16 Tips for Your Workshop — And Your Life

My latest book, Tips and Tales from the Workshop Volume 2, is out today. You can pick it up on Amazon or in the MakerShed. The latest issue of Make: (“How to Win the War on Repair”) also has an excerpt of 16 tips from the book. Here are eight of them.

Pegboard Tool Shelf

[All illustration by Richard Sheppard]

If you have scraps of pegboard, you can mount them on pegboard brackets as a shelf, and then use the peg holes to organize drivers and other similar tools.

Storage Cases With Removable Bins

If lots of your components, hardware, and other bits and bobs are small, consider investing in plastic portable storage cases with removable bins inside. You can find these at online tool warehouses for $6–$10 each. I bought several dozen during my shop re-org and still have a few in the closet if I need more.

No-Roll Pencils

Here’s a great WDITOT (why didn’t I think of that?): There are a number of marking tool designs and tool modifications that address the problem of pencils, pens, markers, and scribing tools rolling off of workbenches. And then there’s a little flag of masking tape.

Finding the Thickness of a Wire

If you need to find the thickness of a wire but don’t have a micrometer or calipers handy, wrap the wire around a dowel many times in a tight helix leaving no gaps between the coils. Now, measure the width, of say 30 coils (as an example), with an ordinary ruler and divide by that number (in this case, 30). The more coils you wind, the more accurate your measurement.

Determining If Hardware Is Imperial or Metric

If you’re not sure whether a piece of hardware is measured in metric or Imperial, measure a dimension of it with your calipers and switch between mm and inches. The read-out that is closer to a whole number is likely the system of measurement used.

Prevent Tearout With Masking Tape

Sawing through plywood, especially with a jigsaw, can create a lot of “tearout” (where pieces of the material you’re cutting give way along the edge of the cut). To prevent this, cover your workpiece with masking tape around the area of the cut. As a bonus, you can draw your cuts/project layout directly onto the tape.

A Tip About Glue Tips

Have you ever noticed that many glue bottles have stepped tips to their applicators? It may be obvious, but still worth pointing out, that these are there to allow you to cut the tip so as to control the amount of adhesive you wish to apply.

Turn an F-Clamp into a Wheel Clamp

From the YouTube channel Create comes this brilliant idea. Attach a skate wheel to an F-clamp to create a wheeled clamp that you can use for moving large boards and sheet goods around.

Read the rest.


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