Handcrafts and Handyman

Writing about everything under the sun and even the sun


All types of information on do-it-yourself home and auto repair. Occasional entries about everything else under the sun and maybe even the sun.



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How does marijuana treat pain?

Posted on August 1, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Medical marijuana use and treatment for pain

References to the use of marijuana as a medical treatment date back nearly 5000 years. Western medicine began approved use of marijuana in the mid-1800s and continued to do so until 1937, when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act that severely limited a physicians' ability to prescribe it. Interestingly enough, the American Medical Association (AMA) was one of the most active organizations against this act.

Medical marijuana use, under a doctors supervision, is legal in twenty three states, and Washington, D.C., with actual laws varying by the states. These states include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Each state does have its own set of rules and it is advisable to check them frequently as laws are subject to change at any time.

July 2014: update to laws http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx  Regular marijuana use is now legal in Washington state and Colorado. Do note, while states may legalize the use, growth and sales, federal laws do not.

It is important to note that in May 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that federal laws make no exception for distributing or growing marijuana by a third party. Simplified, this means users need to grow their own marijuana for medical use as it is illegal for it to be grown by someone else.

The effects of marijuana on the brain are due to the active ingredient, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC acts on cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Cannabinoid receptors are found in many parts of the brain that can influence memory, pleasure, thought, concentration and coordination. These receptors react to the THC to reduce the feeling of pain.


Both anecdotal and scientific research evidence suggests that marijuana provides relief to chronic pain sufferers with a variety of ailments ranging from back pain, migraines, glaucoma, cancer and many more. Research by Vinciqeurra et al. found that 78 percent of patients tested who were resistant to regular drugs for nausea became symptom free with inhaled cannabis use. There are more than 17,000 papers published that deal with scientific clinical research of the therapeutic value of cannabinoids.

One of the most widely known medical uses for marijuana is in treatment for the side effects of chemotherapy. It is used for the reduction of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Another well known use is in the treatment of glaucoma. Many standard treatments have very adverse effects and little positive effect on end stage glaucoma. The use of cannabis lowers the intraocular pressure allowing patients to retain their sight and avoid the painful deterioration that leads to blindness.

Medical marijuana is being tested in its use for Multiple Sclerosis patients. At this time there is no known effective regular medical cure available. Cannabis has been found to have a significant effect on MS symptoms. Cannabis has been found to reduce tremors, restore balance, stop muscle spasms and restore sight and speech. Cannabis may even retard the progression of MS, according to the publication, Marijuana - The Forbidden Medicine.

Medical marijuana is also used for the treatment of others causes of pain. One subject suffered a major back injury and consequent surgery. The subject was offered opiate types of pain medication but found the simple use of marijuana was equally effective on the pain without the side effects of an opiate drug. Unfortunately this subject does not reside in a state that allows for the use of medical marijuana and will not be quoted.

The short-term undesirable effects of marijuana include distorted perception, loss of coordination, difficulties with learning, problem solving and memory, and an increase in heart rate with a decrease in blood pressure. Some users may also experience fear, distrust or a feeling of panic.

Most of the negative effects of tobacco smoking are also found in the smoking of marijuana. There is a possibility that frequent or prolonged use of marijuana may lead to significant impairment of the immune system and further studies should be part of any research, especially if marijuana is to be used by patients with compromised immune systems. Use of medical marijuana for reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma can also cause an unwanted drop in blood pressure. The heart rate of the user can increase by 20 or more beats per minute and can cause an increased risk of heart attack.


Many studies and clinical trials are now ongoing, mostly in countries more in favor of the use and further research is needed to fully weigh the pros and cons of medical marijuana use.

How to replace a thermocouple in your furnace

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

How to replace a thermocouple in your furnace

The thermocouple is refered to as a flame sensor on new furnaces. This part is also found on gas water heaters.

Replacing a thermocouple in a furnace is a job that can be done by almost anyone with basic DIY skills. If the pilot in your furnace will not remain lit and you have checked for any dirt blockage in the gas flow this can be an inexpensive repair to perform yourself.

Always shut off the electric and gas to the furnace. Shutting off the power and/or fuel supply to any piece of equipment before attempting to repair it is an important safety issue. It is, unfortunately, something many people forget.

Have your furnace manual on hand for picture references to the thermocouple and detailed steps for your furnace. If you do not have the original manual, many can be found on-line. Some online sources will even go into greater detail than the original owner's manual.



Having the replacement piece on hand before you begin simplifies the project. You can take the old thermocouple with you to the store to match it to the new piece, but it is easier to have it already on hand. Write down your furnace make and model number and, if possible, the thermocouple part number. You will use this information to obtain the OEM or generic replacement piece.

Have your basic hand tools ready. Having to go back and forth from the furnace to your workshop or garage for tools only adds frustration to your project. You will most likely need a small adjustable wrench or set of small box or open end wrenches. You may also need a set of small screwdrivers, flat or Phillips, depending of the location, and installation, of the thermocouple.

1) The thermocouple is located next to the pilot light. Depending on the exact style of your burner assembly you may need to loosen or remove the assembly first.

2) Disconnect the copper lead and unscrew the gas line connection nut to the thermocouple. Unscrew the bracket nut that holds the thermocouple in place. Slide out the old thermocouple.

3) Clean the area around the pilot and bracket assembly gently to remove any dust or debris. Do not use chemicals, just lightly brush away foreign material. A small paint artist's paint brush works well for this.

4) Slide the new thermocouple into the assembly, the copper part should be facing down. Tighten the bracket nut.

5) Connect the copper end to the gas line and hand tighten the connection nut. Do not use excessive force, copper connections can strip.

6) Check your alignment. One half inch of the tip of the thermocouple should be positioned so that the pilot flame will heat it.

Once you have replaced the thermocouple, follow your furnace's instructions for relighting the pilot. Remember to turn the gas and electric back on from where you shut them off.

You may consider using a soap and water solution on your gas connection to be sure you have no leaks. If replacing your thermocouple does not solve your furnace problem, you may wish to call for professional repair.



Smoke Damage Cleaning and Restoration Tips

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Smoke Damage Cleaning and Restoration Tips

Guest post by Grace Bailey

One of the worst things that could happen to a house is going through the blaze of a fire. Fires rarely completely destroy a home, especially when they're caught in time and deal with. The damage after a fire still remains however, so you will need to deal with the issue before you can move in again. The following tips will let you know what you can do to fix it:

• Charring and soot will always be left behind after a fire has happened to a home. They do have a lot of carbon impurities inside, left after the materials burned. Soot is a real annoyance that has to be deal with, since a lot of the materials often have plastics that cause awful stains. After the fire is extinguished, you may have to replace a lot of your belongings, but you will first need to clean the walls, floors and ceilings.

• The first thing that must be done is to get rid of all the soot from most surfaces. You can use a vacuum cleaner to get it done with greater ease. You will also need a pair of good gloves for the next step of what must be done. You will need to find a specific type of cleaner, a trisodium phosphate cleaner, which is specifically useful for removing stains from soot and similar substances. You will need to add just a tablespoon of it into a gallon of water and you will have a chance to clean your walls a little bit at a time.

• You will need to use a sponge to clean the surfaces and ceiling by using a firm hand. Once you do that you can rinse the surface with warm water. Do that until you clean a spot completely, then move on the next spot. Make sure you never put too much water on your walls, so allow them to dry and make sure your working area is well-ventilated.

• Once you complete that step you can work on priming the walls, then repainting them. You will likely have quite a bit of soot in your AC filters that will force you to replace them. You must also apply a sealing layer on surfaces that were soiled by soot. Disinfect and clean your appliances as well, if they suffered any staining.

• The last thing you will need to do is to rid your home of the smell of fire and soot. You can do so with an air freshener, however you will likely do a lot better with something simpler. You already have vinegar in your home, so you can leave it around in a small dish. It will absorb the smell while at the same time working long enough to help. You can also use distilled white vinegar to wipe the surfaces and clean them well enough to kill the smell.

For more helpful info, go to: carpet cleaners Putney

How to remove a broken light bulb

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

How to remove a broken light bulb

Removing a broken light bulb from a socket can be difficult. It can also be dangerous, not only due to the possibility of cuts or burns, but contact with electricity as well. If you follow basic safety procedures, you should be able to remove the bulb successfully without injury. Removal procedures do vary according to the condition of the bulb.

How to remove a broken light bulb from a lamp socket

Always unplug the lamp before attempting to remove a broken light bulb. If the lamp was operating before the break occurred, allow the bulb to cool. You should use a pair of heavy gloves to protect you hands from sharp edges.

If the bulb is still somewhat intact, you can wrap a thick towel around the remaining portion and turn the bulb counterclockwise, to the left, to remove it from the socket.

If the bulb has broken completely and only the base is remaining, you will need a sturdy pair of pliers to remove the remains of the bulb. Needle-nose pliers are the easiest to use. Use the pliers to bend the edge of the base slightly away from the socket. Grab the edge firmly with the pliers and slowly begin turning the bulb counterclockwise.

A medium size potato can also be used to remove broken light bulbs. Cut the potato in half, width-wise, but do not remove the skin. Place the round cut edge of the potato on the bulb base and press it firmly into the base. While pressing on the potato, turn it to the left to remove the broken bulb.

Once you have removed the bulb, use a vacuum to clean up any broken glass that may be left behind. If you used a potato, clean the inside of the socket with a lint-free rag to remove any juice or other debris.

Removing a broken light bulb from mounted fixtures

Turn off the power to the circuit at your electrical panel. Use a meter or hot stick to ensure that the power is off. Follow the same procedure for bulb removal, depending on the amount of breakage to the bulb.

If you are dealing with a bulb that has become stuck in a socket, a lubricant similar to WD-40 can be used to help release the bulb. Again, the lamp must be unplugged or the power turned off first. Allow the fixture to cool completely to reduce the heat that may also be causing binding.

Spray a light amount of lubricant between the base of the bulb and the socket. Allow the lubricant to soak for a few minutes to loosen any rust or debris causing the problem. Remove the bulb with a towel, pliers or cut potato.



How to Repair Roof Leaks

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

How to Repair Roof Leaks

There are several ways to repair a leaky roof, but first you need to determine exactly where the leak is coming from. Water can travel along trusses and beams before it actually becomes apparent as a leak. Once you are sure you have found the area that is leaking, you can determine what you need to do for the repair process.

Leaks can begin around vent stacks or skylights frequently. Finding the exact location of the leak may be difficult, but the repair work is relatively simple. Leaks in these areas can be repaired with a roofing caulk or tar compound. To achieve the longest lasting results you should scrap away all of the damaged sealant and clean the area before applying new caulk.


Flashing around roof penetrations can also develop leaks. Replacing the old flashing and resealing it should solve the problem. You can also apply new flashing over the old if the removal of the old flashing would cause more damage to the area. Use a roofing caulk to seal around any nail holes.

Shingles can tear or pull completely off due to high winds or hail storms. If the shingle is only slightly damaged it can be held back down with the use of a roofing tar or adhesive. If the shingle is badly ripped or pulled completely off you can replace the shingle itself. First check to see if there has been any damage to the underlying felt or sheathing.


If the sheathing has been damaged you will need to repair the area before you install any new shingles. This will involve the removal of surrounding shingles and even if they appear to be in good condition they should be replaced as well. When replacing one or more shingles remember to caulk around any exposed nail heads.

A weather guard or ice and rain shield is also an option in addition to roofing felt. This is a rubberized self-adhesive material that comes in a roll similar to roofing felt. For larger areas that need shingle replacement this can be applied under new felt for an extra barrier to prevent leakage.

Your leaky roof could also be from ice dams that build up in winter. As snow and ice melt from the warmer parts of the roof the water will run down and refreeze as it reaches the outer edges. The ice dam can then build up and force water under the shingles. Proper roof ventilation and an ice and rain shield can help prevent this kind of roof leakage.

Special roof patching compounds can be found at most building supply stores and these can be used for repairs on flat roofs and even on shingled roofs although the appearance may not be what you want. For major problems with a leaky roof the best solution may be a complete roof replacement. If the roof has aged to the point of constant leaks you will find yourself spending a great deal of time and money on repairs.


Published At: 08-06-2010  Author: B. Leslie Baird - Barbara L. Baird

Easy how to steps to make your own corn hole game

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Making your own corn hole game is not an extremely difficult project even for beginning woodworkers. The project is also not expensive and when you are finished you can paint and decorate your game any way you choose.

Tools and materials

For one corn hole table you will need a drill, with bits and a screw head adapter, a jigsaw, a circular saw, a hammer and a tape measure. You can use a hacksaw with a wood blade if you do not have a circular saw. For the board and frame you will need one piece of plywood, 2 feet by 4 feet and two 2 x 4’s eight feet in length.

To make detachable legs you will need four 4-inch carriage bolts with washers and wing nuts. In addition you will need wood screws and 3-inch nails. A paint brush and wood paint, outdoor quality, can be used to decorate your corn hole game when you are finished. Separate materials are needed to make the bags.


The board itself is made from your plywood. Using a pencil, mark your plywood 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from the left or right side. Your mark should be on center for the width of the board. Now draw a 6-inch diameter circle around your center mark. You can use a compass, or any object with a 6-inch diameter to outline this. As an alternative measure 3 inches from your center mark at clock positions, 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock etc., around your center mark and hand draw your circle.

Drill a hole at your center position and use your jigsaw to cut out the circle. Try to cut smoothly so you do not leave jagged edges.


Cut one 2 x 4 into two 48 inch pieces. Cut your second 2 x 4 into two 21 inch pieces and two 12 inch pieces. You will now need to make a rectangle with the 48 and 21 inch pieces. The two 48 inch pieces will be the length of your frame and the two 21 inch pieces will be the width.

The 21 inch pieces should be placed so that they fit inside the 48 inch pieces at top and bottom. Your overall width will be 24 inches. Nail your frame together with two nails on each corner. To double check your orientation, you will be nailing through the 48 inch pieces and then into the 21 inch pieces.

Place your plywood board on top of your rectangle frame. Your edges should be even. Using your drill, with a screw head attachment, secure the plywood to the frame. Space your screws about every 12 inches and countersink them slightly.

Your remaining two 12 inch pieces are the legs for your corn hole game. You will need to cut an angle at the top of each leg, about 70 degrees. Turn your frame over, plywood down, and place one leg on the inside of the right side and one inside the left at the top of the frame.

Drill through the frame and leg to create a large enough through hole for the carriage bolts. Secure the legs with the carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts. You can use hinges to make your board legs fold if you wish.


Bags are made from two 7 inch squares of fabric, per bag. Assorted colors may be used for the number of different players. Bags should be sewn securely on three sides and then filled with feed corn. Once the bags are filled, securely sew the opening.


This same set of directions can be used to make other types of games. You can add more holes to your plywood and number them for points. You can change the length of the legs to make your game stand at a different angle or use it completely upright. If you want to make two boards, just double your materials list.


Published At: 12-31-2013   Author: B. Leslie Baird

What are Solar Ovens

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Solar ovens are a way of letting the power of the sun do your cooking for you, no gas or electricity needed. Solar ovens are not expensive to purchase and when utility savings are considered, a solar oven can pay for itself very quickly. You can also make your own solar oven, saving the expense of purchasing a ready made one.

How they work

Solar ovens are described as a solar crock-pot. Light from the sun is collected and reflected inside the oven producing heat to cook the food inside. The angle in which the oven is placed, and the position of any added reflectors, allow for control of the internal temperatures. They can be used in most winter temperatures as well.

Placed at a 30 degree angle to the sun, the solar oven will collect less sunlight and build less internal heat. This is good for summer cooking or southern environments. Placed at a 60 degree angle, the oven collects more light and can be used in winter and northern environments.


An oven placed in summer sunlight with reflectors can reach a cooking temperature of up to 400 degrees F. For slower cooking or lower temperatures, the oven can be slightly shaded. Most ovens come with insulating materials to help retain the internal heat which allows for longer cooking, even at times when the available sunlight is not consistent.

Benefits of solar oven use

A solar oven can be used almost anywhere as long as there is some exposure to sunlight. They are great for camping or having on hand in case of a power failure. If you want to cut your gas or electric use and dependency, they are a great energy saver. Gas or electric stoves can be large consumers of your overall utility use.


Most solar ovens are light in weight and easy to transport. For camping purposes, you do not need to worry about bringing along charcoal or equipment to cook over a camp fire. Using a solar oven outside in the summer can help to keep your home cooler. You do not need to use the oven inside your home that only adds to the need for air conditioning.

Solar ovens can be used to bake, roast or slow cook and even “fry” bacon or eggs. Burning or over cooking foods is not as likely, unless the oven is in very strong sunlight for an excessive period of time. Drinking water can be purified inside a solar oven. The process will not remove chemicals in the water, but can reduce the bacteria and viruses in the water.



There are many different types of solar ovens on the market depending on the size you need and the amount of use you are considering. Plans are available if you want to create your own solar oven and these can range from a simple foil assembly to a complete permanent cooking station.


Other resources:



Tips for using Almond Oil

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Almond oil has been used for hair and skin care for centuries. The oil contains vitamins E and A which work as antioxidants. It makes an excellent hair conditioner and moisturizer. The oil is lightweight and not as likely to your clog pores so it can be used sparingly on acne prone skin. There are some tips to keep in mind to get the best benefits from the oil.

Tips for using on skin and hair

Use sweet almond oil, bitter almonds contain prussic acid and should not be consumed. Prussic acid changes to cyanide when eaten. Since the oil absorbs easily into your skin, the same reaction can occur. If you have nut allergies do not use or consume any almond-based oil products.

The oil makes an excellent carrier oil for massaging or aromatherapy. It blends well with other essential oils and the light scent is not overpowering. A few drops of an essential oil, to one ounce of almond as a base oil, will provide the right mixture.

Almond oil should be kept away from fabrics. When the oil comes into contact with clothing or sheets, it can leave a brown stain.

If you use the oil for a hair treatment, massage it gently into your scalp. It can help prevent dryness and flaking while conditioning your hair follicles.


Store oil tightly covered and away from heat or direct sunlight to keep it fresh. Quality oils should last up to one year.

Tips for cooking with almond oil

Sweet almond oil is often used for cooking. It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids that can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol. When you first start using almond oil, use it sparingly. Almond oil can have a mild laxative property; see how your body reacts before you begin heavy cooking use. Do not overheat almond oil; it can develop a bitter taste. The oil should also be processed properly for consumption to reduce the chances of it containing pathogens.

How to change a flat tire

Posted on July 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Having a flat tire can not only be a nuisance, it can also be a dangerous situation. Steps should be taken to ensure your safety when attempting to change a flat tire on your vehicle. The first step is to always have a fully operational spare and a jack and lug wrench available for your vehicle.



If you are driving when the flat occurs, pull your car safely off to the side of the road. You can drive a short distance on a flat without causing any major damage to most rims. Be sure to park well enough off of the road to avoid being hit by passing vehicles and park on a flat sold surface.

If you find a flat on your vehicle in your driveway, make sure that the vehicle is on a flat solid surface before attempting to change the tire. Uneven surfaces and gravel or dirt can be hazardous. If you are on a roadway and have flares available, set them out. Have your vehicle set in the “park” position, so it will not roll.

Remove your spare tire, jack and lug wrench and set them near the flat tire. Remove the hub cap, if you have one covering the lug nuts. Slightly loosen the lugs nuts, just breaking them free, so you do not have to apply excess pressure once the wheel is off the ground. Turn the lug wrench to the left to loosen.

Place you jack under a secure portion of the frame of your vehicle near the flat tire. Be sure that the jack is on a solid surface and level. Raise your vehicle enough to get the tire off of the ground and allow enough room for a fully inflated tire to be installed. If you have a jack stand, use it to help secure the vehicle. Finish loosening and remove all lug nuts and place them together in a convenient location.

Remove the flat tire by pulling it out directly towards you and set it aside. Align your spare tire with the holes for the lugs lining up with the wheel. Lift and set your spare on the wheel. Replace the lugs nuts, first by hand tightening - to the right - and then tighten to almost fully tight with your lug wrench.

Lower your vehicle and remove the jack. Finish tightening your lug nuts with your wrench, but do not over tighten. Older lugs can break. Replace your hubcap if you removed it. Replace your jack, lug wrench and flat tire in your trunk or other location in your vehicle. Remember to get your flat tire repaired or replace it. If you are using a temporary spare tire, do not drive over the recommended miles before seeking repair help.

If you are physically unable to change a tire yourself, invest in a membership with an auto club of some sort. The investment can very well pay off.

Getting rid of weeds in your garden

Posted on July 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Guest post by Grace Bailey

Gardening has always been a popular pastime for many people even though people are spending less time in the garden than in previous years. People still believe there is nothing more satisfying as planting seeds and seeing them reach maturity! The downside to gardening is the problem of weeds and we all know about that. Weeds are arguably a thorn in every gardener's side. They pop up from nowhere, they are an untidy presence and you have to always keep on top of them so they don't get out of control.

Weeds will grow almost anywhere, even in the cracks of pavements. It is certainly true that in order for some plants to flourish you have to get rid of weeds. They are a constant fact of life when growing vegetables in particular. What is a weed? A weed has been described as any plant growing where it is not wanted!

In order to solve the problem of weeds, you have to understand what a weed is and what makes it thrives. If you are wondering why your neighbour seems to have their weeds under control and you don't, maybe you have something to learn! In order to get rid of weeds, you have to decide what is a weed and what is not, as weeds come in many forms and there is no point pulling up a plant that resembles a weed!

Are weed killers that you buy from shops any good? Many Balham professional gardeners believe they should only be used as a last measure because they are considered a pollutant, although you can get many organic versions these days. There are many brands out there, but gardeners find some weed killers will work and others don't.

You have to always adhere to the manufactures' recommendations and always read the instructions on the box making sure you mix up the ingredients properly. You should also apply the weed killer at the right time of the year.

Cut back grass – rake leaves and mulch them into your lawn. Also, reseeding an established lawn will make it thicker and healthier and the envy of the neighbours! Keep mowing as long as it is growing. When leaves sit on your lawn, they will block out any sun and moisture that your lawn needs to survive. Fertilization will keep your lawn green throughout the summer months, many garden centres sell good organic fertilization ranges.

Most fruit trees benefit from being pruned just after the coldest temperatures have passed - you will need a set of good quality hand pruners. For larger trees, there is no point trying to prune it yourself as it is a dangerous task, call your tree surgeon for proper tree pruning.

After you have cleaned your garden, it is a good idea to enrich the soil with composts. This is a great way to add nutrients to your soil.

After you have tidied up your garden, there is an immense sense of satisfaction that all your hard work has paid off and your garden is once again looking its finest. Before you get rid of every last weed, you have to remember that they do a vital job in the ecosystem, they protect and restore soil!


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