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Thanks for considering Portage Park Handyman for your handyman services. Unfortunately, we are not taking on new customers before 2016. We recommend Jim at Punch List for his experience and expertise. Jim will also offer a 5% discount for anyone who mentions that they found him through the Portage Park Handyman Service.
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for all those worrisome jobs you need done
around the house
Call (773) 282-5857
Or email to get a specific estimate.

resources: watch, listen, learn

The Internet
The Worldwide Web can be a wonderful resource for many home improvements. Focus your Web search on established and reputable sites; sure, sites that show you how to, say, make permanent repairs with duct tape are entertaining, but serious work requires serious resources.

There are plenty of good home improvement shows. Most programs on DIY Network (Comcast channel 121) are quite helpful. My personal favorite is Ask This Old House, which you can find on your local PBS station. This Old House has been around for a long time and is full of good information, especially if you want to remodel your whole house. Ask This Old House focuses primarily on smaller projects and repairs.

Every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 9:00, you can tune in to Mr. Fix-It with Lou Manfredini on WGN (720 on the AM dial). Lou is Ace Hardware's "Helpful Hardware Man" and has been a contractor and builder for many years. I've picked up many hints from Lou's call-in show and agree with one of his rules: "happy wife = happy life." A listener asked Lou about his view on a solid surface counter top. He and his wife disagreed on Granite, Corian, Quartz, etc. The caller had a litany of reasons his preferred product was better than his wife's. Lou agreed with every point the caller made, but ended the conversation by having the caller repeat, "happy wife = happy life." (After all, it's just a counter top!) Lou also makes appearances at many home shows.

There seems to be a magazine for any conceivable business, hobby, or activity, be it selling records, playing golf, and even walking. Of course, there are handyman magazines among them, and they can be quite helpful. A down side to these publications, however, is that you often need to factor in a multiple of 3. For example, if an article says you can do a project in one easy afternoon, expect it to take three afternoons. The articles' writers have the luxury of a fully equipped shop and don't have to move a bike or wagon out of the way before starting a project. Also, they have someone to answer the phone for them, they don't have to walk the dog in the middle of the day...well, you get the point.

I've subscribed to The Family Handyman for decades and have found almost all of their articles to be outstanding. The pictures and directions are full of helpful information, and after more than 30 years there's still something worthwhile in every issue. Handy, published by Handyman Club of America, is another good magazine.

      If you were to have only one book, I highly recommend Better Homes and Gardens' Big Book of Home How-To. Though I've only discovered it recently, I've found it very thorough with easy-to-follow instructions and many pictures. If there is a downside, it's that this book lives up to its name: it's big; my wife's 5-pound cast iron skillet is a pound lighter than this book!

Hardware Stores and Home Centers
The people who work in hardware stores are usually more knowledgeable and helpful than the kid on summer break whom you may find working in a home center. I'm not saying that there are not knowledgeable and helpful folks in the home centers, but they are not as common. When you do find someone who is helpful, make a note of it so you can seek out that person the next time you go to that store. I always looked for Henry at my neighborhood Ace Hardware and the guy with the roadmap nose at Handy Andy, both of whom helped me through many plumbing adventures in my early days as a homeowner.

Community Colleges
Check your local community college for basic home maintenance and repair classes. Truman College here in Chicago, for example, will be offering such classes starting Summer 2012.

Your Local Handyman
Have a question? Ask your local handyman!