Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue #144
Weekly access to tools, time-saving techniques, and shop tales from the worlds of DIY
One glitch we discovered in the move from Revue to Substack is that we lost all of our newsletter headlines. We’ll try and put back as many as we can (it’s 142 newsletters!) before Revue pulls the trigger, later in the month, but if you see a newsletter in the archive with no headlines, that’s why.
Fantastic Round-Up of Hobby Tips for 2022
52 Minitaures has a really useful round-up of tips and tools for tabletop gaming and other types of hobby modeling. Tips include things like using soda/beer can tin as a modeling material, mixing Green Stuff and Milliput, 50/50, to get a more easily workable epoxy putty, keeping the tip on a super glue bottle from drying out by simply not screwing the cap on tight (what!?), using large make-up brushes in modeling for things like drybrushing and weathering, using Pigma Micron pens to add eyeballs to miniatures (something I’ve been doing for years), 3D printing tips, and lots, lots more.
Are High Output Tool Batteries Worth the Extra Dough?
Todd at Project Farm was curious to know if tool batteries sold as “high output” (said to have 50% more power and run cooler) actually live up to their claims and are worth the extra money. Watch the video for more, but bottom line, the answer is No. Todd comes to the conclusion that, unless you’re working in extremely cold conditions, there isn’t enough of a performance increase to justify the added cost.
Reader’s Favorite Tools of 2022
Here are a couple of newsletter readers sharing some of the more memorable tools they employed last year.
“Hanging stuff on drywall can be a real pain. Those little plastic screw inserts fail if there’s any weight to what you’re hanging. Other options are molly bolts or toggle bolts. I’ve always had good luck with toggle bolts (metal ones), but they don’t fit all situations, like when you need a screw head standing out to hang something on.
“Molly bolts are great, but if the base against the drywall wall starts turning when you turn the screw to expand it, you’re hosed, which seems to happen to me more often than not.
“The solution is a Molly Bolt Setting Tool like this one on Amazon. You unscrew the screw a little bit, hook on the tool under the head, squeeze the handle, and it pulls the screw away from the head, expanding the wings to hold the molly bolt in place. At $15 or so, it it is very handy to have around.
“In your ‘My Favorite Newsletter Tips of 2022,’ you showed the iFixit electronics driver set. I’m a fan of Wiha tools and their 65 Piece Micro-Bit Ratchet Set if great. Comes in a metal box and includes bit driver, extension and rachet. Can be pricey at around $100, but well worth it.”
My ol’ pal Stefan Jones writes:
”I saw your recommendation for Carhartt work shirts. They make a line of ventilated, sweat-wicking summer shirts that rock. Multiple pockets with Velcro or zippers. Good variety of colors, too. It looks like the specific Force line I have 2 - 3 of is discontinued. This looks very similar to the three-pocket version that is my favorite.
And here is my favorite tool of 2022:
I wrote about this in issue #128. It’s Mike Taylor’s hardware kit for 1-2-3 blocks. It allows you to connect blocks in whatever configuration you desire with all of the hardware below the surface. The $11 kit comes with 6 hex-head screws, sized for 1", 2", and 3" attachment, 4 threaded through-hole dowels, a hex key, and a slotted driver head – all housed in a handy little plastic box.
More on the Williams Ratcheting Screw Driver
Paul Cryan writes:
”The cavity in the Williams screwdriver is fairly vast. It doesn’t give me much heartache to break up an inexpensive set of miscellaneous bits from Harbor Freight to fill it. Tonight, I experimented with Williams handle stuffing and found that it can easily hold 6 additional handy bits (hollow hex M2, M2.5, M3, M4; hollow Torx M8, M10) from the HF set to keep the 5 bits it comes with (PH1, PH2, 2 flathead, T15) company. Lots to choose from, and although the screwdriver gets a bit heavier, it rattles less! I was able to stuff even more in there and keep it rattling at all, but that seemed silly after I’d tried it a few times.
”Bonus tip: What to do if your ratcheting screwdriver bit is almost long enough to reach the screw inside a recess, but can’t quite reach it because the magnetic bit-holding neck of the screwdriver is too wide? Pop a nylon M3 hex nut (like the type used for mounting electronics) into the ratcheting screwdriver’s open end, slide in the bit you need until it magnetically holds, and VOILA you can get a couple mm further in. If you’ve got a Williams screwdriver, go ahead a toss a few of the nylon hex nuts into the handle cavity so they’re there when you need them!”
Slang, jargon, and technical terms for the many realms of making things
Hand cramps — Another name for aviation snips (This Old Tony).
Slap chop — A speed painting technique for miniatures where you prime the model black, drybrush it light gray from the top-down, followed by a dusting drybrush of white on edges. Then, you paint your main colors with Citadel Contrast, Army Painter Speed Paint, or other one-coat paint product.
The Big Orange Store - Aka Home Depot (aka Home Despot).
Don’t Forget: Unclassifieds
Do you have a product, service, tool, newsletter, app, book, or anything else you’d like to share with your fellow Gar’s Tips & Tools readers? Consider taking out an unclassified ad here, which will run at the bottom of each issue. Get the word out on what you’re doing and support this publication at the same time. Click here for more details.
Re: hanging stuff on drywall: I have had good luck with the screw-in anchors ( metal ones work better than plastic). Leaves you with a strong screw hole for a long sheet metal screw. I pre-drill a pilot hole, then twist it in with a Phillips screwdriver manually.