint with a scraper and heat gun and sand edges down to a smooth surface.

Mould

Mould can be removed from your exterior with a solution of 1 part bleach with 3 parts water. Apply the mixture to the surface with a scourer pad and leave for 15 minutes, then rinse off with water. It may take several applications to remove the mould.

Which paint is best, water based or oil based

For exteriors a water based paint is the preferred paint these days.

Water based paint retain their color better and last longer as oil based paints yellow and become brittle when they age.

Cleaning up brushes and rollers is much easier when using water based paints.

how much paint will you need for the exterior of your home

A gallon of paint will cover approx. 300 sq ft.

To work out your sq ft, measure the length and times it by the height.

For example a wall that is 10 ft high by 30 ft wide will equal 300 sq ft and will use a gallon of paint to cover this area.

Allow an extra 10% to 20% extra to insure you have enough paint for the job.

tools required to spruce up your home exterior

Painting your house exterior doesn’t require many tools, brushes and rollers, scraper and ladder are the bare essentials. Better quality tools do help make your painting job easier.

Depending on the size of your house will determine what size ladder you’ll need, a single storey house on level ground will only require a 12 ft ladder.

Paint brushes for painting your home exteriorFor cutting in around windows and doors a 2″ sash brush is required. A 4″ brush for larger areas and a 12″ roller and roller pan for the smoother wider areas. An extension pole for your roller is always handy for high areas.

Extra paint tins or buckets.

Tools for preparation include a scraper, heat gun, sander, chalking gun and a pressure washer.

Tip – Keep 2 brushes when painting in the summer, keep one in a bucket of water while using the other one. Swap them over to prevent paint drying in the brush.

Check out my post on basic tools for handymen and women HERE

Plan your painting job

Always paint from the high areas down, large areas then smaller detail areas. Windows and doors should be painted in the morning, giving them time to dry before having to close them for the night.

Avoid painting in direct sunlight, as it may cause lap marks or blistering paint. When painting in direct sunlight, paint smaller sections to keep a wet edge and avoid lap marks.

Windy days can cause pint to dry to quick and may blow dirt into fresh paint and don’t paint if there is a chance of rain.

Cover areas you don’t want paint on with cover sheets.

How to paint

All paint needs to be stirred to mix the color through completely.

When the paint has been mixed, decant a small amount into a easy to handle paint pot. Fill about 2″ of paint into the paint pot for cutting in.

Dip your brush into the paint and tap the brush on the side of the paint pot to remove excess paint then lay on paint to the surface. The aim is to get the paint on the surface as quickly as possible, then smooth the paint out once you have a good covering. Only paint an area big enough that you have time to smooth it out and continue to lay on paint along the wet edge.

If you don’t follow the wet edge, you’ll end up with lap marks.

To get a smooth finish use long sweeping strokes, working toward the painted area and lifting the brush while finishing the paint stroke over the wet edge.

Use doors, windows and natural breaks like siding lines to break large areas into manageable sections. When painting siding boards, paint 3 or 4 boards at a time from one end to the other,

Learning to paint with either hand will help with fatigue and will extend your reach when on a ladder.

Check out this video on painting the exterior of your home HERE

Results

If you have prepped your surface well and used the techniques outlined in this post, your freshly painted house exterior shouldn’t need painting for about 10 years. Annual maintenance of your exterior will also help prolong your paint job.

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Top 3 cordless drill for the handyman

Cordless Drill Review

We have 3 of the best cordless drills below that we recommend for handymen. These top 3 cordless drills for the handyman will cover any project you wish to complete.

Tips for buying a cordless drill

Number 3
Compact Cordless Drill
Bosch DDB181-02-18V

The third place goes to the Bosch DDB181-02-18V.  It is the most compact and lightweight cordless drill weighing only 3 lbs. The Bosch provides 350 lbs of torque for powerful fastening and efficient drilling. A LED light illuminates dark spaces you may have to need to work in. With a variable 2 speed transmission for heavy duty projects or for speed.

This drill is easy to handle and is reasonably priced. Comes with a battery and charger.

Check out the current price of the Bosch DDB181-02-18V HERE

Tips for buying a cordless drill

number 2
BLACK+DECKER LDX120C 20V MAX
Black & Decker LDX120C 20V MAX

In second place is the Black & Decker LDX120C 20V MAX. The Black & Decker is our choice for those on a budget. The value for the price is excellent, giving you a competent  cordless drill for any task around the home.

Features of the Black & Decker LDX120C 20V MAX include variable speed, keyless chuck, 11 clutch positions and lithium ion power. It comes with a battery charger and 1.5AH battery and LED light.

For those on a budget this is your cordless drill.

Check out the current price of the Black & Decker LDX120C 20V MAX HERE

Tips for buying a cordless drill

number 1

Makita XFD131 18V LXTOur favorite cordless drill is the Makita XFD131 18V LXT.  This drill has a brushless motor allowing for a longer battery life, up to 50% longer per charge. The brushless motor also lets the drill run cooler and more efficiently for a longer life.

There is a 2 speed transmission  and the motor delivers 440 lbs of torque. A 3 AH battery will last longer than the other drills we have mentioned above per charge.

The Makita XFD131 18V LXT is a heavy duty cordless drill that will last many heavy duty projects that you may undertake.

Check out the current price of the Makita XFD131 18V LXT HERE

These are the top 3  cordless drills available currently for the handyman.

Want a easy sideline to earn more money, checkout this post “How to set up an online T shirt shop”

Tips for buying a cordless drill

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How to build a playhouse for the kids

Build a playhouse

We show you how to build a playhouse for the kids to have fun in. What tools and materials you’ll need to build a playhouse.

Tools Required

Hammer                    Tape Measure                   Pencil                    Set Square                    Spade                         Spirit Level                         Saw                        String Line                Sliding Bevel            Drill & Bits                           Tin Snips

Materials needed

Timber for flooring and framing and cladding.

Roofing tin

Concrete

first step

The first step when planning to build a playhouse, is to decide what type of playhouse you want and where to put it.

Do you want a playhouse on ground level or a multi level playhouse. Will the playhouse be for adventure or playing house, below are a couple of examples.

Decide on a site that is slightly shady as this will keep the temperature down during the summer months.

Second step

Draw up a plan or buy a plan for the type of cubby house you decide to build for the kids. There are many websites you can get free plans for cubby houses, some of these are the major hardware stores DIY sections an example is here  http://builditsupplies.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/46-Build-a-Cubby-House.pdf

Many of the DIY cubby house plans from the major hardware stores include a cutting list and a list of tools required for the project.

Once you have your plans the next step is to start your building.

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third step

Start building your cubby house. The foundation and floor should be the first to be built.

Set out the playhouse using profiles (profiles are timber pegs to attached your string line to) and a string line. Measure from corner to corner to check that the foundation and floor are square.

Without proper foundations, your playhouse may not be stable and you don’t want to have any safety issues when your children are playing in the playhouse.

Once your foundations are set, build your cubby house floor because this will give you a flat, level area to work. You can use either floor boards or floor sheeting for the flooring, generally sheet is the more economical way to go.

Watch this video for one of the best methods for building a cubby house I have seen.

I would like to thank Bill for allowing me to show his great video in this post.

fourth step

You can build all your wall frames on your floor for the cubby house as you would have seen in the video above.

Cut all your timber for your wall frames and assemble it on the cubby house floor with hammer and nails.

Mark your top and bottom plate where the studs are to go as this will make it easier to nail together.

Add extra timber to the frames where you are going to put the windows and doors.

Remember measure twice, cut once! Materials are expensive, check measurements before cutting any timber.

Fifth step

When you have all your wall frames completed, you have to stand them up. Start with the back wall and brace it once you have it up. Then stand the side walls and finish with the front wall.

Screw the wall frames to the floor as you stand them up and nail each frame to the other frames.

sixth step

The roofing structure is the next step which will stabilize the wall frames and give you somewhere to screw the roofing to.

Attach battens to your cubby house rafters to support the roofing material.

Your roofing material can be either nail or screwed down, depending on the material you are using.

seventh step

It is time to put the cladding onto your cubby house. Cladding may be made of many different materials.

You could use weatherboards or vinyl siding or sheeting. You can paint the cladding or leave it in its natural state depending on your preference.

If you have a multi level playhouse you can now add the ladder, slide and climbing wall or whatever else you want to have on the cubby house.

The final steps are putting the doors and widows into the cubby house and having a cubby house warming party.

Once again I would like to thank Billshowto for allowing me to link his video to this post.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoy this post.

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Tips for buying a cordless drill

Makita Cordless Drill

Here are my tips for buying a cordless drill.

Tips for buying a Cordless Drill

Cordless drill/drivers are the most used power tool in the handyman’s workshop. The cordless drill/driver is a very handy tool that can be used just about anywhere.

Today I will explain the features of a cordless drill/driver and what features you will need to consider.

Check out our top 3 cordless drills for the handyman review HERE

types of Cordless drills

There are 3 types of cordless drills/drivers, drill/driver, hammer drill/driver and impact driver.

Drill/drivers are for light weight work, occasional drilling and driving into lighter weight materials. Features of a drill/driver are variable speed, clutch or torque settings, forward and reverse motion, keyless chuck and some have small light that shines when drilling or driving.

Cordless drill clutch and functionHammer drill/drivers are for heavier work and can be used for most drilling and driving jobs you’ll need to do. These heavier hammer drill/drivers have the same features as the drill/driver, but also have the hammer feature that helps when drilling into masonry.

Impact drivers are for driving screws and bolts into materials with less force required from the operator.  If you have lots of screws to drive in, an impact driver is the best option for you. A impact driver is better suited for driving screws or bolts as it takes less effort from you and is easier to control how far you drive the screws in.

Check out our top 3 cordless drills for the handyman review HERE

cordless drill batteries

Cordless drill batteryThere are 2 types of batteries used for cordless drills these days,  lithium ion and nickel–cadmium battery (NiCd). Lithium ion batteries are the norm these days with NiCd batteries usually in older models.

Lithium ion batteries offer better power and run time as well as being lighter than the NiCd battery. They are also better for the environment with less harmful chemicals. Cordless drills with lithium ion batteries have a charge gauge allowing you to figure out when you need to recharge you battery.Cordless drill battery level

NiCd batteries are larger and heavier than lithium ion batteries. Another issue with NiCd batteries is they often run out of charge when not used. This can be annoying when you go to use your cordless drill and find it needs to be recharged.

Batteries for cordless drills come in different voltages and Ah (amphere hour). The common voltages available are 12V, 14V and 18V. Voltage is the power rating of the cordless drill. Ah is usually 2Ah or 4Ah and measures how long between recharges,  4Ah will run for more time than 2Ah will.

A cordless drill may say it is a 20V max battery, these are actually 18V drills. The 18V is the average voltage the cordless drill has, but they are 20v maximum voltage.

Check out our top 3 cordless drills for the handyman review HERE

brushless motor or bush motors

The brushless motor cordless drill/drivers are the latest models available. With a brushless motor your drill will be more powerful and last longer than a conventional bush motor. However the cost of a brushless motor will be more expensive and may not be required if you are using it for the occasional project.

speed control

Cordless drill speed controlMost cordless drills have a couple of speed controls. One on top of the drill, a button with 1 and 2 on it. The 1 position is for driving screws in and 2 is for drilling. Another speed control is the trigger, the tighter the trigger is pulled the faster the drill goes.

Cordless drill forward and reverse buttonForward and reverse motion is controlled by a button above the grip that is pushed either to the left or right. When the button is pushed to the right, the drill will unscrew and when pushed to the left drives screws into material.

Check out our top 3 cordless drills for the handyman review HERE

Conclusion

Which cordless drill would suit you?

If you are only doing the occasional job or project a Drill/driver is all you need. These are lighter and easier to handle, and will last for many years.

For the weekend warrior a hammer drill/driver is your weapon of choice. These are able to handle most jobs and are very robust.

If your projects require lots of screws or bolts to be driven in, a impact driver is the best choice.

A handy tip is to buy both a drill/driver and a impact driver, this way you don’t have to swap and change bits all the time.

Thanks for reading my tips for buying a cordless drill, if you have any other questions about cordless drills, please let me know. I will try and answer all your questions.

3 Tips for buying a Circular Saw

Circular saw

 

Skil circular sawA circular saw is one of the most useful tools a handyman can have. Your circular saw will allow you to complete many different DIY projects.

This post will discuss everything you need to know when buying a circular saw.

  • Blade Size

Circular saws are usually categorized by the blade size. The most common size is 7 and ¼ inch blade that can cut up to 3 inch thick materials. These saws have a great variety of blades, which enable handymen to cut all sorts of materials. General purpose blades used for construction work have around 24 teeth. For finer cuts saw blades require more teeth, usually 40.

TYPES OF BLADES

High-speed steel blades are harder than steel blades and stay sharper longer.

Carbide-tipped blades have carbide tips attached to their teeth. They are more expensive than other blades, but they stay sharp much longer than steel or high-speed steel.

Tile-cutting blades are specially designed for cutting ceramic tile. Better tile-cutting blades have diamond-tipped blades.

Masonry blades are made of abrasive material for cutting concrete, brick, cinder block and other masonry materials

 

  • Choosing Corded or Cordless?

These days you can get corded or cordless circular saws. The choice between corded or cordless depends on the jobs you’ll be working on. Corded circular saws are good for reliable delivery of power and cutting. Cordless circular saws are great for convenience as you can use them anywhere even if there is no power on site or extension leads are difficult to use. When cutting tough materials a cordless circular saw will drain your battery quickly. If your projects involve hardwood of any thickness, a corded circular saw is going to be the best option. For small cuts and softwood cutting a cordless circular saw will be the go to tool.

  • Ergonomics

Circular saws look alike, but not all circular saws feel good in your hand. Before buying your circular saw, try it out to see if it feels good in your hands. Controls need to be easy to reach and the saw should feel balanced in your hand.

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How I set up my small workshop

How to set up a Workshop

How I set up my small workshop, for over 30 years, I did not have a workshop for my handyman projects. I used garages and sheds, or even just outdoors as my work space.

A couple of years ago I finally had the money and time to build a workshop. I will tell you how I set up my small workshop and what tools I have bought for the workshop.

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Find some space

The first thing to do when planning a workshop, is to find somewhere to put your workshop. Many different places are used for workshops, from a stand alone shed to a basement or garage, or even just a spare room.

I choose to build a stand alone shed that measures 20 foot x 10 foot out of Colourbond sheeting. A garage will give you a fair bit of space for a workshop, and basements vary in size but have been utilized as a workshop. Your space will need power also for the many workshop tools you will use.

Why do you need a workshop

Workshops are great for handymen or women, who want to build projects which may take a period of time to complete. Having a workshop enables you to work whenever you want to. Not having to worry about the weather or messing up a clean space or room.

Your own workshop lets you have an area where you can leave a project until you can get back to it, without having to pack it and your tools away each time.

How I set up my small workshopAnother benefit of a workshop is the tools you can have that aren’t portable, for example a drill press, bench grinder, joiners and planers. These tools allow you to build just about anything you can imagine.

This is how I set up my small workshop.

How I setup my small workshop

Layout

The layout of your workshop will depend on the space you have available and the type of projects you will be building.

In my workshop, I have a large mobile work bench in the center that hold a table saw, compound sliding mitre saw and a small router table, it measures 8 x 4 foot  and has castors to wheel it around when required.

Around the walls of my workshop, I have a bench grinder, drill press, disk/belt sander and storage for portable tools and materials. There is also a wood lathe, but I have to take this outside to use as the workshop is to small to accommodate working at the lathe.

How I set up my small workshopA shop vac is used for dust collection, its not ideal but it is better than nothing.

Your layout should follow your building stages, your table saw is usually the center of the work process. A mitre saw is situated along a wall. Drill press and bandsaws require room to move around so allow space around these.

Tools not used often like planers and joiners can be put in areas that are out of the way. But these also need space around them when being operated.

tools for your workshop

There are many tools you may want for your workshop. Such as planer, joiner,drill press bandsaw, table saw, bench grinder, sanding station. If you have a large workshop you will be able to fit these all in, however if your workshop is small, you need to prioritize what is the most useful.

How I set up my small workshopAs previously mentioned I have a table saw, mitre saw, drill press, bench grinder and disk/belt sander. These allow me to complete all the projects I have carried out.

All these tools were not bought as soon as I built my workshop. But over time I have been able to acquire them as needed. The bench grinder and the saws were tools I have had since I built the workshop.

The size of my workshop does not allow space for a planer or joiner, so I improvise where needed.

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Conclusion

Setting up your small workshop will depend on your projects and what tools you will need to complete them.

The size of your workshop will determine what tools you can fit in and the sought of projects you can do.

Start with basic tools like a table saw, bench grinder and mitre saw plus your portable power tools such as hand planer, circular saw and cordless drills.

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Add to your tools as you require them and buy the best quality that you can afford.

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How to fix a leaky tap

Leaky tap

How to fix a leaky tap. It usually only takes 20 minutes to replace a faulty washer. Below are the tools you’ll need for the job and the steps to follow to complete the job.

Tools Needed
  1. Screw Driver
  2. Spanners – Adjustable and tube spanners to fit your tap
  3. Thread tape
  4. Washers
    Parts of a tap
    Parts of a tap

Basic tools all handymen should have can be found in my post HERE

Step 1

Turn off the water main, these may be out the front of the property, or if you live in an apartment the mains may be turned off elsewhere. Determine where your water main is and turn it off to before repairing the leaky tap.

Step 2

Once you have turn the water main off, turn the leaky tap on to let any water remaining in the pipe to drain out. When the water stops running, you are ready to start repairing the leaky tap.

Step 3

Remove the cap from the top or front of the tap with a screw driver or small spanner depending on your tap. This should reveal a small nut on the end of the tap. Take the small nut off to remove the tap handle. When the tap handle is remove, take the tap body cover off.

With the tap body removed, you’ll now see the actual tap body.

Step 4

Now with a adjustable or tube spanner, you turn the tap body counter clock wise and unwind until the tap body comes apart. The washer that needs replacing can now be accessed.

Replace the faulty washer, it may be broken or worn.

Step 5

When you have replaced the faulty washer, wrap the thread of the tap body with thread tape to stop any leaks. Turn the tap body in a clock wise direction until finger tight.

Now use your spanner to tighten the tap completely.

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Step 6

Replace the tap body cover and the tap handle, tighten the small nut on the end of the tap and replace the tap cap. Leave the tap open until you turn the water main back on, this lets any air in the plumbing to escape and reduce any air hammering that may have occurred.

The final steps for how to fixing your leaky tap is to turn on the water mains and make sure the tap doesn’t leak anymore.

Generally it takes around 20 minutes to replace a washer, so it’s an easy DIY job for anyone.

If your tap is still leaking, you can be fairly certain it needs re seating. A re seating tool can be bought at your local hardware store.

How to fix a leaky tap is a basic skill for all handymen.

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