July 16, 2019
A brief explanation about the podcast schedule and a request for your help to make the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast the best it can be.
April 28, 2019
When it comes to home improvements, there is the ideal: the dream kitchen , the luxury bathroom or the stunning addition. But you may spend years saving and planning for the ideal. So what do you do until then? Can you justify spending any money on something that is destined for the landfill, or must you live with what you have (and obviously dislike) while you save for the big renovation? Examples Steve Ramsey’s “Basic Mobile Workbench” vs the “Paulk” workbench. * YouTube Video of Ramsey’s “BMW.” Follow his link for free plans and a video walking you through the first steps. The plans and detailed build video are included as a free bonus in his Weekend Woodworker course. (highly recommend if you are looking to get into woodworking) * YouTube Video of Ron Paulk discussing the design of his workbench. My temporary home office in the family room, old bookshelves vs. new display cabinets in the family room, photo albums on a bookshelf in the bedroom, instead of downstairs. All temporary “good enough” solutions until we can set up our “ideal” spaces. New carpet and paint in the addition that we planned to tear down and why I don’t regret spending that money. A hypothetical example of how you might update a kitchen while you save for a major remodel. Building drawers * YouTube Video of Jon Peters building basic plywood drawers with screws.* YouTube Video of Drew Short (Rock-n H Woodshop) making and installing drawers in a bathroom cabinet A day in the life (or something like that) I am always talking about priorities, and not enough hours in the day or enough days in a week. For what it’s worth, I share with you how my time is divided in a typical week and why useful blocks of time to accomplish anything are so elusive. Help support the show If you want to help support and the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast, kindly consider clicking through our affiliate link the next time you shop at It won’t cost you any extra, and I will receive a modest commission that will help offset hosting costs. Thank you.
April 3, 2019
Isn't it weird when you come across a rating or review that does not agree with the majority opinion? Or find that your own experience is not the same as everyone else's? That was the situation we found ourselves in when we had a new door installed by a highly rated company. Because that out-of-place one star rating would have been ours (if we had rated them). This is the tale of our new front door, from the sale to installation to service and the mistakes that were made along the way by the parties involved.
March 17, 2019
A response to an article on Mashable "11 DIY videos absolutely no one asked for." So, why do makers make what they make the way they make anyway?
February 24, 2019
The Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make (part 4) Over improving: Spending too much money on home improvements that you price yourself out of the market. Under improving: not spending enough money that you hurt your property value. And why any of this may not matter to you.
February 2, 2019
It's one of the most common problems with houses: the wet basement. In this episode of the podcast, we look at two popular waterproofing methods plus the steps you can take to avoid taking such drastic measures.
January 15, 2019
Making sense of the different types of drywall, drywall compound, mesh vs paper tape and drywall tools.
December 30, 2018
An election, a TV show and a board game. Looking back at news topics that as a homeowner, I found to be significant or interesting.
December 23, 2018
Our financial situation is, shall we say, challenged but I am not going to DIY a project even though that would save us considerable money. In this episode of the podcast, I look at how we so quickly maxed out our credit cards and how trying to save $600 could potentially cost much more.
October 28, 2018
The open house connects sellers and buyers and connects real estate agents with clients. I take a look back at some of the more memorable open houses that I have attended over the last quarter century and talk about some of the mistakes that were made.
October 7, 2018
How we freed up some money each month and put some extra cash in our pockets. In order to do that, we had to accept that "short-term" setbacks stopped being short-term long ago. Adjustments had to be made.
April 2, 2018
From nosy neighbors to noisy neighbors, we all have them. How well we get along with our neighbors is fundamental to the enjoyment of our property. At what point does our right to use and enjoy our property infringe on the rights of our neighbors?
March 6, 2018
The death of a loved one is something we all face sooner or later. There are memories and emotions involved, and there is also the more business side of things, from handling the funeral to figuring out what happens to all the stuff that is left behind. In this episode of the podcast, I share my personal experience surrounding my father's death and taking care of eth estate.
February 19, 2018
The dream is to own your own home. But who is selling that dream? And why? Should you listen to them? Is your house really an investment, or is it a liability?
February 5, 2018
As homeowners, we make decisions that impact the environment. We look for ways to be more energy efficient in hope of saving some money or even saving the planet. But are we as "green" as we think we are?
January 19, 2018
Whether looking for tool recommendations or seeking home improvement advice, there is an overabundance of information that complicates rather than helps. Ask three experts the same question and you'll probably get three different answers.
December 28, 2017
A look back at some of the more interesting news topics of 2017 related to home improvements, construction, real estate, etc.
December 21, 2017
It's that time of year.  As 2017 winds down and we look forward to 2018, we are seeing a lot of articles and blog posts about what is going to be trendy in the coming year and what trends are going to be "so last year." Trends come and trends go. Why do we care?
December 1, 2017
We've all heard the expression, "Measure twice, cut once."  We all know what that means: double check your measurements before you make the cut.  Mistakes can cost you time and material.  In this episode of the podcast I share some of the measuring mistakes that I have made and the reasons for them.  Maybe it will help you avoid making the same mistakes.
November 17, 2017
Just because you can "Do It-Yourself" doesn't necessarily mean you can do it yourself.. Before you start that home improvement project, do you know what permits are required? Are you even qualified legally to do it yourself? I share some of my own experiences, some legal, and some perhaps not so much.
November 2, 2017
Why is it that weekend projects rarely take one weekend? Where does one project end and another one begin? I explore these questions by sharing what I did (and didn't do) on my summer vacation.
June 19, 2017
The perils of not doing the math when it comes to home improvement costs
June 3, 2017
Three options for heating a garage / workshop. Insulation and ventilation options for a 1-1/2 story Cape Cod (email question). Solution for venting if no soffits are present. Construction jobs, the trades shortage and Millenials.
May 19, 2017
Topics covered on this podcast: the pros and cons of to-do lists, a solution for a laundry closet, and garage workshop climate control.
April 29, 2017
Thoughts regarding the previous owner of our house. Answering a question from another podcast: is it okay to convert a bathroom to a laundry room?
April 14, 2017
Selling our house was like ending bad relationship. No matter how hard we tried, the relationship was never going to work. We accepted the fact that it was best for everyone involved to just move on. Were the events leading up to moving day simply due to Murphy's Law? Or did our house somehow become the psycho ex, making our lives miserable while it still could?
March 31, 2017
The Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast returns after a break of a little over a year. And what a year it's been. This is the story of how I managed to turn a house that was in "just-move-in" condition into a construction zone and what we could have done differently to avoid this mess.
February 4, 2016
After a four month hiatus, it's the triumphant return of the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast. In this episode, I talk about acting on a life-changing decision we made back in the fall and how everything came together with hours to spare when it all could have just easily fallen apart.
October 15, 2015
John from returns to the podcast to give us an update on his pool, You may remember that it was sitting empty, awaiting repair, back in Episode 5 of this podcast. And the timing couldn’t be better since I discussed contracts in last week’s episode.  John shares his experience in finding the right contractor to hire for the job. And he relates how he was able to renegotiate a couple clauses in the contract.   This episode is a continuation of Episode 11. Links The Big Pool Renovation Story and Reveal:  John’s blog post about the pool repair.  You can find all of John’s social media links there as well. Arizona Registrar of Contractors:  Check with your own state for a registry of licensed contractors. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau when vetting contractors. 011: Big Mistakes Part 2: Not “getting it in writing”:  Previous episode of this podcast where I discussed contracts. What makes a good contract? And why do you need a contract in the first place?
October 7, 2015
"Get it in writing." Seems so obvious, doesn't it? Why would anyone do work or have work done without a contract? As a homeowner, I have hired contractors and handymen and I have had work done with and without contracts. In this episode, I give a couple examples of when I had work done without a written contract and the consequences. I also explain what should be included in a good contract.
September 17, 2015
In the last episode, Angela Allen of shared her philosophy and enthusiasm for downsizing and simplifying. We talked about tiny houses (Angela lives in a very small cabin) but the conversation evolved into so much more than that. In a very general sense, it became a discussion about figuring out what is important in life. And for Angela, working for a house and becoming a slave to the bank was not part of the equation. In this podcast episode, I elaborate on a few of the topics Angela talked about last week, plus I talk my family and our own life-changing decision.
September 3, 2015
Angela Allen from built a small cabin in the woods and is living the dream. In this podcast episode she talks about how that dream is defined, as well as the virtues of tiny houses, simple living and deciding what is truly important in life.
August 20, 2015
Sarah Fogle from The Ugly Duckling House joins me on the podcast this week. Part story-teller, part DIY tutor, Sarah shares her experiences, successes and challenges in fixing up a house that suffered from 20 years of neglect. She uses her site as a running log of knowledge that she has gained in the hopes that it will help others with their own DIY.
August 6, 2015
On this episode of the Thumbandhammer Podcast, I talk to Vicki, who blogs at Vicki is a self-proclaimed DIY ninja who is not afraid to take on home improvement projects and her confidence and fearlessness are contagious.  Talking to Vicki was like a refreshing kick in the butt to get me back into a DIY mindset and she will inspire you too.
July 30, 2015
John Gerard from joins me today to talk about his home improvement experiences, his website and his eBook. John's website is a combination of home improvements and woodworking and in this episode, he shares some of the lessons he has learned as a homeowner and the tools and resources he used when he renovated his kitchen.
July 23, 2015
My guest on today's episode is John, from That's AZ as in Arizona. His blog is a side project where he enjoys sharing his DIY adventures with the world while injecting his "dorky" sense of humor in his writing and we talk about blogging and some of his home improvement projects.
July 16, 2015
Our house is a money pit. We did not have a home inspection. Coincidence? In this episode, I explain why not getting a home inspection is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. What is and what isn't included in a home inspection? What led us to choose not to have our house inspected?
July 9, 2015
When you become a homeowner, you become, at least to some extent, a do-it-yourselfer. But how do you know what projects you can do yourself and what you should hire out? What are the reasons behind doing it yourself? Are you really saving what you think you are saving? These are some of the questions that I try to help you answer for yourself in this episode.
July 8, 2015
Every street, every road, every subdivision has at least one: that one house that manages to bring down the property values of the other houses around it. In this episode, I lay out the details of what makes our house "that house" and the circumstances that have prevented us from improving it in the eyes of our neighbors.
July 7, 2015
The first episode of the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast is now ready for download or streaming. This is a typical first episode in that I simply introduce myself and the podcast. Topics covered in this episode * One of my earliest recollections of using a hammer to build something and the first observation that I just wasn’t good at working with tools.* My school experience with shop class.* The “stigma” of the trades.* My first ever DIY project, why it was a failure and what I was able to learn in order to succeed at a similar project later.* How hiring a professional led me to later successfully complete my first DIY project.* How my eventual overconfidence resulted in the nightmare we have been living with for the last decade.* Why I am starting a podcast and what the general theme of the podcast is going to be. Links and Resources These are a few blog posts on the website that help illustrate how overwhelmed I was with the problems we found in this house: Four mistakes that cost us over a hundred grand  This post from 2013 summarizes the four major mistakes that we made when we bought our house. From dream house to nightmare  Another post from 2013 reflecting on how we came to the realization that we bought a money pit. Oh, and as promised in the podcast, here are my 8th grade shop projects for you to marvel at 34 years later. My eighth grade shop projects: sheet metal, wood and plastic. My sheet metal project: dustpan. (later spray painted by my dad). It has obviously had some use over the years. Combined plastic and wood projects– a dollar bill display stand. Norm Abram, move over.
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