Brains and charm are fine, but a real guy needs to know how to do real stuff. After months of debate among PM's expert editors—and a preview of 2008's ultimate DIY list—now you can explore how to perform life's essential skills, broken down for the competent man—plus 20 tools you need to own. Click through for the tips, or take PM's interactive DIY quiz to see how you measure up against the MythBusters and more TV know-it-alls. Did we leave anything out—or included a skill you don't think is worthy? Then scroll down and let us know in the comments section.
1. Tape Drywall
Easy to do. Hard to do well. Spread a strip of compound about the width of your 5-in. drywall knife along the entire joint, then press the tape into the compound. Use your knife to embed the tape; allow the excess compound to build up on the front of the blade, covering the tape in a thin layer. Repeat with a 4-in. knife to remove even more excess compound. Let the joint dry; sand lightly and repeat with an 8- or 10-in. blade. (The wider the band of compound, the smoother the joint.) Dip your knife in water occasionally to keep it clean and lubricated.
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