Quick Tip

Got a troublesome screw that keeps coming loose? Remove it, dip it in glue or putty, then screw it back in. As an alternative, wedge in the screw by placing a wooden match or toothpick in the  hole, or by wrapping a few strands of steel wool around the screw threads before you put it back in.

Slippin’ anda Slidin’
Dear Andy, We have a nice tile floor throughout which we really love, except that its light color allows dust, dirt and water spots to show up. (That’s not the problem). To catch falling debris in the kitchen and to reduce water spots in the bathroom, we placed mats in front of the two sinks, and we put a bath mat next to the shower. To reduce the amount of dirt being tracked in, we put door mats at our front door and patio door. (That’s not the problem.) On any given day, we find ourselves slipping on the floor mats—which too easily slide along the tile floor. (That’s the problem.) Is there some way we can stop the mats from sliding?
Mary Ann

The best and safest solution to what could be a precarious problem, Mary Ann, would have been to buy non-slip or slip-resistant mats or carpets. Inasmuch as you already have the dodgy type in your home, you might try lining the bottom edges of each mat with anti-skid or non-slip tape. Before attaching the tape, ensure that the surface on the underside of the mat is totally dry and devoid of grease, dirt and dust.

Sa-pay Away
Hi, Andy.  Referring to ‘Dust Bunnies’ [Ask Andy,’ Pattaya Today, November 1], where can I buy a can of compressed air?  I have tried all over including all of Tuccom but no luck. Looking forward to hearing from your fount of knowledge.
Mike Mayne

My guess is that you did not literally try all of TukCom, Mike. You no doubt overlooked the lower level, where the Amorn shop does, indeed, carry cans of compressed air. You’ll find it on a lower shelf in the middle of the store along side a host of other aerosol products. If unable to distinguish which is compressed air, ask a clerk for ‘sa-pay loam’ (as close as I can come to describing it in Thai).

Slice and Dice
After living here for six months, Andy, I’ve decided to stay permanently. So I moved out of the hovel I had been renting and found myself a nice apartment with a bedroom and a kitchen. The bedroom was easy to sort out (a bed, a closet, and a nightstand), but in the kitchen department I have one immediate concern: What kind of knives should I buy? At the moment, I have only those that came with a set of eating utensils (I’m reluctant to use the term ‘silverware’), but they are not useful when preparing meals. Any advice?

Good question, Avi. First you must decide if you want to buy an entire knife set or just one or two to get by. Buying an entire set—which often includes a knife steel (for sharpening) and a storage unit–means a bigger expense upfront, but offers savings over buying the same number of knives individually. If cost is an issue, opt for a budget set for now; you can always add professional-quality knives as your budget allows. If you want only the essentials for cutting, slicing and dicing, you should consider a small and a large paring knife; a 6” (15cm) utility knife; a serrated utility knife, and a chef’s knife with a long blade. Those should suffice. You can always expand your collection to include such non-essentials as a bread knife with serrated blade; a boning or fillet knife with flexible blade; a cheese knife, and a set of steak knives.

The tang of the blade (above photo) extends down into the handle. It is attached to the handle (bottom photo) by three rivets.

If you appreciate quality and you demand durability, opt for a forged steel, full-tang blade (which means that it extends to the end of the handle) attached by three or more rivets. Speaking of handles, composite or resin handles usually are less expensive, easiest to care for, and durable. While shopping, handle the knives to make sure they are a good fit in your hand.

Brush Aside
After painting the bathroom, Andy, I set everything (paint, drop cloth, brushes) aside thinking that I would paint the parlor sometime in the next few days. Unfortunately, it’s been three months and I just got around to resuming the paint project. But now I find both of the brushes are dried out and stiff. Is there something I can do to revive them or do I just toss them into the garbage and buy new brushes?

No, Thomas, do not toss them. Assuming they are not old, worn and ready to be replaced anyway, you can restore hardened brushes by soaking them in a pan of simmering white vinegar (full strength) for five to ten minutes. The paint on the bristles will soften and then can be removed with a wire comb or brush. Once you have gotten all the old paint out, work a few drops of oil into the bristles, leaving the brush soft and ready to use in your parlor.

Burning Question
Sawasdee kha, Khun Andy. Now we have machine for wash cloths and one more to dry. Please you can tell to me if machine to dry it can burn up make fire in house because have lint? My husband tell to me but I think him dtaw-ley.

No, Meeo, that’s not just b.s. from your husband. Lint buildup in your dryer blocks the air flow, and that not only makes the machine operate less efficiently, it also can cause a fire. When lint accumulates in the exhaust duct, it reduces the dryer’s ability to expel heated water vapor. That, in turn, accumulates as heat energy. As the dryer overheats, mechanical failures can trigger sparks, causing lint trapped in the dryer vent to burst into flames and continue to the vent duct in the wall, causing a house fire. So first of all, make certain that your dryer is properly connected to a vent that expels exhaust to the outside of your home. The connection is usually behind the dryer but may be beneath it. And look carefully to make sure it’s actually connected. Secondly, remove and dispose of lint from the filter screen after every load. You can use a vacuum cleaner to clean the vent area at the front (or top) of the dryer, below the filter. Make sure also that the venting is not restricted, either from kinks in the ducting or from lint trapped inside. Dryer ducts often are made from flexible material which may be easily kinked or crushed where they exit the dryer and enter the wall or floor. Check to ensure that your vent is free to allow air to pass through properly.

–Handy Andy

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