Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to Fix a Kitchen Cabinet Spice Rack

By Mark J. Donovan

Well for the second time in as many years I fixed the kitchen cabinet spice rack in my home. This time I fixed it for good!

As usual we paid an arm and a leg to have so-called professional kitchen cabinet installers hang the kitchen cabinets in our home several years ago. As is fairly typical with remodeling contractors, the work was sub-par, and in particular the installation of the spice rack. To begin with the spice rack was installed too low in the kitchen cabinet. Second, the spice rack itself was racked, meaning it was not a perfect rectangle. The weight of it caused it to sag on the outside edge furthest from the hinges. Consequently the spice rack rubbed up along the bottom inside of the kitchen cabinet.

A couple of years ago, I adjusted the spice rack by loosening the hinges and sliding the rack upwards. The holes for the screws were slotted to allow for this type of adjustment. However, even with the slotted holes it was insufficient to significantly raise the spice rack.

So today I chose to remove the spice rack altogether and re mount the hinges another ¼ inch higher. I also squared up the spice rack using a very small thin strip of wood (actually a 2” length of a new paint stick). While holding the outside corner of the spice rack up, I screwed and glued this small piece of wood to the back upper corner of the spice rack. By doing this I was able to keep the spice rack square. I also made sure the screws were of such a length that they did not penetrate all the way through the spice rack paneling.

So with the strip of wood installed, and the spice rack itself reinstalled in the kitchen cabinet, my kitchen cabinet spice rack now works properly and does not rub along the bottom of the kitchen cabinet.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Freeze Alarm Prevented Frozen Pipes

By Mark J. Donovan

This past Saturday morning at 5:30am I heard what I thought were chimes ringing. I wasn’t sure where they were coming from, however I knew we had some outside the home and figured it was them that were ringing. Anyways, I got up at 6:00am and decided to do a little work on my website A few minutes later I heard the sound of my wife’s cell phone ringing.

After rummaging through her purse I found the cell phone and answered it. It turned out our Freeze Alarm was calling us from our Lake Home to tell us we had a temperature alarm situation.

Immediately I considered the possibility that we ran out of oil at the lake house and that the furnace had shut down. I confirmed this fact after finding the last bill we received from the oil supply company was 3 months ago.

I promptly called the oil company to make an emergency refill. My wife and I then jumped into the car and raced north. We arrived at the lake home to find the tank full and a bill on our door. However to get the furnace running again I needed to bleed off the air in the oil pipe first.

After getting the furnace running again, my wife and I discussed what would have happened if we had not had the freeze alarm call us. She had been planning to order oil in the following week, however by running out of oil, the furnace would not have restarted on its own. If the freeze alarm had not called us we would have been oblivious to the loss of heat in the home and we would have had frozen pipes. The FA-D2 Freeze Alarm saved us a small fortune in water damage and cracked pipes.

Building a Crown Molding Shelf

Instructions on Building a Crown Molding Shelf

By Mark J. Donovan

If you have some scrap crown molding lying around your workshop, you might want to consider putting it to good use by building a crown molding shelf. A decorative crown molding shelf is ideal for displaying various collections of knickknacks or even small trophies. Not only is a crown molding shelf a beautiful accent piece to a room, it is also very inexpensive and easy to build.

Required Materials for Building a Crown Molding Shelf

To build a crown molding shelf all you need is a few feet of crown molding and a piece of 1-by material, such as 1”x3” or 1”x4”, depending upon the style and size of crown molding you are using to build the crown molding shelf. A little wood glue is also helpful.

Required Tools for Building a Crown Molding Shelf

To build a crown molding shelf you need a miter saw, and preferably a finish nail gun, although a hammer and finish nails will also work.

Building a Crown Molding Shelf

To build a crown molding shelf use your miter saw to cut a length of crown molding stock the desired length of the shelf. The ends should be cut at a 45o angle. Note that when cutting crown molding it is important to position it on the miter saw upside down so that when it is hung on the wall it will sit properly.

Next, cut a couple of side rails out of the crown molding stock. The length of the crown molding side rails is determined by how far out the crown molding shelf will penetrate outwards from the wall. Again, a miter saw should be used to cut 45o angles on the edges of the side rails to form the 90o corners associated with the front piece of the crown molding shelf. The back ends should be square cut to the desired depth of the crown molding shelf.

Once the three crown moulding pieces have been cut, glue and nail them together.

Next, cut a section of 1-by stock to fill in the top gap of the crown molding shelf. You may want to use a table saw to create an angled groove along the top of the piece of the 1-by material if you want to display plates on the crown molding shelf.

Now fasten the 1-by material to the inside area of the crown molding shelf frame, again using glue and nails.

After the glue has dried, sand, prime and paint the crown molding shelf.

To hang the crown molding shelf on the wall, it is best to use a small block of wood that you fasten to the wall, and into wall studs. The crown molding shelf can then rest on top of it, with the block of wood sitting inside the crown molding shelf cavity and flush up underneath the flat shelf piece. You can then use a few nails to fasten the crown molding shelf to the block of wood.

For information on installing wood crown molding see’s “Installing Crown Molding Ebook”.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Cutting Crown Molding Angles

Cutting Crown Molding Angles Requires the Right Tools and Skills

By Mark J. Donovan

When it comes to installing crown molding much of the success depends on cutting crown molding angles correctly.

Cutting crown molding angles correctly requires a quality miter saw and a coping saw. A quality miter saw may cost you a couple of hundred dollars, however a coping saw may only set you back ten to twenty dollars.

For most crown molding installation projects, cutting crown molding angles involves cutting 45o angles using a miter saw. By cutting two pieces of crown molding at 45o angles, a 90o angled inside or outside crown molding corner can be formed.

Since most walls are not perfectly square, coped angled crown molding cuts are also required. Coped crown molding angles are formed by the intersection of two ends of two pieces of crown molding. One of the crown molding pieces is butted firmly up against the inside corner using a square cut. The other crown molding piece has one of its ends cut with a coped crown molding angle so that this angled cut sits over the square-cut end of the adjacent crown molding piece. The visual effect is a perfect 90o angle inside corner.

When learning how to cut crown molding angles it is wise to practice on a few scrap pieces of crown molding first. Without this practice, you might find yourself spending an inordinate amount of money on wasted crown molding stock.

For more information on Installing Crown Molding see’s “Installing Crown Molding Ebook”.

What to Consider when Buying Crown Molding

By Mark J. Donovan

If you are planning a crown molding installation project there are several items that you should consider when buying crown molding.

Buying Crown Molding and Selecting the Appropriate Wood Species

When buying crown molding you first need to decide on what type of wood to use. Softwoods, such as Pine, are easy to work with, relatively inexpensive, and are available in a variety of crown molding profiles. The downside with pine is that it is soft, and thus can easily be dented, though sitting up high on a wall mitigates this issue. Softwood crown molding is also less stable and thus more susceptible to contracting and splitting with changes in temperature and humidity. Hardwoods, such as oak, on the other hand are more impervious to becoming dented and are more stable. However, they are more expensive.

Painting versus Staining Crown Molding

If you are planning to paint crown molding then Pine, or Poplar are better wood species for your crown molding installation project. They are cheaper than hardwood crown molding, and from a distance of several feet away from most eyeballs, no one will ever know the difference.

If, on the other hand you want that natural wood look, or a stained look, then a hardwood crown molding species is probably better for your crown molding project.

Selecting the Appropriate Crown Molding Lengths

When buying crown molding, have a sketch of your crown molding layout with you when you visit the local home improvement store. Ideally you should buy crown molding lengths that span the entire length of a section of wall, so that you reduce the number of scarf joints required. Also make sure the lengths of crown molding are not warped or twisted, and free from knots.

When Buying Crown Molding Purchase 10% Extra

When buying crown molding it is always important to buy about 10% extra to accommodate for waste. Specifically each piece of crown molding selected should approximately 10% longer than the particular wall length required.

For more information on Installing Crown Molding see’s “Installing Crown Molding Ebook”. Announces its Installing Crown Molding Ebook

The “Installing Crown Molding Ebook” teaches do-it-yourself homeowners how to install crown molding like the pros, as it unveils all the secrets to properly cutting and installing crown molding

Derry, New Hampshire - February 01, 2008 - announced today its latest product in its home improvement Ebook series, the “Installing Crown Molding Ebook”. The “Installing Crown molding Ebook” is the perfect instructional manual for the do-it-yourself homeowner who wants to quickly learn how to properly install crown molding and save a fortune on finish carpentry costs.

Though crown molding installation is not an art, it does require some upfront knowledge and practice so that expensive crown molding stock material is not quickly turned into scrap lumber. The Installing Crown Molding Ebook provides detailed instructions on every step in the process of installing crown molding and includes 28 instructional pictures.

Authored by a master craftsman, the Installing Crown Molding Ebook provides in-depth explanations and tips on how to properly measure and select crown molding stock, so that the DIY homeowner achieves a quality finished crown molding project.

It also unveils the secrets on how to cut crown molding properly. Unlike cutting baseboard trim, and door and window molding, cutting crown molding requires unique techniques to ensure it is cut correctly and material is not wasted. It provides detailed instructions how to make perfect mitered, coped and scarfed crown molding joints, and as with every section of the Ebook, detailed instructional pictures accompany the paragraphs to aid in quickly understanding how to make tight crown molding joints.

"Crown molding is an excellent way to accent a living room, dining room and even hallways. The Installing Crown Molding Ebook helps homeowners through all phases of a crown molding installation project.", said Mark Donovan, President of DIY “Crown molding stock is expensive and can quickly be turned into wasted money and time without first understanding how to properly install it. The Installing Crown Molding Ebook helps to prevent a small fortune in wasted material, and even more importantly, enables homeowners to achieve that finished crown molding look they desire without breaking the bank by having to hire a finish carpenter."

The Installing Crown Molding Ebook is priced at $19 and can be purchased online at Installing Crown Molding Ebook and is immediately downloadable.

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