Tips & Tricks Issue 68Comments (0)
Twin-handled tool rack
I use a lot of pliers, nippers, wire cutters, and other “twin-handled” tools at my bench. To keep them sorted out and at-the-ready, I took a tip from my electrician dad and created a rack for them on my bench wall using conduit clips. These inexpensive, commonly available saddle-shaped metal clamps, or “straps,” are typically used to surface-mount electrical conduit. Available in various sizes, they’re perfect for holding one handle of a tool solidly to a wall, leaving the opposite handle extended for easy grabbing. Installing them side-by-side sharing a mounting screw consolidates the tools into a small area. And unlike some pegboard hooks made for the purpose, the straps won’t accidentally pull away from the wall.
—Bil Mitchell, Riegelsville, Pennsylvania
Small brad holder
We’ve all seen tips for holding brads and small nails to avoid whacking your fingers–including using a slotted piece of cardboard, a comb, etc.–but here’s a better approach. It’s a holder that’s very quick to use, and one that easily positions the brad in a vertical position for accurate starting taps. All you need is a tongue depressor or popsicle stick and two 1⁄4"-diameter rare-earth magnets. Simply cut a small V-shaped notch in one end of the stick, and then epoxy a magnet in place so that its edge is tangent to the bottom of the notch. To use the tool, position the brad against two stacked magnets, as shown, to hold it in place as you give it a starting tap or two.
—John Cusimano, Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Multipurpose crosscut sled
If you have a crosscut sled for your tablesaw, you actually have much more than a crosscut sled. What you have is a sliding base to which you can attach all sorts of custom fences and hold-downs to accommodate specialty cuts. For example, say you need to saw multiple plywood gussets for a project. Simply tack or screw two fences to your sled base, as shown, to quickly and accurately make the cuts. You can even outfit the sled with fences and hold-downs to safely cut tapers on small workpieces like those shown on page 36. Using a sled like this can be a great labor-saving alternative to making dedicated jigs that will see service only once or twice.
—Paul Anthony, senior editor
Slimming down dowels
Tennis ball bumpers
For years, I’ve used heavy-duty shop shelving systems like those featured in issue #67. These systems, with their wall-mounted standards and heavy metal arm supports, serve as great lumber racks. However, I’ve found that the arms can be pretty sharp. To prevent accidentally bumping into them, I outfitted each with a brightly colored tennis ball, slitting it, and then slipping it onto the projecting end of the arm.
—James Kajpust, Freeland, Michigan
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