Handyman Thoennes in Glen Ellyn IL

Road Trip!


I’ll be working on an out-of-state project for the next four to six weeks. An owner is turning their previous residence into a rental unit, and their new residence needs some repairs, updates and TLC. I haven’t forgotten about you! Expect me to be back in the area by mid-August, 2014. Keep those project lists up to date and remember, “Everyone needs a Handyman.” – Greg

Sump Frump

Sump Frump

A sump line had been run out of the house, across a flower bed wall and directly onto the lawn in front of the side-entrance gate. What a mess. Sumpy smell. Moldy grass. A swale. A truly frumpy sump dump. Greg suggested extending the PVC down (buried in the ground) and across the yard to the vinca bed surrounding a massive pussy willow tree—pussy willows love water and the vincas swallow it too. 1- The hole was dug and the PVC extended (still needs some brown paint :-)); 2- Most of the sod was replaced over the filled trough; 3- the soggy area was stripped of its moldy grass/sod and topped off with new garden soil, some seed, and a nice blanket of grass mat; 4- the neighbor’s lawn that was also turning into a swale was tended as well—it was the right thing to do. A little gentle watering should get that new shade grass growing by next week.

Rough-edge thick frame

Rough-edge thick frame

This frame was created in my shop from milled, rough (bark) edge white oak. A wonderful designer I work with, Val Vesely of http://valerievesely.com suggested this “almost black” stained natural wood frame with a gap between the frame and the canvas. It was a challenge to get the mitre’s right with the uneven and rough edges. The edges were enhanced with some bronze dry-brushing and the client is thrilled with the look. The picture was taken in Door County, WI. in 2012, Copyright Thoennes Studios, 2014.

The Gong

The Gong

My late father-in-law, Dr. Don Verne “Buddy” Joseph sported this Chinese gong and likely used it in one of his bands. It really needed to be displayed properly so I came up with this design for displaying it and making it fully functional, using white oak and dark maple. It has a little divot for the mallet, leather straps for suspending the gong and sturdy through bolts with hiding caps. The walnut blocks, hiding caps and stand-offs are all stained with ebony and as a contrast to that, the oak has a natural, satin poly acrylic finish .

Cost-saving “squirrel damage” repair solution


squirrelDamageSquirrels and other critters that may have included woodpeckers had damaged a fascia board on the corner of a house in Wheaton, IL. A squirrel-sized hole went clear through the board into the soffit. Instead of replacing the entire 30 foot piece of 3/4″ x 8″ cedar ($$) I suggested a small, aluminum-backed cedar “patch” with a built-in drip cap and flashing. The aluminum was bent, adhered and nailed to the board, the board was painted with the customer’s paint, and the repair was effective and inexpensive. 😀

Mission Coat Tree – update

Mission Coat Tree – update

The 42″ quarter-sawn white oak Mission Coat Tree is complete. The tapered and walnut-pegged top has a definite oriental influence to it. The white oak was from a tree on my lot that we lost a few years back which I had milled at Ellis Custom Sawing and Woodworking in West Chicago. The tree – from counting it’s rings – was a sapling in 1878. There was a lead musket ball lodged in the wood but I was not able to save it before the saw threw it out.

Cat trap

Cat trap

Its true. The cat trap works every time. A new box… set it on the floor… presto! Captured one cat. They are seemingly helpless once they step in the trap. 🙂

Don’t replace, paint. Concrete patio stones? No way.

The client couldn’t really justify an expensive hardscaping replacement, so I suggested painting the concrete patio stones. Now they match the colors and shades of the brick on the house and cost a fraction of the price of replacement. A little sand, a little bit of re-leveling, some concrete paint and lots of patience did the trick!


Who’s this and what specifically does he do?

Click on this link to see pictures of my projects, fixes and build outs, read about me, and about what a Handyman does. See a list of items I can take care of for you. How many of these are on your honey-do list? Want more time for leisure? Need a little more time with the kids? Want to take your partner on a road trip and just don’t have the time? I’d love to help you with your next project so call me at 630-776-4857 and let me take care of that “honey-do” list. Click this: https://www.icloud.com/iw/#pages/BAIfQG2l6TrP53qw5zuBiyTBFUGADKSL-UWF/Handyman_handout.pages Then call today!

Tile leaks no more, & drains better

“There is a steady leak through the ceiling onto the furnace surround every time I take a shower.”

This repair had me a little concerned being that this location was immediately above the furnace and the duct work was hiding the pipes. It was difficult to see exactly where the leak was coming from. The tile in the shower appeared to be fine but it was definitely coming from the shower, so the duct work had to be removed; the tile had to be removed from around the drain, and there was the problem: the PVC drain was too small, leaking around its perimeter, and the sub-floor was saturated with water. My task then was to remove some more tile, some of the sub floor with a sculpting rotary tool to make room for the new, correct-sized drain and re-pipe the drain, making sure everything was sealed properly. After a couple of days of drying out, the sub floor was stained but sufficiently dry enough for me to add the pipes, the drain and new thin set for the tile. Another day and I was ready to finish it with a grout/sealer combination that matched the original grout. Total time about 5 hours plus a lot of waiting!