Slant-Ruler Board Divider
Want to divide a board or sheet of plywood perfectly in half, thirds or any other equal fractions? Grab a Speed Square or try this tip. To halve the board, line up the end of a ruler or tape measure on one side, slant the tape to read 8 in. on the right edge and make your mark at 4 in. To divide it into thirds, slant the ruler to read 9 in. and mark the board at 3 and 6 in. The key is to select a measurement that’s easily divisible by the number of spaces you want. For example, if you want to cut a sheet of plywood into six sections, use the 60-in. mark on your tape measure. Measure at a 90-degree angle from one side to each mark to get the real numbers to transfer them wherever you need them. Also, see what a plumb bob can do to make a job easier. Thanks to John Vitka for this time-saving tip.
Space-Saving Cutting and Finishing Bench
Save space and make plywood cutting easier by building this hinged, flip-up, open-web bench. It’ll take some care and patience to cut the interlocking joints, but after that, assembly is a cinch. Make everything from 1x4s. The bench shown is about 3 x 5 ft.—a good size for nearly any plywood cut. Keep the screws at least 1/4 in. from the top edge. Get it out of the way by tipping it up against the wall and locking it into place with a wooden turnbuckle, turned behind a 1×2 catch block that’s mounted with the thin side against the front board.
The grid work provides solid, even support for sawing or finishing. But make sure to set your saw to cut only 1/8 in. into the table so you don’t hit any of the assembly screws or weaken the table. Thanks to Bob Dawson for this cutting-edge tip.
Sandwich Sheet Metal Sawing
Ever gouged up your hand while plowing through sheet metal with a pair of snips? Or been dissatisfied with an uneven, crinkled edge? Next time, try readers James Nelson’s sacrificial plywood sandwich technique. You’ll bid farewell to wavy edges and undeleted expletives, and cut a dead-straight line every time. Here’s how:
Clamp the metal between pieces of 1/2-in. or 3/4-in. scrap plywood and clamp on a straightedge to guide a circular saw. Now just saw through the sandwich using a carbide blade. This tip is for cutting thin sheet metal only, not thicker plate steel. P.S. This sandwich technique also produces great results when you’re drilling holes through sheet metal.