30 Secret Tool Tips for DIYers
When it comes to DIY experience, nobody can match Family Handyman's field editors. And here they’re sharing their best-kept secret tool tips with you!
Tool Case Surgery
A New Use for an Old Paintbrush
Essential Workbench Accessory
These are the tools totally worth splurging on:
Feeling extravagant? You could pay less for most of these tools, but if you're willing to splurge, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck.
Slick Planer Bed
Be Kind to Your File
Easy Compressor Drain
Labels Save Time
Label all of your tool drawers so you (and others) can find a tool when you need it. You'll be amazed at how much time those labels save—far more than the time you'll spend making them. Label makers like this one are available at office and discount stores.
Bump and Shave with a Miter Saw
Drill Press Key Control
Backward Reciprocating Saw Blade
Recip saw blades don't have to go in with the teeth pointing down. You can reverse the blade for flush cuts—like after wall framing, when you cut sill plates out of doorways.
Backers Banish Blowout
Hand Screws to the Rescue
Upright for Edge Work
Straight-Up Drill Guide
To bore a perfectly perpendicular hole, you need either a drill press or a couple of scraps of wood screwed together. The corner created by the scraps will steer the bit straight in every time. But if you're looking for an excuse to buy a drill press, forget you ever saw this tip.
Watch these other brilliant handy hints in action:
Instant Saw Support
Cordless tools are the greatest advance in human history. Well, at least for some of us. But they've also brought charger chaos. We recommend herding all your chargers into one place and plugging them into a power strip. You'll get organization, surge protection and an instant way to switch them all off after the batteries are charged.
Magnetize a Screwdriver
Two-Stage Speed Painting
Belt-Sander Stop Block
A belt sander is a great tool for sending boards flying across your shop. If you don't want that to happen, clamp a stop block to your workbench. A block of the same thickness as your board will also prevent the sander from tipping down and tapering the end of your workpiece.
Clamp a Nail
Stop a Wandering Bit
Even the sharpest bit tends to skate across hard materials like tile, metal or glass, leaving loopy scratches behind. To steady a wandering bit, give it a softer place to start. Thin cardboard (the stuff cereal boxes are made from), taped firmly in place, works perfectly.
Extract a Stuck Plug
Struggling to pry the plug out of a hole saw might make you mutter, 'Aw, screw it.' And that is indeed the correct approach. Drive a long screw into the plug. When the screw hits the back of the hole saw, keep driving and the screw will magically pull out the plug. If the plug is really stubborn, you might have to add a second screw on the other side of the drill bit. Then alternate between the screws, turning one and then the other until the plug is out.
Is Your Level a Liar?
Once upon a time, a man built a house using a lying level, so his floors were not level and his walls were not plumb. And all of the interior work, from installing cabinets to hanging doors, was a real nightmare. If you want to live happily ever after, give your level a 60-second checkup. Set it on your workbench and slip a shim under the low end until the bubble is centered. Then flip the level around, positioning the other end on exactly the same point on the shim. If the bubble isn't centered, the level is a horizontal liar. To check vertical accuracy, follow the same steps against a wall.
Final Paint-Prep Step
Belt Sanders Aren't Just for Wood
A 1-in. Belt Sander is a Versatile Sharpening Tool
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.