A lot of us use small propane tanks for things like barbecue grills. They are easy to take to the hardware store and trade for a full one when they run out of gas. They are fairly easy to pick up, but you must be careful not to knock them over. One way to make sure they stay secure is to place them into a plastic milk crate – you know, the kind that stack on top of each other to hold stuff. They are inexpensive and easy to find and are the perfect fit for these small tanks. They also have handles on them to make them easier to haul around and much safer for storage and travel.
Q: I have a question. Our house has cedar siding – the real thing, not vinyl. I have noticed stains on the north side of the house. I think it is mold, but I’m not sure. How can we clean these stains, and is there any way to prevent them? – J.W.
A: Try using some laundry bleach to kill the mold. Another option is TSP, available at your hardware store. If the stains remain, even after the mold is gone, you may need to use a wood brightener that contains acid to take off the top surface and make the wood look new again. Then use a water seal to protect it from future mold. If you can add more sun and/or ventilation to the area, that might help, too.
Tips from readers
Dear Carrells: Our house has a wooden porch, and it has always squeaked. I guess I just got used to it, but my mom has really complained about it, so I took a look under the surface of it. There were two places where the planks were not touching the joists. I just got some shims and used a mallet to drive them into the spots. It was easy to do, and there are no more squeaks … yet. – T.B.
Dear Al: I have a tool belt and use it on lots of projects, but it does get heavy. My wife uses it too, but not as often, probably because of the weight. One thing I’ve seen her do when working up on a ladder is to strap the belt around the top of the ladder. That way, you don’t have to wear it and your tools are very handy and easy to get to. – M.N.
Dear Carrells: I had a funnel that I used for the gas in my mower for years. My son used it to fill a bottle of water to use on the garden. I don’t need to tell you what happened to his tomatoes! I made a new funnel for my mower from an old plastic juice jug. Maybe he will leave this one alone. I also made him a couple of funnels so he won’t use the wrong ones, either. – H.W.
Dear Al: Our house is on piers, so we have access to pipes under the house. I check them and replace the insulation when needed. I like to use foam-pipe covering, as it is easy to use and works pretty well. I have leftovers, so I try to find good ways to use them. I put them over the handles on my lawn mower, fertilizer spreader and even the pool net. It is more comfortable on your hands. My wife especially is appreciative. – D.P.
A Super hint
You can make a wine rack out of lots of materials, but we recently saw one that we wanted to try. It was made of plain old aluminum cans, with both the top and bottom removed. They were stacked together, glued and painted to match.
Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.