Monday, January 15, 2007

Extreme Makeover, White House Edition

President Bush recently embarked on some major renovations at The White House. As someone interested in handyman repairs, I suggest he consider using the following practical hints and helpful tools:

underground gas and water lines
Before starting a major renovation, check with the experts to see if there are any hidden dangers. Don’t just assume that you know where buried items are located. If you’re wrong, it can prove to be embarrassing and very expensive.

surge protector
When you’re working with power tools, it’s essential to use a power bar. Without warning, there can be an unexpected increase in available force. The surge protector makes sure that you’re not the one that gets burned.

hire help
Before rushing into a reconstruction job, make sure you have all the help you need. Confirm that family members are onside and ask your neighbors to lend a hand. Many an inexperienced renovator has regretted taking a unilateral approach to what initially appeared to be a simple, one-man job.

Many novices engaged in reconstruction discover too late that they needed a level. This handy tool ensures that you don’t end up with an unbalanced structure that eventually falls apart.

check underlying structure
Before removing a wall or beam, make sure it’s not an essential support. Once you’ve taken down such a support, the rest of the structure may collapse. At that point, trying to rebuild the broken factions is often impossible.

tape measure
A retractable measuring tape is crucial for getting the job done on time. Every good contractor abides by the old saw: "Measure twice; cut and run once." If you don’t, you could be working on the same job for years.

construct proper framing
Know where you want everything to be before you start. For example, without proper planning for door and window placements, you could end up with no exit strategy.

stud finder
Before trying to rebuild any old, dilapidated dwelling, you need to locate the supporting studs. Renovators who fail to do their homework end up building unsupported walls which often result in crumbling infrastructure.

crescent wrench
This is a lightweight, adjustable wrench that allows the user to turn different nuts in a mideasterly direction. However, the crescent wrench should not be used for heavy loads as it will easily break. Not to be confused with the cross wrench or the star of David wrench.

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