Do-it-yourself projects can be immensely rewarding, but even a small repair can turn into a more frustrating and time-consuming job when you encounter unexpected problems. Here are some easy tips for tackling common home hardware problems that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment rather than a sense of frustration:
Loose Screws: If a screw is so loose that it’s barely gripping, remove it, wrap its threads with a few strands of steel wool, and screw it back into its old hole.
If a screw has been ripped out of its hole entirely and the hole is too big for the threads to gain hold, slide a wooden match into the hole and then replace the screw.
Tight Screws: Twisting screws into a bar of soap first makes them easier to insert. A few drops of white vinegar will help remove stubborn screws from a metal surface.
Better Grips: Improve your grip by wrapping a thick rubber band around the plastic handle of a screwdriver. This makes tightening and loosening screws less strenuous.
Hammer Help: When hammering a small nail, brad or tack, slip the fastener between the teeth of a pocket comb to protect your fingers from the hammer’s blow. Don’t have a comb handy? You can also use a bobby pin, a paper clip or tweezers to hold the nail.
When hammering a nail in a tight spot or hard-to-reach corner, a bit of modeling clay or chewing gum will hold the nail in place for the first couple of blows.
Rusted Nuts and Bolts: Removing a rusted nut or bolt can be an especially frustrating task. Pour hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice or cola over the rusted fastener and wait half an hour. The mild acid will dissolve the rust enough for the nut or bolt to turn freely.
Rusted Tools: Working with rusted tools makes any job more difficult. Clean off the rust by rubbing a paste of six parts salt and two parts lemon juice on the rusted areas with a dry cloth, then rinse and dry thoroughly.