The Basics of Welding

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware, Metal Working, Tools    by: ITC

Welding is something that has been in our world for centuries, but in different forms compared to how we use it today. The initial process of welding that has ever been used is called forge welding. This is a method which tries to combine two metals from a combination of heating and pounding them together; just as blacksmiths used to do. Since then, however, several advancements have been made in the world of welding. With such innovative techniques and methods, welding can no longer be found within the limitations in industrial settings; instead, welding can be performed virtually anywhere, whether in space or underwater.

From taking a look at the overall history that comes with welding, being able to combine several metallic pieces together onto strong bonds is essential in advancing in various parts of life, whether from transportation to house or from repairs to manufacturing. Truly comprehending the basics of welding is important when it comes to work, but is also important at home, on farms, or in workshops. Due to this fact, welding should be seen as a skill that practically anyone can gain advantages from, no matter what gender or age.

Welding can be used to fix stress cracks, cut or shape new adapters, and reinforce weak joints, so if you tend to have metal machinery or equipment, welding is sure to come in handy.

When it comes to such chores, a lot of welders turn to a certain process called arc welding, where a current of electricity flies through air gaps while the process of welding takes place and gives off a huge amount of essential heat. Such heat is made at the very ends of the welding rods and when this happens, the metal will melt. Naturally, it is a bit more complicated, but this is the overall concept, in a nutshell.

Probably the most basic method of welding that is used in today’s day and age is the one that also saves people the most money; AC arc welding, which is short for alternating current. Basic alternating current welders can be found practically anywhere, from home stores to farm stores in your local vicinity. This welding technique is perfect for the majority of your basic and regular jobs. Because of this, alternating current arc welding proves to be ideal for beginners and novices.

All of these tips and tricks will help you to stay safe when it comes to taking on your very own welding projects; one thing that is of the utmost essence when it comes to learning new crafts.

Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Projects

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware, Home repair, Plumbing, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

Due to the raised awareness of the society on environmental issues, more and more homeowners are opting to “go green” in their home improvement projects. If you have been thinking of having some repairs and renovations done in your home, here are some eco-friendly options for you to consider.

Installing a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters can either be powered by electricity or gas and they can be installed either inside or outside your home. Although electric tankless water heaters are cheaper, the gas-powered variety are more cost efficient. These water heaters save energy because they heat water on demand. This means you would not be wasting energy with a heater which continuously heats 40 to 50 gallons of water even when you do not need it.

Installing Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a renewable resource, making it one of the most eco-friendly flooring types available today. Although many people think that it is a tree, it is actually a type of grass which grows relatively quickly. It can also easily be maintained. Floors which are made with bamboo are much more resilient than floors which are made with vinyl or pine. When properly cured, bamboo flooring can withstand the elements and high traffic. If you are planning some home improvement projects which include the installation of new flooring, consider using bamboo.

Using Low VOC Paint

Painting has always been considered as one of the simplest and most cost-effective home improvement projects. If you are planning to repaint your walls to cover up old and damaged paint or to enhance the look and ambiance of your home’s interior, you may want to consider using paint which has low amounts of VOC or volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds contribute to air pollution and smog and have been studied to cause various respiratory problems. Through using low VOC paint, you would be able to do your share in keeping the air clean and make sure that you and your family would be able to enjoy your safe and beautifully-painted walls.

Installing Cool Roofs

Installing cool roofs is also considered as one of the most eco-friendly home improvement projects today. Cool roofs help in saving energy because they reflect the light and heat of the sun, reducing the amount of heat that goes inside the house. This means that during warm days, the interior of your house would remain cool. You can get cool roofs which are made from tile, asphalt or metal.

These are just some of the environment-friendly home improvement projects which you may want to consider. Regardless of the home improvement project you are working on or are planning to work on, make sure to choose materials and products which are eco-friendly to make sure that they are not only safe for you and your family to use but also safe for the environment.

The Different Types of Home Improvement Hardware

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware, Home repair, Plumbing, Tools    by: ITC

Home remodeling and home improvement projects are great ways to in enhance the comfort, functionality and beauty as well as increase the value of your home. These projects can be as simple as replacing some of your decor and furniture or can be as complicated as renovating an entire room. Regardless of the project that you are looking into doing, it is important to make sure that you are able to choose quality home improvement hardware to make sure that every dollar and minute you would be spending would be worth it. Here are the different types of hardware which you can use for your home improvement projects.

1. Bathroom Hardware

Bathroom hardware would include the products which are used in the construction and maintenance of the appearance and functionality of a bathroom. This would typically be fixtures such as faucets and showers as well as tubs, shelves, mirrors and holders. Remodeling or renovating your bathroom is actually one of the best home improvement projects that you can do especially if you have been living in your home for five years or more. Through replacing some bathroom hardware, you can easily transform the look and improve the functionality of your bathroom.

2. Door Hardware

This type of home improvement hardware is used for enhancing the appearance or condition of your doors. This would include fasteners, door handles, hooks, hinges, number plates and knockers.

3. Furniture Hardware

These would be the items which are used for improving the design and durability of home furniture. This includes furniture frames, furniture arms and furniture legs.

4. Safety and Security Hardware

This type of hardware is becoming more and more in demand among homeowners because of the increasing concern on security inside the home. Some of the safety and security features which can be used in home improvement projects would be motion detectors, security alarm systems, smoke detectors, locksets and window guards.

5. Plumbing Hardware

Plumbing hardware include the products which are used to supply water throughout the house including tubes and pipes. When choosing plumbing hardware, it is very important to get those which are of excellent quality and are extremely durable because waters usually runs through and stays in them. Through getting durable and quality plumbing hardware, you would be sure that they would not easily corrode and that they would be able to withstand temperature extremes.

6. Cabinet Hardware

These are small components which make sure that the cabinets would remain functional; however they can also be used for decorative purposes. Some cabinet hardware includes cabinet fasteners, latches, brackets, hinges, pulls and locks.

7. Window Hardware

This type of hardware would be the components which are used in installing, fixing and protecting windows like window extrusions, handles, hinges, locks and fasteners.

8. Curtain Hardware

Curtain hardware would be the hooks, curtain finials and curtain rings which used to hang curtains over windows and doors. They can be made of plastic or metal.

As you choose which home improvement hardware to use, make sure that you would be getting those that would give you your desired results. Try to compare products and prices so that you would be ending up with hardware pieces that would fit your needs and your budget.

Plastering Masonry

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware, Remodeling    by: ITC

To plaster a newly built wall you will not have to do any preparation work to it at all before you fix wooden grounds or metal lath in place.

Then the masonry should be dampened by splashing on clean water with a paintbrush. This will help slow down the rate at which the wall absorbs moisture from the plaster, preventing it from drying out too quickly and possibly cracking.

It is a good idea to practice scooping plaster from the hawk and applying it to the wall before you attempt the job for real. Set the loaded trowel against the wall so that the bottom corner of the blade rests on the ground or bead and the blade is at an angle of about 30° to the wall surface. Move the blade upwards to spread a vertical strip of plaster next to the thickness guide, keeping the blade resting on the guide and gradually reducing its angle as the plaster spreads.

Apply more strips of plaster in the same way, working upwards from the bottom and across the bay adding a good thickness of plaster to the wall.

When the bay is finished, use the long wooden rule to strike it off level with the thickness guides. Place it across the guides and draw it upwards, moving it from side to side in a sawing motion as you go. This will level off the high spots and accentuate the dips. Add more plaster and repeat the process until level.

Before it sets, key the surface for the finishing coat by passing a wooden float, with nails knocked through its face, over the plaster to leave score lines.

When the floating coat has hardened (it should take about two hours), you can apply the finishing coat. This is done in exactly the same way as plastering wallboard, applying two thin coats of Finish plaster to produce a polished, flat and hard surface.


1. Scooping plaster from the hawk; put the trowel into the plaster and scoop forwards and upwards.

2. Practising applying paster to the wall; work upwards from waist-height, starting with the trowel at 30 degrees to the wall.

3. As you apply the plaster, tilt the trowel more parallel to the wall surface; keep the hawk close to the wall to catch droppings.

4. Applying the plaster in vertical strips; at the end of each stroke, press the lower edge of the trowel to firm the plaster onto the wall.

5. Ruling off the completed bay; use a straight-edge with a sawing motion to lower any high spots and to show up areas with too little plaster.

6. Scoring the surface to provide a key for the finishing coat; the nails should protrude in through the float.

7. Filling the gap left after taking off the ground batten; level off with the trowel, flush with the hardened plaster on each side.

8. Applying the finishing coat; work from bottom to top and cover the floating coat with a thin layer; apply a second coat. 9 Polishing the finishing coat; wet the surface sufficiently to remove ridges and marks and polish firmly with a perfectly clean, flat trowel.

Home Repair Tips – Roofing Accessories

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Hardware, Home repair, Remodeling, Tools    by: ITC

At first glance, a roof looks pretty plain. But on second look you will see many accessories that require care. Some of the most common are:

– Flashing

– Roof vents

– Gutters

– Chimney spark guards

Flashing is sheet metal bent to fill the gaps around chimneys, vent pipes, and valleys where two roof slopes come together. Remove rusted old flashing and install a new pieces.

Tuck the new flashing carefully under the edges of the roofing. Always seal it with asphalt emulsion or calking compound.

There are several kinds of vents. Small pipes, two or three inches, are usually sewer vents. Larger pipes, frequently made of asbestos, are for venting gas or oil water heaters, exhaust hoods over stoves, or bathroom fan exhausts. Vents that discharge hot air must rise four inches above the roof although local codes vary.

Inspect roof vents for rust or clogging. If the vent has a protective hood, keep that in good repair, too. Extend broken or rusted vent pipes by using a slightly larger pipe as a collar. Then add the extension pipe.

Gutters control water running Dff the roof. They should slope toward the downspout about 1/8 inch per running foot. Clean out gutters at least every six months. Screen guards and leaf strainers will help prevent clogging. Check the hangers and secure or replace them when necessary. Be sure to cover with roof cement any nails that are driven into the roof.

It is a good idea to have a chimney spark guard on every chimney. Spark guards are made of 1/8-inch mesh hardware cloth. They keep sparks from landing on the roof. Don’t use a smaller mesh or it will clog with soot.

Gutters direct water flowing from the roof. They must be kept clean and securely attached to the roof. Pay special attention to cleaning elbows and bends. A clogged downspout can be snaked out. Galvanized gutters are joined with solder; aluminum gutters are held together with mastic cement and aluminum pop rivets.

Broken or rusted vent pipes are hazardous. Leaves and debris can lodge against them and hot air from the vent could set this material on fire. It is important to keep vents long enough and hoods in good repair.

Two ways of building spark arresters from hardware cloth. Every chimney should have one.

When you are on the roof also check antennas. The wires and anchors should be secure and free from rust. Be sure the roof is solid when the anchors are set.

When checking anything attached to the roof or eaves, look for rust getting into the wood. Rust can cause a type of rot that weakens wood.

Home Repair Tips – Door Hardware

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Hardware, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Door problems are often caused by the door and frame. But hardware can also be the cause of doors sticking. Hardware refers to the metal parts on a door:

• Hinges

• Faceplates and latches

• Strike plates

In time, hinges loosen up and let the door sag so it no longer fits the frame. This happens when the screws pull loose. The cure is to remove the loose screw or screws. Fill the hole with wood putty or with a wooden matchstick or soft wood plug covered with white glue. Without drilling a hole, replace the screw in the plugged hole.

It is much easier to rehang a hinge than to rebuild a door frame. Often a cardboard shim behind one of the hinges will shift the door enough to prevent binding. Sometimes removing one hinge and chiseling the mortise a little deeper will correct both top and side clearances.

By plugging a loose screw hole with wood putty or soft wood like a matchstick, you can reset the screw. Sometimes you will need a longer screw as well.

Cut a piece of cardboard to place behind the side of the hinge that looks strongest. If two or more shims are needed, place them behind both sides of the hinge. If a door is sticking at the top, shim the top edge. If it is binding at the bottom, shim the bottom hinge.

To work on the hinges, remove the bottom pivot pin first. If you remove the top pin first, the weight of the door may tear the bottom hinge loose.

Squeaking doors are really squeaking hinges. Oil is really only a temporary solution. To stop the squeak, remove the hinge pivot pin. Sandpaper off any rust. Then coat the pin with paraffin, graphite lubricant, or silicon spray and replace it. Never use oil; it collects dust and becomes sticky.

Latches and faceplates also cause problems. If the screws holding them to the door are loose, the door won’t close properly. Reset the screws after plugging the original holes with wooden matchsticks or soft wood just as you did the hinge screws.

Strike plates on the door frame can also be a problem. When a door frame sags, the latch in the door may travel across the strike plate without meeting the hole in the strike plate. Remove the strike plate and place it in a vise. With a file enlarge the hole enough to accommodate the latch. If there is a bolt hole, enlarge it also. Before you replace the strike plate, chisel out the wood behind the enlarged hole.

Strike plates should not be moved. It is better to enlarge the hole so the latch will meet.

The hinge pin holds the two parts of the hinge together and lets the door swing. To remove the pin, tap it with a hammer and screwdriver. Always remove the bottom pin first.

Basic Woodworking Terms

Filed Under: Crafts, Do it yourself, Hardware    by: ITC

Before you can start a woodworking project, you need to be able to talk the talk. That means you need to understand the basic terms of woodworking. If you do not know a mortise from a tenon, then you will be lost on most projects. The following definitions should get you familiar with the types of joints and other terms used in the woodworking art and allow you to speak to others in a common language.

First, let’s start with some basic woodworking definitions. They are in alphabetical order for convenience in searching through them at a later date.

Bevel – A bevel is an angled cut through a piece of wood. Instead of having a square corner, a beveled cut softens the appearance for a more decorative look to elements in a piece of furniture. Bevels are measured and marked using a bevel gauge.

Butt joint – A butt joint is an easy but somewhat weak technique for joining two boards together usually at a right (90 degree) angle. These joints are made simply by gluing and pressing the two flat surfaces together. For increased strength, the joint is usually held together with screws and glue.

Chamfer – A chamfer is the removal of the sharp corner of a section of wood which produces a smooth, beveled edge. This is done to keep the edges from being dangerous.

Dovetail joint – A high quality technique for joining two boards using alternating slots (or tails) and protrusions (or pins). The ends of the joining pieces resemble the v-shaped outline of a bird’s tail. These pieces are snugly fitted together thus increasing the gluing area of the joint. A well made dovetail produces a joint that, even without glue, can be difficult to separate. This is regarded in woodworking as one of the strongest and most reliable forms of wood joinery.

Grain – Grain is the appearance of the annual growth rings of a tree. It is the result of the way the tree was cut.

Miter – The woodworking joint created when two boards are cut at an angle to one another. The most common miter joint is the 45-degree miter such as the cuts used to build square or rectangular picture frames. A miter gauge may be used to assist in making miter cuts at the table saw. A miter jig is extremely useful for most woodworking projects.

Mortise and tenon joint — A joint where the male end, or tenon, of one board fits into the matching opening, or mortise, of another board. This is a common, reliable and fairly strong form of wood joint.

Rabbet – This is a rectangular, stepped recess cut along the edge of a board. Typically a rabbet is cut along the back or inner edges of the four wooden pieces making up a square or rectangular object.

Spline – A thin piece of wood that fits in the mating grooves cut into two pieces of wood usually at right angles to each other. Typically the corners of quality picture frames are reinforced with decorative spline joints.

Table Saw Tips

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

Table saws are an essential tool for any well-equipped workshop. There are some projects, such as mortise and tenon, where a table saw is the best tool for the job. All power tools need to be handled with caution and diligence but table saws have some special requirements.

General workshop safety tips:

1) Never wear long, loose fitting sleeves.

Long sleeves can get caught in spinning blades and lead to serious injury. They can also become snagged on boards and damage otherwise careful cutting.

2) Wear appropriate eye protection.

Bits of wood and dust can irritate and damage eyes. If you wear glasses, make sure your safety glasses can be worn over your corrective lenses. If you wear contacts, switch to your glasses when working in your workshop. Sawdust and splinters in the eye are never fun and only further complicate injuries if they become wedged under your contact lens.

3) Wear appropriate hearing protection.

Saws are loud. It is a nature of the beast. Wearing earplugs can prevent permanent hearing loss. There are headphones also available that are designed to block loud noises but can still allow conversations.

4) Avoid working alone.

Accidents will happen. If you have a helper in your workshop, you are not only sharing the joy of working with and teaching someone else but you have someone there in the event you get hurt.

Table saw specific tips:

1) The ideal height is approximately 36 inches unless you are extremely tall.

36 inches is an optimum height for maintaining control and visibility of the work space.

2) Watch out for kick-back.

Newer table saws have a mechanism that can help prevent kick-back. Do not place all your safety expectations on those mechanisms. Keep a firm hold on your boards and work slowly.

3) Watch for pull.

Sometimes towards the end of a cut, the saw will yank the board away from you. Keep a firm hold to ensure a perfect cut stays that way.

4) Do not disable the blade guard.

The blade guard is designed to reduce the risk of injuries. However, this will not prevent all of them. Some of the newer top of the line table saws come with sensors that can detect the difference between a piece of wood being cut and a piece of flesh being sundered. Some sensors are so delicate that they will be set off with food such as hotdogs, spam, meats, etc. Never, ever, disable these invaluable safety devices and use a push board when necessary.

Table saw selecting tips:

1) Size matters. The larger a table saw is, the more work space you will have. Some table saws will fold up when not in use and others are meant to be semi-permanently set up and possibly bolted to your workbench. Take a long look at your work shop and determine what size you can handle. Bigger table saws are better than smaller saws.

2) Expect to pay for quality. Although there is always variation amongst brands of tools, table saws are generally priced according to functions, size and power. The higher end ones are more accurate than the lower end ones. Once you have figured out what size you can handle, think about what your budget is and then explore the reviews and ratings on various brands.

Jig saws and circular saws are wonderful for what they are but they are not always the best tool for the project.

When you need a table saw, nothing else will do.

Build Your Own Sawhorse

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware    by: ITC

Whether you dabble occasionally in home repairs, enjoy constructive hobbies or employ yourself full-time as a carpenter, one of the most basic and necessary tools is a good, sturdy set of sawhorses. Learning how to build them is simple and will give you a good head start on your hobbies, home repairs or new career.

Most sawhorses are constructed out of two by four pieces of lumber. The planks do not have to be high-grade construction quality lumber but they should be flat and not warped or bowed. It is also possible to build a set of sawhorses out of larger cuts of wood as well. For really large projects, using two by six pieces of lumber can create a sturdier and bigger set of sawhorses for a larger workspace.

To begin construction on your new sawhorses you will need a hammer, a screwdriver if you desire screws instead of nails to fasten your wood, a circular or miter saw and several pieces of lumber at your desired width.

For the completely hand-made sawhorses, start by cutting four lengths of wood. These four ‘legs’ of the horse will determine the height you wish your sawhorses to be. This generally varies from between 24″ and 36″ depending on your individual height and the needs of your projects.

Mark the tops of your new sawhorse legs at a fifteen-degree angle and use an adjustable circular saw to cut the beveled edge of the legs so they will meet at an angle. Next, cut to size the length of lumber you wish the top of the sawhorse to be. The nice thing about building your own sawhorses is that you can build it exactly to the dimensions that fit your workspace and needs.

Place the bevel cut top of each sawhorse leg against the four-inch side of the two by four top and use nails or screws to secure it. Once all four legs are fastened to the top of the sawhorse, measure the length between the spaces of the legs about halfway down and cut a piece of wood for a brace.

If you feel challenged by the need to cut angles in your sawhorse legs, most hardware stores sell brackets that will allow you to insert straight cut two by fours in and attached them to the top of your sawhorse. Nail the braces in place on either side and you are finished with a simple sawhorse ready to go to work for you in your construction projects.

Essential Tools

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

There are five stationary power tools that are essential in order to make your shop a useful and pleasurable place to work on your projects. Once these tools are part of your workshop, they will make your woodworking life a joy and will allow you to create quality pieces for your home or office.

The table saw is obviously the most versatile machine in any woodworking shop and should be the woodworker’s first machine purchase. A good table saw becomes the centerpiece of the workshop as the woodworker uses it to rip, square, miter, groove, shape and join pieces. A quality table saw will make completing nearly any woodworking project easier. This vital stationary tool should be positioned in the center of the room to allow the maximum area for handling and maneuvering large pieces of stock. There should be more than ten feet of clearance on either side of the table saw if possible so that large boards and sheets of stock can easily be fed over the table surface.

The next item that should be near the table saw is a sturdy router table. After the table saw, the router is one of the most practical stationary tools in the shop. A stand-alone cabinet is perhaps the most desirable arrangement for a router table. It provides storage space for extra routers, bits, bases and wrenches plus it is heavy enough to be stable. Such a unit can be custom built to suit your own height and it can be outfitted with casters or locking rollers to make better use of limited shop space.

Several very useful power tools that should be located near to one another in the shop are the radial-arm saw, a chop saw and a 14-inch band saw. If shop space is limited, the radial-arm can be used as a chop saw also. Although it takes a bit longer to set up a radial-arm saw for miter cuts, it is just as accurate and quick as the chop saw when properly used.

The band saw is another of the five basic stationary tools that are considered the foundation of the craftsperson’s workshop. The band saw is used to cut irregular shapes. The radius of a curve that can be cut on a particular saw is limited by the width of the band.

The last of the five essential tools is the power planer. The planer trims a parallel surface which is a very important step in milling stock for furniture or other pieces that will be on display in a home or office. A good planer quickly converts low-cost rough lumber into valuable finished stock. You can use it to turn out perfect picture frame molding, quarter-round, casing, tongue and groove, etc.

The table saw, router, band saw, planer and jointer comprise the basic tool complement that is required as you begin to build your shop. You will find them invaluable as you progress to larger and more sophisticated projects.