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We’ve all heard the stories about people who put up their tree only to have it tip over during the night. I’m ashamed to say it’s even happened to me once in my younger days, but over the years I’ve honed my methods and now can put up a tree the kids could climb — I wouldn’t put it past my boy, either.

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First came dual flush toilets — a pretty ingenious idea for saving water — then about a year or so ago somebody came up with the idea of a dual flush conversion kit for your existing toilet but priced it so high your grandchildren wouldn’t live long enough to see any payback. Today we noticed MJSI sells a conversion kit that doesn’t cost much more than just replacing your toilet’s guts would anyway.

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When I first saw one of the plastic bubble monstrosities required for “in use” receptacle covers, I thought the idea was sound, but the execution awful. Today there are a few more models to choose from and some are even more tasteful, but most of them still stick out of the side of a house like a sore thumb.

That’s where TayMac’s flat in use cover comes in. It’s made from heavy duty polycarbonate and expands from a flush 1″ to 3-1/2″ thanks to its synthetic neoprene rubber accordion-like structure. Supposedly the materials won’t dry rot, crack or deteriorate in sunlight and are paintable.

TayMac calls this box an “in use cover” and says it’s ETL listed, yet they specially don’t mention whether it’s weatherproof or meets the 406.8(B) NEC code; although Ace claims the box is 2008 NEC compliant. So here’s the question: can you actually use this box to meet code? Maybe somebody can straighten me out in the comments.

TayMac’s flat in use cover will run you somewhere around $9. Also, when I was researching this item I found a cool resource where you can download the various building codes by state. Use the last link in the post to visit the site.

Flat In Use Cover [TayMac]
Flat In Use Cover [Ace Hardware]
Public Codes

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Although the Spyder Scraper blade has been out for a while, for some reason I just noticed it today.  Chuck this scraper from Simple Man Products into just about any brand recip saw and you’ll be scraping paint, wallpaper, linoleum, laminate flooring, glue, rubber backed carpet, or anything that you would use a scraper to remove, only faster.

Okay, given the amount of control you have with most recip saws, I wouldn’t recommend using it for scraping wallpaper from drywall unless you really like spackling. Also being in the throes of winter, it’s probably not a good idea to use it to scrape the 1/2″ of ice from your windshield — I can’t be the only one who has thought of not trying this.

The Spyder Scraper retails for $13, but you can find it for less if you shop around.

Spyder Scraper [Coprorate Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]