Finding Wall Studs…

Wall studs are usually located 16 inches (400 mm) apart. If you start in the corner and measure 17 inches (425 mm), you should hit the center of the first stud. Be careful, electrical wires often run through the center of the studs.

Another way to locate a wall stud is to use the commercial stud finer. However, if you don’t have one, you can substitute with a common compass, which works almost as well. Simply draw the compass across the wall and you will find the needle will be attracted to the drywall nails.

Avoid Cracking Plaster…

Place a small piece of tape over the spot on the wall you plan to nail.

Repairing Plaster…

When fixing small wall cracking, instead of mixing the plaster with water, use vinegar. Evidently, this makes a stronger fill.

Defects in Wallpaper…

Grease spots can be lightened and often removed by applying a mixture of cornstarch and water. Allow mixture to dry, and then brush away. Repeat if necessary.

To prevent grease spots on old wallpaper from soaking through to new paper, paint the spots with shellac before applying the new paper.

Believe it or not, a piece of rye bread or an artgum eraser rubbed over wallpaper in long vertical strokes, will often remove soiled spots.

When applying wallpaper in areas of the house where dampness or steam tends to occur, as in the bathroom or the kitchen, try this helpful tip. As soon as the wallpaper dries, paint some clear shellac over the joins and edges. You’ll find that this will help prevent those areas of the paper from peeling back and looking unsightly.

Peeling wallpaper can be re-glued. Using wallpaper paste, smear some on a piece of writing paper wish a kitchen knife. Blot excess. Working from the point closest to the intact wallpaper, rub the passed paper against the underside of the unglued wallpaper. Hold paper against wallpaper for a moment. Then slide the writing paper out and press the wallpaper against the wall. Smooth away any air bubbles.

To repair a rip or immovable mark, take some of the original paper and cut a piece an inch or two larger than the damaged area. Make sure the pattern matches. Hold the patch securely over the matching area and cut through both layers of paper with a sharp wallpaper knife. Ensure your cut lines are larger than the damaged section. Now, remove the old piece and glue the new piece into place. Invisible mending!

When getting ready to wallpaper, start straight! Don’t trust room corners. Suspend a chalked weighted piece of string from a high point on the wall. When it comes to rest, pull it taut against the baseboard. Snap the string at the center. The mark it leaves will be a true vertical.

How to measure for wallpaper…

Here’s a formula for determining how many rolls you’ll need to cover any room in your house. Measure the height of the ceiling (floor to ceiling measurement). Measure the length of two walls and the width of two walls. Total the lengths and widths and multiply by the ceiling height. Divide this total by 25.

The room is 10ft. / 12ft. and the ceiling is 8ft. high. The total lengths and widths is 10 + 10 + 12 + 12 = 44ft. You then multiply 44ft. by the ceiling height of 8ft. to arrive at 352. Divide 352 by 25 to get just over 14 single rolls. You can usually deduct 1 single roll for every 2 openings such as a door or window. However, after making all the calculations and deductions, add 1 single roll for safety.

Sticky Windows…

Beeswax on the pulley stiles will make the window glide easily up and down.

Changing a tap washer…

1) Turn off the water under sink, or at source.
2) Open faucet to drain water.
3) Unscrew faucet handle.
4) Unscrew nut that holds faucet stem in place with an adjustable wrench.
5) Pull the faucet stem.
6) Remove the screw at bottom which holds waster.
7) Remove washer and replace with same size new washer.
8) Repeat above steps in reverse order.

When buying a replacement washer, buy 2 or 3 extra and tie them with a twist tie to your shutoff valve beneath the faucet. Next time you’ll have the right size on hand.

Toilet overflows…

Check the tank float by first removing the lid and simply lifting the float. If it stops the water, bend the rod connected to the float, down slightly. Also check for a leak in the float. Unscrew it from the rod and shake. Replace if there is water inside.

Nail Removal…

If you find the head of the nail you are trying to remove comes off (or was headless in the first place), grip the nail as tightly as possible between the claws of the hammer. Then, pull the nail out by moving the handle of the hammer side-ways instead of the usual way.

Tight Screws…

To remove a stubborn screw, hold the tip of a hot soldering iron against the head of the screw for about 15 seconds. The heat should expand it enough to make it easier to remove with your screwdriver.

Or, place the blade of the screw driver in the head of the screw and tap the handle of the screwdriver with a hammer while exerting anti-clockwise pressure.

Wobbly Knobs…

To fix wobbly knobs, create a sandpaper washer by cutting a small circle of sandpaper and making a hole in the center. Glue the washer to the knob with the abrasive side facing the drawer or door and screw the handle in. It’ll grip a lot better.


When hammering a nail into wood, to prevent the wood splitting, first cut the tip of the nail off with a pair of sharp wire cutters.

When driving in small nails or tacks, first place the nail between the teeth of a comb. Now you can hit the nail with your hammer while your fingers are out of harm’s way.

Another way of protecting your fingers is making sure the head of your hammer doesn’t slip off the head of the nail. You should rough up the face every so often by rubbing it over some coarse sandpaper.

Broken Light Bulb Removal…

To remove a lightbulb that has broken in a ceiling fixture try this. First turn off the power supply to that outlet. Then, using a piece of cork, carefully push the cork into the broken bulb and remove.

Carpenter’s Golden Rule…

Measure twice, cut once.

Always check electrics…

Always test an electrical circuit before beginning work. A voltage tester is simply 2 wires with a little bulb between them. Make sure you periodically check your voltage tester in a circuit that does work so that you are sure it’s operating.

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