Check out these great tips from our pro woodworkers for working faster, smarter and more efficiently in your shop.
Here's how to make your own reusable sanding
blocks. Cut six blocks from scrap 3/4-in.plywood
for each sandpaper grit you commonly
use. Make them 2-1/2 in. x 4-3/4
in. Spray adhesive on both a square of
cork tile and each block. Stick
a block to the cork and cut the cork
flush with a utility knife. Then spray
adhesive on a sheet of sandpaper and
stick it on each block cork side
down as shown. Cut the sandpaper
flush with the cork, and label each
Stair gauges are usually used to lay out
stair jacks. You clamp them to a carpenter's
square to match the rise and run of
a stair jack and then mark the notches.
But if you put them both on the same
tongue of a carpenter's square, the combination
makes a great crosscut guide
for circular saws.
Pick up a pair for less
than $5 at any hardware store or home
center. Clamp the square in place so it
won't slide around while you're cutting.
You wouldn't like that one bit.
To prevent stains caused by oozing
glue along joints, clamp the pieces
together without glue. Put tape on the
joint, then cut along it with a sharp
blade. Separate the pieces, apply the
glue and clamp them together again.
The glue will ooze onto the tape, not
the wood. Peel off the tape before the
When you need an accurate square in the 2- to 3-ft. range, your options are limited.
Drywall squares are notoriously inaccurate and cumbersome. Carpenter
squares involve that nagging hassle of having to hook them onto the edge of
your workpiece. If you have a drafting square lying around, drag it out to the
shop. Or, go to an art supply store and pick one up ($5 or more). They're very
accurate and you'll find yourself grabbing it nearly as often as you do the tape
When you have to cut, shape, file, sand or finish something
small, reach for your hot glue gun and glue the
piece to a pedestal stick. The hot glue will hold just
about anything as well as or better than any clamp ever
could—if using a clamp is even possible. When your
project is complete, try to pop it loose with a putty knife,
but don't use too much force—you might tear out the
wood or break the piece.
You have two options for breaking the grip: cold and
heat. First, try sticking the work piece into the freezer for
an hour or so. Frozen glue will usually give way with
very little force. If that doesn't work, try a hair dryer to
soften the glue. Still stuck? Reach for the heat gun. But
warm the piece slowly and from a distance to avoid
scorching the wood or damaging the finish.
You've finally got your table saw on a mobile base so
it's easy to pull out and put away on the weekend.
Finish the job by finding a
level spot on the
floor that's also
Mark the wheel positions
with bright-colored duct
tape and now you can roll the
saw to the same flat spot every
time you saw.
Install the blade on a hacksaw so
the teeth face forward. The saws are
designed so the blade will cut when
it's pushed (the forward stroke)
rather than when pulled. Some
blades have an arrow that shows
the correct installation (the arrow
points toward the handle). Install
the blade so it's tight in the saw and
won't bend. When you do a lot of
cutting, the blade will heat up and
expand, so be sure to tighten it if it
starts to bend.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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