8 Clever Tool Hacks
Here's a great collection of tool hacks for every level of DIYer, from beginner to advanced. These simple tips and techniques will help you get the most out of your tools. You'll learn creative ways to use everyday tools and even how to modify them to do jobs 'outside the box.' Got a tip of your own to share? Send it to [email protected]
1. Hang your roofing tools
Use spring clamps to keep your hoses, extension cords, and other tools and materials from sliding off the roof. Don't try this on brittle or scorching hot shingles or you may damage them. You can create a handier hook by sticking the clamp in a vise and bending up one of the handles.
Mix Concrete with a Rake
Try a garden rake instead of a hoe the next time you have to mix concrete. The rake won't splash as much water over the edge, and the tines do a good job of combining the water with the powder. With a hoe, you waste a lot of time just pushing powder around the tub. A medium mixing tub like the one shown costs $7 at home centers.
4. Make mini roller covers
Next time you're in the paint department, pick up a 3-in. roller frame, the type that takes the same diameter cover as a standard 9-in. roller. You can then cut any 9-in. roller cover into three 3-in. covers to fit it. A 3-in. roller is perfect for painting trim or small stuff like a mailbox, but not every store carries 3-in. covers. This little trick will also cut the cost of the 3-in. roller covers in half. Mark the 9-in. roller covers 3 in. in from each end. Cut into equal pieces with a hacksaw, holding the cover steady with a bar clamp. Trim the rough edges of the nap with scissors.
5. Use a level to Extend your table saw fence
The only way to achieve a perfectly straight cut is to keep your material tight up against the table saw fence. But that's hard to do when you're cutting a large sheet of plywood on your own. Extending the fence with a 4-ft. level will make it easier to keep the plywood on a straight and narrow path as it approaches and passes through the blade. Hold the level in place with a couple clamps.
Need a hole in hard soil? Use a Drill!
Have you ever waited too long to install your reflective driveway markers and discovered the ground was frozen? Or tried to install a yard sale sign in dry soil that's as hard as concrete? Well, why not treat it as if it really were concrete and drill holes into it with a masonry bit? This 3/8-in. x 12-in. bit costs less than $15 at home centers.
7. Make a blade for cutting foam
A jigsaw will cut through rigid foam like butter—except butter doesn't crumble into thousands of bits that mess up your shop, basement or garage. If you remove the teeth from a jigsaw blade, it will cut the foam just as well but without the mess. Remove the teeth with a grinder, and be sure to wear eye protection. Hold on to the blade with locking pliers, not your fingers!
8. Lift heavy stuff with a flat pry bar
If you've ever had to remove a solid-core door, you know how heavy they can be. Lifting them up to reinstall hinge pins can be a challenge if you're working alone, but a flat pry bar (aka "flat bar") can give you just the leverage you need. If your flat bar won't raise the door high enough, install a small block of wood at the fulcrum point of the pry bar to increase the lifting distance. Hold the block in place with a small screw and washer. Make sure the screw doesn't poke through. If it does, grind off the end so it won't damage the floor. This same setup can be used to raise bottom drywall sheets off the floor for fastening. Here are other tips you might like: Savvy Home Tool Storage, Wrench Storage Project, 11 Hand Tools for the Hard-to-Shop for DIYer