1/2 Impact Wrench – Top 3 Picks

Looking for a great 1/2″ impact wrench? Here I will be going over 3 great choices. The NEIKO PRO Dr Twim Hammer, the NEIKO Twin Hammer w/ 2″ Anvil, and the AIRCAT 1100K. I’m not sure what your budget it for buying a new impact wrench, but I do want to caution you that you get what you pay for! If you buy a good one from the start, it’ll be with you for life, where a cheap one won’t be worth the metal you build it from!

The first impact wrench is the NEIKO PRO Dr Twin Hammer at $122.86. The standard specs from the manufacturer are:

– 1/2″ drive

– 800 ft-lb max torque

– 5,500 RPM with no load

– 4.5 CFM air consumption

– 4 Torque Settings (245, 270, 320, 608 ft-lbs)

– 7.95 lbs

This is a great, professional grade, adjustable torque impact wrench. It’s got a lot of torque, and it’s pretty efficient, needing only 4.5 CFM of air. The 4 different torque setting are nice too, but don’t forget that those torque setting are no alternative to a torque wrench. Take your time and do the job right.

The next impact wrench is the NEIKO Twin Hammer w/ 2″ Anvil, going for $122.86. Here are the specs:

– 1/2″ drive

– 500 ft-lb max torque

– 7,000 RPM with no load

– 13 CFM air consumption

– 7.95 lbs

This is the low power wrench of the bunch. But don’t let that fool you, it’s got a good amount of power, and it’ll work on the lug-nuts of your car or light truck with ease.

The one thing you’ll want to be careful about is the air consumption. Make sure your air compressor can handle 13 CFM if you want this wrench.

The last impact wrench is the AIRCAT 1100K, going for $253.96. Here are the specs:

– 1/2″ drive

– 1,100 ft-lb max torque (200-900 ft-lb working torque)

– 9,000 RPM with no load

– 4 CFM air consumption

– 4.5 lbs

The big selling point of this wrench is that it’s significantly quieter than any other impact wrench in its class. It is rated at 86 decibels, and I will say that quantifying sound is kind of a contrived process (it’s all about distance from the source, and direction, etc), but this wrench did seem quieter during use than the other two.

This wrench is also the lightest and the most powerful of the three. It feels solid while you’re using it, but at the same time, it’s made of Kevlar, which just doesn’t have the same feel as steel.

It is a great wrench, and it more powerful and lighter than any of the others here.

Overall, the biggest thing about buying an impact wrench is getting the torque you need. If you’re looking for a wrench for those smaller tasks, the NEIKO Twin Hammer w/ 2″ Anvil is a great choice. If you need a lot of torque, the NEIKO PRO Dr Twin Hammer would be a great addition to your tool box. And if you’re looking for great power, that’s quiet, and light AIRCAT 1100K is the wrench for you!

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3 Easy Methods to Improve Your Home’s Appearance

While exterior home improvements are popular prior to selling your home, you don’t need to wait until you are in the real estate market to improve your home’s appearance. Exterior home improvements can be about more than just beauty – safety of your occupants and visitors may also be a concern as well as increased functionality and protecting your home’s exterior from the elements.

Installing Driveway Lights:

Driveway lights are fairly simple to install in general. They can improve the appearance of your home at night, increase safety for those walking on your driveway, and help to deter thieves from your home. Driveway lights come in many different styles including recessed lighting, post lighting, and ground level post type lighting. The lights can be powered by solar energy or connected to your home electrical system usually through an outlet without requiring additional wiring. Most driveway light systems just require placement in the ground and then are pretty much set and forget. If you don’t have solar lighting, you may also wish to install some type of timer system to automatically turn the lights on and off for you.

Fixed Outdoor Lighting:

Updating the look of your home can also be achieved through changing out the lighting fixtures on the exterior of your home. Most home decorators feel the exterior light fixtures should blend well with both the architecture and interior fixtures used in your home. The fixtures themselves are pretty easy to replace using common tools found in the home. Just make sure to cut any circuit breakers to the area before replacing the fixture to avoid any potential electrical shocks. There is a wide variety of exterior lighting options available so you are sure to find the right style for your budget.

Use Retractable Awnings:

Retractable awnings are fashionable once again. They help protect your window frames, door frames, and deck from sun, water, and wind damage while updating the look of your home’s exterior. Awnings come in a variety of fabric and metal styles allowing the home owner to express their individuality through color and material choices. Retractable awnings also provide added flexibility as you can choose when to have them up or down. South facing windows are good to protect during sunnier days so that the carpet and furniture does not get sun-bleached, while on cloudier days you may choose to roll up the awning to add some extra light to the room. Smaller awning systems are rather simple to install and come in a wide variety of sizes, so custom fitting is not usually required. Deck awnings may require a few extra hands, however, depending on how large your area is.

These are just a few simple methods to improve the appearance of your home’s exterior while adding value, safety, and protection.
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3 Tips for Storing Home Improvement Tools

Are you intending to do a mini renovation of your house? Be it a full scale renovation or a small one, you need some handy tools to help you out. Selecting the right tools is extremely important as they can make everything seem so easy. From a simple handheld drill driver to a saw, you need to get the best out of them. After all the renovations have been completed, you do not simply throw the tools away. Some of them can cost quite a fair bit of money. You need to store them in the correct place to ensure that they are kept in the best condition possible. Let’s discuss some protection tips on how to store these awesome tools.


Glues are an indispensable part of any home improvement tools and you need them especially when you are trying to decorate your home. However, glue tends to dry up rather easily and once they are hardened, it becomes practically useless. Glues will harden even if they are not opened. Always store glue products in a cool and dry place as heat will cause the polymers to start crosslinking with each other, causing them to gel up and harden. You need to remember to keep glue in an upright position. Some people also tend to store glue in a refrigerator and there have been amazing results from that.

Handheld driller

A handheld driller is a convenient way to add fixtures to your home. With more families being much more cost conscious nowadays, many people tend to purchase furniture that are not fixed. As a result, they will need to fix it up themselves which gives them the flexibility. After usage, the handheld driller needs to be stored in a place that is cool and dry place. Always remove the batteries prior to storage so that the battery acid does not leak out. A cool and dry place is needed due to the electrical components in the driller as well as the steel drill bits. A hot and moisture rich place will cause corrosion to accelerate and replacing a drill bit costs a lot of money.

Nail gun

You cannot do without a nail gun if you need to hang pictures on the wall or putting together furniture. Although a hammer can do the job as well, it can cause damages to the furniture. Nail guns embed nails inside the intended object at an alarming speed, saving time and effort from other options such as hammering. Over time and environmental factors, the components inside the nail gun will start to corrode. This can lead to poorer results when using the nail gun. As such, you need to store nail guns in a place that is also dry and cool to slow down the corrosion process. You should also oil the gun after each use with a lubricant. Oil lubricants will reduce friction build up within the components and acts as a protective layer to prevent corrosion.

Most home improvement tools need to be stored in a place that is cool and dry to prevent premature corrosion and failure of the tools. Some of the tools do not come cheap so you should always store them in the correct place so that they can serve you for a longer time.

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5 Tips to Organize a Room

Follow these 5 tips to organize a room which you can then replicate to bring order to most any room. There are good reasons to do so.

  • According to the SDA, reducing clutter would eliminate up to 40 percent of housework in the average home. (The SDA is an 82 year-old national trade association made up of 100 plus companies who furnish the nation with general cleaning products and education).
  • Your home should be your sanctuary. Is there anything more relaxing and peaceful than a clean and organized home? Clear spaces, prominently displayed family photos and elbow room are all important to your internal sense of well-being.
  • Finally, studies about good and bad stress underline that an organized room or home promotes a sense of control and self-respect which in turn fuels creativity and a ‘can do’ spirit.


One reason many people rarely organize a room is because they don’t know where to begin. A good idea is to begin with a small area or site within a room, such as a desk, drawer, magazine rack or under the bed. Or if you want to tackle a bathroom, start with the medicine cabinet. Move the clutter in these areas to an open space where you can sort. Finish one area before you move to another.

One of the 5 top reasons people hire a professional to organize their house is that they have general “difficulty determining what to keep and what to discard.” [National Association of Professional Organizers Survey 6/2009]. Tip: But you can call in a good and candid friend to help you make decisions.

Label three or more bins or boxes for the sorting process: keep, throw away and donate. You will have to assess each item that is cluttering up your room and determine if you really want to keep it. Broken, soiled and otherwise useless items should go into the garbage.

Sorting also may be difficult with items that have sentimental value, but keep in mind the memories are the important thing. You could add a fourth box for temporarily packing items whose decision you’re not emotionally ready to make just yet. You could label it ‘don’t know.’

Once you have everything sorted take the next step immediately: throw away, donate and set up your items before they have time to migrate back out of the bins! Now what to do with some common items?

Usage Rule

Do you have items lying around that you seldom if ever use? Institute a usage rule; pack away specific items, date and label the box and if you have not used it in six months either have a yard sale or donate the items to charity. This is a good rule of thumb for most things around the house including clothing, shoes, dishes, pans and much more.

Of course, there are the occasional seasonal items such as winter clothes, camping, swimming or fishing gear that are definitely the exception to this rule.


  • If you are like a lot of people you have a lot of pictures, both in frames and out! Go through the pictures and determine which are most important.
  • For annual family pictures, you may want to rotate and only display the most current images. Older Polaroid’s and snap shots should be stored away in picture albums.
  • For others, a great organizing and storage principle is to scan them into your computer and save them digitally.

Books and Magazines

There are inexpensive bookshelves and magazine racks available at your local retailer. In addition, deep windowsills, mantles and even certain counter tops can become makeshift “bookshelves” with the addition of bookends. Hanging folder racks which are available at many dollar stores can make a handy organizational tool as well even for magazines.

Seasonal Clutter

During the winter months, coats and jackets which could become an eyesore can be easily organized. Install a few inexpensive hooks beside your back door and encourage everyone to make use of them! For homes or apartments where this is not possible consider investing in a coat rack, freestanding or wall mounted.

To store seasonal items, a portable closet makes a wonderful organizer, doesn’t take up too much space, and comes with colors that won’t be too obtrusive.

Final Thoughts

When you can replicate a plan to organize a room, surveys show you save up to 40% on housework. More importantly, you create a sanctuary for yourself and loose creative energy formerly drained off by clutter.

Steve B. Brown, Ph.D., is a retired research professor. Steve started ClutterControlGuide.com to be a free resource for others who wanted to feature speed and simplicity when decluttering and organizing their homes.

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7 Reasons to Build Things Yourself

Do you have a lot of free time? I’m sure you don’t. I barely find spare minutes to do the things I love, to do my work and to have some sleep at the end of the day. Most probably you are in a similar position – today everyone is so busy. Yet I am offering you to spend some of your precious time in building things yourself. Instead of buying all your indoor or outdoor furniture, all the toys for the kids and and all the stuff you use every day, I am suggesting you to build some of these things yourself.

And I have good reasons for this – well, at least 7:

1. Save money. While this is pretty obvious reason, it shouldn’t be your main action trigger. Usually you do save cash when building things yourself, but that’s only before you calculate your hourly rate and the time spent for the task. Sometimes when you add your time as expense you will end up “paying” more than you would pay for the item if you purchase it built.

Still, if you don’t have paid engagements for that time or just aren’t willing to spend it doing your regular work, you can consider your time free and the money saved. Especially if you add the next benefits of building things yourself.

2. Learn new things. While working on a do-it-yourself project you are going to learn new things and master new skills. Often you’ll be doing to do some woodworking, cutting, painting, calculating and planning. You’ll learn things that probably your regular job isn’t going to teach you. Maybe the new skills and knowledge aren’t going to generate income but they can be useful in many indirect ways in your work and life.

3. Have exactly the item you want. Sometimes the only way to have an item with the design and functionality you want is to build it yourself. For example you may have an idea for a great bench that fits your patio design and space but none of the benches offered in the stores is close enough to it. Then you either need to build it yourself or hire a craftsman to do it for you. The first is cheaper and most often more fun!

4. Break the routine. Just a century ago people worked with their hands all the time. Today we mostly use our hands to type on the keyboard and move the mouse (or scratch on the iPad). Going in the garage and working with your hands crafting things can be a great way to break the everyday routine and relax actively. It can be totally engaging in a great way.

5. Meet new friends. With the forums, Facebook groups and local communities you can easily get help about the stuff you are trying to do. And asking for help is a great way to make new friends – that’s especially true in hobbyists communities. Building things yourself can help you meet interesting people and some of them often become your friends for life.

6. Know what’s inside. Usually when buying toys for your kids you can’t be sure what’s inside. The label may be saying that there is no toxic stuff and no child labor is used but you can never know that for sure. When building things yourself you know exactly what materials and stuff you are putting inside. And this is valid not only for toys – think about your clothes, carpets and so on.

7. Be active. Building things is a physical activity and most of us live so sedentary life today. Most of the do-it-yourself project don’t involve such intensive activity as most sports so they are appropriate for people of almost every age. It’s a nice way to exercise your muscles without the overloading that often happens in the gym.

Next time when you have few spare hours, don’t spend it watching TV. Go outside and build something. Maybe it’s not going to be perfect, but it will be your own achievement and pride.

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A Basic Guide To Shed Construction

In case you are thinking about how to make a shed, then this short article will give you some basic steps to help you get this done.

For starters, you need to have a detailed plan. For this purpose, you need to think about your requirements for extra storage space. The things you want to store in this shed. The amount of space you require. These are just some of the things to consider while doing the plan and also think about usage for future years.

Next, you want to find out about your requirements to get a building permit. What are the restrictions in your region with regards to storage sheds? Will you require utilities near the spot for the shed? In the end, ensure that this plan is easy to follow and will have all the necessary details.

After that, you need to think about building the foundation. The plans should have detailed instructions for the foundation. Just ensure that this foundation is almost perfect, because if you are not able to get it right this will put the entire shed at risk.

Your next step will be to add wall framing to the foundation. For this you have to follow the correct measurements to ensure that it is square and at the desired level.

After the wall framing, you have to think about the frame for the roof. This step could be the most challenging because you have to cut angles for the rafters, plus you have to stay on a ladder when you are nailing this in place. Next, you have to complete the roof sheathing. This will require you to affix plywood sheeting on the roof rafters to be able to get a solid base in order to fasten the roofing materials.

According to the shed plan, it is possible that you will complete the main section of constructing the shed with the addition of the siding and roofing material. Your building project is going to be completed after you add doors, trim pieces, windows, and paint.

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5 Woodworking Ideas For the Home Workshop

I don’t know about you, but I always love to have ideas to get me started on a project. This is particularly true when I’m trying to do something creative – like woodwork. This article will share with you 5 woodworking ideas to help kick start your creativity on a number of useful and practical projects that you can easily build at home.

Idea 1 – Bird Feeder.

We all like to see birds in our yards or gardens and one of the best ways to encourage them is to provide food in a safe place for them. I’m sure that you like me, could quickly and easily knock up a basic bird feeder without much thought. The birds probably don’t care what it looks like, but this could become an ornamental feature in your garden if you give it some thought. One of the problems with a traditional, open bird feeder is that the fat, noisy pigeons steal all the food and the smaller birds go hungry. Think about how you could design features that only allow smaller birds access to the food!

Idea 2 – Bird House.

Following on from the bird feeder idea, why not give them food AND shelter? Bird houses can come in all shapes and sizes from simple boxes for the smallest birds to grand, ornate dovecotes which provide shelter and nesting for a whole loft of pigeons or flight of doves. Remember, this is about getting woodworking ideas so think beyond the obvious and try to find something creative and interesting.

Idea 3 – Dog House.

Every dog kennel tends to look like every other dog kennel – why must it be this way? I declare here and now that it’s OK for dogs to live in more interesting housing! If you put your mind to it, I’m sure you can create something for your dog that’s a little different from the norm. Maybe they live indoors so a traditional kennel is superfluous, but how about trying to build them something that can double as something practical for your house? How about a dog house, with shelves above for boot storage? Keep thinking outside the box and you’ll find a way to use this!

Idea 4 – Mailbox.

Do you have the same or a similar mailbox to all your neighbors? Why is this? Wouldn’t you like your mailbox to be more individual? Well, if the birds in your yard can have their own penthouse apartment, why should your mail feel left out? This is another fairly simple project that can be made more interesting and more individual simply through the use of your imagination.

Idea 5 – Tool Box.

If you’re serious about woodworking, you’ll probably have a large selection of tools scattered around your workshop. We’ve all been in that frustrating situation of looking for our favorite screwdriver but not being able to find it. When I got to this point, I designed a simple tool box that I could carry around with me that had all the most common tools that I’d need easily to hand. Remember, it’s your design so keep it simple or make it more intricate – it’s up to you. It could be as simple as a large tool chest, or it could be more functional and have one or more drawers for storing some of your smaller tools. The best tip that I can give you here is to look for ways to give every tool its own place, such as mounting a tenon saw inside the lid.

I hope that these suggestions have got you thinking. Remember, your best ideas will rarely be your first ideas so take these 5 woodworking ideas and spend some time finding ways to put them to good use in your workshop.

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6 Handy Hints For Building Pergolas

Before you can get to work on your new building project there are some finer points to be taken into consideration. Some of your initial decisions might be whether you take on the building yourself or need to contract someone else and if it’s feasible to attach the pergola to your veranda or make it freestanding.

1. Self build or contract?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. Think about your level of expertise, whether a contractor is affordable and if you have the tools required to get the job done if you can hire them readily, especially if most of the work is being done on the weekend.

2. How much can you afford to spend?

As with any renovation project it makes sense to prepare a budget. Pergolas can range in price so it is important to know what ready cash you have on hand before you begin. You may need to tweak the budget along the way but if you have allowed for those incidentals there won’t be any nasty surprises before the project is finished.

Make a list of the materials you’ll need and price them. Get quotes from builders or other workers you may have to bring in for work you can’t do yourself.

3. Create the design

One of the most important decisions will be if this is going to be an extension of an existing veranda or freestanding. Keep in mind if it is attached to the main roof there may be structural issues and extra building approvals required.

The best way to create a design is with some graph paper, a felt pen and ruler. Measure out the area and use a scaled version on your plan. Get ideas from other outdoor areas, magazines and trade displays.

4. Permissions and approvals

There’s no point spending time or money if the council has reasons not to let you build. There are regulations for attaching anything to an existing structure and distances from the post to boundary fences. Find out what planning permissions and building approvals are required before you start.

5. Styles and colours

Flat roof, dome shape, pavilion style, with so many choices of styles and colours available it may be difficult to make up your mind. Get inspiration from other people. Look at where the pergola sits in relation to their verandas. Many suppliers of pergolas have structures pre-built and on display.

Colours may be determined by your existing surroundings or maybe you want to brighten up your drab veranda by adding some bright colours or create a Mediterranean feel.

6. Choosing the right materials for your project

As difficult as choosing the right colour may seem, getting the materials right is worth careful consideration. While pergolas have been predominantly made out of timber, there are many other materials more durable and better suited to Australia’s harsh climate such as metal, fibreglass and plastic.

As much as you may want to rush down to the hardware store this weekend and get your pergola on the way there are any number of other considerations to keep in mind before building your pergola. Will it be roofed? What about the flooring, paved or grass? Remember whatever you decide a little time spent before spending money could mean the difference between a disaster and a stylish addition to your home.

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A Bit About Cold Frames and Cold Frame Plans

Cold frame plans are inexpensive to implement and can be a very beneficial addition to your garden. The main purpose of such a structure is to extend the growing season, thus providing the possibility of a higher yield for your effort. With this method of gardening, the growing season can be started earlier and extended longer without the fear of the elements hindering your growing efforts.

Historically, cold frame plans were typically put into use outside of green houses. You may be able to recall at one time seeing one sitting on the side of a green house that looks like it might be a small tool box or perhaps even a miniature green house. The idea was that seedlings grown in the greenhouse would be later moved to the cold frame to help them get acclimated to the elements. This would prevent the plants from going into shock when they were finally planted elsewhere. Though this way seem like a lot of work for your effort, it is highly effective and beneficial.

Once you build one with cold frame plans, it should be placed in a spot where there is a lot of sunlight. This will help to keep the box warm during the colder months without any additional effort on your part. Face the lower side towards the South, if possible. If you cannot face it towards the South, the next best direction to face it would be towards the West. In extremely cold conditions, it can be covered with a blanket or tarp. This will help to keep some of the cold out and help maintain a warmer climate within the box.

Implementing a set of cold frame plans can make a great addition to any garden, especially for the avid gardener. Once it is built you can enjoy its bountiful benefits for years to come. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to extend your growing season.

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5 Tips for Building an Outdoor Tree-House

When you think about building an outdoor tree house there are a number of things worth remembering.

It is vital to consider the location, support, design, and security of your tree-house. You need a definite idea of what the tree-house must be. Is it intended to be a fun place for kids to play in? A place where you can go to relax and spend time in nature? Building a tree-house is not much different to building any wooden structure except that instead of resting on a foundation a tree-house rests upon a platform and using playhouse plans for such a structure is a good idea.

Choosing the right tree location is very important to success. Strong, sturdy trees such as beech, chestnut, or oak are great options.


Your first priority is to select the tree and where about in the tree you intend to build the tree-house. This is when you need to contemplate the purpose of the tree-house. Ask yourself whether it is to be a playhouse for the kids. If so, you need to be sure that you do not build it too high up. Around 5 feet off the ground is ideal and to the kids it will seem higher anyway.

Choose a healthy, mature tree that doesn’t have any special pruning needs. It is advisable to call in a professional arborist for advice regarding pruning that might be required and if any is necessary have it done by a professional.


Any tree-house needs a strong and secure base for the construction to be a success. It needs to be built close to the trunk of the tree and it needs diagonal bracing to add strength, especially if there are no supporting branches or posts. The platform needs to be level and centrally balanced around the tree so that it can handle uneven loads and minimize swaying or movement. In the process of securing the platform take care in keeping damage to the tree to a minimum. Instead of using nails rather opt for rope lashing but ensure that you are familiar with the way to tie the knots properly.


When you have the platform in place the next phase is attaching the floor. Exterior plywood sheets or proper tongue-and-groove floorboards are ideal. When it comes to the walls you can construct them in the tree or choose prefabricated ones which are then lifted up and into place.

Minimize the work you have to do up in the tree by adding external wall finishes on the ground, including fixing the doors and windows into place. Likewise the roof can also be pre-assembled unless there are to be branches entering it, or if it is an asymmetrical shape, in which case building it on place is the more feasible option.


Nothing can beat the pleasure that comes with relaxing outside the tree-house itself amid the branches and leaves and to this end a deck is a great addition. A deck can either be a part of the tree-house itself or situated nearby perhaps accessed via a rope bridge or wooden walkway. Whichever one you choose is a matter of preference but safety is paramount and so secure railings are essential.


Once the tree-house is built there is the issue of accessing it. If the tree-house is not too high up a simple wooden or rope ladder is ideal. Higher tree-houses are more easily and safely accessed by steps with handrails. Spiral steps that wind their way up the trunk are always fun and seem more natural than a straight flight. Whichever you choose ensure that you follow the proper design and that the stairs or ladder is secure, safe, and can support the weight of those that will be using them.


Of course the last thing you want is for the tree-house to fall down after all your hard work and effort, especially if someone is inside it when it does! Don’t neglect regularly checking the floors, decks, railings, etc. for any signs of rot or weakness. Check the ladders, steps, and walkways also and make sure that damage is repaired immediately. Also, regularly check the tree itself for any growth and movement and make sure that you fix any attachments when and if needed without delay.

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