Did You Know that Amazon Can Mow your Lawn, Clean your Windows, and Mount your TV?

 

lawn mowing

I love Amazon and the convenience it offers to buy and receive pretty much anything we could want without ever having to leave the comforts of home.  From tools to produce there are only a few number of things you can not purchase through the site, and apparently that number is shrinking .  From lawn maintenance to electrical wiring, and mounting a television on the wall to computer repair,  Try Amazon Home Services offers a variety of home maintenance tasks to be purchased from their site.  They do all of the leg work in finding qualified, insured, and reputable professionals, you just order the service.

The link below will take you to a complete list of services, customer reviews, professionals in your area, and more information on the services that can be purchased through Amazon.

Try Amazon Home Services

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15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Handy Moms

I will go ahead and let you know that this is not a list of pink and purple tools for mom made by brands and companies no one has ever heard of.  This is a list of 15 legitimate tools and gadgets that any gender into DIY projects would benefit from having at their disposal.  I have bought tools for my own mother in the past that may not have been cute, but they are definitely reliable. All but one of these tools can be purchased for around $100 or less. So if your mom is not scared to get her hands dirty and tackle a project, read on.

1. Worx Cordless Hydroshot

Not as strong as gas pressure washers, but much stronger than a garden hose, the Hydroshot is a light and portable option for cleaning jobs around the house and shop.

2. Deebot Robotic Vacuum

This vacuum has made the lives of my wife and I a lot easier.  With three little ones running around our floors get abused daily, thankfully deebot shows them a little love every afternoon without either of us having to lift a finger.

3. Black and Decker 20 Volt Max Project Kit

This is a great all around tool kit to have around the house.  Complete with drill and battery, this kit has the tools needed to complete numerous home projects.

4. Aberg Best 21 MP Camera

The only thing better than a job well done is a job well done that can be shown off to your friends and family.  This camera is light, inexpensive, and has great reviews.  Before and after shots of projects are always fun to compare.

5. Worx Aerocart

The Worx Aerocart is the Swiss Army Knife of wheel barrows.  With all of the functions of a typical wheel barrow this tool also has added ergonomic and hauling capabilities that most do not.

6. Echo Dot

Get how-to and DIY information at the sound of your voice.  With all of the interactive capabilities of this little gadget you can play music, answer calls, and control your lights and thermostat without leaving the couch.  This thing is incredible.

7. Ion Tailgater

Play music, sing karaoke, listen to the radio, charge your phone, connect via blue-tooth, all things that can be done with this little speaker.  We actually have two at my house and bring them with us just about every time we go outside.

8. Black & Decker 7 1/4″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

This is a sturdy little saw.  It can cut 2×8 lumber at 90 degrees and 2×6 lumber at 45 degrees.  It is more compact than 10″ and 12″ miter saws making it lighter and more easily transported from site to site.

9. Keter Folding Workbench

Rated to hold up to 1000lbs and folding up for easy transport and storage, the Keter workbench is a great work surface at home and on the go.  It even comes complete with compatible work clamps.

10. Tack Life 50 ft Laser Level

This level offers horizontal and vertical cross beams that will project from up to 50 feet away.  This is a must have tool for anyone hanging pictures, trim work, or baseboards.

11. Black and Decker Power Hand Saw

This is a very handy little saw that can cut anything from dimensional lumber to tree limbs and branches.  For “tweener” jobs that are in the middle of chainsaw and handsaw this tool works great.  It does not have the power of a chainsaw that may be intimidating to some, but still makes pruning and cutting a lot quicker and easier than going at it with a handsaw.

12. Keter Cool Bar

This 7.5 gallon cooler is great for outdoor gatherings and holds up to 60 cans or 40 bottles with ice.  The top is collapsible which allows for this to function as a closed cooler and there is a built in drain plug at the bottom of the cooler.  With three colors and two styles to choose from this would be a great addition to any backyard or outdoor function.

13. Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure

The Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure allows for accurate measurements without the need for a tape measure up to 65 ft (in reality it is probably more like up to 40 ft.).  The beauty of this product is that one person can get multiple measurements from one spot without the need for someone running around from point to point with the other end of the tape measure.  This tool allows measuring to be an accurate one person job.

14. Rockwell Blade Runner

If a small table saw had a baby with a jigsaw, this would be the baby.  The Blade Runner is a nice lighter duty craft and hobby saw that cuts through just about any type of material someone would want to cut.  The Blade Runner’s sub 15 lb weight allows it to be easily transported to and from different jobs and it sets up quickly and easily.

15. Husqvarna Automower

I will start by saying I believe all moms deserve this, but the ones that receive this must truly be special.  This is the only product on the list that is well above the $100 mark that I was trying to hover around and under.  This particular model is rated for about a 3/4 acre yard and is sophisticated enough to automatically cut your lawn every day of the week if you so desire.  There is some initial set up labor that is required to get this thing self sufficient, but once it is done you are golden.

For additional information, reviews, and pricing on the products listed in this article simply click the product picture or link and it will take you directly to the product on Amazon.

Thank you very much for checking out my site.  If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother that is a serial DIY’er I would love to hear about you/her and see some pictures of your projects.  Feel free to email me some pictures and info about your projects so I can post them on my site or contact me through my tool-school.com page on Facebook.  I hope that you all have a great Mother’s Day!

Jake

jakestoolschool@yahoo.com

 

Coolest Homemade Hybrid Ladder

Have you ever thought about what makes a tool great?  Chances are descriptions like reliable, consistent, easy to use, and convenient come to mind, but the ability to serve multiple functions across a wide variety of builds and projects is the one thing that can make almost any tool seem great.  Multi-functional tools are great, but tools that have multiple uses that you dream up and create yourself, now those are the best.

I have a large shop across the street from my house that was included in the purchase of our home.  I have always dreamed of having a large shop and truth be told, we more than likely would not have purchased our home and property had the shop not been there.  Eager as I was to begin my numerous projects in my new shop upon moving I had to complete some much needed set-up and maintenance first.  All of the light ballasts that were attached to the 14ft high ceiling were bad and I needed to install a storage platform to get all of my junk out of our new dining room.  So to kill two birds with one stone, I combined the projects and built this…….

DSCF6342

What is this you ask?  Simple, it is a ladder/scaffold/storage platform/lookout tower/elevated stage hybrid……..On casters.  Before I built this bad boy I knew that I would have to figure out a safe way to change the light ballasts so I quickly began to research rolling ladders and quickly realized that I was not able to spend the money for one at the time.  My next bit of research was done on scaffolding and I quickly found out that I would not be getting a scaffold either.  Lastly, I logged on to check out the price of 14 ft A frame ladders and started to sweat as I was running out of options and could not work in the dark.

After finding out I would blow my storage platform budget on an A frame ladder to change the ballasts a light bulb went off (my shop remained dark though).  I ran to my computer and googled giant wooden rolling platforms (not my exact search term) and to my surprise, nothing.  A few wooden scaffold builds were found on various sites and YouTube, but I could find no evidence of anyone being dumb enough to try and make an 8x8x10ft tall wooden platform roll.  So with no instruction or guidance from the world wide web of information I headed to the home improvement store to get the materials needed to make my dumb idea a dumb reality.

DSCF6343
A look at the platform structure underneath.

The platform build was a piece of cake, it is just an 8×8 platform framed with 2x6s with joists 16″ on center.  The legs are 4x6x8s and were physically tough to attach to the platform with no help and not being cemented or bolted for stability, but other than having to get creative when bolting the platform to them, it was not exactly brain-busting.

The mental strain came with trying to figure out how I would attach the heavy duty casters to the bottom of each 4×6.  I could not lag screw the casters to the bottom because the bolt pattern on the caster’s steel plate was larger than the bottom area of the 4x6s, not to mention I am certain that all the weight on the lag screws would only strip them out and split the wood quickly.  I needed a way to bolt the casters to something that could support the bottom of the 4×6 and then be bolted through the 4×6 posts.  Below was my solution.

DSCF6338

I went to my scrap metal pile and grabbed some 2×4 rectangle tubing and some 7 inch channel iron and went to work.  I cut the channel iron and welded two pieces of it together so that it fit snuggly around the bottom of each 4×6 then I drilled three bolt holes through each.  I then traced the caster bolt plate pattern onto the 2×4 rectangle tubing and drilled the bolt holes in the tubing.  I welded the channel to the top of the rectangular tubing, bolted the casters to the bottom, and installed my brackets onto each one of the 4x6s.

DSCF6339
I ran out of correct length bolts for the last bracket, that explains the eye bolt haha.

It has been a few years since I completed this build and I have plenty of junk piled up on my ladder/scaffold/platform, but it is holding up great.  I do not roll it around very often but every time I do it works great.  Changing the ballasts and bulbs at 14ft is a piece of cake when you have the comfort of a 64 square foot area to work on.

I am not suggesting that you attempt to recreate this build, but if you do or know someone that does here is some info and advice, I am not responsible or liable for any accidents, brace the crap out of it,  and please send me pictures when the build is complete.

I do suggest however, that if you are building a rolling  work bench, table, or  platform that is much closer to the ground, you check out these casters that I used for this project.  Each caster has its own brake and each individual caster is load rated for 1000lbs.  They have held up great and I consider them to be a steal at under $60 for all four.

For more product information, reviews, pricing, and specs on these casters click here. 

My ladder/scaffold/storage platform has served me very well and saved me money on having to both buy a ladder and build a storage platform in my shop.  I know that it is not beautiful, but it is super multi-functional, and that was the goal I was looking to achieve.  below are a few more pictures of the beast.  Thanks for reading.

Please be sure to like, comment, share on social media, and follow tool-school.com.

DSCF6337DSCF6340

DSCF6341.JPG

Thanks again for checking out my site!

Jake with tool-school.com

6 Tools To Make Pressure Washing Easy

Residential grade gas pressure washers like the one pictured above have become very popular tools for homeowners in the last twenty years or so.  Typically pumping between 2 and 3 gallons of water per minute, and producing between 2000-4000 psi, a quality gas powered washer can be purchased anywhere from $250-$500 at most home improvement stores.  The uses for these machines are numerous ranging from house washing to paint stripping.  Though new washers typically come with all accessories required to go to work, below are six inexpensive accessories that will make your pressure washing projects easier, quicker, and more efficient.

  1. Spray Wand Quick Connect

The aluminum male nipple with the black plastic sleeve screws on to the threaded piece that your spray wand hose typically screws to.  The brass female quick connect threads onto the bottom part of the spray wand hose and connects to the aluminum male nipple that is threaded on the pump.  The purpose of these accessories is to not only make disconnecting the wand hose quicker, but also eliminates the need to screw and unscrew parts to remove the spray wand from the machine, greatly reducing the risk of stripping the threads on the wand hose and pump.

2.   5-in-1 Hose Nozzle

This 5-in-1 hose nozzle has worked great for me.  I built my own pressure washer a few years ago and only had a few tips for it that I ended up losing due to having nowhere to store them.  I figured I would give this 5-in-1 a try but I did not expect much from it.  I have been pleasantly surprised by how well it works.  It adjusts from 0, 15, and 40 degree spray angles and also has a soap and flush mode.  Adjustments are made by simply depressing the button on top and rotating the head to the desired spray mode.  It has all the functions that I need for my pressure washing jobs and has held up very well.

3.  Garden Hose Quick Connect

The brass part with the male nipple on the left in the picture simply threads into the threaded part of any garden hose while the part on the right threads onto the part of the pressure washer pump that the garden hose typically threads onto.  The piece that threads onto the pump does not need to be removed from the pump once installed, greatly reducing the chance of ruining any component of the costly washer pump.  To make this quick connect even more effective you can buy a hose to dedicate to your pressure washer that way you will never have to screw or unscrew a hose when pressure washing again.

4. Quick Connect Wand Extension

This quick connect wand extension gives you an extra 33 inches of reach for cleaning eaves, gutters, and high windows.  It is a great compliment to the fifth tool mentioned below.

5.  Gutter Cleaning Attachment

This attachment has a nice bend with two heads that shoot water to either side for blasting leaves, dirt, and debris from gutters.  Coupled with the wand extension above, this setup will allow you to clean gutters safely from the ground opposed to dangling off of a ladder.

6. Pivoting Coupler with Nozzle Tips

The pivoting coupler with quick connect and spray nozzle tips allows you to adjust the spray angle to wash those hard to reach areas.  Though I discussed my love for the 5-in-1 nozzle earlier, it can be helpful to have the smaller individual tips for times when you need to access areas in tight spaces.

For additional product reviews, pictures, and specifications as well as pricing simply click on the product link or picture in this post.

For a ton of great information and comparisons of pressure washer models and brands check out this article from bestdrillreviews.com.

Thank you very much for reading.  Please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake with tool-school.com

DIY Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

DSCF6566

Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

dscf6567.jpg

Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake

 

 

Your House is a Deep Fryer, Not a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

DSCF6566

Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

dscf6567.jpg

Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake

 

 

Tool-school.com Mentioned as Top 21 Home Improvement Blog for 2018

I want to give a big thanks to bestdrillreviews.com for listing tool-school.com as a top 21 Home Improvement blog of 2018.  If you are in the market for a cordless drill check out their site for a ton of useful information and comparisons.

bestdrillreviews.com