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How to cut a bolt without damaging the thread :: Posted by: Admin on April 30th, 2014

How to cut a bolt without damaging the thread

If you find yourself with a job that requires a bolt to fix something together, or maybe simply fitting a new door or drawer knob onto furniture, sometimes you may find the supplied bolt is too long for your requirements, this is often done intentionally allowing the manufacturer to supply only one bolt at the longer size allowing the end user to cut to the required length. So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation, you can cut it but but how as there is a possibility of damaging the thread making the bolt unusable.

However, this very simple tip will make cutting the bolt easy and also save the tread from damage. All you require is the bolt, a nut, a hacksaw, and something to hold the nut and bolt with, such as a vise.

Cutting the bolt

To cut the bolt simply take the bolt and a nut that fits the bolts thread (if one doesn’t come supplied), screw the nut onto the bolt just further onto the bolt than the length you want the final bolt to be. In other words the nut will need to be still left on the bolt once it has been cut.

Once the nut is in place, hold it in the vice, with the nut or the bolt head, not the thread. Then take the hacksaw and place the blade right up against the nut, on the waste side of the bolt. Then with one hand steady the bolt and with the other hand start to cut with the hacksaw. Go slowly and be careful of your hands and fingers. Keep cutting until you have gone through the bolt.

Checking the bolts thread

Once you have cut the bolt, the nut should still be on the bolt. To make sure the thread is OK simply unscrew the nut off of the bolt, if it is a little hard to do so use a spanner or adjustable spanner to ease the nut off. If it is really hard to get off unscrew the nut slightly, then screw it back on then off then on until the nut comes off of the bolt.
To finish off, and ensure any loose metal is removed from the thread brush the end with a wire brush.

Now you can use the shortened bolt to complete that job.

Cutting a bolt

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Filling holes in wood with wooden plugs :: Posted by: Admin on March 26th, 2014

wooden plug cutter

Filling holes in wood with wooden plugs

When it comes to filling holes in wood, plaster etc it is typically done with a powder filler or a two part filler, as discussed in this blog post about fillers, the different types and their uses.

But what do you do if you want to fill screw holes in wood and then varnish the wood in clear varnish or leave it natural, you could use a natural coloured filler or you could use wooden plugs or pellets. This may occur, for example if you have a hardwood window sill, such as oak or mahogany and you want to use a clear varnish on it, then you don’t want to see the filler, this is where these wooden plugs come in.

What are wooden plugs

Wooden plugs are used to conceal and hide screw holes in wood without the use of a wood filler. They are made from the same wood as surrounding wood so that the grain and wood colouring match in when finished. You can make your own wooden plugs by buying a wooden plug cutter, these are available from any good hardware or timber store. They come in different sizes to match the size hole you wish to fill.

When you drill the plug you will notice the edges are slightly tapered, this is to allow for a good fit.

Using wooden plugs

Firstly you will require a piece of wood, such as an off cut of the timber you wish to fill the screw hole in. You will also need the plug cutter.
Lay the off cut on a flat surface, drill into the off cut with the plug cutter, this will produce a plug for you. Once you have the plugs you require you can fix them into place.
Take some wood glue and put a little around the plug and a little in the screw hole. Next place the plug into the hole making sure the grain of the plug runs the same way as the surrounding wood, give the top of the plug a little tap with a hammer to ensure a good tight and secure fit. Wipe any excess glue that may ooze out with a damp cloth, allow the glue to fully dry.
When the glue has fully dried you can finish the plug off, to do this you need to carefully remove the top of the plug with a sharp chisel, leave the plug just proud of the surrounding timber. The remaining plug can then be sanded down level with the surrounding area.

Once you are happy with the plug you can apply the finishing coat over the wood and the screw hole will almost be invisible.

Wood plugs

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How to fit shelves :: Posted by: Admin on February 13th, 2014

How to fit shelves

Shelves are a handy way to store and display items, from books to ornaments. There are a few different types of shelving available, such as floating, fixed bracket, slotted shelving system and built in shelving. You will find one that suits your needs and situation.

Obviously the most important thing with shelving, whatever the type you use is to ensure the shelve is level and securely fitted to the wall. You will need a few basic tools to fit shelves and is an easy job to do.

Tools needed to fit shelving

You will need the following tools to fit shelves:

  • A pencil
  • A spirit level
  • A drill
  • Rawl plugs
  • Drill bit
  • A cable and pipe detector
  • A tape measure
  • A dust sheet

Unless you are sure where pipes and cables run you should always use a detector to find and mark them to avoid drilling through pipes or cables.

Fixed Bracket Shelf

Fitting fixed bracket shelves

Firstly use the pipe and cables detector to find and then mark the location of any cables or pipes on the wall. Once this is done you can work out where to fix the shelf, making sure you avoid the cables and pipes you may of marked.

Once you have decided on the shelves location, hold the shelf against the wall and with a spirit level ensure the shelf is level, then draw a line along the under edge of the shelf, then put the shelf to one side.

Now take a bracket and hold it so that the top of the bracket is level with the line you have drawn on the wall and far enough in from the edge to give the shelf good support (this will depend on the shelf size and the weight you are going to put onto it). Mark the holes of the bracket onto the wall using a pencil, then put the bracket to one side.

Now with a drill bit and drill, drill the holes required and put rawl plugs into the wall, repeat the same process with the other bracket.

Floating Shelf

Once you have the holes drilled and plugged you can screw the brackets onto the wall, then fit the shelf to the bracket, the brackets will have holes in them to allow you to screw through the bracket and up into the shelf to stop the shelf from moving or being pulled off. Just make sure the screws are small enough so they do not go all the way through the shelf.

Finally check the level of the shelf, and you are now ready to use your shelves. If you have more than one shelf to fit, follow the same procedure as above.

Fitting floating shelves

A floating shelf is designed to hide the supporting bracket by concealing it inside the shelf, these types of shelves give a modern minimalistic look.

Firstly use the pipe and cables detector to find and then mark the location of any cables or pipes on the wall. Once this is done you can work out where to fix the shelf, making sure you avoid the cables and pipes you may of marked.

Once you have decided on the shelves location, hold the shelf bracket against the wall and with a spirit level ensure the shelf is level, then mark the holes through the bracket onto the wall, put the bracket to one side, drill and plug the holes.

Now screw the bracket onto the wall using the holes you have just drilled, once the bracket is firmly fixed to the wall slide the shelf onto the bracket. Check the level of the shelf, if you are happy screw the grub screw (small screws) through the shelf and into the hole in the bracket to ensure the shelf can not be pulled off the wall.

Adjustable Shelf System

Fitting slotted adjustable shelf system

This type of shelving is great if you may wish to alter the height of the shelves to allow taller things in between shelves in the future, and can be removed completely and just leave the vertical rails on the wall until you wish to use them again, in you need a versatile shelving system then this is the one to go for.

Firstly use the pipe and cables detector to find and then mark the location of any cables or pipes on the wall. Once this is done you can work out where to fix the shelf, making sure you avoid the cables and pipes you may of marked.

Work out the height of the supporting rail and mark it on the wall, hold the supporting bracket so the top lines up with the mark on the wall, then mark the top hole, drill and plug this hole and screw the bracket to the wall, but don’t tighten the screw all the way in, allow the bracket to hang, it should hang vertically level as it is only fixed in one place, check and adjust if needed using a spirit level, then mark the remaining holes, hold the bracket out of the way, drill and plug the remaining holes. Then screw all the screws into the bracket.

Now moving onto the second bracket, ensure it is at the same level as the first one, and not too far apart for the shelf. By using the same procedure as above fit the second bracket.

Once both brackets are fitted you can slide the shelf brackets into the supporting bracket and lock them into place.

Then you can put your shelves on the shelf brackets and then using a small screw screw through the underneath of the bracket up into the self to stop it from moving or being pulled off.

Fitting built in shelves

Built In Shelf

Built in shelving is ideal for alcoves either side of a fireplace. They consist of wooden battens that are screwed to the wall and then a shelf is cut to fit the alcove and sits on top of the battens.

Firstly use the pipe and cables detector to find and then mark the location of any cables or pipes on the wall. Once this is done you can work out where to fix the shelf, making sure you avoid the cables and pipes you may of marked.

You now need to measure the battens, one for the back and two for the sides. Drill and fix the batten on the back wall, then line up, drill and fix the two side battens. The two side battens can be shaped so they aren’t square edged on the front edge, you can cut them at a 45° angle.

Once all the battens are fixed to the walls you can fit the shelves. You will have to make bespoke shelves to fit your width and depth of alcove. Once the shelves are fitted you can screw the shelves from the top into the batten to ensure they don’t move or are pulled off.

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Boxing in pipework :: Posted by: Admin on January 13th, 2014

Boxing in pipework

Boxing in pipework

Pipes such as heating pipes or waste pipes can look ugly and can be a dust trap, they can be hard to clean and even paint around. The ideal solution is to box pipework in, once they are boxed in, the box can be decorated the same as the surrounding area, such as tiled or painted.

Typically to box in pipework you use timber battens and plywood or MDF, the battens are normally 2×1 inches (50×25 mm) or 2×2 (50×50 mm). The plywood or MDF can be 6 or 9 mm. All of the materials used will depend on the circumstances you plan to box the pipes in. You may even wish to use plasterboard and plaster the box.

Tools required for this job

  • Battens (2×1 or 2×2) (50×25 mm or 50×50 mm)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screw or panel pins
  • Spirit level
  • Screwdriver / drill with screwdriver bit
  • Hammer
  • Plywood, MDF, Plasterboard
  • A pencil
  • Tape measure

How to box in pipes

Take the battens and hold them against the wall, use a spirit level to ensure they are upright and level, next drill holes through the wood into the wall, use rawl plugs and screws to fit the batten to the wall ensuring they are level.

Once the two wall battens are fixed you can cut the plywood to the correct size, fix a batten on the outside corner of one of the pieces of plywood, this will allow you to screw the other length of plywood to it giving the external corner a good strong fixing.

Decorating the box

Once the boxing in is done you can decorate the box, if you are painting the box, fill the screw holes and rub them down then apply the appropriate paint to match the surrounding area, you may have to prime the box first to seal the plywood. If you are tiling the boxing in, cut and fix the tiles to match in with to other tiles. You can add skirting boards to horizontal boxing in to match the room, and coving to vertical boxing in to make the box become part of the room and once decorated should like it has always been there.

Horizontal and vertical pipes

The same method for boxing in applies if you are boxing in horizontal or vertical pipes.

You can box in heating pipes, hot and cold water pipes, soil pipes and waste pipes to tidy them up and make them look part of the room.

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