To fill cracks in plaster mix plaster of Paris with vinegar instead of water, and it will not "set" for 20 or 30 minutes.
Push it into cracks and smooth off evenly with a table knife.
Reprinted from The Almanack of 1910
Wax metal wastebaskets to keep them from rusting on the inside. The wax also keeps dust from clinging.
From The Almanack of 1960
No matter what your next painting project is, be it a room, a fence or the entire house, Think Green! Choose products that are water –soluble and improve air quality when used indoors. Look for products with Low or Zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are less harmful and still cost-effective. Natural paints are less toxic when made with ingredients such as minerals, clay, and bees’ wax. If refinishing is your project, use organic or natural wood finishes and citrus oil base strippers.
Sandpaper will last longer and work better if the paper backing is dampened slightly before wrapping around a block of wood.
One simple method for clearing small clogs is to use a tried-and-true combination of baking soda and vinegar. Empty one-half cup baking soda down the drain, followed by one-half cup white vinegar. Cover the drain and let stand for a few minutes. Then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. The baking soda and vinegar dissolve fatty acids, allowing the clog to wash down the drain.
MORE USES FOR COFFEE FILTERS
Take a coffee filter and ball it up. Use it to apply shoe polish smoothly and evenly, with absolutely no lint. Keeps your hands and fingernails clean, too!
Before building your first fire of the season, check to see that the damper opens properly and closes tightly. If the "fire clay" used as mortar for the bricks inside the fireplace has fallen out, replace it.
Inspect the flue with a flashlight for heavy soot residue.
If you have a brick or clay tile flue (not a metal flue), an occasional handful of salt tossed on the fire will help remove soot.
When the soot deposit gets too thick, have the flue professionally cleaned.
Keep the damper closed when fireplace is not in use.
Periodically examine the fins on the pipes inside the baseboard heating enclosures. If they have a lot of lint or other material on them, it will restrict airflow. Vacuum them thoroughly.
Experts recommend at least one square foot of inlet vent and one square foot of outlet vent for each 150 square feet of attic floor area. However, this can be reduced by one-half if a thin vapor barrier is installed beneath the attic insulation.
Don't throw away that old door you just removed from the house. Repurpose it and turn it into a nice workbench or potting table.
When doing Spring or Fall window washing, try drying the window after washing, using strokes in 1 direction (top-to-bottom) or (side-to-side) when outside. Use the other direction when drying windows on the inside. This way should there be any streaks (and there will be), you can tell at a glance which side of the window its on.
Clean screens easily and without removing them for the window with a vacuum cleaner hose with no attachment.
Your tire contains very useful information molded into the sidewall. It shows the name of the tire, its size, whether it is tubeless or tube type, the maximum load and maximum inflation, the important safety warning and much other information.
Wooden screen frames should be painted not just for looks but to prevent absorption of moisture which can cause swelling, distortion in shape, and rotting. Even aluminum frames need protection and should be periodically cleaned and waxed to deter oxidation.
If a gate's fame isn't square but is not broken, use a wire and turn buckle attached at opposite corners to bring it back to its proper shape.
When planning your next outdoors project such as a deck or fencing, consider checking with your local building department to determine the exact depth you need to build post holes and foundations. You want to dig the hole down to the frost line (the depth to which the soil freezes in your area). Most builders know that any structure whose base is not below that depth (where the ground freezes will raise the structure unevenly and leave it out of plumb.
There are several ways of removing wallpaper. First, you must know what surface you are working with. Steamers that can be rented have always been a favorite especially for plaster walls. Merely steam the paper and scrape off. There are several stripping products, which can be found at your local paint and wallpaper stores.
To stop your saw from getting stuck when sawing, rub a bit of candle wax on both sides of the saw to make it slide in and out smoother.
If you want to sharpen razor blades, you can use the striker on the matchbook.
Closing and reopening the water faucets that supply the washer each month is a good idea, especially if you have hard water. Otherwise they may bind up and not be able to be closed when needed, or leak at intermediate positions.
If you will be tiling your kitchen floor, make sure you tile beneath the dishwasher or at least raise its flooring to the same height as the tiles. Once down, there may not be enough clearance to remove the dishwasher for servicing.
When working on electrical problems, never do so on a live circuit. Ensure that the circuit that you are working on is isolated and cannot be switched back on accidentally.
Switching off the light at the light switch does not isolate the electricity to the ceiling rose or light fitting. Isolate the circuit that you are working on from the consumer unit or fuse box.
SANDING AND PAINTING TIPS
When sanding small areas like spindles or grooves, wrap your sandpaper around something flat and flexible, like a dog's collar. Pull it back and forth on the area to be sanded. The edge will get right into the groove and your fingers will be saved.
If your paint is old and lumpy, stir as best you can, then strain through an old nylon stocking into a new container.
Dreading the paint fumes from your next project? Stir a teaspoon or so per gallon of vanilla extract into the paint the night before and be pleasantly surprised.
When painting furniture, start at the top and work down, smoothing paint drips as you work downward.
PRESERVE AND PROTECT
Brass doorknobs, escutcheon plates and other ornamental hardware can be protected from corrosion and pitting by periodically rubbing on a thin layer of paste wax. Clean thoroughly with metal polish or scouring powder first, then rub on the wax and buff vigorously when dry.
To keep the corners of picture frames from scratching painted or papered walls against which they are hung, push a thumb tack into the back of the two lower corners. Their smooth heads will slide easily, leaving no marks on the wall when the picture is shifted for dusting.
Ordinary brooms wear down rapidly when used to sweep up rough cement floors in basements or garages. Extend its life considerably by dipping just the ends of the bristles into a shallow pan of thinned shellac.