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Some projects seem to defy all sense of reason. My trash heap table is just such a project. Though I had the best of intentions of this project being a “quick build,” it just kept getting put on the back burner — until now. With the cooler weather at hand in the shop, I finished the last holdout of what turned out to be a 14-month wait.

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Shortly after moving into my current house in 2003, I looked years ahead in the calendar and saw event after event that we’d be hosting at our home. These events ranged from garage sales to graduation parties to neighborhood events to perhaps even The Father of the Bride’s worst nightmare — our daughter’s wedding. Each of those events were going to require signs directing people to our house. So instead of buying flimsy little metal wire signs that blow down with the slightest gust or relying on poster-board that disintegrates with the lightest drizzle, like any good Toolmonger I decided to construct them myself. They’ve turned out to be incredibly useful over the years, so as I was pulling them out of the garage this week for yet another event I thought I’d share them.

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I enjoy seeing what I’m looking at, particularly when I’m loading the car up in the pre-dawn hours for one of my son’s long-distance hockey games, unloading the car in the pitch black after coming home from the game, or shoveling the driveway in the dead of winter. Needless to say, my driveway’s three garage-mounted fixtures and the light pole out front need to be bright, but it seems like they’re constantly burning out. It’s annoying because it seems like I replace them at least twice a year. This time I’ve decided to run a longevity test to see how long the bulbs last and inform you of what happens.

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There’s nothing nicer than some flowers and ferns on your balcony or patio; they elevate a barren slab of concrete and railings to a living, oxygen-fresh place of relaxation. Unless, of course, you forget to water them. Then they turn your hangout into what Audra calls a “mortoretum.” I like my friend Doug’s solution better: install a low-buck automated watering system.

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The front garden area wasn’t looking so hot anymore. Five years of weather and string trimmer abuse doesn’t really make for a great-looking picket row, so I decided to fix the sad-looking space with a little stone.

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The oak tree in my yard had seen better days. It had never been a great tree, mostly due to the fact that the jackholes who planted it never spread the roots or unpacked it from its root ball — it was never to be a long-lived tree. So when it blew over a few weeks ago I was not riddled with shock once I found out what had happened. I looked at the now-dead tree and thought it could still serve a useful purpose, other than firewood.

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My bow rack shame was lessened after I got a few pics back from my dad showing the rack mounted and in its full glory. As word from my mom has it, bows started appearing from under beds and behind doors. As if by magic they assembled to form the display you see here.

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No matter how many times I see it, I can’t get over the Wayne’s World reference when I see a gun or bow rack. It doesn’t matter that its recipient really does need one and it will de-clutter an entire area in a room. It’s just difficult to think of something more Southern-Bubba than a weapon rack such as this.

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Fatherhood changes your life in unexpected ways. Bill Cosby said “…parents aren’t interested in justice; they want quiet.” This is very true; however, I would also add to that the need for your home to not resemble a plush toy shore-leave resort.

This is my reality. A living room filled with brightly-colored stuffed things that seem to multiply when I’m not looking. I may, in fact, lose the daily battle for this ground, but I am determined that the war shall be mine. The situation called for action. I responded with my first volley — the toy box. I wanted this box to be many things: sturdy, attractive, and cheap. I also wanted it to be immediately accessible for my daughter so she could use it from day one. It was a tall order, but I was up to the task.

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Back in July, Chuck gifted me with a pile of used-up kids’ furniture he found in a trash heap. It was actually quite cool of him as he knows I dig that sort of thing. It’s been laying around my shop in various stages of completion since then. However, since my little one is able to walk and move around now, it’s about time to finish it. I started with the part I was least looking forward to –- the chipped and broken chair.

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