Last weekend, I spent two days helping out a local charity, L'Arche Seattle. My version of helping is to go over and do some of the various light construction projects they need. A couple of months ago, for instance, I cut through a load-bearing wall to frame in and install a door between two basement rooms. The lesson from that weekend was that you're better off going to Second Use to find a door that's only 60 inches tall than you are going to Home Depot and cutting a standard 80-inch door down.

This time, they'd asked me to paint a bathroom in one of their houses and to erect a wall to separate off one part of the basement in another. The lesson from this trip: some work is much easier with a framing nailer. Like framing. A wall that would have taken about 30 minutes to nail off with a framing nailer took a couple of hours by hand.

And as a side note, I'd like to remind people who work with electrical to turn off the breakers before they do the work. I couldn't find the breaker that cut power to the new outlets I was putting in (there were about forty breakers and I couldn't kill power to the house without pissing off the residents and, of course, they were all incorrectly labeled). So I livewired it. This isn't a practice that anyone with any common sense will do. I was super-safe for the first 80% of the work. But there was one outlet that was giving me problems (a four-way junction) and I wound up both accidentally grounding the wires to themselves (I love the smell of ozone in the morning) and through me (as if eight cups of coffee weren't enough to wake me up). In the end, everything worked out.

Oh, and the reason for the headline. I realized that I go through pounds of drywall screws each year and rarely actually install drywall with them. They're incredibly useful for just about everything. Turns out they're really good for drywall, too.