Tasks to keep busy when snowbound


February 13, 2000|By Karol V. Menzie and Ron Nodine

WHEN IT comes to being housebound because of a snowstorm, there are two kinds of people: Those who are thrilled to have time to work on hobbies (or to do nothing) and those who are driven berserk by confinement.

For either category, Dremel tools has a rescue plan: a list of things you can do around the house to make winter hours pass more quickly, and to shore up your home against future winters. Here are some of the suggestions:

Around the house: Add an extra grill to an existing heating duct to distribute more warm air with the cut-off wheel, drill bit and grinding stone accessories. The vent can be closed when not needed to conserve energy. Reseal windows by removing old putty with the high-speed cutter accessory and reapply putty.

The car: Remove rust spots quickly with a grinding stone or wire brush accessory. Patch and repaint. Use a brass brush accessory to clean the battery. Remove the battery from the car, use baking soda and water, then clean the cable clamps.

Looking ahead to spring: Replace worn grips and clean the heads of golf clubs. It's not as much fun as breaking 90 for 18 holes, but it could make that event more likely.

Information about these and other projects is available in the "Dremel 175+ Uses Guidebook," included in every Dremel kit. (Suggested retail price for kits ranges from $99 to $119. The kits can be found at hardware and hobby shops and at home improvement centers.) For more information, call 800-437-3635 or check out the Web site at www.dremel.com .

Hardwood, easy answers

When it comes to finished wood products, can you tell white elm from white oak? Basswood from cottonwood? Hackberry from hard maple? These, with other woods from alder to willow, are featured in the "Guide to American Hardwood Species" from the Hardwood Manufacturers Association.

Each of 21 major commercial hardwood types is profiled, with information about distribution of the trees; a description of how the wood looks; working properties (such as basswood being a major carving wood, because it's easy to work with hand tools); its technical properties (such as hickory's good strength and shock resistance); availability; and main uses.

Pictures show the wood, the tree's leaves and the wood in home and commercial settings. When your kitchen contractor starts talking about the differences between yellow birch and cherry for cabinets, you can refer to the guide to find out what he means.

For a copy of the free, 28-page brochure, call 800-373-WOOD or check out the Web site at www.hardwood.org .

Ron Nodine is owner of American Renovator Inc., a Baltimore design-build remodeling firm, and former president of the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. Karol Menzie is a feature writer for The Sun.

If you have questions, tips or experiences to share about working on houses, e-mail Ron at hwrenovator.net. Or write c/o HOME WORK, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; comments, tips and experiences will be reported in occasional columns.

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