Last year millions of individuals seriously injured
themselves in the home. The majority of injuries occurred
while making home repairs or improvements. Did you ever think
how dangerous it is to build a succah? We are aware of the
dangers of using a ladder, power tools, rusty nails, and
electricity, but how many people take proper safety
precautions? A recent article in The Jerusalem Post
mentions the following "Succah Building Precautions:"
"Before and during the building of your Succah, make sure
that the workspace is clear. This will minimize the chance of
falling. When using a ladder, always place it on firm ground:
not on sand or any other unstable surface, and never lean a
ladder on a window or on a glass door. When handling fresh
wood, a set of fabric gloves will minimize the chance of
splinters; these are available for under $2. Never attempt
carpentry (or any other do-it-yourself project) while tired
or under the influence of alcohol or medication. When cutting
or sawing, cut away from yourself. Never expose raw
electricity lines, and have all extension cords raised above
head height. Never experiment with splicing wires. After the
Succah looks finished, make sure there are no protruding
nails, screws, splintered wood, or loose boards or beams."
Let's try to make this Succos a happy and healthy one.
Mr. Weiss from Kiryat Sefer asks, "What is the best way to
preserve my Succah beams and boards?"
I have always preferred using wood oils such as linseed oil,
log oil, or Wood Royal (at ACE Hardware worldwide). Such oil
will penetrate the wood, preserve and renew its life.
However, there is always the time-proven option of staining
and varnishing as well.
To apply wood oils properly, first see that the wood is
smooth and clean. Apply a generous coating of the oil with a
clean rag and remove the excess after a minute. To stain and
varnish, clean the wood, applying stain with a rag (just like
the oils). After drying, applying 1-3 coats of Spar Varnish.
Spar Varnish is the strongest varnish available, as it was
designed to be used under the harsh conditions found on boats
at sea. One word of warning: Never shake varnish as it will
create lots of bubbles in your finish; just stir it
Malka C. in Central Israel asks, "Do you have any
suggestions for rejuvenating an old white enamel bathtub? We
have tried lots of cleaning materials without getting good
results. Any new ideas?"
Bathtub and sink epoxy paints are on the market worldwide. It
is very important that before applying the epoxy paint the
surface is extremely clean; there should be no soap scum or
water present. The application is similar for each product:
clean the surface, allow the area to dry, mix the 2-part
paint and allow to sit for fifteen minutes to one hour. Brush
or spray on the paint and reapply in 2 hours. The fumes are
very noxious and the paint itself when still wet is not
healthy either, so proper protection is necessary. Using a
fan may not be a good idea as it may cause dust to settle on
Chana B. asks, " We've recently moved into a new ground
floor apartment and many uninvited guests keep appearing: not
people but ants. Any suggestions for keeping ants out on a
long term basis?"
The longest lasting protection is a full extermination by a
licensed exterminator. This usually will keep pests away for
1-4 years. A more natural method would be to spread used
coffee grounds on the area as ants are repelled by them. I
have been told that instant coffee crystals work very well
Today's Do It Yourself Hint: When dismantling a Succah, store
all the screws, nails and assorted hardware in a plastic bag,
then staple or affix the bag to the Succah boards. That way
you don't have to buy new hardware next year and get
aggravated 6 months later when finding the original set.
(Please send in your hint as I am running out!)
Today's Do It Yourself Resource: Rabbi Binyomin Buxbaum sends
in the link for an excellent Web Site. They have answers to
most household DIY projects. The address is:
Yosef Krinsky, a third generation craftsman, is the CEO of
Walls R Us - House Painting, Inc., Jerusalem Division. He can
be reached at (02) 585-9559; common mail POB 27355,
Jerusalem; email at firstname.lastname@example.org; and very soon at
his new World Wide Web Site. Homeowners (renters, too) are
invited to email their questions for a somewhat quick replay.
He will publish names of individuals who ask for advice
unless they explicitly request to remain anonymous. The
Whale he painted in New York is still there.