Articles about DIY


Selecting the right size greenhouse for your needs or wishes is a process that deserves get your full attention. There are many, many factors to consider. Some of these are obvious, some are not so obvious. Here are a few oft forgotten things to consider when deciding the proper size greenhouse for you: • Will you use the greenhouse year round? • How many people will be working inside of the greenhouse at one time? • Do you have a location in your yard that gets full sun all day?




How and Why to Install Shop Nailers

by Damien Andrews

In the world of the do-it-yourselfer there are two common sayings: You can never have too many electrical outlets in your workshop and You can never have too much storage in your workshop. I have always found both axioms to be accurate. While the arrival of high powered battery operated tools has lessened the need for easily accessible electrical outlets in the shop, all do-it-yourselfers still need all the storage space they can possibly get out of their workshop areas.

The two preferred methods for creating space in a workshop are shelving and pegboards. Both of these things will help any do-it-yourselfer get a quart into a pint container. I have one set of industrial rack shelves that is 4' x 2'. Each of the five shelves holds up to 350 pounds of workshop necessities. That means that in the 8 square foot footprint, I get a usable 48 square feet of storage space. It's almost like having a room stretcher. Pegboards, while making some additional convenient space, are more about organizing than making space. Of course, if you can hang your engraver on a pegboard, then you have just that much more drawer or shelf space for other things. The downside of pegboard is that you require a relatively large piece of it to do any real good – and most do-it-yourselfer workshops don't allow for very much pegboard.

Most do-it-yourselfers have their workshop in the family's garage. And today, most garages are built out using traditional construction methods: 16" on center studs covered with drywall. While the installation of drywall is inexpensive and attractive, it certainly doesn't facilitate the easy hanging of tools and equipment. You either need to locate a stud and attach a hanging device, or you are required to install some form of drywall anchoring system followed by a hanging device such as a hook or bracket. As every do-it-yourselfer knows, a) studs are never located where you need them and b) wall anchoring systems in drywall have severe weight limitations. You may get away with hanging your 12 pound sledge hammer on a bracket that is wall anchored in drywall, but after you remove it and re-hang it a few times, the wall anchor will pull out of the wall. That leaves the sledge hammer in the way, and a hole in the drywall that requires repair. Enter "nailers."

A "nailer" is a piece of wood that is placed specifically for the purpose of attaching something. A very common nailer is used on floor plates in stud walls. If you need to add a stud to an already constructed wall, cut a 12" long 2" x 4" and nail it to the floor plate, and then nail the base of the new stud to it. Repeat the process for the ceiling plate.

Installing nailers in your workshop will quickly, easily and inexpensively allow you to hang pretty much whatever you want, anywhere you want it. Also, you can vary the strength of the nailers you install, as well as the finish. After installing a wall nailer in your workshop, you can countersink the supporting screws, fill the holes and paint over them. Voila – no better half could possibly complain about their appearance! (See the photos at the end of this article for examples of some finished nailers.)

Installing nailers is a simple process. Select the lumber you want your nailer to be made of, install it by attaching it to the studs with appropriately sized wood screws, and then finish it as desired. More on this in a moment.

The type of lumber you select will determine the strength of the nailer. For example, if you use a 2" x 6" piece of lumber, you'll have an exceptionally strong nailer. If you use a ¼" plywood nailer, the nailer will not be adequate for hanging heavier weight items. Very strong and convenient nailers can be made from 1" thick lumber. Lengths of 1" x 4" lumber are great for hanging light to medium weight items. Lengths of 1" x 10" lumber will hold just about anything you can lift up to hang.

I like using sheets of 5/8" decking to make my workshop nailers. The wood is inexpensive and can be cut to fit exactly where I want it. I tend to cut off 12" pieces of this wood and install them, but I also have nailers that are 18" and 24" tall. The taller nailers work very well for hanging lots of long items such as brooms, mops, dust mops, rakes, shovels, etc. Once the nailer is mounted on the wall, stagger the tall items to maximize space use.

Here are some hints on how to install strong, trouble-free nailers in your workshop:

• Use wood screws that ensure you have at least 2" of thread in the stud. This means to allow for the thickness of the nailer AND the drywall. 3½" #8 or #10 screws will work for just about any nailer on any wall.

• Pre-drill the nailer so that the screws slide through the hole without grabbing. Drill your countersinks before installation, if desired.

• Attach your nailer to every stud that it passes over with at least two screws.

• Only install nailers that can be attached to at least two studs.

The last thing to mention here is that if you change something on your nailer, you can fill the remnant holes and again have a full, attractive nailer. If you do fill old holes in your nailers, be sure to use a product that is suitable for the purpose. Some wood fillers can be drilled, but are not really strong enough to actually hold weight. A good rule of thumb for finding stronger wood fillers is to look for products that require a solvent for clean-up. These products take longer to dry, but in many instances are actually stronger than the wood they are filling.

ABOVE PHOTO: I installed this 1' x 8' garage nailer, and two others, several months ago while I was at a home making and installing a custom redwood gate. This nailer is being only partially used. The homeowners liked them so well that they had me install two more. This nailer's holes were filled, sanded and then the entire nailer was painted.
ABOVE PHOTO: I installed this nailer because the homeowner's two electric garage door controllers and paper towel holder would not stay securely mounted with plastic drywall anchors. They will never come loose again, and there is now plenty of room to hang other items securely. This nailer's holes were filled, sanded and then the entire nailer was painted.
ABOVE PHOTO: This nailer is on the other side of the garage door from the nailer holding the electric garage door controllers. It's a 1' x 8' nailer that will hold heavy coats, hats, indoor gardening tools for houseplant care, and two extension cords. This nailer's holes were filled, sanded and then the entire nailer was painted.


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