Category: DIY

Block Clearing Tips

  • Find the right equipment – It is very crucial for you to have all the necessary equipment to do the job. And this will include hand tools and earth moving equipment such as bulldozer. Oftentimes, you will actually need a commercial-grade chainsaw along with some proper personal protective equipment.
  • Learn how to use the needed equipment – Even if you have all the necessary equipment but you are not aware of how to use it, it will be useless. For instance, you have to learn how to properly use a chainsaw and how to properly cut down trees. Cutting down a tree is not very easy – you can actually seriously injure yourself or perhaps even damage nearby properties. Indeed, it is very important for you to know how to property use the equipment you have at hand.
  • Have your trees checked by a professional – Prior to cutting trees, it is a wise idea for you to have an expert look at such for you to know if any of these are of great value. Know that there are some firms that will cut down trees for you on top of buying it from you.
  • Determine how you can go about the block clearing process – You have to decide on the best way on how to do the block clearing process. There are actually some professionals who cut down all the trees on a certain property and move such into a separate location for processing. But for some, they just cut down the trees and leave the stump that will be removed by heavy equipment later on.

Splitting and Stacking Firewood

Tools that are needed:

  • Axe
  • Sledgehammer
  • Wheel barrel
  • Tarp
  • Old Tire
  • Splitting Wedge
  • Hard Hat
  • Google’s
  • Gloves

Before you start splitting, you need to put on your Safety Gear of a Hard Hat, Google’s, and your Work Gloves. Now that you are all geared up, you are ready to attack that pile of wood that you have in front of you.

A good suggestion to make your splitting easier and simpler would be to use a small Old Tire.

First find a flat area where you can lay it on the ground, then stand a log upright in the center of it. Now take the axe which hopefully you have sharpened before you decided to get the Firewood split, and bring it down with force in the center of the log. This will make the piece split in half hopefully if you applied enough energy into it. Some of the pieces may be hard to break through, this is where you will need to apply the Splitting Wedge into the cut. Now take the Sledge Hammer and drive the Wedge into the log.

With the tire protecting the log, all the pieces should be contained within it and not all over the ground. Also, it will give you more protection from flying debris that could hurt you or others. If part of the log is still standing up, you can split it again to make smaller pieces. Load your split wood into the wheelbarrow, then wheel it to where it needs to be stacked.

Once the logs are split, you want to bring the wood into a Shed and stack it in neat rows. If you do not have a Shed, you want to create a square post by staking the Wood up to make it look like a post. on both ends of the row. You may have a paved or gravel area where you can stack this Wood, but if you do not have an area available like that, then you should place some planks of Wood underneath the Fire Wood to protect it from rot.

Now start filling in the row where you created the Wood stack posts on either end. Once you have this row completed, you possibly will need to build more rows in order to have all your wood ready for your winter heating or camping.


Creative With Making Patio Furniture

You will need to decide what type of patio furniture you want. In other words, will it be made of wood or metal? For wood, you won’t need too much skill, as hopefully you would have had some experience with woodwork in school or with your dad when you were young. For metal, you may require a bit of skill as the tools you will need are specialised.

If you opt for a metal framed patio set, then you will need to source the same type of metal. This will help you with the structure and the soldering process. With metal you will have to solder the pieces together so that it can be sturdy. To begin the process you will need to measure the parts and cut them to size. Make sure that you measure twice to avoid any mishaps with the length of the parts. Place all the parts in the order that you will join them. Double check this. Once you are sure of each part’s positioning then begin with soldering it together. Once the parts are together and you have all your patio seats, you can paint it the colour you desire. The metal patio set will prove to be hard and cold to sit on. For this you can simply measure the seating and back areas so that an upholsterer can make the cushions for you.

The wood option is usually more popular because it doesn’t rust and it is a cheaper alternative to the metal. In most cases, people find unused pallets and use it to create their own furniture masterpieces. With pallet wood you don’t have to start from scratch. You could simply take one pallet as it is, add four small legs on each corner, sand it and paint it to create an outdoor coffee table. You may want to add a glass top for a smooth surface. For the seats you will need to take the pallet apart in order to piece the wood together to make it sturdy. You will need a saw, hammer, nails and glue to achieve this. Again, make sure that you measure the length of the wood so that your patio seats are all the same size and are symmetrical. If you are happy with the measurements, then glue and nail the wood pieces together. You can paint the wood or varnish it for a natural appearance. Measure the seating and back area. Send those measurements along with your choice of material to the furniture manufacturer who can make it for you. That part you don’t have to make yourself, because sewing the cushions can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before.


Info of Z-Wave Technology

Through Amazon you can get the Revolv smart home gateway, which networks with most of the major component manufactures, Insteon, Schlage, Kwikset, Philips, Nest, Honeywell and others. It comes with an iPhone app and no monthly subscription fee which is a huge bonus.

Insteon will connect with it’s own devices and sync with a cloud server, it also has no monthly service or subscription fees which really helps in the long term. It wouldn’t be much help to be stuck with a contract or subscription service when you are trying to upgrade or change things out in the future.

Lowes sells their own brand “Iris” which is pretty cheap at $99 and a pretty good way to get started.

Doing some research and checking out these different products will give you a good idea whether or not the gateway will meet your requirements, mesh with the systems you want to change out in your house and let you check out some components and their prices. A good gateway price should be around 100-220 dollars and you want to make sure it will either network with multiple brands like Revolv or has enough different components to cover your home automation needs. In the future things like Refrigerators and Coffee pots will be controllable directly over the network, but for now you could connect them through z-wave outlets to turn them off and on at a moments notice.

The Revolv system and with its iPhone app and soon the android app is the easiest way to get started. By being compatible with so many manufacturers and devices it will make it easier to get set up and allow you to shop around for the best value on the components you want to install in your house. The proprietary systems will make it harder to find a good value on some items.

Check out a few of the systems yourself and see if you can find a good fit. We’ll address some of the components soon as well as the challenges and practicalities of getting these systems set up.


DIY Garden Toolbox

Before you start working on this DIY project, make sure that you have all the necessary tools to make your work easier and convenient. If some of the tools are not available in your home, you can always borrow them from your neighbors and friends. Keep all these tools away from your children because they could be dangerous when they operate it without your knowledge. Here is the list of the following tools.

  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (1 inch)
  • Glue
  • Utility knife
  • Square

When you decide to make this project, make sure that you have prepared the required materials which will be used in this DIY project. Never rush in getting them to make sure that the materials you have selected are of great quality. Also, ask for the seller’s advice when buying these materials. Let them recommend the best wood that they think is perfect for your project. Here is the list of the required materials.

  • ¾ inch pine
  • ¼ inch wood dowel
  • Deck screws
  • Tree branch

The simplicity of this toolbox comes from the tree branches utilized for the handle and sides. Three branches is enough with a dimension of 25 inches each. Make sure that the tree branch that you have selected is strong and sturdy. This will add the durability value of the toolbox. As you search for tree branches, select those that are green and freshly cut ones. This is because they are proven to be strong and flexible. The saw, drill, and knife will be used to carve the handle ends. Aside from the branches, a wood dowel is also required with the following dimensions: 6 feet, 1×6 inches; 4 feet, 1×4 inches; and ¼ inch long.

After all materials and tools are prepared, you are now ready to start making your own garden toolbox. Before you start with the procedures, you need to gear yourself with safety goggles to protect your eyes. You should also make sure that there are no children hovering while you work because they might get harmed with the hazardous tools. Here are the steps.

  • Step 1: Construct the basic box. Cut the pine or cedar in accordance to the dimensions stated above. Screw the pines together with the use of deck screws. To avoid splitting the wood while screwing, predrill and drive the screw into a countersunk hole. When doing this step, make sure that you do it in a sturdy table so as to screw the wood more carefully and accurately. Crave the handle ends to suit the holes. The handle has to be bent in order to easily slip it into the next hole.
  • Step 2: Suit the branches. After the basic box is formed, fit the branches by cutting its ends. For more durability, fasten the wood to the sides of the box with nails and screws. The screws should be kept at a minimum of 1 inch from the ends to prevent splitting. Again, predrill to prevent wood splitting.
  • Step 3: Put in dowels. In the handle ends, drill about a ¼ inch in diameter. Next, put the dowels to secure the handle in place. This is the most crucial part because the handle must be very secure and strong to take on all the weight of the toolbox when you lift it anywhere.

After you have finished assembling and putting all the pieces together, you can paint it to add more color. Do this to have an organizer of your garden tools. It’s easy and fun to do. The sense of accomplishment that you experience after completing this DIY project is overwhelming. This does not only save you money, but it also promotes self- esteem.


Build a Backyard Fire Pit

A sophisticated fire pit in the backyard can include a number of features like gas lines and in-built seating to add a dramatic punch! It is an inexpensive method to build a pit on your own than hiring a professional. You should start with digging a pit that takes roughly around eight hours. Add in cemented covers and retaining walls. While picking a significant spot for the pit, ensure that you look for a flattened area which measures around 10-12 feet in diameter.

Materials
1. Course concrete sand (1 cubic yard)
2. Retaining wall units
3. Concrete Adhesive
4. Gravel

Tools
1. Level
2. String
3. Stake
4. Shovel
5. Rake
6. Tape measure
7. Handheld tamp
8. Mallet
9. Wheelbarrow
10. Safety gloves
11. Wet saw
12. Plate compactor

Procedure – How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit

  1. Cut a part of the string which should have a length similar to the radius of the fire pit. Tie one end of the string to a stake that is kept at the center of the fire pit. The other end of the string is connected to an upside down can. Using paint, draw a circle to identify the boundary of the pit. Dig out the dirt and debris present within the marked circle. Ensure that the pit is around 18 inches deep.
  2. Gravel must be poured within the pit at a height of six inches. Make sure that you the base is smooth by pouring the gravel after every layer inside. Once you’ve raked the topmost layer, tamp it down. You can spread a thin layer of sand atop the granite layer.
  3. Mark an inner radius within the fire pit which functions as an efficient guide for placing retaining walls. After you’ve placed the first row retaining walls within the inner circle, secure the units into the gravel using a mallet. Ensure that the retaining wall units are at equal levels.
  4. The second row of retaining walls can comprise of a groove at the bottom and a ridge that stands at the end. This easily interlocks the retaining wall units together. Once the units are clean you can stick each unit together using concrete adhesive. The pavers added to the fire pit consist of 4-6 inch of a gravel base.
  5. The pavers can be laid in suitable pattern which depends upon the kind of style you’re looking for. You can lay the pavers in a staggered layout or arrange the bricks against one another. In order to get a smooth edge you can always purchase pavers from a store. Aluminum or plastic edge restraint keeps the pavers from moving.
  6. Using a plate compactor, the surface of the paver remains compact therefore being highly necessary. The pavers around the pit are usually tapped to remove the sharp corners for a less uniform look.


About Pole Barn Truss Spacing

Back in the day (early 1990’s) I was on the National Frame Builders Association (NFBA) Board of Directors. One of my fellow board members from the Midwest wanted to take a peek at how pole barns were constructed in the West, so I invited him out for a tour.

After spending a day looking at several of our building projects, his comment to me was, “The inspectors in our area would never let a pole building be constructed with roof trusses placed every 12 feet.”

Twenty years later, I beg to differ. Hansen Buildings has buildings in each of the 50 states and all of them have roof trusses on what my board member friend would describe as being “widely spaced.”

Modern truss design is highly computerized. Enter the span of the truss, bay spacing and load conditions and the engineering programs will design a truss which will meet the design criteria. The lumber and steel plates the trusses are constructed from, have no idea how far apart they are going to be placed. They are inanimate! Yet, somewhere in the deep, dark reaches of history, lies the theory wood trusses must be spaced no more than 24″ on center, or maybe 48″, or perhaps even eight or ten feet? The reality is, there is no magic number.

While H. Howard Doane is credited with being the innovator of the modern pole barn, it was his Agricultural Service farm manager, Bernon Perkins, who is credited with refining the evolution of the modern pole building to a long-lasting structure. It was Perkins who pioneered roof purlins being placed on edge. With this design change, roof trusses could be placed 12 feet apart, making it possible for roofs to support the loads to which they would be subjected.

I’ve had roof truss manufacturers try to convince me it is impossible to place wood trusses at spacings of over every 4 feet. Their defense is, “Our engineers will not allow us to.” The manufacturers of the steel roof truss plates (also referred to as gussets or Gang-nails), provide the engineering design for pre-fabricated wood trusses. Their programs will allow for trusses to be placed on 12 foot or even 16 foot centers, and their engineers will place their engineer’s seal on the drawings to verify.


Guide to Installing a Garden Fence

Types of Garden Fencing

Featheredge garden fencing is composed of overlapping timber vertical boards. This is the heaviest and sturdiest type of panel, providing you excellent privacy. It’s also great for fencing.

Waneylap fencing is composed of overlapping timber horizontal boards, a less expensive fence that provide high level of privacy.

Trellis fencing could be used on its own as a decorative panel on top of a solid fence, or as an open screen fencing.

Palisade garden fencing provides visibility as well as good security in the form of a typical picket-style fencing.

Fence Posts

The next step to take is choosing the right fence posts. Concrete and wood fence posts both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Concrete posts ensure a sturdy fence, however they do require a lot of work, while wood fence posts are a lot easier to handle. But because they are buried under the ground, they’re prone to rot.

Fence Height

Next, decide on your fence’s height. Work out post length before you calculate the number of panels you’ll need. It’s best to treat your panels with some sort of all-purpose preservative.

Before building your garden fence, use a string to mark your boundary line. Treat the area with a weed killer and clear away any vegetation, and then lay out your fence posts evenly along the string.

After checking the location of power cables and water pipes, use a metal spoke, bar or rod to make a line of evenly spaced holes. The post holes must be three times as wide as your post and should be two-feet deep. Once your posts are in place, provide a support to the end of each post by packing brick or stone hardcore into the hole’s base.

Then fill each post hole with water halfway and then pour the concrete mix. When concrete reaches the level of the ground, slope the concrete away from the fence post so water will run off. With a spirit level, check is your post is vertical on both adjacent sides, and then prop it up with one to two wood battens in order to hold it in position while the concrete mix sets. Allow the concrete mix to harden for at least one hour, before you attach your fence panels.

Once it’s dry, screw your panels to your posts using two to three post clips for each panel. Add concrete gravel or treated fence boards along the bottom, or place a gap at least four inches to keep the panels off the ground and prevent rot. Finally, screw your fence panels to your posts using two to three U-shaped post clips on each post.


Building a Fence

Important Things To Do

Observe property lines. Never risk having to put down your fence by going even an inch over your boundaries. Review the blueprint of your house or line drawing or obtain a new survey from your land surveyor to be sure of the boundaries. Fence contractors often install a foot inside the property line, to ensure that they build on the safe side.

Respect the limits. Fence builders get necessary permits and should be aware of regulations of local zoning on height of the fence, setbacks, distance from a street, and other building restrictions. Typically, height limits are six feet for the back and side yards, four feet for the front yards. Often, there are more restrictive rules that apply to the corner lots, where blind curves could limit visibility of drivers. To avoid any dispute, ask about restrictions before you choose the type of fence to construct.

Observe the HOA rules. It’s your job to know the do’s and dont’s of home owners associations (HOA), not the fencing contractor. To avoid suffering from committee wrath, engaging in a dispute, it’s important to observe HOA guidelines. These guidelines could dictate the fence height, style, and maintenance.

Nice Things to Do

Share the plans you have regarding your fence. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises; so before building a fence, save yourself a dispute and talk to your neighbours. If there are already issues regarding boundaries, be sure to resolve them before building a fence. You do not have to show them the design you want for your fence; it will only invite trouble. They simply have to live with your personal choice unless it poses danger or reduces property values.

Put the best fence face outward. Putting the more finished side of the fence on the yard of your neighbour or facing the road is a common practice.

Maintain. It is your responsibility to clean and take care of both sides of the fence. If a section starts to age and lean, make necessary repair or simply replace it.

Good Things to Know

The word “fence” includes hedges and trees that make barriers.

If you have a compelling reason for wanting to erect an extra high fence, to block a noisy street, or an unsightly view, apply to your local zoning board for variance. Your neighbours can comment regarding your request during the hearing.


About Stainless Steel Railing

Stainless steel railings are available in many shapes and sizes. The most common designs are square and round. While each style provides a modern twist they each offer their own individual characteristics. Square tubes are typically known as a very contemporary design, while round tubes are considered for a wider selection of applications.

A unique design can be achieved by paring a round post with a square top rail and vice versa. Mixing and matching post and top rail combinations coupled with various infill options provides consumers with a wide variety of choices when choosing a stainless steel railing system for their home, office, or business.

Glass infill is a great option for maintaining a seamless look on an outdoor deck, balcony, or overlook. Glass railing will create an invisible barrier that won’t obscure a phenomenal view. Glass is available in many different shades, thicknesses, and even patterns. Glass and stainless steel railings do not require a top rail but it is possible to mount one with post mounted handrail brackets. A top rail on a glass railing system frames the glass panels and offers a nice finished look.

Glass panels can often be expensive depending on which type of glass is used. A more cost effective option is cable or wire infill. Cable systems are very easy to install and need little attention over time. After the initial installation the cables may need to be re-tensioned after they have had time to settle. Beyond a quick re-tensioning they are very care free. Whereas glass panels require regular cleaning in order to maintain the seamless clear view.

Another option is the bar system railing. The bar systems offer a very unique aesthetic. The bars can only be used with square posts because the fittings required to mount the bars are square and flat. Because of the requisite square posts the bar system is a very contemporary design that is suited to very specific buildings and layouts. A round top rail may be added for a contrasting design.

Stainless steel railing is a great application for exterior surfaces as well. There are two grades of stainless that are commonly used in stainless steel railing, 304 and 316. 316 stainless has a higher corrosion resistance ratting. Typically, 316 steel is recommended for any application that is within five miles of saltwater. 304 stainless is acceptable for all other exterior and indoor uses.