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Sean Donohue, publisher

From the Magazine

The Right Tools Make all the Difference

The other day my wife got the urge to redecorate, and when I say redecorate, I mean demolition. Our mid ’60s dining room was not fitting her taste, so she decided to take a crowbar and remove the chair rail, and that’s when I realized my next big project had just started.

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Every time I start a project, I think it’s going to take far less time and effort than it really does. We started to remove all the molding in the room with a flat bar and hammer, which went rather quickly but only to realize that in most areas it left big holes in the plaster. We all know that when you try to fill holes in plaster you will never get a perfectly smooth surface. So, we decided to go over the entire new space with finished MDF, which would allow for a perfect surface.

I ordered all the material that I needed at once and began to cut the panels with a circular saw and quickly realized it was not making a perfect cut nor could I hold the 8-foot piece without support. I needed a table saw with a support at the end so I could run the 8 footers through and get a perfect cut. This would also be needed for all of the molding, so I borrowed a table saw and the work went extremely fast and looked perfect.

Next it was time to start attaching everything to the walls. With a new chair rail height of 5 feet and new modern molding, this dining room was going to look great — if it ever would get done. I started with a hammer and finish nails, but I knew that one wrong hit would create indentations that would ruin the perfect finish. I knew I needed a finish air nailer if I wanted it to look right. Once the air nailer arrived, we were in good shape. Not only were there no indentations but it went incredibly fast.


Now for the finish work … the easiest and fastest part, right? Nope, way wrong!

When finished, the molding should look like one solid, perfectly smooth piece. After wood filler and a lot of sanding, it was time to paint. I got out my handy dandy paint brush and roller and I was ready to go. I sat down to open the half gallon of white paint that I had saved from the last project, reached for my flat head screwdriver and started a fight with the paint can. I could not get it open with a screwdriver … I needed a paint can opener. I searched forever but finally found one. It took a matter of three seconds for me to open it correctly.

As I put the paint on the walls, the brush marks were showing and I knew I needed a paint sprayer, so I clicked onto Amazon and had a cheap one at my doorstep in two days. I proceeded with the cheap sprayer and within 30 minutes it overheated, and I was out of commission again. I called the local paint store, invested in a good quality paint sprayer. Now the paint went on like butter! And looks great!


There’s a reason why I envision these projects to go quickly and it’s because I am visioning them using the proper tools. If you want your workday to go smooth, you don’t want to get frustrated and you want to do a good quality and efficient job — not to mention setting yourself up to make the most money — then INVEST IN THE PROPER TOOLS.

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