Tool Time with Ben:
There have been a few new additions to the tool pile on this project. One of the things I love about Lacey is that she shares a firm belief in having the right tool for the job (I credit her tool-loving Grandpa with passing down that wisdom. Thanks, Bill.). There have been a few jewels that stand out on some of these little home improvement projects.
1. GeckoGauge by PacTool: These little buggers make hanging lap siding a breeze. We started hanging the siding the traditional way of scribing a line for the reveal and leveling the pieces as you move down the house. Its a two-person job for sure. These handy little bastards set your reveal, lock onto the previous course of siding and hold your working piece stable, level, and ready to nail—hands free! Its so easy even a girl can…errrrr…I mean…even a strong, independent, beautiful, intelligent 29 year-old woman with no prior experience can make it look easy.
If you are going to hang more than three pieces of siding, do yourself a favor and pick up the Geckos. My only regret is that they don’t work on our shake shingle panels.
2. Stiletto Titanium Hammer: I confess, I am a hammer nerd. I got into carpentry in my late teens. I wanted to know how to build a house and I needed a job. So there you go. I had no idea it would lead to a collection of hammers 20 years later. I still have my first one. I have three sledge hammers, mallets, ball-peen, trim hammers, dead blows; I have a favorite framing hammer that rarely gets used any more. Wood handles, metal handles, fiberglass, antique, cutting-edge, you name it, I’ve got one. Or five.
I know guys who have been swinging a hammer for 20+ years and its the same hammer they started with. Not me, a hammer is not a hammer and, like I said, I believe in having the right tool for the job. My favorite framing hammer is a Heart 21oz, milled face, with an ax handle. I’ve had it for more than 15 years. They don’t make it any more, and I try not to abuse it. So after the demo was done and the sledges, axes, and pry bars were put away, I brought the old hammer out to start framing new walls.
Now its been a while since I swung this big hammer for a living. It is a lot heavier than I remembered. With a gutted house in front of me, maybe its just that I’m getting old, but my sore elbow and shoulder told me it was time for an upgrade. A lot of folks would never justify the expense of a titanium hammer, but “Brothers and sisters, I’ve seen the light!”
After framing up all the new walls inside and siding the little farmhouse, I am a full-on Ti convert! I’m already saving my pennies for the lighter trim hammer to finish out the barnwood trim and I’m actually looking forward to swinging the framer again on the deck projects. I really should have gotten one of these years ago. It would have been real handy pounding spikes into pole barns out in Wyoming…but that’s another story.
3. Handy Roller Pail: I do not like painting. I especially do not like painting fascia and soffits. There is always a part where the position of your ladder and the angle of the roof make painting with a brush about as awkward as your first junior high slow dance.
This pail was obviously designed by some astrophysicist-rocketship-scientist-painters because they are pure genius. It has never been easier to keep a mini roller full of paint, the small foam rollers are deadly accurate and cover great. Clean up is so easy its a moot point.
I know I sound like a late-night infomercial but its all frickin’ true! If you paint anything, buy it! And, yeah, the fascia and soffits? The paint went on as smooth and easy as Matthew McConaughey in Dazed & Confused: “Be a lot cooler if you did!”
That’s enough tool talk for now. Back to your regularly scheduled light fixtures and window treatments with Lacey.