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posted: 11/11/2011 12:30 AM

Super Handyman: There are all sorts of ways to get a grip

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Get a grip! That means get your clamps out for a glue project or some other repair. There are lots of different kinds of clamps we can use, but let us show you some alternatives.

For example, tape can be used to hold things together while glue sets up. It works quite well, is always around and fits a wide variety of sizes and shapes that you might be working with.

Rubber bands also make good clamps. You can use the ones you have lying around, or you can buy a large assorted pack for less than a dollar. You can make extra-large rubber bands from an old inner tube.

Bungee cords are super for clamping. They also come in a lot of different sizes and usually are very strong and can hold larger items than tape or rubber bands can.

Cable ties can be used on some projects, too. They can be pulled really tight. They will have to be cut off when they have served their purpose, but they are so inexpensive that it's still pretty cost-effective.

Leather belts can be used, too. Other belts also can be used, as long as they can be pulled tight.

And there's always the ever-popular string, twine or rope. Certain knots make it easy to cinch them up super tight to hold your project while you work.

Make sure, with these or any other clamps, that you protect your work surfaces from damage by inserting scraps of rubber, canvas or cardboard in areas that might be damaged. These items also can be used to make your "clamps" even tighter, in some cases.

Storing caulk

Storing some items in the shop can be a challenge. Caulk likes to be stored on its side, but this means it might roll around too much. If you try to store it upright, it probably will fall over. One really clever way to store it is to screw an eye hook into the end of the tube and hang it on a hook right on your wall or on a pegboard panel. Use short hooks on unopened tubes and longer screws on previously used tubes. The long screws will help seal up the tubes so the caulk won't go bad over time. It's easy, and it works pretty well.

Pegboard storage options

We love pegboard for shop organization. It's inexpensive, easy to install and has a million different hooks and holders for hanging just about anything you have in your shop or garage. But you don't have to limit yourself to the store-bought accessories. Put a small piece of hook-and-loop material (Velcro) on a tool or something else you want to hang on your pegboard hook. Then put the other part of the hook-and-loop on the pegboard. Now you can hang the item without having to waste a hook or another holder. You can hang things that don't attach to a hook easily, too. Get creative and see what you can secure this way.

Super hints

• A little bleach and water put down your kitchen sink's drain weekly will prevent grease and food debris from starting to smell. It's easy to do, works well and is very inexpensive. It works great in the bathroom, too.

• I bought some old metal school lockers at an auction awhile back. They sure have come in handy. The paint job, although just a basic beige, has lasted for many years, the shelves inside are perfect for storing lots of things, and the lockers have metal hooks that are perfect for even more storage. I also bought a couple of padlocks so I can keep my tools and some chemicals safely stored away. Best of all, they take up very little room in the garage and, because they are upright, very little floor space as well.

• Once you start collecting refrigerator magnets, it sort of gets out of control. Move some of them out to your shop or shed. They can hold receipts, instructions and other things right on a metal cabinet or toolbox, or any other metal surface.

Q. I have cleaned my old grill and even replaced the metal grate. Now I need to find the right paint to give it a new coating. What other prep work do I need to do, and what type of paint should I use?

A. Remove all of the rust and use a zinc-based primer. Coat with a high-temp paint made for outdoor grills. Just check with your paint dealer for color options.

Q. Our den has wood paneling, and I would like to paint over it. I don't care for the "joints" between the panels and wondered if there is a way to cover over them. What would you use?

A. You can fill and smooth over the "joints" with drywall compound. If you still can see an indentation, you can use a wall liner, which is similar to wallpaper but is used to smooth over or texture a wall before painting. If the paneling has a glossy finish, sand it. Then prime and paint the wall.

Q. My kitchen cabinets feel sticky. I want to clean them or refinish them so they will look and "feel" better. I've tried several cleaners, including a variety of kitchen and wood cleaners, but the tacky feeling persists. What can I do to deal with this issue?

A. This problem probably is due to airborne grease. This is a common problem in kitchens, so don't feel like you're the only one who has this issue. All you need to do is wipe down the cabinets with a rag and some mineral spirits paint thinner. It works better than any cleaner you can buy at the hardware store or supermarket. You should use it once or twice a year to clean surfaces in your kitchen, and maybe your breakfast room, if it is in the line of fire. You'll want to follow up with a disinfecting wipe to get rid of the solvent, but that's probably all you need to do.

Reader tips

• Our brick pavers looked so ordinary, and I never really liked them. My wife wanted to pull them up and get rid of them, but I just couldn't do it. One afternoon, I experimented on them with some wood stain. The stain gave them an antique look. I rubbed them all down with a rag and more stain. The look is unique, and now my neighbors want to do it to their patios.

• I've been restoring an old wooden mantel for a couple of weeks. I stripped off all of the old paint and have been sanding it smooth. Because it is carved and shaped, I do most of the sanding by hand. To make the paper last longer, I put a strip or two of duct tape on the back of the sandpaper. This extra layer of backing makes curving the paper easier and prevents it from cracking and degrading so fast.

• Metal shower-curtain rings are great for the shop, too. I had some old ones around and decided to start using them to control some of the clutter in my shop. I put all of my wrenches on two of them. I put a bunch of assorted washers on one and hacksaw blades on another. I even hung these hooks on my shop wall so the parts and tools would be easy to find when I'm looking for them.

• I didn't mind my old wallpaper nearly as much as I minded removing it. It was a huge hassle, and I vowed never to use wallpaper again. My wife, however, loves wallpaper, and against my will, she installed it in our bathroom. She bought a wallpaper that is "strippable." It is supposed to come right off when you are ready to take it down. I took a small scrap of it and put it on a scrap of wood. It really does peel off. I didn't know this stuff existed, but I think it's great.

• I have a workbench in my garage now. I love it. It's a great place to work on things, and I don't scratch up my tables or counters anymore. The only problem I have found is that the garage has only a couple of outlets. One is behind the workbench, but the other is on the ceiling. I hooked up a surge protector/power bar, with eight more outlets on it, right on the front of the workbench. Now I have all the outlets I need.


• DAP 3.0 Advanced Kitchen & Bath Adhesive Caulk is super for all of the usual sealing projects inside and outside your home. What makes it so much better than the rest is that it is formulated to set up quickly. You can caulk your shower or bathtub and use it in just three hours! It comes in white and clear, and can be used on wood, tile, metal, drywall, vinyl, natural stone, glass and even painted surfaces. It even has the built-in Microban protection that other projects for these areas lack. It has low odor and low VOC content, and still gives you the flexibility you need to get the best adhesion in these areas of the home. The 3.0 line also includes caulks for other surfaces, indoors and out, like concrete and mortar, blacktop and roof, gutters and flashing and a good, all-purpose caulk for everything else. Check it out at your home center and at

• The new Stomp 'N Go Stain Lifting Pads from Bissell are so easy to use. You just tear open the package, place the wet pad on top of the carpet stain and mash it down with your shoe. This releases the cleaning solution. It removes blood, mud, soda, coffee, wine and even pet stains. It couldn't be any easier to use. It leaves behind a clean, fresh smell, and even works pretty well on older, set-in stains. Check it out at supermarkets and discount stores, and stock up for the holidays. To find out more, go to

• Write to Al and Kelly Carrell in care of the Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006 or visit the Carrells' website at

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