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DO IT YOURSELF | Discoveries

All Lined Up

May 29, 1999

Professional carpenters use shortcuts, particularly in measuring and marking, to make the work go faster. Visual Precision--a unique premarked oriented-strand board from Louisiana Pacific--is a shortcut anyone can use. There are 1-inch squares stenciled on the face and a ruler along the edges of each 4-by-8-foot sheet. For many jobs, you can cut lengths using just the stencil marks as guidelines.

Once these seven-sixteenths-inch panels are installed, you won't have to guess where to drive fasteners to hit studs or joists--just count the squares to determine stud or joist locations and to maintain screw-to-screw or nail-to-nail layout distances.

When putting down finish flooring, the grid lines help position material square to the wall, even if you start at mid-floor. When used as exterior sheathing, Visual Precision establishes layout guidelines for horizontal and vertical siding, making it easier to maintain plumb and level.

Louisiana Pacific, (800) 547-6331;

Aiming High

High-volume, low-pressure sprayers provide greater accuracy and dramatically less overspray than high-pressure sprayers, which means they can be used indoors for finishing furniture, cabinets, walls and woodwork.

Campbell Hausfeld has redesigned its line of Easy Spray HVLP sprayers, reducing the cost but not the professional quality.

The new models come in a sleek design with a 15-foot hose. A plastic cup holds a quart of paint--enough to over 65 square feet. You can adjust both the paint pattern and the amount of paint applied.

The HV1000 (about $170) works with latex and oil-based paints and sealers. The HV1500 ($200-$230) can handle those paints and sealers as well as decorative finishes. It also comes with a carrying/storage case that can be used as a step stool.

Campbell Hausfeld, (800) 626-4401;

A Steadying Influence

The QuickClick Ladder Stabilizer ($60) from Werner is a needed improvement to an existing product. Stabilizers keep ladders from wobbling while you work. Their U-shaped arms span window openings to make chores such as painting or cleaning easier. But attaching a traditional stabilizer takes 15 to 20 minutes, and the device has to be removed when you store the ladder.

The QuickClick snaps on and off a ladder in seconds, thanks to a spring-loaded locking latch. It's compatible with all Werner aluminum and fiberglass ladders. The stabilizer is fitted with rubber grips that protect siding and is equipped with an adjustable hook that holds tools and cans of paint.

Werner Ladder, (724) 588-8600

Reprinted from the pages of Today's Homeowner magazine. To receive more expert advice on improving your home, call (800) 456-6369 or visit the Web site at

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