Question: While putting up 2x4 studs for a partition wall that I'm building in my attic I have to toenail the bottom of each stud to the top of the 2x4 plate that is in place on the floor.

No matter how hard I try, the bottom of each stud tends to slip slightly to one side when I hammer the nail into the bottom at the angle required.

Is there a simple procedure you can suggest that will prevent the stud from slipping?

Answer: Probably the simplest and easiest technique you can use is to make use of an ordinary rubber doorstop.

After you have positioned the base of the 2x4 in its proper location, place the door stop on the plate with its wide end pressing against the bottom of the stud and on the opposite side from where you want to drive nails in (as shown in the illustration).

Hold the door stop firmly in this position with one foot, then start driving your nail in at the angle required to insure a proper bond with the base plate.

Question: My wood dining room table has a loose rung where it fits into the table's leg.

I know that the best way to repair this is to take the table apart so that the loose joint can be properly cleaned out and reglued, but I'm afraid to tackle such a big job.

Is there a simpler way to repair this loose rung?

Answer: Drill a pilot hole through the back of the table leg into the hole where the rung fits.

Then drive a long thin flat head screw in through this hole so that it penetrates the end of the table's rung.

To hide this screw head you may be able to paint it a matching color. But the best way to conceal it is to countersink the screw head and then cover it with a wood plug or matching wood putty.

Question: About a year ago we discovered that our built-in humidifier had not been working. That has now been repaired. However, we recently noticed that the wood floors in the upstairs bedrooms have been squeaking when walked upon.

Is it likely that the humidifier failure is what caused the floors to squeak, and if so will the problem correct itself in time?

Answer: It is possible that the change in humidity could have caused the floor boards to shrink, thus cause the squeaking. It is possible that this will correct itself in time, but that is doubtful.

In most cases the squeaking will have to be corrected by refastening the loose boards - either by driving in screws from above, or by working from below (if the underside of the floor is exposed).

2004 Bernard Gladstone

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