As the temperature slowly declines and gives us our long awaited break from the wrath of summer I find myself tinkering in my workshop more and more each day. The air is crisp and refreshing, complimented by the smell of fresh cut lumber. I love fall, and with Halloween right around the corner we find ourselves in a crafty part of the year. Whether today’s inspirations have us carving pumpkins with the kids or making signs out of some old pallets I say this is the year we get out there and make it happen. I will be your seasonal guide to all things DIY, every week I will choose a suggestion out of my comments and write an article about it detailing a precise and safe way to make the coolest projects of the year with or without your children as helpers. I will do my best to use only garage kept tools such as basic saws, hammers, and perhaps a drill or two. Together we will succeed in learning a new way to carve ourselves into the holidays.
For my first article I would like to go over some need to know basics for anyone ready to join me on a few adventures. First and foremost, you are going to need a pretty good amount of lumber to keep up with me. I utilize pallets quite a bit, most of you should be able to find those behind select stores and most places will even let you come pick them up once or twice a week for free. I usually have luck with Harbor Freight, Tractor Supply, and even places like Staples or Office Max can help you. (Don’t ask Lowes or Home Depot they tend to be stingy) Home Depot and Lowe’s do however have excellent clearance lumber IF you can find the clearance bin. Most of the time you are looking for a cart of sorts (It always has wheels) with pieces of wood sticking out of the top and spray paint on each board, the paint sands off plus the wood is cheap. Another approach is to simply talk to your neighbors, it just so happens that in my neighborhood I’m that guy and I get lots of “Donations”, it pays off for the most part except for those silly t.v.’s with the bulbs burned out. The point is you can make art out of almost anything, so use what you can get cheap.
Paints and stains are going to become a regular part of your life as you take this journey to become the ultimate craftsman or craftswoman. To find the good deals on these items you need look no further than Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart, mismatched paint is a friend in this business. And so is stain that has been returned. Most of these items have no expiration and you can find deals up to 75% percent off just because it was the wrong shade for someone else. Buy these items like candy!!! Trust me, you will use it all in the long run and nothing is more horrible than paying full price for anything.
Garage sales are your new best friend! If they aren’t yet, get acquainted quickly. If you find the right person at the right sale they will practically give you tools. Makita, Ridgid, and Dewalt are your top of the line brands. In the middle I place Hitachi, Ryobi Lithium, and Craftsmen. And the lowest quality would be your standard Ryobi and just about anything from Harbor Freight. Humble beginnings are okay! Don’t shy away from low end tools if you can find a great deal, but just be careful that you don’t push them to the brink. Some power tools will only get so hot before the motor gives out, and nothing is worse than having a tool quit on you while you are getting your groove on. Before we start our first craft next week it would be handy to make sure you have a drill, hammer, circular saw, and tape measure.