About a month or so ago, my favorite table lamp began making a crackling sound near the base. So I unplugged it and pondered my options.
I considered taking it to a nearby electric shop. Then I considered taking it to the tool shop that recently replaced the cord on my power sander. That cost $46, nearly one-third the price of a new sander.
But the lamp would be well worth a fee like that. It cost only $15 at a swap meet, but it’s an unusually pleasing blend of red enamel and brass with a mod metal shade and definitely not something to set out with the garbage.
About that time, I picked up a copy of "How Your House Works," a book written by home improvement expert Charlie Wing, and my thinking started to shift away from being rescued by a shop and toward taking charge of my own repair.
There are scads of home fix-it books in print, maybe thousands of them.
What raises this one to the top of the heap are the large, clear color illustrations of what the insides of things in a house look like.
And when you see what’s inside a garbage disposal, for instance, you might be able to fix it — or at least unclog it.