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home : life : family living September 30, 2014

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5 simple ways to inspire and improve your inner 'making' skills

(BPT) - Summer is often a great time to tackle your do-it-yourself and “making” projects. But between summertime travel, social commitments and long hours at the office, carving out time to “make” can be challenging.

This Labor Day weekend, the Craftsman brand will host its first-ever MAKEcation – an adventure where “making” takes center stage. Below are essential tips from the MAKEcation instructors to help you maximize your time on DIY projects and making.

* Woodwork like a pro: After you’re finished with your next woodworking project, you may see small gaps in your wood according to MAKEcation instructors, Bob and Scott Stevens. Instead of reaching for a wood filler that doesn't quite match your wood’s color, grab some wood glue and dab a small amount into the gap. Before the glue dries, sand off the excess glue with an orbital sander. The sawdust created will match and fill the gap, making it almost invisible to the untrained eye. Be sure to remove all of the excess glue once complete.

* Master your grill: According to grilling expert Rocco Romeo, lean meats can stick to even the cleanest of grilling racks. To reduce sticking, he recommends oiling your hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel. Simply hold the paper towel with tongs and rub it over the rack. Never use cooking spray on a hot grill.

* Channel your inner blacksmith: If you’re feeling extra bold this summer, try your hand at blacksmithing. According to blacksmithing guru Beth Holmberg, when getting started, keep in mind that mild steel is fine for most projects, but high-carbon steel is best for shaping implements that need to hold an edge.  Holmberg says the key to blacksmithing is recognizing the right heat for the job - forging, bending, hardening, or tempering. Without it, you'll never gain full mastery over this stubborn material.

* Perfect the art of cigar rolling: If you’ve already mastered your to-do list and are looking to celebrate, continue with the theme of the summer and try your hand at cigar rolling. Murtaza “Taz” Ahmadi, owner of the V Cut cigar lounge, insists that a primary key to rolling a good cigar is to use the appropriate amount of filler. Too much and you will not get air through the cigar, too loose and it will burn quickly and get too hot.

* Get away: Set in the picturesque mountains of Lake Arrowhead, California, the Craftsman MAKEcation is the ultimate maker’s vacation where you’ll up your making game, rub elbows with actor and comedian Rob Riggle and leave with amazing loot – in addition to some cool items made by you. So escape to the woods this Labor Day weekend and learn from some of the best woodworking, blacksmithing and cigar experts around. For more information about the Craftsman MAKEcation and to learn how you could win a MAKEcation ticket, visit www.CraftsmanMAKEcation.com.


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