Category Archives: Podcast

Episodes of the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast.

Episode022: Measure Twice, Cut Thrice

We’ve all heard the expression, “Measure twice, cut once.”  We all know what that means: double check your measurements before you make the cut.  Mistakes can cost you time and material.  In this episode of the podcast I share some of the measuring mistakes that I have made and the reasons for them.  Maybe it will help you avoid making the same mistakes.

Topics covered

  • The tape measure:  all those hash marks start to look the same at the end of a long day.
  • Keeping track of measurements: memory vs. keeping a cut list
  • What do The Temptations have to do with this?
  • Standard measurements:  whose standards?
  • How important is accuracy anyway?
  • One door for the price of two, one door frame for the price of three
  • Two ways to avoid measurement errors (one is to avoid measuring)
As they say on the tube in London: “Mind the gap”  This is what it looks like when you trim something that doesn’t need to be trimmed.

 

Resources

Tom Silva explains how to divide any measurement in half without math.

 

Tom Silva shares some cool measuring tricks in this video, including the elastic band technique for evenly spaced balusters.

 

Story sticks:  Article from Canadian Woodworking magazine.

Add Trim Without the Tape Measure (Our Home from Scratch)

 

Episode Partner

ThomasAvenueCeramics.com/hammer:  Shop a selection of high quality tile from the comfort of your own home.   Use the coupon code HAMMER at checkout to save 20% off your order.

021: Permits, legal stuff and DIY (podcast)

Just because you can “Do It Yourself” doesn’t necessarily mean you can do it yourself.

Before you start that home improvement project, do you know what permits are required?  Are you even qualified to legally do the work yourself?

In this episode of the podcast, I share some of my own experiences, some legal and some perhaps not so much.

 

Topics

  • Electrical work without permits, both DIY and “professional”
  • Unethical (and possibly illegal) advice from the building centre.
  • Undoing bad electrical work by previous owner.
  • Why we downgraded a panel upgrade (a 2×4 was involved).
  • A completely legal electrical panel replacement.
  • The strange law in Ontario regarding doing your own electrical work.
  • The strict law in Quebec regarding any electrical work.
  • What I learned from my interaction with the building department (spoiler alert:  permits aren’t the money-grab we accuse them of being).

 

Links, resources

Electrical Safety Authority (Ontario):  Regulator and advocate of public electrical safety in the province of Ontario, Canada

Legality of DIY Electrical and Plumbing Work (Jon Eakes)

 

Episode Partner

Paintzen takes the pain out of painting by providing a seamless process from start to finish.  Be sure to use the coupon code “HAMMER” to save $50 on your project.

020: What I did during my summer vacation (Podcast)

I had some ambitious plans this summer.  Stuff was going to get done.  In this episode of the podcast, I explore some of the reasons why I did not accomplish what I planned to accomplish during my summer vacation.

Topics covered in this podcast

Can’t be in two places at the same time:  It’s impossible to work on a project at the same time as running to the home center for supplies.

Project Creep:  Where does one project end and another one begin?

Time estimates and reality:  Television and videos can distort how long a project will actually take.  Whether it’s large crews working behind the scenes or simply fancy editing, you never really get a realistic picture of how long it will take you to complete a project.  I show my age here by referring to the “makeover in a weekend” shows like Trading Spaces and While You Were Out from back in the 2000’s.  Time flies.  It’s hard to believe those shows have been off the air for more than a decade.   Trading Spaces is coming back in 2018.

The boring stuff takes time too:  There are plenty of tasks that don’t make for exciting TV or video that aren’t shown.  But those tasks still need to be done.

Links and Resources

BluWood:  wood coating system that resists moisture and mould growth

Trading Spaces :  Wikipedia entry for the television show.

John Heisz :  Chainsaw Art – Spalted Maple Foot Stool Cut From A Log

 

John Heisz:  Talking About Subscribers And Other Stuff While Oiling My Stool

 

Episode Partner

Paintzen takes the pain out of painting by providing a seamless process from start to finish.  Be sure to use the coupon code “HAMMER” to save $50 on your project.

018: Allow me to vent (Podcast)

I didn’t realize until after I finished editing that there is a common theme running through each of the topics discussed in this episode.  Sort of.  Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but how else was I going to tie everything together?  I start with an update on the workshop as I look into options for heating it.  I answer an email question about insulation and ventilation in a 1-1/2 story Cape Cod.  And I comment on some news regarding the impending trades shortage, construction jobs and what the career choices of Millenials might mean for homeowners.

Listen to the episode

 

Topics Covered

3 options for heating a garage / workshop

The advantages and disadvantages of these popular heat sources.

  • Forced air gas unit (which needs to be vented)
  • Infrared Radiant Tubes
  • Mini-split Ductless

Insulating and Ventilating a 1-1/2 story Cape Cod

I received this email question a while back and thought it was worth discussing on the podcast.

  • How to fully ventilate the upper level (or “attic”) from soffits to peak.
  • Maximizing the insulation of a cathedral slope ceiling while maintaining that ventilation
  • No soffits? No Problem.  SmartVent by DCI is the solution.
  • Creating an “envelope” house by using spray foam as an alternative.  (No vents needed?)

Trades, construction and Millenials

We’ve known about the impending trades shortage for at least a decade as Baby Boomers retire.  The post-recession building boom is creating a lot of construction jobs that aren’t being filled.  And Millenials?  Well, they don’t seem to want to work in construction or in the trades.  What is that going to mean for us in the next decade or so and what can we do about it?  Not sure if this qualifies as a rant, but I guess you could say that I am venting.

 

Links and Resources

Insulating the roof above an attic knee wall (JonEakes.com):  includes diagram, which can also be found on this website here.

The entire attic renovation on from start to finish on this website.

SmartVent by DCI:  A solution for ventilation when no soffits exist.

Ace on the House Podcast episode.  Adam Carolla welcomes Doug McDonald of PureHouse.com to discuss the “envelope house”

News article about Young Americans Unwilling to Work High-Paying Construction Jobs

 

This episode is sponsored by Thomas Avenue Ceramics

Browse their selection of beautiful, high quality floor tiles, wall tiles, back splashes and mosaics all from the comfort of your own home at ThomasAvenueCeramics.com.   Everything you need is available at the click of a button and when you are ready to make a purchase, be sure to click through my link and use the coupon code “HAMMER” to save 20% off of your order.

www.thomasavenueceramics.com/hammer

 

017: Honey-Do or Honey-Done (Podcast)

The “honey-do” list.  What would our weekends be without one?

In this episode of the podcast, I talk about how I will actually write my own detailed list of everything I want to get done on a particular weekend.  And I discuss why this does not always work as intended and why it may sometimes be better to shift focus.

Also, I offer my own spin on a question that was answered by Adam Carolla on Adam Carolla and Friends Build Stuff Live.  What is the best solution when a washer and dryer are just slightly too deep for a laundry closet?

Meanwhile, in real life, I have turned my attention to the garage, which will become my woodworking shop.  I start this episode off talking about what is going on with that project.

Plus, as a bonus, you will also hear about my daughter’s broken toe.  (Spoiler alert:  her dad is a klutz).

016: If you ask me… (podcast)

I don’t consider myself an expert in home improvements, but I try to learn as much as I can and I would like to think that I have gained at least some knowledge in my 20 years of home ownership.

I listen to a variety of home improvement podcasts and radio shows and watch some television.  I have a lot of respect for the experts on these shows, but there are times that I find myself disagreeing with their advice.

In this episode of the podcast, I revisit a question that was originally featured on The Money Pit Radio Show, and offer my own perspective:  Is it okay to give up a second bathroom and convert it to a laundry room?

But first, I talk about the previous owner of our own money pit.  It was his handiwork that resulted in extensive structural damage to that house.  I explore some of my emotions and how they have evolved.  If you are having to fix problems caused by a previous owner, you will find this episode interesting.

Resources and Links

The Money Pit Radio Show: Live from New England (part 1):  The question and original responses regarding converting a bathroom into a laundry room can be found near the end of the episode.

Greetings from THAT House:  Episode of this podcast where I go into deeper detail about some of the problems we faced with that house, largely due to the previous owner’s handiwork.

Demolition of the ensuite bathroom:  This blog post will give you a better idea of what issues we were dealing with in the bathroom.

Key takeaways

From the first segment:  No do-it-yourselfer intentionally puts their family in danger.  None of us want our house to collapse around us.

From the second segment:  We put too much emphasis on the resale value of a house, instead of focusing on how the house is working for us while we are living in it.

 

This episode is sponsored by Thomas Avenue Ceramics

Browse their selection of beautiful, high quality floor tiles, wall tiles, back splashes and mosaics all from the comfort of your own home at ThomasAvenueCeramics.com.   Everything you need is available at the click of a button and when you are ready to make a purchase, be sure to click through my link and use the coupon code “HAMMER” to save 20% off of your order.

www.thomasavenueceramics.com/hammer

 

015: Adventures in Moving and The Psycho Ex

Selling our house was like ending bad relationship.  No matter how hard we tried,  the relationship was never going to work.  We accepted the fact that it was best for everyone involved to just move on.

And move on we did.  We bought a new house and our house got a new owner.   But the transition was anything but smooth.

Murphy’s Law states that whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  Were the events leading up to moving day simply due to Murphy’s Law?   Or did our house somehow become the psycho ex, making our lives miserable while it still could?  Okay, it was mostly Murphy’s Law.  It’s just easier to blame the ex.

This is the tale of the series of unfortunate events that occurred between the time we crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s on the real estate papers and moving day,  and which ones we could have avoided.

 

Topics Covered

  • Taking our time packing.
  • Why shopping for new furniture wasn’t the best idea.  Filling the house with new furniture caused more problems than it was worth.
  • The consequences of spending money before we had it.
  • Bad timing of breakdowns, mishaps and mortality.
  • It’s important to pay close attention to schedules.  We didn’t and this is what happened.
  • What we should have done differently to make the move easier.

 

Links to additional content

This podcast is the third in a series that covers our move from the money pit where we lived for almost 13 years to our current house.

Episode 13: Adventures in Real Estate covers the decision to put our house on the market leading up to the sale.

Episode 14: The DIY Shuffle covers the first year of ownership of our current house.

 

This episode is sponsored by Thomas Avenue Ceramics

Browse their selection of beautiful, high quality floor tiles, wall tiles, back splashes and mosaics all from the comfort of your own home at ThomasAvenueCeramics.com.   Everything you need is available at the click of a button and when you are ready to make a purchase, be sure to click through my link and use the coupon code “HAMMER” to save 20% off of your order.

www.thomasavenueceramics.com/hammer

 

014 The DIY Shuffle (Podcast)

The Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast returns after a break of a little over a year.  And what a year it’s been.  The topic of this episode will be familiar to anyone who has read my blog, as I recently wrote a post about The DIY Shuffle.

What is the DIY Shuffle?  Well, it refers to the shuffling of stuff from one part of the house to another during home improvement projects.  Quite often some stuff gets moved around multiple times.   It also refers to shuffling from one project to another before the first project is finished.  For the last year, we have been doing both versions of this dance.

This is the story of how I managed to turn a house that was in “just-move-in” condition into a construction zone and what we could have done differently to avoid this mess.

Listen to the episode

Topics Discussed

  • The very first time we set foot in the house, I was already talking about doing some minor demolition and re-framing in the master bedroom, much to the horror of the real estate agent and my wife.
  • The very first day we owned this home, I started with that minor demolition.
  • Our ambitious plans for the first week of owning this house and how they were doomed to failure.
  • How a “weekend project” in the master bedroom escalated, and why it remains unfinished a year later.
  • The “shuffling” of our daughter’s bedroom and the guest room.
  • “Please don’t blame my doggy;  it’s not his fault at all….”  (Benny Hill fans will understand this reference).
  • Why I have trouble finding some of my tools.
  • Takeaways and lessons learned.

Links

The DIY Shuffle (original blog post, contains photos)

The TripleSafe Sump Pump System from Basement Systems

Here is a good explanation of how a bridge loan works.  Our loan was for a period of one week.  That is, we closed on the house we were buying one week before we closed on the house we were selling.

013: Adventures in Real Estate

After a four month hiatus, it’s the triumphant return of the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast.  In this episode, I talk about acting on a life-changing decision we made back in the fall and how everything came together with hours to spare when it all could have just easily fallen apart.

I also talk about how losing over $100,000 isn’t the end of the world.  And how it’s okay to admit defeat.

I explain some of the math behind renovating to flip versus selling as is, as well as why working with a real estate agent was the best choice we could have made.

The podcast will be now be returning to its bi-weekly schedule starting with this episode.

The plan is for the podcast to eventually return to its bi-weekly schedule.   When this happens, members of the mailing list will be the first to know.

Help support this podcast by clicking through my Amazon link in the sidebar when you shop at Amazon.  I will earn a modest affiliate commission on your purchase which will help pay for hosting expenses.  Thank-you.