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Here's a DIY'er tip:

When replacing a light fixture, DON'T disconnect the old fixture at the wire nut connecting the old fixture to the house wiring. The house wiring may have baked insulation from being cooked inside the electrical box and handling that wiring may cause the insulation to break off. Instead, cut the wiring of the old fixture close to the fixture and connect to the old fixture's wires.

Also, when assembling any metal parts where lubricating the parts would be an advantage, but you're reluctant to use a lubricant because dust would stick to it and possibly interfere with the operation of the machinery, remember that glycerine has the lubricating properties of a light oil but evaporates completely without leaving a residue. You can buy glycerine at any pharmacy.

The best way to avoid brush strokes when painting with a brush is to thin your paint. Adding thinner both allows the paint to self level faster and increases the drying time of the paint so that it has more time to self level. Thinning the paint results in it drying to a smaller film thickness, so you need to compensate for thinning by applying an additional coat.

Before painting with any brush, clean it with the thinner of the paint you'll be using. If you'll be using a latex paint, wash the brush out with water. That will allow water to be absorbed by capillary pressure high up into the brush's bristles. This prevents the paint that gets high up in the bristles from drying out while you're painting so that when you do wash the brush out, ALL of the paint comes out easily and quickly. It also prevents "hard heel" syndrome in brushes cause by paint drying high up in the bristles.

Removing a stubborn hinge pin from a door hinge is best done by gripping the head of the hinge pin with a small pair of locking pliers and twisting the hinge pin back and forth in the knuckle while pulling on it.

To prevent faucet knobs from sticking to the top of the faucet stems, apply some antiseize compound to the knob or stem top before screwing the knob on.

You can clean mildewed silicon by mixing bleach and talcum powder (aka: magnesium silicate) to make a paste. Trowel the paste onto the mildewed silicone, cover with Saran Wrap so the bleach doesn't dry out, and leave it for a couple of days like that.
 
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OK, KCTermite, here's one to replace it:

HOW TO MAKE A TEST TUBE DISAPPEAR:

Immerse a test tube in corn oil. It will become completely invisible when it's immersed in corn oil.

That's cuz the refractive index of corn oil is 1.470 to 1.474

http://www.corn.org/CornOil.pdf (page 15)

and the refractive index of Pyrex glass (which test tubes are made of) is 1.473
http://www.valleydesign.com/pr16.htm

So, if you immerse a test tube in corn oil, it will become invisible because almost no light will reflect or refract at the oil/Pyrex interface(s). Thus, light travelling through the corn oil will behave almost exactly the same way whether it goes through a test tube not. That means, the test tube will become invisible.

You gotta know about refractive indices to get your DIY'er arm badge in Invisibility.
 

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Just today I was on a jobsite trying to figure out how to make a test tube disappear.
OK, OK, OK, OK.

I'll concede that making a Pyrex test tube disappear is not one of the more common challenges facing DIY'ers. That much I'll grant you.

So, here's a DIY tip that's likely to be more useful to more people more often

The stains of mammal urine will fluoresce under ultraviolet light.

Cleaning contractors use black lights made specifically for this purpose in order to pinpoint the location of urine stains.

http://www.baneclene.com/catalog/ultra_violet_light.html

http://www.spectroline.com/agriculture_pest_control.html

http://dstore.com.au/pets/Urine-Off-Black-Light/1086562.html

I've read a number of reasons, all different, as to why urine stains are fluorescent, and I don't know which one is correct.

The hair of rodents (like mice and rats) also fluoresces under UV light.

So, not only will the black light tell you where the odor is originating, it will also indicate whether the cleaner you're using to remove the urine stain is working or not.
 

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A while ago I ran across this list from Poplar Mechanic's, the 100 Skills every man should know. Thought I'd share.
Oh, man. I read through that whole list twice and making a Pyrex test tube disappear wasn't on it. :( Also, their Master Key Workshop Tools doesn't even include a vaccuum cleaner or broom and dustpan so the Master Craftsman can't even clean up after him/herself. That's depressing.

So, I thought I'd cheer everyone up with a DIY tip, and this one explains the mystery of:

How does a toilet flush?

A toilet is nothing more than a glorified siphon. (for the rest of this post I'll refer to the liquid being siphoned as water, even though any liquid may be siphoned)

To get a siphon hose flowing you simply immerse the inlet end and suck on the outlet end until the siphon hose is full of water. As long as the elevation of the outlet end is below that of the inlet end and the siphon tube is full of water, then the laws of physics take over and water will continue to flow through the siphon tube.

A toilet bowl works exactly the same way, except that you don't suck on the outlet end cuz it might not be hygenic. Instead, the toilet tank is designed to add enough water to the toilet bowl fast enough that the overflow into the discharge channel of the bowl fills that discharge channel completely with water. Once that happens, then exactly the same laws of physics take over and that full discharge channel siphons the water (and everything in that water) out of the bowl. It doesn't matter how that discharge channel came to be full of water, all that matters is that it is full of water and as such, will act as a siphon tube to siphon the water out of the bowl. You have Sir Isaac Newton's word on it.

This is where I fly off on a tangent.
Some toilet bowls are molded in such a way that you can see the shape of the discharge channel inside the toilet bowl. People often presume that the discharge channel is molded this way so that it forms a "trap" like the p-trap under a sink. That's not true. The toilet bowl itself serves the purpose of a p-trap, and as long as there is sufficient water in your toilet bowl, it's THAT bowl water that prevents sewer gas from coming into your house through the toilet.

No, the discharge channel in a toilet bowl is made intentionally tortuous to SLOW DOWN THE FLOW OF WATER through it so that the water overflowing into it from the bowl can fill it completely for a successful flush.

You can use this knowledge to diagnose an improperly flushing toilet. Just pour a 5 gallon pail of water into the problem toilet as fast as possible without spilling water all over the floor. If the toilet then flushes properly, then the poor flushing is due to the fact that not enough water is flowing into the bowl fast enough so that the overflow into the discharge channel isn't filling it completely. That means the problem is UPSTREAM of the toilet bowl. It could be that the flapper in the tank isn't opening wide open, or that the water jets at the bottom of the bowl or under the rim of the bowl are plugged.

If the toilet still doesn't flush properly when you pour the 5 gallons in fast, then you know the problem is in the bowl or DOWNSTREAM of the bowl.

Toilets are simple as mud, but most DIY'er don't understand how the flushing action actually works. Now you do.

PS:
Gma2rjc: You said:
You have to admit though, cambruzzi & thekctermite's one-line comments are pretty funny.
You can decide for yourself what's funny. The title of the thread was DIY Tips and Tricks, and I suggested it as a Trick (which it is). It was obviously never meant to be a serious DIY'er tip, but I resent being ridiculed over it as if it was. I thought it was a neat trick and posted it, and now I'm sorry I did. I do NOT want to have to watch every thing I say in here for fear of being ridiculed over it. Now one would.
 

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Actually, the best way to clean a paint brush has more to do with BEFORE you paint than AFTER you paint.

Dip the brush in water or paint thinner and shake it out gently BEFORE painting with it. (you don't want to shake all the water or paint thinner out of the brush, just enough so that your paint isn't thinned too much when you start to paint)

If you're like most of the unwashed masses, you typically take a dry brush and immediately start painting with it. And, all the while you're painting, the paint inside the brush will be drying at the top (high up in the bristles) where it's exposed to air. By the time you go to clean the brush, don't be surprised if that the brush has come down with "flaring bristles and hard heel" syndrome cuz of the dried up paint high up in the bristles which simply won't wash out, or won't wash out nearly as easily as the wet paint lower down in the bristles.

By dipping the brush in water or paint thinner first, then capillary pressure draws those thinners high up into the bristles so that any paint that gets up there doesn't dry out, but stays wet for much longer. (Eventually the water or mineral spirits high up in the bristles will dry out too, so it's a good idea to place a few drops of water or mineral spirits high up in the bristles to replace the stuff that evaporates every hour or so.)

THEN, when you go to wash out your brush, the paint in it will wash out quickly and completely because nothing has dried up inside the bristles.

Doing that one simple task before painting saves an awful lot of time cleaning the brush after painting, and it keeps your brushes in good condition.
 
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