coloured stripe


Painting, decorating and home improvement tips blog

Making and using a water level

Posted by admin
March 31st, 2021

Making and using a water level

Water levels can come in very useful when you need to make a level line across a big expanse, such as in a room and a level simply won’t do. You can buy laser levels but they can be expensive and you may only require it once, this post describes how to make a cheap water level.

Water levels can be used for things such as dado and picture rails, wallpaper borders etc.
close up water level graphic

Making a water level

To make a water level is fairly straightforward, you will need the following items.

  • A long length of clear tubing
  • Water
  • Something to bung ends of tube (optional)
  • Funnel (optional)

You will need a length of clear tubing, long enough to reach around your work area, such as a room. The tube needs to be clear so you can see the water, so a garden hose wouldn’t be any good as it isn’t transparent.

Once you have your length of tubing you need to fill it with water. This can be done by using a funnel in one end of the tube and running water into it to fill the tube. You can also try the syphon method, but whatever you find works best for you. Make sure that there are no air bubbles in the length of tube, if there are work them out to an open end.

Don’t fill the tube fully as you will need to allow the water to move without it coming out all over the place and for it to settle to get the level.

Once the tube is filled enough you will need to stop the water coming out again, this can be done simply by placing your thumb over the end or a bung of some kind if you have one.

Using a water level

Now that you have made your water level you are ready to use it. You will need a starting point, this can be achieved by measuring and making a pencil mark, or maybe using an existing level, such as a dado rail, it could even be something in another room if the tube is long enough. For example if you want to make sure the dado rail is the same in two rooms. This will be your starting point.

You will need a second person to help you with using the level. One stays at the original level point whilst the other uses the level and marks the wall at the level.

The person holding the ‘fixed’ end, that is the original level mark stays holding the tube at this point, whilst the second person moves to a new point and holds the tube against the wall. The first person instructs the second person to move up or down until the water is level with the original mark, the second person can then mark the wall level with the water in the tube, thus giving a level line.

Continue doing this in several places as required. Remember not to lift tube too high without having end blocked as it will flow out. You can then if required draw a line and join up the marks.

water level grapgic

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Home Improvements | No Comments »




How to cut a bolt without damaging the thread

Posted by admin
February 28th, 2021

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

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Home Improvements | No Comments »




How to fit shelves

Posted by admin
January 28th, 2021

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Home Improvements | No Comments »




Top

My Paintbrush logo