2017 Unpakt Scholarship Winners Announced!

Unpakt proudly announces the winners of the first annual Unpakt College Scholarship Contest! From a pool of over 900 submissions, submitted by college students across the U.S. throughout 2017, this year’s scholarship contest awards three prizes with values of $1,000, $500, and $100 for the Grand Prize winner, 1st Runner Up, and 2nd Runner Up […]

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January 13, 2018 AsktheBuilder Newsletter

The past three days, we’ve been blessed with the January Thaw here in central New Hampshire. It’s been a welcome relief and my boiler has finally been able to take a well-deserved break!

Two days ago, I was in Orlando, Florida getting ready to ride to the airport in my first Lyft ride. It was near 70 F and the three days I was in FL were both fun and work.

I’ll bet I walked fifteen miles in two days back and forth between the two convention halls and up and down through the halls. In the rush to leave, I couldn’t find my darn Fitbit!!! That would have kept track for me.

Cabs are DOOMED!!!! Using the Lyft app to get a ride to the airport was a hoot. A cab ride was over $45.00.

My Lyft ride with Alberto was $20.36. The Lyft app is so intuitive. Be sure you have your phone’s GPS on when you fire it up.

The Builders Show Wrap Up

This was a very strange show for me. Tuesday was a long day. The highlight of the day was a media dinner where I was hypnotized along with five other members of the audience.

tim carter hypnotized

I’ve always wanted to be hypnotized. Let me assure you, it’s REAL.

The hypnotist was a comedian and those in the audience got lots of laughs watching us do silly things on the stage. In the video screenshot above, the hypnotist told me to count my fingers, but the number SIX does not exist.

I was so confused when I got to eleven fingers!

I have NO MEMORY at all of any laughter. I thought I was out for five minutes. Several in the audience who saw me the next day said, “Five minutes? Are you joking? You were down for at least 45 minutes, probably more like an hour.


I was very relaxed after coming back to reality and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you ever have the chance to get hypnotized, do it.

The next morning got off to a very bad start. I had an early breakfast meeting with the folks at DAP. It was a total fiasco.

It’s a very long story, but they showed me two new products they were excited about. One is an exterior spackling compound and the other is a glue. DAP is trying to go after Liquid Nail and other glue-in-a-tube manufacturers.

I was introduced to the two product managers. One was a very nice young woman and the other a young man. I’d be willing to bet $100 neither was over 27 years of age.

The young woman told me all about the things outside you could use the Platinum Patch on: vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, wood, concrete, paver brick, brick, etc.

I listened politely then said, “How long does it take to cure?

I’m pretty certain she said twenty-four hours.

I believe there was only one other media person that came to the event so a few of the DAP people had gathered around me.

Can you tell me what happens after 48 hours when I decide to clean my patched driveway? I’ll roll my 3200 PSI pressure washer out of my garage, put the 15-degree tip on the wand and aim it 4 inches away from your new filler.

No response. You could hear a pin drop.

Wait. You mean you didn’t test to see how your magic filler stands up to a pressure washer? The general public uses these destructive machines to clean just about anything. What happened when you tested the patched vinyl and fiber cement siding using the pressure washer?

Silence. From their reaction, I felt they had not done the tests, or if they had, they were unwilling to share the results.

The young man told me about the new magic glue. He talked about how it would be excellent to use to install ceramic tile on a wall.

In fact, he had me glue a 12×12 piece of tile to a sheet of drywall that was on a display wall in the booth.

Have you ever installed ceramic tile at a real job site?

“No,” he answered.

Do you know how ceramic tile is installed?

“Not really,” he replied.

I proceeded to tell him how it was done and suggested that when the show opened he ask booth visitors what they did for a living in case a tile setter came to the booth.

This would save the young man from being embarrassed.

I shook my head and left the DAP booth. Believe me, they were quite happy I was gone.

Moral of the Story:

Be VERY CAREFUL about new products and use LOTS of common sense when you think about how the product may react to normal wear and tear. Ponder what may happen to the product AFTER it’s installed.

The Azek Disaster Meeting

Less than an hour after leaving the DAP booth, I found myself at the Azek booth. Azek is known for making exterior plastic trim boards and other outdoor products for your home.

I listened to their pitch about their new deluxe trim products. The wheels fell off as soon as they showed me an aluminum deck railing system.


CLICK HERE and read this story.

Please do me a HUGE FAVOR.

If you have a shocked reaction to the story after taking the one-question survey at the end, PLEASE leave a comment at the bottom of the story.

Remember, I have to manually APPROVE comments to keep SPAM and haters at bay.

After you click Submit, your comment doesn’t automatically appear. Just be patient as I’ll approve it when I see it come in.

That’s enough for today.

Please oblige me and leave a comment at the bottom of the Azek story. Be SURE to answer the question at the bottom!!

Tim Carter

Founder – http://www.AsktheBuilder.com

Man Who Asks Probing Questions

Do It Right, Not Over!

The post January 13, 2018 AsktheBuilder Newsletter appeared first on Ask the Builder.

Make a Music Production Desk with only 40 pounds

My name is Ivan, and I’ve been a music enthusiast my whole life. I wanted to share with you my new video out “Making a Music Production Desk With Only 40 Pounds”. Click the player below or view it on Youtube here.

For those who prefer to read, here’s a breakdown of the steps.

Music Production Desk on a budget

IKEA items used and other materials:


1. Get two LINNMON desk tops measuring 100 x 60cm.

linnmon table top

2. Set up the first desk as per IKEA instructions. Screw in the ADILS legs using the hardware provided.

attach ADIL legs

attach ADIL legs

attach ADIL legs

attach ADIL legs

attach ADIL legs

3. Then, take the second LINNMON desk and cut it into two, lengthwise, to make two shelves. Set them aside.

cut linnmon table top

4. Next is to make the support for your shelves. I used carton boxes as they are lightweight and versatile. Cut them into a shape like this. The flat top supports the shelf and the bottom fits the keyboard.

carton box

5. You’ll need a whole stack of them for strength. Make two stacks.

carton box

6. Do a dry run to make sure the support fits your keyboard.

keyboard fits

7. Place the stack of cardboard on the table top and then the shelf on top.

cardboard support

8. Slot in your keyboard below it.

cardboard support

9. Add your other equipment.

Make a Music Production Desk with only 40 pounds

10. You can also use it as a DJ desk like this.

Make a Music Production Desk with only 40 pounds

~ by Ivan

The post Make a Music Production Desk with only 40 pounds appeared first on IKEA Hackers.

Techniques to Moving Oversized Furniture In and Out

Moving Oversized Furniture In and Out

Those overstuffed couches and armchairs are a movie-watching, weekend-lounging dream. Except when moving day comes, nobody quite remembers how you got them into the living room in the first place: the furniture doesn’t fit the door, no matter how you measure it! Where there’s a will (and some creativity), there’s a way. Here are our […]

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Headlines that grab

Headlines are meant to command your attention.  Think of the front page of our daily newspapers, the News at Ten summary before the Big Ben bongs and the way our gaze is snagged by the headlines on the front cover of glossy magazines as they sit on the shelves, all fighting for our attention.

The same is true for property marketing.  Too often are houses listed on Rightmove and the other property portals with the main description simply lifted and inserted on the summary page.  So we get flat descriptions with ellipses, as they haven’t been written to fit the summary, so overflow.  Take a look at this prime example of a yawn-inducing ‘summary’:

A modern link detached 3 bedroom family home, situated in a corner position, located in this popular village. The property also offers a stylish kitchen, cloakroom, spacious living room and conservatory overlooking the rear garden. Further attributes include a garage,…

Much better to have a simple and punchy headline of no more than 15 – 20 words that tells the buyer straight away why they need to book a viewing.

Here’s a list of some headlines – some better than others – but all better than a wordy description that nobody will read:

A good effort:

  • Luxury period living with 21st Century refinements
  • A superb architect designed house enjoying far-reaching panoramic views over Lake Windermere and the stunning backdrop of the Lakeland Fells
  • A cosy cottage nestled in a beautiful quiet backwater

A bit of punch:

  • Make as much noise as you want
  • Possibly Norfolk’s finest coastal property
  • Welcome to paradise

Finally, some great examples from our friends at Pink and Black in Oxford:

  • Handsome farmhouse with lots of toys and plenty of land for the aspiring smallholder
  • If you are looking for a view it doesn’t get much better than this. With a tantilising touch of Tuscany, if the tree-lined drive hasn’t sold it to you, the 4 acres of grounds will.
  • A great combination of work and home life: a true home in every sense
  • Like a Saville Row suit, this house has been created to last the test of time.


Some pointers to make sure your headline beats the competition:

Use individual and unusual words – forget ‘spacious’ and ‘well-presented’, and go for adjectives that will really grab our buyer.

Capture the essence – what is it that is unique and special about your home?

Keep it short – with the exception of the Tuscany headline above, all the others are less than around 20 words.

Struggling to create a catchy headline?  Email me with a link to your property advert, and I’ll see if I can help.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

TheSmallHolding-090 (1)

What to read next: 10 quick staging tips

The post Headlines that grab appeared first on Home Truths.

Prohibition Of Surcharges

As of January 13th it has become illegal for a business to charge their customers a fee when paying with credit or debit cards.

Expert Trades Office Package users are able to offer their customers the ability to pay invoices by card through a service called Stripe.

Stripe allows trades professionals the ability to offer card payments as one of their accepted payment methods for customers, without the need for a terminal and with no monthly cost. There’s just a 1.4% + 20p fee on transactions.

The fee could originally be passed on to the customer but as of the 13th of January passing this fee to a customer will be illegal.

To keep in line with the changes in law the ability to pass on the fee will be blocked and the option will be removed entirely in an up coming update to the Expert Trades Dashboard and Expert Trades App.

You can read the full details of the changes in the Guidance on the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 PDF below.


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