Friday, February 20, 2015

Beat the Winter Blues With these Easy Indoor Projects

If you’re in most parts of the country, you didn’t need a groundhog to tell you this year that Winter is far from over. We’re officially hitting the doldrums of the year, which means people are less enamored with fancy lattes, new sweaters, and fresh snow, and they’re more ready than ever to finally soak up some sun. This can be an especially frustrating time if you spend a lot of time tinkering around outdoors in your garden, yard or driveway, working on projects.

The good news? You don’t have to wait for the good weather to arrive to get back into the DIY spirit! If you’re lucky enough to have a garage that doubles as a workshop, you’re set: just drag out the space heater and rev up the chainsaw. If not, there are some clever ideas out there about how create a makeshift woodshop in your basement or an unused room. Don’t have that luxury either? Move the furniture, lay down some floor covering, and start apologizing to your family members for stealing the dining room. These short indoor projects will be worth it! Below are a few indoor woodworking project ideas to get your creative juices flowing and keep the winter blues at bay.

Home Improvement Projects – One of the safest bets for a great indoor project is anything home improvement-related. Often these projects, like fixing a door frame or installing more attractive lighting, are so localized that you won’t even need a working space beyond the radius of the actual item you’re working on. It’s also a productive, helpful use of your time – so you’re more likely to receive forgiveness for noisy drilling or hammering. Check out these great home improvement ideas for more inspiration.

Convert Old Furniture Into New – Get fun and creative by re-purposing some furniture you don’t need anymore. Do you have an old crib your child has grown out of? Turn it into a bench. How about an old wardrobe or dresser? Remove the doors and add some shelves for a contemporary and quirky bookcase. Even unused wood pallets can make the perfect bed frames. Use your own furniture or hit the thrift stores and let your creativity shine. If you get stuck, just type in your item of furniture followed by “upcycled” or “re-purposed” on Pinterest and you’re sure to be met with a wealth of ideas.

Get Crafty With the Kids – Why save all the fun for yourself? Enjoy some family bonding time and teach your kids crucial skills that will last them a lifetime by showing them how to build their own birdhouse, outdoor planter, or bench. Allow your children to use their skills to complement each other. For example, if one child is more artistic and detail-oriented, allow them to paint the finished product. Again, look to Pinterest for some great beginner’s woodworking projects.

So don’t get down about the weather; get creative! We promise the sun will be out soon. In the meantime, have some fun and then reap the rewards of your work.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Quick Guide to Choosing Your Small Engine Oil

small engine oil
Just like with your car, whether or not you perform regular engine checks and change your oil on time can make or (literally) break the performance of your chainsaw, lawnmover, or other small engine-powered equipment. But do the other rules apply as well? Can you use the same type of engine oil and expect a similar performance?

Well, yes and no. The truth is, while the basic mechanisms of engine performance and the impact of a high-quality oil are the same, small engines require their own special 2-stroke oil that contains components designed specifically with throttle and high-revving performance in mind. Below is a run-down of some of our top-selling small engine oils and their specific uses:

Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil: Semi-synthetic oil, which contains a mixture of synthetic and mineral oil, is usually less expensive than synthetic oil but it works great for ordinary engine use. We have some wonderful options for high-quality semi-synthetic oil, like the Lucas Brand High-Performance 2-Stroke Oil. This versatile, smokeless oil is great for almost any small engine, including those powering leaf blowers, weed eaters, chainsaws, and even snowmobiles.

Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil: If you tend to store your chainsaw or other small engine-powered equipment for long periods of time, choose a synthetic oil, which is less likely to deteriorate over time and cause performance issues. Look to the fuel-stabilization properties of our AMSOIL SABER 2-Stroke Oil, a powerful synthetic that protects the engine during off-season storage. If you’re someone who’s likely to set down the chainsaw for the cold Winter months, this is the oil that will keep you covered when you come out of hibernation!

Other Fuel Additives: In addition to choosing the right oil, there are a number of additions on the market that can help you keep your engine running more powerfully than ever. Look to our Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment, for example, which helps gasoline break down more slowly and evenly, and prevents issues like phase separation and fuel gelling. It’s a little detail that goes a long way.
Remember, no matter which oil you choose, the most important part is changing it regularly. As always, if you have any questions, the experts at HLSupply are here to help!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Five Lumberjack Lotharios Who Made the Ladies Swoon

Looking for another excuse to pick up your chainsaw and start working on some outdoorsy projects like making a wooden garden bench or cutting down that troublesome tree in your back yard? Well, do we have an excuse for you: instant popularity among members of the opposite sex. Nothing holds more appeal than a Chainsaw Cassanova, a DIY Don Juan, a Come-Hither Carpenter (we could keep going with these all day). In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d go off the beaten path a little and provide some inspiration in the form of five famous lumberjacks who were a big hit with the ladies:

1. Paul Bunyan

The number one spot on this list goes to the iconic lumberjack himself. This literal giant of American folklore first emerged from stories told in lumbercamp bunkhouses that involved superhuman exploits like taming the Whistling River and breaking up a 200-foot log jam with Babe, his blue ox. Want to know how manly Paul Bunyan was? He combed his beard with a pine tree. He also said fun things like, “By jingo!” and “Jiminy!” The great Mr. Bunyon is less-widely recognized as a forerunner of the 90’s grunge fashion movement:

With a look like that, you can guarantee that his blue ox wasn’t the only Babe who followed him around.

2. Jos Montferrand

You may not have heard of Jos, but apparently he’s a pretty big deal in Ottowa Valley. This lumberjack, log driver, and raftsman was a real-life figure who quickly became the stuff of increaingly exaggerated legends after his death. He has been written about, sculpted and painted by countless artists, and in 1992 Canada officially put him on a stamp. Plus, there’s this:

We don’t even know what he’s doing there, but it looks pretty tough.

3. The Brawny Paper Towel Guy 

 Due to the ever-shifting landscape of branding, there are actually two Brawny paper towel men. The man on the left got the axe (pun intended) back in 2004, and we don’t want to speculate but we’re thinking that his eerie resemblance to Tom Selleck was probably what did him in. He has since been replaced by the man on the right:

Brand leaders at Brawny wanted the new Brawny man to show off his softer side; because paper towels aren’t just about strength, they’re also about softness, get it? Truly a lesson for us all. And while we’re on the subject of the Brawny paper towel man, let’s look to his counterpart from The Simpsons:

4. The Burly Man

This spot-on parody of the Brawny man was only featured in a single episode of The Simpsons, but it quickly became an iconic moment for the show. In the episode, Marge accidentally buys the wrong brand of towels – Burly – and falls in love with the man on the packaging. Capable of inspiring the adoration of every woman in the fictional town of Springfield, the Burly man is truly one of the lumberjack greats.

5. Daniel Boone

This picture in no way represents what the real-life Daniel Boone looked like, but we’ll give it a pass for getting the coonskin cap right. He’s also not technically a lumberjack, but given his impressive resume of outdoor skills, we’re guessing he could easily add tree-felling to his list. Like Jos Montferrand, Boone was a real-life person who became the stuff of legend after his death; numerous stories and TV shows have since been written in his honor, along with the requisite array of sculptures and paintings. There are even inscriptions on trees, now preserved in historical societies, that commerate moments like this one: “D. Boon Kilt a Bar, 1803.” Anyone who can kilt a bar is clearly not someone you should mess with.

Inspired? Then give your chainsaw engine a once-over, don your best plaid shirt, and get out there. They’ll be featuring you on paper towel packaging in no time!