Next time you need to bore several holes to the same depth, don't bother with drill-bit guides or fancy fixtures. Reach for the masking tape.

Measure up from the tip of the drill bit and mark the desired depth of the hole. Next, wrap a small strip of three-quarter-inch-wide tape around the drill bit at the mark. Be sure the tape ends are long enough to overlap so they form a "flag."

Chuck the bit into a drill and begin boring the first hole. Slow down when the tape flag begins to sweep away wood chips from around the hole. Stop drilling the instant the wood's surface is swept clean. Repeat this procedure for the other holes and they'll all be the same depth.


Aluminum gutters are often held in place with long spikes driven through tubular sleeves, or ferrules, and into the fascia board. Occasionally a spike will become bent by an ill-placed ladder, heavy ice buildup or a fallen tree branch. You can yank out the bent spike and replace it with a new one, but before doing that, try this:

First, take a single link from a decorative chain, like the kind used on swag lamps. Spread open the link with pliers, then slip it over a 12- to 16-inch-long piece of steel angle iron.

Next, slide the open link onto the bent spike and hold the end of the angle iron against the spike at the rear of the gutter. Now push up on the angle iron to straighten out the spike. Release the pressure and check to see if the gutter is straight. If not, repeat the process.


Has your toilet lost some of its flushing power? Using a small mirror, you can check the series of holes that sit under the rim of the bowl. These tiny holes, known as flush passages, shoot water into the bowl each time the toilet is flushed, but sometimes they become plugged with mineral deposits or grime.

To enhance flushing power, poke each hole clean with a length of wire clothes hanger. After cleaning all the passages, flush the toilet to remove loosened deposits. If necessary, repeat the process.

Quick Tip

Considering a center work island for your kitchen? Before ordering the cabinets, mock up an island out of large cardboard boxes or wooden crates. This life-size model will help you determine the exact size and placement of the island.

Remember to plan for at least 42 inches between the island and the nearest counter top and 36 inches to any wall.

Reprinted from the pages of Today's Homeowner magazine. To receive more expert advice on improving your home, call (800) 456-6369 or visit the Web site at

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