Discover more from Gar's Tips & Tools
Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue # 166
Weekly-ish access to tools, techniques, and shop tales from the worlds of DIY
– Send me a tip or tool recommendation.
–Tell me a shop tale.
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Hobby Tips from 60s Comic Books
My friend Peter Bebergal sent me a link to this wonderful blast from the past. Cap's Hobby Center, later renamed Cap’s Hobby Hints, debuted inside of DC Comics titles in the 1960s.
"Cap's Hobby Hints" pages by Henry Boltinoff. This feature ran in DC comic books for several years in the early/mid 1960s. Henry was the brother of DC editor Murray Boltinoff. Aurora, AMT, and other model kit companies were regular advertisers in DC’s comics at the time. Supporting kids' interest in the modeling hobby was a smart move on DC's part. Cap often gave hints for model railroading and slot car racing as well. You can see the title and issue number of the comic book each strip ran in, at the top of each original. How many of these did you read, way back then?
I was a casual consumer of comic books in the 60s but don’t recall ever seeing these. Do you? The tips included in these strips are rather sweet, definitely targeted at a young modeling audience. You can see more of the strips here and here.
Cut Your Sanding Time in Half!
In this Stumpy Nubs video, James demonstrates how the use of a dust extractor or shop vac attached to a disc sander can functionally cut your sanding time in half. There are a number of other useful tips in here, too, like using a lumber crayon (or graphite) to mark a surface to be sanded so that you can see when you've completely sanded off the markings and it's time to switch grits.
Pro Painter’s Tips
This See Jane Drill video is basically an ad for the Inokraft Maxspray M3 Plus paint sprayer, but there is still enough good, general info it it to recommend if you’re new to paint sprayers. Leah looks at the personal protective equipment (PPE) you need, why you need to filter your paint for spraying, different types of painter’s tape (I had no idea there was special delicate surface and rough surface tapes), and she explains the different spray nozzles and how they are designated.
More Hidden Gems on AliExpress
Who doesn't love these GreatScott! videos where he buys, tests, and rates parts and products he purchases from AliExpress? And I can never get enough of Scott's meticulous schematics and explainer graphics that he always draws in his videos. In this installment (part 6) of his AliExpress gems videos, he looks at seven different products: VFD displays, T-splitter connectors, a solar panel multimeter, a battery charger/booster, damaged screw extractors, an ESP32 LCD board, and an ATX power supply board. The VFD displays, solar panel multimeter, battery charger, ESP32 board, and power supply board all get the thumbs up. The T-splitters and damaged screw extractors were a bust
Understanding Concrete, Cement, Mortar, and Asphalt
I find Family Handyman magazine to be a very hit and miss publication. Too many of the tips they run fall under that sleight-of-hand category where they look good, but they’re not things you would likely incorporate into your workflow. And many of the projects seem more aspirational than practical. But, once in a while, they publish a really decent issue. Such is the case with their most recent “Older Homes” issue (October/November 2023). It has a lot of good articles of restoring hardwood floors, replacing old windows, updating home wiring, etc. At only $18 a year, I find enough value in it to continue to subscribe. Below is a great explainer of the difference between cement, concrete, mortar, and asphalt.
I’ll Be Speaking at Maker Faire Bay Area, Oct 15
I'm going to be speaking at the Faire on Sunday, Oct. 15, 12pm, on the Make: Demo Stage, Zone 2. I would love to see some of my newsletter subscribers there!
Ten Top-Level Maker Tips That Will Change Your Life
Gareth Branwyn will share ten of his most game-changing ideas about shop workflow. These insights come from his experience as both a maker and as a tips collector and publisher. Learn about the wonders of First Order Retrievability, the frustration-saving Kenny Rogers Rule, and why you should never stack things on top of other things. Gareth has been called “The Tips Guru" (Kevin Kelly). He is the author of two best-selling maker books, Tips and Tales from the Workshop, Vol. 1 & 2, and is the publisher of the weekly-ish newsletter, Gar’s Tips & Tools (garstipsandtools.com).
After the talk, Gareth will be available in the Maker Shed to chat and sign books.
Newsletter subscriber, Trevor Flowers, writes:
”Regarding The Kenny Rogers Rule, I have a rule that seems like it pairs nicely with Kenny's advice: Quit on a high note.
“When I keep this rule in mind I habitually check in with myself as I get something working or reach a milestone. If I don't have time to reach another high note then I quit or work on a different project.
“When I do this I have a positive feeling about and more energy for the project so I return to work on it more often. Any time lost to quitting a little early is more than recovered this way. As always, thank you for your newsletter.”