Fixing a Broken Chalk Line

The clip from my chalk line fell off and disappeared, so I replaced it with what I had available: a tab from a soda can.

My MacGuyvered Chalk Line

As I gathered my tools to begin working on a built-in bookshelf, I found that the clip on the end of my Irwin Chalk Line was missing and the string itself was receded back into the reel.

Getting the string out is a no-brainer.  On most chalk reels you just remove a few screws from the back (make sure you’re holding it in such a way that the chalk doesn’t fall out), untangle the line, feed it through the mouth of the reel, and re-tighten the screws. But what do you do about a missing clip?

I searched the Internet and couldn’t find replacement clips, so I had to Macguyver a solution. What construction site/remodel doesn’t have a few beer or soda cans sitting around?  I snapped the tab off a can, bent the wider end into an “L” shape, and knotted my chalk line through the hole on the other side.  I’m not going to say it works just as good as the original clip, but it works well enough that I’m not going to replace my chalk line for a while.

Cut the Crap! The Right Way to Cut Just About Everything

If you’re like me, you made it your job as a child to ignore anything useful your parents might have taught you.

My mom is an amazing cook and now I find myself regretting my lack of concern for her cullinary craftsmanship every time that I enter a kitchen. She’s always happy to give me advice when I ask, but I like to do my own thing before I call people begging for help.  Plus, you know, there’s YouTube.

My most recent difficulty involved trying to make a half-decent salad.  The quest actually began when I made a very sad salad for a dinner I was invited to: the vegetables were either to big or too small, and the tomatoes ended in a puddle of more skin and goo than a Saw sequel.

Yes, being 30 years old and not knowing the right way to cut lettuce is pathetic.  So sue me. You’ll be happy to know I’m now slicing and dicing like a pro and my salads no longer look like I tossed them in a wood chipper.

I’m compiling a list of videos on the right way to cut various foods.  Have anything to add? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll throw it on the list!




Cucumber (sushi style)






Hard-Boiled Eggs


When Stupid Attacks: Brian Vs. the Drywall Lift

I now present a product endorsement cleverly disguised as a funny anecdote worthy of America’s Funniest Videos had the events been recorded. The following is a true story.  Names have not been changed to protect the stupid.

Pentagon Tool "Lazy Lifter" Professional 11Ft Drywall Lift Hois

Pentagon Tool "Lazy Lifter" Professional 11Ft Drywall Lift Hois

I bought this Drywall Lift on Amazon just before the holidays.  The product description claims the lift reaches up to 11 feet flat or 15 feet on slanted ceilings, a perfect height for my old house’s 10 foot ceilings.  At the time the lift was priced at $150 with free shipping, a price-point both cheaper than a similar lift from Harbor Freight and a more economical solution than a rental considering I remodel like old people hump: slow and sloppy.

The lift arrived a few days later. It assembled easily and I quickly got to work hanging the ceiling in my soon-to-be office. When I cranked the lift I found the height stuck around 8 feet and, rather than actually reading the manual, I cursed Amazon’s “false advertising” and decided to make the most of the situation.  I constructed some t-braces and lifted the first sheet the additional 2 feet to the ceiling with the first brace, then walked around to the other side with the second.

Before I positioned the second brace the first lost it’s balance and fell along with the 12′ sheet of drywall it held. Fortunately the sheet’s fall was broken by my face, but in my frustration I may have picked up my 2 x 4 brace and smashed it over the drywall lift…

… which stands as a testament to the lift’s sturdiness! Once my tantrum subsided and I sat down and looked at the lift, I realized the it has a clip that needs released in order for the telescoping pole to extend to it’s maximum height. I placed a sheet that wasn’t mangled by my face on the lift and turned the wheel.  Now we’re cooking with freaking gas, people.

The drywall lift is (Pentagon Tool “Lazy Lifter” Professional 11Ft Drywall Lift Hoist) turned out to be an excellent purchase.  Assembly couldn’t be simpler, the lift itself seems quite sturdy and well-balanced, and the only problem I ran into was due to my own rush to use the tool rather than understand it. I highly recommend this lift for anyone doing more than a few sheets of overhead drywall.

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