Shop Tips—Submitted by Visitors

Featured Report:
Five Great Drill Accessories no handyperson should be without!

Tool Case Simplifier
Molded-plastic tool cases can be complex—just fitting the tool and all its components back into their specific positions can be a frustrating challenge. Take a picture of the case as it should be organized and hang it from the inside of the lid-- you'll never forget which piece fits into which spot again!

Level Uneven Chair Legs
Do you have a chair that wobbles? Everybody does. Here's a great tip to fix it once and for all. On a flat surface (the surface of a table saw is perfect), stick two coarse sanding disks face up, beneath the chair's two longest legs. The adhesive backing will keep the disks in place. Holding the legs, sand until all four legs rest evenly on the tabletop.
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Breathe New Life Into Clogged Sandpaper
If you use sandpaper on finishes like paint or varnish, it usually takes a lot of it because the grains get clogged up. Instead of buying tons of extra sandpaper, use the stiff plastic bristles of a paint-stripping brush to scrup the paper. The stuck-on globs of finish come right off and the same sheet can be used over and over.
Save Your Head
Do you have a doorway with low head clearance? Does it pose a threat to occupants and guests alike? Attach a mirror to the wall, just above the problem spot. When approaching, you'll always spot the low clearance because of the moving image.
Save Your Clogged Caulking Tube
You know the one... a tube of caulk with the end hardened up with a plug of the stuff. Don't throw it away! Use a utility knife to slice down the side of the whole tip and pry out the plug of hardened caulk. Then, wrap the tip with duct tape and it's good to go!
Extension Ladder Bucket Holder
Most extension ladders don't provide a place to set or hang your paint bucket. Try taking a length of 3/4-inch pipe or an old broom handle, and cut a notch at the end. Slide it through a hollow rung, hang your bucket from the notch and you're ready to get painting!
Clean Your Spray Can Nozzle
Spray cans' nozzles tend to get clogged up after use. Try removing the nozzle and putting it on your can of WD-40 (the nozzles are usually the same size). Give the WD-40 a little spritz to clean it out and put the nozzle back on your spray can.
Fix a Hammer Mark
You can remove small indentations and hammer marks in unfinished wood by applying a little water to the affected area. The wood will naturally swell in that spot and fill in the dent. If desired, sand it once it's dry.
Keep your Mower from Collecting Grass Shavings
If you're tired of lawn clippings getting stuck all over the bottom of your lawn mower, wash the area and then cover the surface with cooking spray.
Remove the Oak Stain From Your Fingertips
Do you work with dark oak lumber? If you do, you're probably familiar with the stain your fingertips get and the frustration with trying to remove it. Scrubbing won't help, but the acidity of lemon juice will!
Band Saw Finger Saver
When cutting small wood pieces on a band saw, use two pencils as finger extensions. The erasers will grip the surface and keep your most valuable tools (your fingers) intact.
Root Remover
If you're tired of fighting with roots as you dig in your garden, try this: Use a grinder or file to carve a small V-shaped cut in the point of an old shovel. Periodically sharpen the cut with a file and the roots don't stand a chance.
Paint Level Indicator
Before putting away your partially-used can of paint, take a little paint from the can and make a stripe on the outside consistent with the level of the contents inside. This way, you'll always know the exact color and just how much is inside without having to open it.
Yard Tool Caddy
Use an old golf bag (you can pick one up at a garage sale for next to nothing) to cart around your lawn and garden tools. Its large wheels allow it to go off-road (or path) with ease.
Driveway Spot Remover
Get spots out of an asplaht driveway by 1) Wetting the surface thoroughly, 2) covering the area with a biodegradable detergent, and 3) scrubbing with a heavy-bristle brush or broom. Rinse, and repeat if necessary.
The Essential Automatic Paint Can Stirrer
Stirring paint by hand can be an arduous and exhausting task. Try taking a plastic coat hanger and cutting the bottom rung off, leaving the 'J-shaped' curve on one side. Lock the straight end into your power drill/driver, put the curved end in your paint can and let 'er rip! (Just be sure not to lock the drill/driver in the 'on' position—we haven't gotten in any tips on getting paint out of your hair and clothes yet!)
Extract a Broken Dowel Pin
Anyone who makes their own furniture (or buys it at Ikea) is probably familiar with the wooden dowels that hold various furniture components in place. If these get broken, it can be a nightmare to try and remove them. Drive a drywall screw into the top of the dowel's shaft and use a claw hammer to pull it out. If the dowel is too firmly glued in place, you may have to drill it out.

The Best Putty
People have been making their own wood putty by mixing sawdust with glue for years. Instead, use quick-dry sanding sealer. It works much better, sands easier, and is a dead-on color match when used under a clear finish.

Wall-hang Your Benchtop Power Tools
If you have a limited amount of shop space and a lot of benchtop power tools, here's a solution to keep the space uncluttered and keep the tools at hand: Mount each tool on a plywood base and hang them on hooks attached to the wall. When you want to use a tool, simply clamp it to your workbench with C-clamps.