How can I prevent cold air from flowing underneath a Door?

There are several ways to prevent of limit the flow of air under a door.  the most basic is a “Door Sweep”.  It is a flap of rubber that fastens to the door and covers the opening when the door is closed.  This keeps the draft out.
If you want a temporary solution for the colder months, this is a draft stopper:
All you do is push it against the base of the door, and the insulating material stops the cold from coming in.
But you don’t have to buy one, you can make it yourself!
Tip: many of these use pool noodles or pipe insulation for the insulating core.
Hoping you keep toasty warm,


How do you paint varnished MDF?

Alan Chenkin, Handyman and fixer of things.
I would definitely sand with 220 grit sandpaper, and use a good primer. Why? Because MDF reacts to a finish like end grain wood, and will soak up the primer. Even if the varnish has good coverage on the wood, primer prevents any reaction between the varnish and the finish paint. once the primer is absorbed into the wood it should seal it, making the finish smooth enough to lightly sand again and apply a topcoat. (Some MDF may require 2 coats of a primer, like Kilz, or a white shellac). Sanding sealer will also work.
Once the MDF is sealed and sanded, lay down a light topcoat of glossy enamel with a good bristle brush (not a cheap brush). Here is a set of Purdy brushes.
If you have to roll a large area of shelving, the same rule applies. I would recommend a roller:
Work clean, the varnish may not come off completely, sanding it smooth and priming. Vacuum up the dust with a damp cloth or shop vacuum, and wear a mask!
You can get paints at a local hardware, paint, or “big-box” store. read all the instructions and drying times!
Best of luck with your project!

Would a 1980 Camaro Z28 be a bad first car for a 16-year-old?

By Alan Chenkin, Shade Tree Mechanic- Bicycles, Cars, Boats, and more…
A 1980 Camaro is, in my personal opinion, a poor choice for a new driver. Inexperience of the new driver, the age of the car, etc., can make it a poor choice. (caveat – if you got it free and it was roadworthy, and the teen is very responsible).
A better choice may be a reliable Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Saturn, etc. One with airbags, good maintenance record, 4 cylinder engine (automatic).
I bought my daughter a 7 year old Saturn when she got her license. She was happy to have a car, and I was happy it had a small footprint (for easy parking), a passenger roll cage and air bags. It was also very affordable and easy on gas. The girl who sold it to us told us how her father gave her a “grandpa car”, and how she added Tinkerbell appointments (mats, seat covers, stickers, key FOB, etc.) to turn the car into her “Tink-mobile”. It lasted about 2 years before it was in an accident (no one hurt, but car totaled). My daughter still talks about that car, and had two more Saturns because “she was comfortable with them and they were good cars”. After that she had a Mitsubishi Galant, A Pontiac Sunfire convertible (inherited from me), and now a Nissan Sentra.
A safe, reliable, and modest car is a smart choice for the new driver, in my humble opinion.
While we may disagree on make and model, The parents of these children may regret letting them have high powered cars:
—The list goes on, but you get the idea; ignoring speed limits, alcohol, and not buckling up. Teens have a feeling of invincibility which can fuel disaster. Go for the safe reliable, and unremarkable car – that is my recommendation.
Please be smart when considering a new vehicle for your new driver!

Thanks for reading my Blog – Feel free to share!

EDIT: Based on a discussion with a friend (Who has a very, very, sneaky and precocious teenage child), I want to add a link for Tracking Devices. They are available from Amazon and numerous other sources, and will track location and some even track vehicle speed. You may not find these necessary, but if you have concerns, it’s about keeping your young driver safe (not looking to start a debate – I only offer this to verify where your driver has been and if local speed limits may have been broken).

Should woodwork/home maintenance classes be mandatory?

Alan Chenkin, Owned a Cabinet shop for 10 years, and was an AWI Member.
In preparing a teenager for life, understanding the physical nature of things – by taking classes in woodworking, metalwork, Electrical shop, etc. – can better prepare that student for the “real world”.
It will also expose students to fields that they may not have an interest in, but will be valuable in their future.
There is no question that Many will find it boring or not germane to their lives, but how often do you use trigonometry in your daily life?
Since schools have cut shop from many of their curriculum’s, many graduates are compelled to learn everything from hanging a picture to building a deck from internet how-to’s or an orange vested clerk at a “Big Box” hardware store.
They really need to have some practical experience and understanding of tools, so that they can plan a project and see it to completion. Most important, when hiring a skilled handyman or contractor, they will have a better understanding of what they need, and what it will cost.
I would love to see more schools with shops and courses in woodworking and basic home maintenance, but that is a factor of budget and the needs of the student population. We need more graduates who excel and basic math and have fluency in English, as well.


I was fortunate to have parents who were educators.  My mother was an art teacher in Brooklyn, at the Ovington School, PS 176, and my Father taught Shop at Thomas Edison High School in Queens.  This gave me a strong belief in the power of public education.  I also learned that building more schools is much cheaper than building more jails, in the long run.
I hope my opinion and the other items I presented give you the basics to form an informed opinion.
Thank you for reading my blog – feel free to share!

My wife is not washing the dishes. How can I approach her with this issue? Do I need to be confrontational?

Maybe the dishes are not the issue but something else.
Many couples have trouble communicating. I am a divorced guy; this is something I have personally experienced. If nothing else appears to be going on, she may be tired of doing the dishes, but if there is a deeper issue, you both need to rediscover the reasons that you are together (hopefully you love each other) and get back on track, even if you both decide on paper plates for a while, as long as taking out the trash doesn’t become your next question!
Here’s to hoping that dirty dishes are the worst of your troubles!
And you never find a note like this:
Dirty dishes warning sign
Good luck!

Is electrical tape waterproof?

Electrical tape is not waterproof.

It is very elastic, and can stretch tightly around hoses and seems to seal tightly, but it can’t hold any pressure (it will stretch and the water will get past the seal).


Electrical contractors have a large assortment of watertight boxes, conduit, and protocols for wet environments.  Some are required for code compliance and safety.  Plumbers use watertight fittings everywhere, and have flexible options and sealants that are readily available at supply houses.   If you are concerned, get an opinion from a tradesman or counterman before you make any repairs.  If all you have is electrical tape, only use it in a non-pressurized environment – and only as a temporary last resort!
Depending on what you are using it for, there are tapes that have great water-resisting properties.
Since I have worked on boats in the past, I used a lot of heat shrink tape that could seal electrical cables, etc. most common is 3M Scotchrap All-Weather Corrosion Protection Tape, 2-Inch by 100-Foot, available from Amazon and most marine stores.
Most popular in the “infomercial” circuit is “Flex Seal”.
It comes in Black and white, and has an adhesive backing that can really resist water – even seal a hole in a bucket underwater! You can get it at Home Depot, Lowes, most big hardware chains, and Amazon.
You can also get Liquid electrical tape, which brushes on and seals electrical cables and connections. I used to use it under shrink wrap tape to make a very water resistant seal on spliced cables.
You also should consider Crimping, not soldering wires that are in a wet environment, as the flux may accelerate corrosion. Flux is an acidic cleaner that breaks down dirt on connections so the solder will adhere.  I use crimps extensively when fixing wires on boats – makes a metal to metal connection. This is a good crimping kit from Amazon, all the big hardware stores carry them.  Watertight connections are also important on cars, especially headlights, trailer connections,  and wiring that can be exposed to rain and road contaminants.
To recap, use waterproof and not water-resistant tapes; seal out all air and moisture; crimp, twist, or solder joints; cover with liquid electrical tapeor heat-shrink tubing, and enjoy a water-tight connection!

Good luck and power on!


Is the expert’s strategy of playing slot machines at max bet and playing the highest denominations possible 100% wrong?

The expert’s strategy is not 100% wrong, because it does not take into account actual pay-tables on individual slot machines.

1947 Mills "Golden Nugget" slot machine
1947 Mills “Golden Nugget” slot machine

Slot machines all publish their pay-tables, and some DO NOT PAY certain jackpots UNLESS you play maximum bet. For those machines, maximum return can only be achieved by betting the maximum. betting the minimum can actually cause you to lose a significant jackpot because of the posted pay-table.

Typical Pay table for coin operated slot machines
Typical Pay table for coin operated slot machines (from Authors collection)

Many gamblers bet less than the maximum to extend play and actually enjoy the game; while winning is the goal, having fun and enjoying the spinning reels or dropping diamonds can be exciting.  If you are one of these gamblers, then you most likely do believe playing max bet is 100% wrong!
Here are some commentaries from the web:
Max Bet Myth Busted – Casino City Times
Smart Slot Strategies: A mathematical approach to winning slot machine strategies
Smart Slot Strategies: A mathematical approach to winning slot machine strategies
Beating the House: Reducing the Casino’s Odds


It’s not right or wrong, it’s what works for you.  Slot machines today take bills,  and max bet is sometimes $6 or more per “pull”.  When you calculate your “dollars bet per hour” bet, keep an eye on how much you can lose.  Think about becoming a Session Gambler.  And remember to have fun in the casinos!

Should I buy a cheap home with mold as an investment?

Mold is not an easy fix, and you have to be willing to gut the structure (partially or completely) for complete remediation of the mold problem.
Since this “Cheap” house is an investment, be prepared to carry the house for 3–6 months for the mold remediation, sheet-rocking, painting, and more (duct cleaning, additional venting, replacing paneling/cabinets/doors to eliminate mold, etc. Look hard at the numbers, get estimates before jumping in, and be prepared to accommodate the “worst-case scenario”, if the mold is more extensive and takes more time and money to remedy.
Mold Money: How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Mold Redmediation and Make Sure the Mold Is Gone
Mold Money: How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Mold Redmediation and Make Sure the Mold Is Gone
Have a certified mold inspector check the health of the house after repairs, and carry insurance for any liability – mold makes people sick; you don’t want to be sued over it if you did a quick or sloppy job clearing it up.


Best of luck!

The straight talk on Soap dispensers – what kind do you need?

There are all kinds of soap dispensers, from the stylized ones on Etsy to the massive assortment on Amazon. we all know the “pump” dispensers that happily live on our sinktops, but there are other kinds:
Better Living Products 76354 Euro Series TRIO 3-Chamber Soap and Dispenser
This is a three section dispenser, good for your shower. typically it holds liquid body soap, shampoo, and conditioner. easy to reach and wall mounted! -available fromAmazon, bed bath & beyond, and special order from the big box stores. (Amazon link provided, the rest can be googled or visited).
counter mounted soap dispenser
counter mounted soap dispenser
This is a soap dispenser that fits in a hole in your counter top, next to the sink (you may have to make the hole yourself). Amazon has a selection, and most hardware stores and plumbing supply stores carry them in stock.
Some of the newer ones are automatic, and deliver soap when you wave your hand under them; see the selection on Amazon, automatic soap dispenser: Home & Kitchen – and most hardware stores and plumbing supply stores carry them in stock.
My answer is based on with what kind of soap dispenser do you need? Then go online and find the best one to buy.
How to Choose A Soap Dispenser? – automatic soap dispenser
I hope this gives you the direction you need, and when you are ready, we will talk about SOAP!
Employees Must Wash Hands Sign, Before Returning to Work, 4 Mil Sleek Vinyl Decal Stickers
Employees Must Wash Hands Sign, Before Returning to Work, 4 Mil Sleek Vinyl Decal Stickers
In these tough times with covid and flu season we need to be vigilant about keeping clean, especially hand washing!


If a person with no family dies, what happens to his house, mortgage, bank balances, car, jewelry etc.?

In the US and other countries the state provides a public administrator or magistrate to determine how to find potential heirs, and review claims against the estate by people or entities claiming the assets. If a will is created, the deceased can pre-determine who gets the assets, like a charity, the church, a close friend, etc.

If you don’t want to engage an attorney, there are “do it yourself will kits” available on-line. Make sure they are valid in your location.

Having a will is a good idea, unless you have very little or just don’t care. Between the Mortgage bank, creditors, and people who make claims against your assets, your worldly possessions may not go where you want. In the US, the courts usually assign a lawyer to manage the assets (in “surrogate” court) and determine where they should go. In many cases the state takes what is left into their general fund – if there are no heirs or claims against the estate.



This post authored by Alan Chenkin, President of the “First Bank of Dad”