Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #41
Making a Cutting Table for Your Nibbler
In response to my posting of Sean Ragan's demo on using a manual nibbler tool, reader Mark sent me a link to this video of a guy who built a drill-powered table to power his nibbler. Nifty!
Keeping Replacement Blades on the Tools
From Family Handyman magazine: "Here’s a tip from reader George Sarna. Use tape or twist ties to attach spare blades to the frames of your hacksaw and coping saw. The next time a blade breaks or dulls, you won’t scratch your head trying to remember where you put the spares." This tip is one of a hundred in this round-up on the magazine's website. There's more good stuff in there.
Using Repositionable Spray Adhesive
In this recent Cool Tools video, Sean Ragan shows how he makes use of repositionable spray adhesive in his shop. I've never used this stuff before, but his demo has me intrigued.
TOYS! Parachute Bags
You know a tool has filled a real need in your work life when you get a special feeling of satisfaction every time you reach for it. And you keep buying them for family and friends. Such is the case with parachute screw bags. Everyone I've given one to has raved about how much they love it. It can hold tons of screws, nails, other fasteners, picture-hanging hardware, small tools, you name it. And it cinches securely and can be tossed onto a shelf until called for. You need this!
Life Hack: Grouping Your Tabs
This might be a real "duh" for a lot of people, but it's something I've only recently started doing and it has been a huge help. I keep LOTS of tabs open on my browser and am often working on several projects at the same time. Clicking back and forth can become a real pain if I have to scan a dozen or more tabs to find the ones that are related. So now, when I begin a project, I make sure to group all of the tabs related to that project in one area (to move a tab, you simply click, hold, and drag left or right). Again, it seems obvious, but what a difference it makes to take those extra few seconds to organize them this way.
Don't ever tell Jimmy DiResta he can't do something. He had an idea for a joint made of finger-like tabs holding the pieces together. They said it wouldn't work. It worked!
I'm still getting lots of folks telling me about their beloved "homely tools" and sharing pics. Keep them coming!
Reader John from Berkshire, MA wrote in to remind me about pretty much the homeliest tool ever: A bent coat hanger. "Here's a super humble thing: a bent section of coat hanger. It's been a hook, a reacher, a poker into small places, and most often, a re-threader of sweatpants drawstrings." John also wanted to share his enthusiasm for the Stanley FMHT1027 FatMax knife: "For my money, it's the best cheap folding razor knife." He also told me that I had introduced him to CA glue accelerator and that he now uses it all of the time. I love hearing when my recommendations are helpful.
I'm not so sure how homely this tool is, and frankly, I'd never even heard of it, but after reading this description, I think I want one:
Reader Robert Clary writes: "I love my kitchen tweezers. I use them for deftly flipping shrimp in a pan, grabbing the sink stopper through a sink full of water, reaching down the back of the sofa to grab something that fell there, retrieving something from under the driver’s seat, getting hold of a cable that’s gone rogue in a tiny space. In the kitchen, they’re every bit as versatile as tongs, but not as clunky. I really like them for pulling pin bones out of all the salmon we catch here in Alaska, and the machined ridges (on the outside, for a good grip with wet hands; on the inside for easily pulling a strand of spaghetti out of a hot pan when testing for doneness) are clean and precise. They are easily kept in one’s apron pocket. You can even use them as chopsticks! Mine are made by Kuchenprofi, out of Germany, and I don’t expect to ever break them. I’m going to get a couple of extras, maybe in different sizes. My current set is 12” long. Get some, you’ll find dozens of uses for them, in the kitchen, studio, and workshop.