Handy Hints: Smart Tips for the Home and Shop

Decorating, Featured Article, Home & Family
on September 19, 2014
Smart Tips for the Home and Shop

No-Mess Drilling
Next time you need to drill a hole in drywall, try this tip from Josh Allen of St. Anthony, Minn. Tape an old envelope (gently folded open) to the wall just below the drilling point. The envelope’s mouth will catch the dust as you drill, making cleanup as simple as tossing the envelope in the trash.

Dry Gloves at Hand

To help damp work gloves dry fast, Clinton Keith of Dolores, Colo., hangs them from plastic clothespins mounted to the wall with 1-inch drywall screws. Besides drying quickly, the gloves are easy to find when he needs them.

Insulation-Cutting Jig
To make his home more energy efficient, Paul Purja of Ames, Iowa, decided to insulate his copper waterlines. Though manufactured insulating T-fittings and 90-degree angles were available,  the price of the individual pieces exceeded the cost of an entire bag of insulation. Purja previously had noticed that waterline insulation fit perfectly within a scrap length of PVC pipe. So to save money, he made cutting jigs from the PVC and used them to construct his own insulation fittings. He used a miter saw to cut a 45-degree end on one of the PVC scraps to serve as a cutting guide. Then using a retractable-blade razor knife, Purja cut clean miters to create fittings that look like and work as well as the store-bought variety.

Pocket Hole Dowel Device
Larry VanHooser of Foley, Minn., likes to work with his pocket hole jig, and he saves money on precut tapered plugs by making his own. Vanhooser created a jig to help him cut the plugs on a band saw from inexpensive dowel rods. He simply drilled a 3/8-inch-diameter pocket hole in a 3/4 x 2 x 6-inch scrap of hardwood to the correct depth; then he bored the rest of the way through with a 3/16-inch twist bit. To use the jig, he inserts a length of dowel stock into the pocket hole and slides the jig between the band saw fence and the blade. After the cut, he inserts a nail through the 3/16-inch-diameter hole to pop the tapered plug out of the pocket hole.

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