Comfortable Shop Apron
The string of a light-duty shop apron can really slice into your neck when you load up the apron with screws and tools. Resourceful reader Steve Dailey advises: Replace the neck and waist strings with heavy-duty suspenders ($5 at home centers). Once you adjust the suspenders, they do a great job of comfortably distributing the load.
Homemade Edge Banding
If you’re building a project from ﬁr plywood and you need edge banding that’s an exact match, check out Sue Barlow’s revolutionary idea. On a table saw, cut 7/8-in. wide strips of the same ply-wood you’re using for the project. Then rotate the strip 90 degrees and slice off a 1/8-in. thick strip for the edge banding. This tip lets you be creative—you can cut off long grain strips to match the wood surface, and then cut strips with cross grain to create a “fold-over” effect on the other two edges of the plywood. Caution! Use a hold-down stick and a push stick when sawing narrow pieces on the table saw. Note: This tip doesn’t work well with hardwood plywood; the hardwood veneer is too thin.
Sticks of a Thousand Uses
Faithful reader Tammy McBride offers this great idea: Craft sticks (a.k.a. Popsicle sticks) and their larger cousins, tongue depressors, are handy for all kinds of shop tasks. Use them to spread glue, mix stain and epoxy, measure and transfer a cutting width, pad those metal vise jaws (hold them in with carpet tape), push putty into nail holes and hold little brads for nailing. Keep them conveniently stashed around your workshop—you’ll be surprised how often you reach for one. Craft sticks are available at craft stores for$5 for a box of 1,000. Tongue depressors cost$5 for 500 at pharmacies.