DIY Lessons Learned: Testing for Lead

Lessons Learned: Lead Testing
The Project: 
Finishing up some leftover painting jobs in the Curbly House. After two months living in the house, we decided it was finally time to get the fireplace and stairs painted.

The Story: While the Curbly house was under construction, we had free reign to make a mess, paint whatever and whenever we wanted, and generally run wild. That’s because no one was living in the house, and we knew we’d be doing a thorough (i.e.  Continue Reading

DIY Lessons Learned: Hearing Protection

created at: 10/03/2012The Project: Anything LOUD! In my case, that includes using a table saw, using a miter saw, mowing the lawn, changing a dirty diaper, etc. etc. 

The Story: Hearing protection is just one of those things people like to ignore. Most folks will throw on some eye goggles or a face mask in the appropriate circumstances, but for some reason prolonged exposure to really loud noises doesn’t seem to bother us. Why is that?

Think about it: those few hours a month you spend walking behind the lawn mower are exposing your ears to around 106 decibels of noise. Continue Reading

The Simple, (Not So) Secret Trick to Evenly Stained Woodworking Projects

created at: 09/27/2012

The process usually goes like this: you’re careful with your measurements, make dead-on accurate cuts, properly attach and glue everything together, sand it as smooth as glass, and then … you screw everything up on the finish.

If you’ve ever built or refinished something made of wood, you’ve probably experienced this headache: the end grain turns out much darker than the side grain.   Even if you’re not staining and only use an oil or clear finish, this sneaky little problem turns up in every project. Continue Reading

DIY Lessons Learned: Protecting Your Volunteers

created at: 09/11/2012
The Project: 
Enlisting the help of friends and family to clean up the Curbly House after months of messy construction. 

The Story: At some point in the course of any big DIY project, you’re bound to need some help from family and friends. That moment came for us when it was time to get the house ready for move-in. Think: months of demolition debris, drywall dust, paint spills, and general construction garbage. It was pretty nasty. Continue Reading

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Keep Your Safety Glasses On!

…Or, why Murphy’s Law also applies to your peepers, people.

The Project: Cutting out old gas lines in the Curbly House, to make way for new electrical wiring and structural reinforcements (yes, these old houses were lit gas lamps!).

The Story: It was late in the day, almost time to wrap things up, but there was one lingering steel pipe up in the ceiling that I wanted to cut out. “Five minutes,” I thought, then I’ll go home. Continue Reading

How to: Cut Tile at Home…and Not Seriously Injure Yourself

3M DIY safe prep tips
The Curbly House is moving into the ‘finishing-up’ phase, now that the walls are all closed up, taped, mudded, and sanded. Better yet, the bathroom walls and floor are ready for tile! I’ll do a post later this week about our tile-laying adventures (don’t worry, there’s no tile inspection to fail), but today I wanted point out some important safety tips. Read on to find out how I’m make cutting and setting tile an injury-free process. Continue Reading