Make Paper Windows, Loosen a Stuck Screw, and Other Tips

This installment in an occasional series on maintenance tips describes a way of making paper "windows" and of making a modified screwdriver you can use to loosen a stuck screw.

| November/December 1978


Use a knife to create a wood fringe near the head of a match stick. It might be enough extra fuel to keep the match lit in a strong wind.


Got some maintenance projects around the ol’ homestead demanding your attention? Maybe some of these tips will help you get them done.

Make Paper "Windows"

A translucent material which looks like parchment and is every bit as durable can be made from ordinary cotton- or linen-based white paper.

All you have to do is soak the unmarked sheets in a solution of camphor and alcohol. (Make sure you dissolve as much of the crystalline substance in the liquid as it will hold ... and wash your hands well after you`ve finished!)

Once it dries, this "poor man's isinglass" can be used to make lampshades or—when dyed—an attractive imitation stained-glass window.

Loosen a Stuck Screw

Every once in a while we all encounter a screw—either rusted in place or just plumb stuck—that a team of dray horses couldn't loosen. Working at it in frustration with a regular tool will like as not strip out the fastener's head slot and set the whole operation back two squares.

A homemade screwdriver that provides enough leverage to (sometimes) free those stubborn fasteners, however, can be fashioned from two pieces of 5/16-inch steel rod.

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