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JAMES AND MORRIS CAREY \ On the House Adaptations save money on storage and garden tools

Saturday, January 31, 2004

If you happened to get a new tool for Christmas, and you need a place to store it, we have the answer: Screws make great pegs for hanging things on the wall. They're quick and easy to drive into a garage stud, and they're strong and inexpensive. Unlike a nail, a screw can be easily removed and reused or relocated. Unfortunately, an unprotected screw can scratch a new tool.
To enjoy the simplicity, speed and cost-effectiveness of screws without damaging your tools, add a layer of protection. We suggest a little plastic tubing or rubber tubing. Our example uses a 2-inch screw and 1-inch tubing, but the size can vary depending on your needs.
UFirst, use a 2-inch drywall screw (the standard kind has a flared flat head). They also are black in color and have heavy threads and very sharp points that make them easy to drive.
UNext, buy a small length of plastic or rubber tubing. Clear, colored or black -- your choice.
UCut the tubing to 1 inch so the leftover portion of the screw will penetrate into the wall at least 1 inch. In this example, 1 inch is half the length of the screw. However, the relationship between screw and cover will vary based on screw length and what weight it will be expected to hold. Begin with 3/16-inch tubing if you can find it, or experiment with other sizes. Home centers and auto parts stores carry myriad tubing types and styles.
UNext, slip the screw into the tubing.
UFinally, drive the screw in until one end of the tube fits snugly against the wall and until the flared screw head sits just inside the other end of the tube.
Do-it-yourself cushioned pegs work well anywhere. Take a look around the houe and put leftover screws and tubing to good use.
Preserving caulking
Did you ever have a tube of leftover caulk or adhesive that dried out and had to be thrown away? Caulking -- especially the silicone kind -- can get expensive, $6 a tube and up. Yet it often is available in quantities several times greater than what most of us need. For that reason, we find ourselves replacing the cap and storing the leftover caulk until next time, only to find that it has dried out and must be thrown away.
It doesn't have to be that way. All you need is a screw-in eye or hook -- your very own personal caulking cap and storage hook. Tube tips can vary in size, so to be on the safe side, buy a handful of screw-in hooks or eyes in varying diameters from about 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch. Length isn't as important as diameter because the seal will occur at the very tip of the container. Here's how to do it:
UFirst, select a hook or eye for which the screw portion is about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch or so larger than the opening at the end.
UApply a small amount of the contents of the tube onto the threads (as a sealant).
UScrew the hook or eye into the opening until the fit is snug.
U the sealed tube where you can find it next time you need it.
Watering can
Want an easy-to-fill, easy-to-pour watering can?
Better yet, do you want one that's easy to make -- and is free?
Recycling items you would normally discard is good for the pocketbook and the environment. You'll love this one. Take your old liquid laundry detergent bottle and use a little bit of ingenuity to make a watering can.
UFirst, rinse the bottle out thoroughly.
UNext, remove the cap and drill a series of 1/8-inch holes in the top of the cap.
UDrill a half-inch hole just above the handle of the bottle itself. This one is for pressure equalization so water will flow freely.
UFinally, fill with water, replace the cap and begin watering.
XFor more home-improvement tips and information, visit on the Web.