Ultimate Fix-It-Yourself Manual--Article Index + Introduction

Tools and techniques:

  • The basic tool kit
  • Measuring and marking
  • Hammers and screwdrivers
  • Using an electric drill
  • Pliers and wrenches
  • Vises and saws
  • Keeping tools sharp
  • Fasteners
  • Adhesives

Around the home:

  • Carpets and rugs
  • Cutlery, pocketknives, and scissors
  • Doorbells, buzzers, and chimes
  • Doorknobs, locks, and hinges
  • Fabric, leather, and zippers
  • Handbags and luggage
  • Jewelry
  • Lamps and lighting
  • Picture frames
  • Pottery, porcelain, and glass
  • Screen and storm windows and doors
  • Stain removal
  • Toys / teddy bears and other stuffed toys
  • Toys/dolls
  • Toys / miscellaneous
  • Typewriters
  • Window blinds and shades

Furniture repair:

  • Woodworking tools
  • Working with wood
  • Gluing
  • Clamps and clamping
  • Improvised clamping
  • Dowels
  • Mortise-and-tenon joints
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Bed frames
  • Case furniture
  • Drawers
  • Doors and shelves
  • Casters and hinges
  • Repairing a wood surface
  • Sanding
  • Restoring damaged veneer
  • Replacing veneer
  • Reviving a finish
  • Stripping wood
  • After stripping
  • Wood filler and sealer
  • Wood stains
  • Wood finishes
  • A step-by-step refinishing sequence
  • Special finishes
  • Painting furniture
  • Reseating chairs with hand-woven cane
  • Reseating chairs with pre-woven cane
  • Repairing wicker
  • Working with rush
  • Reweaving a rush seat
  • Reseating chairs with splint
  • Re-upholstery basics
  • Covering chair seats
  • Reupholster an occasional chair
  • Club and wing chairs


  • Tools and supplies
  • Emergencies
  • Sink faucets
  • Tub faucets, diverter valves, and shower heads
  • Strainers and stoppers
  • Dealing with clogs
  • Toilets
  • Toilet clogs
  • Branch and main drain clogs
  • Working with pipe

Appliance repair basics:

Small appliances:

  • Air cleaners
  • Blenders
  • Can openers
  • Clocks
  • Coffeemakers / drip
  • Coffeemakers / percolator
  • Espresso makers
  • Coffee/spice grinders
  • Convection ovens
  • Corn poppers
  • Fans/box and oscillating
  • Fans/ceiling
  • Food processors and choppers
  • Frying pans, griddles, skillets, and woks
  • Grills, sandwich makers, and waffle irons
  • Hair curlers and curling irons
  • Hair dryers
  • Heaters
  • Hot plates
  • Ice makers
  • Irons
  • Juice extractors and juicers
  • Knives / electric
  • Mixers
  • Rotisseries
  • Sewing machines
  • Shavers
  • Slicers
  • Slow cookers
  • Steamers / rice cookers
  • Toasters
  • Toaster ovens
  • Toothbrushes and oral care appliances
  • Vacuum cleaners

Large appliances:

Home electronics:

  • Tools and supplies
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairs
  • Audio systems:
    • receivers
    • compact disc players
    • turntables
    • cassette decks
    • speakers
  • Cameras
  • Computers
  • Computer printers
  • Facsimile machines
  • Personal stereos
  • Radios
  • Security systems
  • Telephone systems
  • Telephone answering machines
  • Televisions and computer monitors
  • Television antennas
  • Video cameras and recorders (camcorders)
  • Videocassette recorders

Yard and workshop tools:

  • Small engines
  • Chain saws
  • Chipper-shredders
  • Garage doors and automatic openers
  • Lawn mowers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovels, rakes, and hoes
  • Snow throwers
  • Sprinklers and hoses
  • Tillers
  • Trimmers
  • Portable power tools

Sports and recreation gear:

  • Bicycles:
    • lubrication
    • wheels
    • brakes
    • gears
    • chains
    • freewheels and chain rings
    • emergency repairs
  • Boats:
    • fiberglass hulls
    • inflatables
    • outboard motors
  • Canoes
  • Exercise machines
  • Fishing tackle
  • Gas grills
  • Pools
  • Skates
  • Skis
  • Tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags

Home emergencies:

  • Precautions and procedures
  • Basic first aid
  • Treating injuries

Consumer information

INTRODUCTION to the Ultimate Fix-It-Yourself Manual:

With so much stuff in a typical household, sooner or later something will break, leak, sputter, or stop. If you’ve ever waited for the repairman to show up (or just tried to locate one), lost sleep worrying if the drain’s gurgle foretold a flood, or groaned at a great, whopping surprise of a repair bill, you’ll find this guide invaluable. Millions of readers have relied on earlier versions for help in fixing everything from table legs to toasters.

Under guidance from a team of consultants, each one an expert in his or her field, the editors have replaced every photo, drawing, and troubleshooting chart. We’ve added new sections and profiled the newest appliances, explained new techniques, and identified the latest materials. The text has been completely revised and updated. Despite many changes, however, the message of the Ultimate Fix-It-Yourself Manual is simple: You can take care of your household and you can fix things yourself. Even if you have no intention of making your own repairs, the knowledge of what’s involved may save you money when the time comes to call in a professional.

Let this guide serve as your troubleshooting companion whenever things go wrong. The charts will guide you quickly from symptom to solution, and the step-by-step illustrations will show you exactly what to do. Be sure to read the special features as well. They’ll give you essential safety information, tips from the pros, and a whole lot more good, useable advice.


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