Deck Lumber

When building a deck or other outdoor platform, don't use lumber wider than 6 inches. Ponding water on wide boards can lead to eventual cupping problems. For example, use two 2x6's instead of one 2x12. Pros advise installing the boards crown-side up to help minimize cupping and shelling of grain layers.
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Blade Balance

A sharp mower blade is a key to a perfect cutting job. However, whenever you sharpen a blade yourself, always check it for balance. An out-of-balance blade can cause excess mower vibration and wear. One way to check is to tie a metal washer onto a string, thread the string through the center hole of the blade, then hold the blade up with the washer supporting it. The washer should be on center and turned perpendicular to the blade. The blade should stay level. If it doesn't, grind it for balance on the back side of the blade. Always disconnect the lawnmower's sparkplug wire before removing or replacing any blade.
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Broken Screws

There's a solution for dealing with wood screws which have broken off below the surface of the wood. If you don't want to risk damaging the wood by digging it out, try driving the screw deeper into the wood with a nail set. Then just fill the hole with a wood filler, and drive a new screw next to the broken one.
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Cutting Circles

You can buy several types of guides that attach to your router so you can create decorative circular grooves on the surfaces of wood projects, or you can make up your own. Besides making grooves of various designs by switching router bits, these jigs can also be used to make circular cut-outs. Instead of cutting only partly into the surface, continue with shallow passes until the cut is all the way through the wood.
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Choosing a Fuel Source

When your're choosing a fuel source for your home heating system, start with available fuels in your region, because not all fuels are available everywhere and some are cleaner and more efficient than others. Based on your chosen fuel—natural gas, fuel oil, light propane gas, and kerosene are the most common—you can figure out how much heat a gallon will give you and how efficient that fuel is likely to be. Called the standard heat value, the amount of heat a fuel can produce per gallon or cubic foot is measured and reported in Btu (British thermal units). The higher the Btu produced, the more efficiently the fuel burns and the greater its heat value. Fuel oil, for example, has a heat value of 135,000 Btu/gal., while liquid propane gas produces 91,000 Btu/gal. Next you need to plug that information into the furnace selected. How many Btu/hour the furnace or boiler releases determines its output and will help to decide how much furnace you need to heat your space to the desired temperature. This is how the pros size and evaluate your heating needs. Following these formulas, you can plot out your energy usage, optimal furnace size, and desired output, too.
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Beat The Heat

Install window air conditioners snugly. Insulate spaces around air conditioners for a tighter fit. An air conditioner with a tight fit around the windows or wall openings will make less noise and allow less hot air in from the outside. Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation. Insulation around ducts prevents cool air from leaking and keeps it directed through the vents.

Make sure your home is properly insulated. This will help you to conserve electricity and reduce your home's power demands for air conditioning. Weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cool air inside, allowing the inside temperature to stay cooler longer.

During a drought, conserve water by placing a brick, or another large solid object, in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used in flushing.

Consider keeping storm windows installed throughout the year. Storm windows can keep the heat out of a house in the summer the same way they keep the cold out in the winter Protect windows. Hang shades, draperies, awnings, or louvers on windows that receive morning or afternoon sun. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat entering the house by as much as 80 percent.

If you have a fan installed to vent warm air out of your attic, use the fan to help keep your home cool.
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Clamp Pads

Professional woodworkers often don't use pads on their clamps because they know how to set them up without marring the wood. But if you prefer to use them for pipe or bar clamps, you can buy some or make up your own. Scrap rubber, shoe soles, even old mud flaps, can do the trick. For pipe clamps, cut out a slightly undersize circle to fit over the pipe using a sabersaw. Next, cut out the perimeter about 1/8 in. oversize. Then make a slit in the pad bottom so it can stretch over the pipe without taking off the jaw end.
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