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January 2007

January 16, 2007

Compound Miter Saws

Hi Mag,

I purchased a Craftsman 10-inch sliding compound miter saw with laser but the slide was off by almost 1/8-inch and I had to return it.  I have been disappointed with Craftsman's quality control in the past but the price was right ($250) and the features were attractive. I mostly build bird houses and feeders with various angles following my mood.

Because I struggle so much cutting angles and bevels with the table saw, I think that this kind of tool could be my best friend. I researched and read so many reviews that I am now more perplexed than ever. I mostly read about Bosch, Makita, Hitachi, and DeWalt. What do you think? Your advice would be very much appreciated.

Best regards,

Lucie Boisvert Crocker

Hi Lucie,

I'm with you on the glories of sliding compound mitre saws.  I always turn to Taunton's Annual Tool Guide for big-ticket tool purchases.   The 2007 edition is available now.  It has a great article about choosing a miter saw.  Let me sum up:

Bosch_10inch_compound_miter The Editor's Choice (which also happened to be the Readers' Choice) was the Bosch 4410L.  They loved it for it's 4-position grip, which makes it easy to use with either hand.  The controls are conveniently located up front and it has a nice big workpiece clamp that positions really easily.  The saw also has a microadjustment knob for fine-tuning a cut 2 degrees on either side of a pre-set stop (called a 'detent').  Complaints: the laser was too blurry to allow for accurate cutting (whereas a pencil line never lies!) and the miter scale seemed a bit imprecise to the testers.  The Bosch retails for twice what you paid for the Craftsman, but you're worth it!

Milwaukee_10inch_compound_miter The Best Value choice was Milwaukee's 6497-6 (single bevel), and it retails at about $430.  The Milwaukee also comes with one of the best warranties in the business (5 years). 

Personally, I really love my old DeWALT 10-inch slider.  It's accurate, trustworthy and the detents are bang-on.  Choosing from any one of these three brands would probably make you and your birds very happy.

Hope that helps.  Have fun.


January 14, 2007

Fence-top gourd birdfeeder

Topping_upIf you've read this article and are looking for detailed step-by-step instructions, get ready for a gourd time.


A fence-top birdfeeder gives you a close-up view of jewel-toned featherheads all winter long.

Build a bunch of feeders and space them about 18 inches apart along the top of a chain-link fence. 

Your entire yard will come alive within minutes.

Continue reading "Fence-top gourd birdfeeder" »

January 06, 2007

Got a Dream? Cut it Out!


From where I stand, all is possible.  This attitude is a form of psychotic innocence that no force can dent.  For example, I believe I could learn anything, be anything, do anything or have anything, all by Tuesday. 

Experts tell me that’s crap.  They say we have to plan our dreams or they will never arrive.  Well, Tuesday always arrives, so where’s their logic? 

But sometimes the experts are right, so I spent a whole day on the floor planning for 2007.  I’m now the exhausted owner of weekly goals, monthly goals, quarterly goals, annual goals and 10-year goals (for dreams that even I have to admit are too huge to be squeezed in before Tuesday, like learning not to bump into things).

Secret Attraction

After all that planning I needed a break.  I sat down and watched the metaphysical cult-hit DVD, The Secret, which reveals the ancient key to being, doing or having anything you want, maybe even before Tuesday. 

The experts in The Secret were not perky time-management strategists, but popular authors, philosophers and theoretical physicists.  They explain that the secret of the ages (oh sorry, am I blowing it for you?) is the Law of Attraction, which states that the nature of your thoughts attracts all of the experiences you have, and even the people you’re surrounded by. This is a real kick in the teeth at first, but then I remembered that my relatives had all left town after the New Year’s debacle.

Seeing is Achieving

One of the speakers in The Secret recommends stoking the Law of Attraction by using a ‘vision board’.  He cuts out pictures of stuff he likes and tacks them up on a bulletin board.  He looks at the board every day, imagining the feeling of having already achieved the successes pictured there.  This really, really, really worked for him.  (Okay, I won’t blow it for you.) 

Continue reading "Got a Dream? Cut it Out!" »


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie