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There are a lot of silly things sold today, but the motorized grill brush tops the list. It makes you wonder if the person who signed the check to manufacture them has ever grilled. Is it really that hard to move your arm back and forth, and do you really want to hunt around for batteries when the brush dies rather than clean your grill?

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You can rekey a lock quickly and simply, in an evening — it might qualify as a “One-Beer” project, if you’ve got just one lock to rekey. Change-A-Lock and other companies make kits that allow you to change the key for a lock. But if you want a key you already have to fit all your doors, you’ll probably have to either hire a locksmith or do the work yourself.

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In the Tool Talk Podcast #38, a caller asked about replacing the chuck on his Skil hammer drill. Though Chuck and Sean weren’t able to answer his questions on the spot, I found some answers at eReplacementParts.com, which boasts the Internet’s largest selection of power tool diagrams and replacement parts . By looking at a diagram on their site, I found that the chuck in question is standard-thread and removable. Also, before you can remove the chuck, you have to remove a securing screw that goes down the middle of the barrel.

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You’re probably thinking, “I’m a Toolmonger. You don’t need to tell me how to hang a picture.” You’re probably right, but I can offer two great counter arguments: first, I’d bet a quarter you’ve got some pictures laying around the house somewhere waiting to hang. Hang them today. Get it done.

And second, there’s more to hanging pictures properly than most people suspect. So if you’re interested, you can check out the how-to from Tutorials.com linked below. From using the right wire to applying spacers — and choosing a pleasing layout on the wall — it’ll help you get the results you desire.

(Thanks, one2c900d, for the great cc-licensed photo.)

Learn To Hang A Picture [Tutorials.com]



Every kid knows that the best toy is one made lovingly by a parent. Why not spend some of your shop time this weekend making a special toy for your kids? Check out the link below for some excellent instructions on how to make your very own kaleidoscope.

According to the author, the kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster. If Sir David can build one two centuries ago, you — with all your high-tech tools and know-how — can probably throw one together today, right?

(Thanks, fdecomite, for the great cc-licensed photo.)

Weekend Project: Kaleidoscope Making [Queens University Math@Home]


Home theaters can be as simple as hooking up a few components or as complex as building a new addition on the house. But one thing’s a given: if you’re still watching a tiny screen and listening through two speakers, you’re missing out. HomeTime.com offers a pretty basic introduction to the technology options out there, and if you add a little creative Toolmongering to the information they provide, you can pretty easily upgrade your football-watching and movie-renting experience without too much pain.

And don’t forget to check out the Toolmonger photo pool for some great pictures of reader’s projects along these lines. There’s a great set in there of a plasma TV install — look ma, no wires!

DIY Home Theater [HomeTime.com]


Getting off your ass doesn’t mean you have to build something. If you’re still too work-week weary to pick up a hammer, just do a little research to find your local mill and hop in the truck for a visit. Though most people have no idea they exist anymore, mills are a great direct source for trim, moulding, and rare lumber. For example, we recently discoved a mill near the Toolmonger offices that sells mesquite. Great stuff!

(Thanks, Egan Snow, for the great cc-licensed photo.)


There’s nothing wrong with ripping out the whole bathroom and re-designing it. But if you’re on a lesser budget — of both time and cash — the folks over at NewHomeOwnerGuide.com assembled a handy set of tips on how to personalize and fix-up your bathroom for under $100. Besides the scratch, they say you’ll need “a basic knowledge of painting, wallpapering, and light woodworking.”

(Thanks, daxiang stef, for the great cc-licensed photo.)

No problem, right?

Bathroom Makeover [NewHomeOwnerGuide.com]


Did you get off your ass yesterday and spend some time in the shop making your life better? If not, don’t worry: you still have one day left before Get Off Your Ass Weekend ends and you return to the grind. To help you make the most of it, we’ve collected projects from some of the other sites we haunt when we’re not writing and will share them all day today.

And if you get a chance, post some pictures of your GOYAW project work in the Toolmonger photo pool for a chance to win some work gloves. See you on the flip side — with some new projects completed and out-of-the-way!


Why buy one of those crappy plastic McForts when you could easily build an awesome playhouse for your kids on your own? This article over on FamilyFun.com offers some ideas on how to build a simple and inexpensive playhouse in an afternoon, but you certainly don’t have to limit yourself to their ideas. If you’ve got the whole weekend to work on it, why not build ’em a fully-enclosed building complete with furniture and bookcases?

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