Our yard is small but mighty. Our indoor/outdoor space works well for us but recently our neighbor decided to cut down some bushes that were on his property but acted as a natural barrier between our homes. After the bushes were removed we could clearly see his kitchen and dining room windows and of course they could see right into our backyard. We did have some bamboo screens but they were worn out and falling down and not providing any privacy at all. We had no warning but fortunately the neighbor was just doing this to prepare the house for a new tenant so there was no one living in it, but we knew that could change quickly.
We considered a few options to regain some privacy between our homes. The first was extending the brick wall between our homes with a wood fence similar to what we had done in another section of our yard. The issue here is that the brick wall was shorter on this side so we’d have to build a much taller wood fence. This would take a lot more time and money and we needed this done fast.
The second option was to buy some pre-made wood fences and place them on risers up against the brick wall. Although the fences are pre-made we’d still have to build out a frame for them and they would be very heavy.
The next option was installing corrugated steel panels along the wall. Using furring strips we could attach the steel panels to the brick and be done with it! Usually the most simple option is the best so this is what we chose to do.
Thanks to Lowe’s we found all of the tools and materials we needed and after a quick trip to pick up supplies we were ready to get started.
8 corrugated steel panels (4×8)
20′ furring strips
Tapcon concrete screws
Corrugated steel screws
Carbide-tipped masonry drill bit
Hammer drill and driver
The first step is to attach the furring strips to the wall using Tapcon concrete screws. We pre-drilled the holes using a masonry bit that was included in the Tapcon screw kit.
The next step is lining up the steel panels against the wall and making sure they are even across the top. We overlap at least one ridge and then drill the steel screws through the panels and into the furring strips. We recommend using two furring strips for this process to ensure maximum hold.
Big thanks to Duluth Trading Company for letting me try out their new DuluthFlex Ultimate Fire Hose Cargo Pants.
The last step was sitting back and enjoying our new private yard.
The steel panels gave our yard an industrial chic look and made us feel like we were in a coffee house in Austin (not a bad thing). It’s full private and the panels have since weathered a few Santa Ana wind storms with no problem. An added bonus they served as an earthquake warning as we heard the panels shaking against each other last week during a little tremor we had. It was freaky to see and hear them move when there was no wind in the air.
Pressure washers are extremely handy tools. We use ours to clean our cars, wash the siding, clear the patio, the possibilities are endless. They use much less water than a hose and a standard garden nozzle and the concentrated spray makes quick work of dust, dirt and grime on almost any surface.
We recently tested the Karcher K 3 Follow Me electric pressure washer and have been very impressed.
We were skeptical of its small size and we’ve never seen an electric pressure washer perform very well, but this baby is small and mighty. It operates at 1800 PSI and 1.3 gallons per minute. It only weighs 50 lbs. and can be stored in your closet.
We liked the compact size and since there was no gas/oil to mess with it was much cleaner to operate and maintain. You simply plug it in and the long extension cord will provide plenty of reach.
It comes with two attachments, an adjustable nozzle that can spray soap or a more concentrated end that shoots a steady and narrow stream. The only drawback in our eyes is the host tends to get tangled easily. We think they could have used a better material that wraps easier and is more sturdy.
Check out our quick video as well as a fun car wash demo.
6 Second Car Wash #carwashvine #carwash https://t.co/33mJ9Y3VnF — Charles & Hudson (@Charles_Hudson) August 4, 2014
The ideal applications are cleaning driveways, patio furniture and vehicles. For more information visit Karcher.]]>
If you’ve got a solid core wood door, you’ve got yourself the makings of a nice wood work table. You need to start with a door with no moldings and hopefully the surface is smooth. If it’s got chipped paint or of the wood is damaged it would be best to repair or sand it first before painting it.
Estimated Project Time: 3 Hours
Challenge Level: Medium
Tools & Supplies:
1 gently used or new solid core wood door
Sandpaper grits: 180, 220
Box of 2” deck screws
4 pieces of 4×4 lumber cut to 32”
4 corner braces
4 L braces
¼” drill bit
1. Find a gently used solid core wood door or buy a new one.
2. Assemble tools and materials and cut table legs to desired length using a circular saw or hand saw.
3. Place door on a pair of sawhorses or across a sturdy table in a well-ventilated area.
4. Use sanding blocks and sandpaper to smooth all surfaces of the table including the top, sides and legs. Start with 180 grit and progress to 220 grit.
5. Use tack cloth to remove all dust and dirt from the table and legs.
6. Apply Polyurethane Finish or paint to door and legs.
7. Let Finish dry 2-4 hours on each side. Apply second coat if necessary.
8. Lineup corner and L brackets on legs and table and pre-drill holes.
9. Mount legs to door using the 2” deck screws and your drill/driver.
10. Check that all table legs are tightly secure.
11. Turn table over and enjoy your new work area.]]>
This week I had the pleasure of returning to the annual Milwaukee Tools New Product Launch Event.
It’s a full-day of hands-on tool testing and demonstrations from Milwaukee product managers. There are also Milwaukee Tool engineers, designers and executive available to ask any question you have regarding the tools, application or direction of their business.
It’s also a great time for me to catchup with my fellow tool bloggers, including: Home Fixated, Pro Tool Reviews, Tool Box Buzz, Concord Carpenter and Tools in Action. Check out their websites for a different perspective of the event.
Milwaukee Tools, considers themselves a solutions provider for their core users which include electricians, plumbers, carpenters, HVAC and contractors. Their goal is to introduce disruptive innovation to all the trades by providing tools that make a contractors job more efficient.
They introduced more than 50 new products but if I had to narrow it down to my top 5 new tools it would be this list.
1. M18 FUEL 7 1/4″ cordless circular saw kit (2731-22)
2. M18 FUEL HOLE HAWG ½” Right Angle Drill Kit (2707-22)
3. M12 FUEL 5 3/8″ cordless compact circular saw
4. M12 FUEL HACKZALL Reciprocating Saw Kit (2520-21XC)
5. Jobsite Offset Scissors (48-22-4040) and Jobsite Straight Scissors (48-22-4041)
Check out all of our photos on Google+ and Facebook and we’ll be posting some follow up articles on these tools.]]>
We’ve got some vintage style wood milk crates that look great in our yard and are perfect for displaying succulents and flowers, but the wood is untreated and has quickly started to fade and splinter due to the sun and weather.
We want to protect these display pieces so we can continue to use them for years to come and we also wanted to freshen them up with a darker toned color. We chose Olympic Elite Advanced Stain+Sealant which had a color we wanted (mahogany) and the waterproofing protection and UV resistance we needed.
Here’s a quick how-to video of our staining project and some photos of the finished piece. We’ve taken a first-person point-of-view video using our GoPro Hero head cam. Take a look.
I have been sponsored by PPG to create this video but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.]]>
Here’s a siding material you don’t see everyday, tree bark.
BarkClad, based in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, is a bark siding and building-supply company. They head into the woods every summer for a few weeks to harvest the bark of the Southern Tulip Poplar, a hearty and abundant tree whose characteristic to grow straight and tall makes it an ideal source for natural siding.
Each piece of bark is carefully hand-peeled from trees that have been sustainably harvested for the furniture and plywood industries, saving what otherwise would go to waste to create a beautiful natural siding product.
All BarkClad natural poplar bark siding is hand-peeled, dried in a certified kiln, hand-cut on-site, stacked, loaded and shipped for delivery within a 1-week period or less to maintain the exceptional natural integrity of the bark.
BarkClad natural poplar bark is available in three grades, including 1 ¼”+ Super Exterior Premium Grade, ¾”-1″ Exterior Standard Grade and less than ¾” Interior Grade – making it the perfect siding choice for all of your interior and exterior siding needs.
Their distinctive bark is found on the exteriors and interiors of fine rustic homes and lodges, lake cabins, seaside cottages, and natural commercial properties across North America.
With an estimated installed savings of $2 to $3 per sq. ft. compared to natural bark siding, SmartBark saves builders, developers and homeowners time and money without sacrificing style.
SmartBark is weather resistant so it doesn’t fade, darken, rot, mold, crack or curl. It is easy to install and doesn’t require bug treatment or a special moisture barrier. BarkClad’s exclusive 30-year limited warranty ensures your siding will look beautiful for years to come.
It is washable, paintable and flame resistant, and with an R-value of 4.7 per inch, SmartBark saves on energy costs year after year.
Visit BarkClad.com for more details.]]>
The 50 hp., 812 cc XUV825i Midnight Black Special Edition Gator heavy-duty model is outfitted with a sport steering wheel, power steering, high performance exhaust, a long-range light kit, and poly half doors. The vehicle is also equipped with matte black alloy rims and Maxxis® 2.0 Bighorn tires. A deluxe cargo box with spray-on liner ensures hard-working performance and longevity. To customize the Gator further, a power and front protection package is available for customers who prefer power lift, a heavy-duty front brushguard and fender guard, as well as floor mats. The XUV model is available with either sport bucket seats or a bench seat. More details here.
The recreational, 62 hp., 839 cc RSX850i Midnight Black Special Edition Gator also includes custom matte black paint scheme with charcoal gray decals, but with black and silver alloy rims rigged out with Maxxis® 2.0 Bighorn tires. The trail-sport package boasts a special edition door closeout panel with Gator image, PreRunner bumper, and a Warn® 3,500 lb. winch. In addition, enthusiasts will also enjoy a full underbody aluminum skid plate, mounted HELLA® HID Sport lights, FOX® 2.0 Performance Series shocks, 2-inch front receiver hitch, side nerf bars, and cargo box rails. The RSX850i model comes installed with high-performance sports seats. More details here.
Pick your poison as either one of these bad boys will get you from point A to point B in style.]]>
There have been a few revolutions in our homes over the course of time. From indoor plumbing to electricity to Wifi, technology continues to advance and infiltrate our daily lives.
The next major milestone is known as “The Internet of Things”. What is this? Think of taking everything we classify as smart home products to the next level. Many of the current smart home devices live as proprietary units within the domain of a certain task. For example, a garage door that can be opened by an app, a security camera that can be viewed via your smartphone. These are all amazing devices and they will keep coming, but thinking smaller has even bigger implications.
Sensors can now be placed into any electronic appliance or tool and can be controlled and monitored via an internet connection that is tethered to any Wifi or Bluetooth enabled device. Think of the possibilities! Many of which are already happening.
Ovens, toasters, microwaves, ranges and refrigerators are all sensor ready. Imagine an oven that senses the temperature of your food and automatically shuts off and then pings you when your food is done. You don’t need to be in audio range of the buzzer and there is no need to keep opening and checking the food. Or, a refrigerator that scans the due date on food and will let you know when something is spoiled or when milk is low.
This revolution is at the micro-level.
Pee Wee Herman’s rube goldberg breakfast machine is entertaining but not happening.
Products such as Sonos for home audio have almost perfected the smart home industry within their domain and with new products such as Nest and Dropcam, the world of appliances has finally awoken to the future that is connected devices.
We’re looking forward to sharing the latest advancements in smart home technologies and “the internet of things” and are excited about our home’s future, now more than ever.
Real estate listings haven’t changed much in the last few years. The MLS record is still archaic looking and photo tours and video tours vary in quality.
Google Maps has really changed the game and Zillow, Trulia and Redfin were the first to really take advantage of all of the other ways to showcase a home using a bird-eye view and Streetview.
Navigating Google Earth can get tedious and the 3D renderings are still rough, but until now they have been the best options we have for getting a proper view of a home and the surrounding areas, until now.
Drones are now being used to scout homes and other properties in Australia and as the Daily Mail points out, this is only the beginning.
Visualize seeing your perfect home then watching a 2 minute video clip that shows the neighborhood and how close a school, grocery store or train station is.
Real estate agents should be all over this technology as it sets them apart from everyone else and provides their clients with another tool to evaluate a property.
Here’s an example of a house tour using a drone in Westlake Village.]]>
Wilton, maker of the BASH sledgehammer, has just introduced the Wilton ATV (All-Terrain Vise). Instead of taking up valuable space in your truck bed, it will attach directly to a 2″ truck hitch but can also be removed and used on any bench (with adapter).
For those in the trades, your truck is your workstation and this is just another innovative way to make your office more useful.
The ATV is ideal for vehicles used in construction, farm and ranch, automotive, marine or those dedicated to outdoor and off-road activities. The mobile vise is great for most bending and cutting operations. It’s also handy for fence, building and parts repairs, and other work-holding projects.
“After five years of development and hands-on field tests and research, the ATV is ready to go,” said Tim Onello, Wilton’s Director of Product Management. “There are more than 40 million trucks on the road today, and many of them are equipped with 2” hitch receivers. ATV is a mobile, dependable workhorse, and a lot of workers who split time in the shop and field will appreciate its capabilities.”
Once the vise is inserted into a standard 2” hitch receiver, it’s secured by a hitch pin. In addition, two patented set screws on the top and side are used to tighten the ATVs fit inside the receiver to eliminate play and reduce vibration when driving. The ATV also features a patented 360° locking handle. When driving, a spring-loaded hub secures the handle and keeps it in an upright position.
The top of the ATV features a large striking anvil for forming and shaping a variety of materials. Also unique to the ATV is an integrated carrying handle located beneath the anvil, which provides for easy, balanced transport.
The 33 lb. portable, multi-use vise is constructed of high-strength, ductile cast iron, powder-coated steel rated to 60,000 psi. The vise’s 6”-wide jaws open to 5-3/4” with a 5” throat depth. The vise has a clamping force of 1 ton. The ATV also is equipped with two sets of jaws (straight and v-groove), which are replaceable. The pipe jaws hold material up to 3” in diameter. The vise’s lead-screw is precision-ground carbon steel with acme threads for long life and durability. The ATV’s overall dimensions are 19-1/4”L x 6”W x 7-1/4”H.
“There’s something empowering about driving a pickup truck or SUV with a vise in the hitch,” said Jana Turner, Wilton’s product manager. “This mobility comes in handy in field work and especially in remote locations.”
The Wilton ATV (#10010, $199.99) includes the vise, hitch pin and cotter pin; a bench mount bracket; plus instructions and parts manual. The Wilton ATV with hard shell carrying case (#10015, $249.99) also is available. Optional accessories include an additional bench mount bracket (#10300, $24.99) and the hard shell carrying case for transport and storage (#10350, $59.99). The ATV carries a lifetime warranty on manufacturer’s defects.]]>