Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

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Episode #426
Installing a mini-split air conditioning system, what is it?, de-thatching a lawn… more
Episode #425
Cutting ceramic and stone tile, installing a sump pump … more
Episode #424
Replacing an old dishwasher, what is it?, sharpening a wood chisel, using lawn spreaders… more
Episode #423
Replacing an interior "hollow-core" door with a new "solid-core" door, repairing a leaky kitchen faucet… more
Episode #422
Repairing stripped threads on a cast-iron radiator, fixing a grading problem, what is it?, stabilizing a wobbly newel post, refinishing an old cast-iron bathtub… more
Episode #421
Installing an instantaneous water heater, planting trees to save energy, installing cellulose insulation … more
Episode #420
Installing a granite driveway marker, what is it, repairing a hot water radiator system … more
Episode #419
Building a custom radiator cover, installing a steam humidifier in a forced-air heating system … more
Episode #418

Original Air Date: Week of February 4, 2006

Landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows a homeowner how to transplant a spruce tree that was originally planted too close to her house. Then Roger, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, general contractor Tom Silva, and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Then, Tom heads off to Seattle to help a homeowner extend a staircase handrail using a new type of fastening system.

Transplanting a white spruce tree
Roger helps a homeowner transplant a white spruce tree that has grown up against the house. Roger proposes moving the tree to the backyard where it will benefit from more sunlight and can grow unobstructed. They begin by carefully digging out the tree, creating a root ball with a diameter that is 10 times larger than the diameter of the trunk. They wrap the root ball in burlap and load the tree onto a tree dolly. They then dig a hole in the backyard that is twice as wide as the tree's root ball and slightly shallower. They then lower the tree into the hole and remove the burlap. Before backfilling with loam, they add a little starter fertilizer to give the tree a healthy start. Roger then ties the tree to a couple of wooden stakes with plastic cable to keep the tree upright until the roots become established.

Where to Find It
Roger showed a type of plastic cable used for "staking" the tree.

ProLock® Chain-lock Tree Tie
Manufacturer: Dimex Corporation800-334-3776

What is it?
The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking object.

Where to Find It
Tom showed an antique device used for setting the angle of a handsaw's teeth after it's been sharpened. This tool is not available for purchase and was loaned to us by:
Midwest Tool Collectors Association

A newer version of this tool (SKU no. SS7) is available from:
Great Neck Saw

Extending a staircase handrail
Tom visits a homeowner in Seattle to help him extend a handrail on his staircase. The handrail will extend several inches and then curve and connect onto a newel post. After cutting the necessary handrail pieces to length on a miter saw, Tom connects them together using a new type of fastening system that uses a spinning magnet to tighten fasteners that are hidden inside the rail.

Where to Find It
Tom showed a new type of fastening system called InvisĀ® that uses a spinning magnet to tighten hidden fasteners. It is manufactured by:
Invis North America, Inc.

The same fastening system (including the handrail jig) is also available from the manufacturer of the wooden stair rail parts. This manufacturer refers to the system as the "EasAlign" system. For more information, visit:
Crown Heritage
Episode #417
Repairing a residential well, repairing a hole in vinyl siding … more
Episode #416
Choosing and using hammers, repairing a pressure-assisted toilet, repairing a plastered wall … more
Episode #415
Installing a low cost in-ground sprinkler system, what is it?, pouring a concrete footing for a deck … more
Episode #414
Installing a radon mitigation system, pruning an apple tree for fruit production… more
Episode #413
Installing a new vinyl floor, what is it?, preventing frozen pipes… more
Episode #412
Washing windows like a pro, what is it?, flushing an electric water heater… more
Episode #411
Snowthrowers, what is it?, where to find it… more
Episode #410
Pruning an overgrown privet hedge, installing a new basement laundry sink … more
Episode #409
Viewer tips, re-shingling a garage roof using asphalt-fiberglass shingles… more
Episode #408
Circular saw 101, what is it?, installing a new outdoor faucet using PEX, cabling an oak tree to prevent splitting… more
Episode #407
Removing and preventing moss, algae and lichen from a roof, what is it?, repairing a leaky water valve, planting shade-tolerant ground cover under a European Beech tree … more
Episode #406
Building a raised garden bed with landscape timbers, clearing a bathtub drain. … more
Episode #405
Caring for a rose bush, how to steady a wobbly toilet, plugging a basement water leak using hydraulic cement.… more
Episode #404
Repairing a flat wheelbarrow tire, repairing an aluminum rain gutter, viewer tips, installing a thermal expansion tank … more
Episode #403
Installing an under-sink water filter, planting a drought-resistant tree.… more
Episode #402
Quieting creaky stairs, static cling solution, and installing an electric shut-off valve for a washing machine … more
Episode #401
Repairing a mortared stone walkway, patching an oak floor… more