Bi-Monthly Almanac: Home Maintenance Tips

A selection of home maintenance tips to get you through the winter and the year.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
January/February 1979
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Knowing how to drill a clean hole could probably be a big help with a variety of home maintenance projects. 

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You probably have a multitude of small odd projects all over your house waiting to get done. Maybe these home maintenance tips can help you start—and finish—a few of them. After you're done, have a look at our January/February 1979 Almanac to view a selection of significant historical events that occurred during those two months.

To a Open Stuck Jar Lid

... simply tie a strong cord around the can—loosely—just below the stuck lid. Then slip a nail under the string and twist it. An equal pressure will be exerted all along the circumference of the container, and the stubborn cover will come off easily.

Drill a Clean Hole

To drill a clean, splinter-free hole through a piece of wood, start from one side as usual, but withdraw the bit as soon as its "worm" breaks through the board. Then turn the plank over and start the drill in its own "breakthrough" hole. Your bore will have clean edges front and back.

Hacksaw a Skimming Spoon

It only takes a few minutes to make a skimmer (for soups, jellies, and the like) from a large metal kitchen spoon. Simply cut slots In the underside of the utensil with a hacksaw, then wash off any filings before the spoon is used.

Good Add-Vice...  

A board that's too wide for your worktable vise can be secured In the contraption anyway and held pretty firmly, at that.

All you have to do is lay the plank so that one side of it overlaps the bench top, and nail a notched block of wood to the table to prevent any movement on the part of that "inside" edge.

Then, prop a strong flat strip of wood (or metal) In the vise and turn the handle until the assembly is tight.

De-Slam That Door!  

If you have a door In your house that should for one reason or another remain partially open (or if you'd just like to stop your children from slammin' through every portal in the house), try one of these handy door snubbers. All you have to do is tie bigger-than-doorknob sized loops In both ends of a short piece of 1/4"diameter (or larger) rope, and then slip one hoop over each knob. The cord will help absorb the shock of a slam and keep the door open "just a crack" at the same time.

Speak Up! ...With a Homemade Megaphone

One of those ecologically horrible plastic jugs can be made into an effective around-the-house loudspeaker (you might as well find a use for the clanged things, as you can't just throw 'em away) in less time than it takes to tell about it.

Simply cut the bottom from the bottle—a sharp kitchen knife will do—and holler into Its neck to call the kids home from the woods or the "old man" in to dinner.

A Rubber Wrench

A common eraser makes a dandy little "wrench" for small (vanilla, etc.) bottle caps, fountain pens, jammed fishing rod ferrules, and lots of other tiny, hard-to-handle objects. The versatile rubber tool provides a firm grip on all but the slipperiest surfaces, and it's easy on your hands, too.

A Broom Slide

Believe It or not, your broom can be a big help when midwinter restlessness has you moving heavy objects from one room to another. Simply place the sweeper's bristles under one edge of the awkward item, and slide the weight over carpets and floors while a helper holds up the rear of the object and steadies it.

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