Pencils at the Ready
Reader R. B. Himes sent several cool tips for keeping pencils handy. Insert pencils into holes drilled in the edges of shelves, or put small screw eyes into the erasers and hang ’em from nails. Reader Jerry Seaward has another: Glue a scrap of window screen to the bottom of a piece of 1-1/2 in. dia. PVC pipe and clamp or screw the pipe to your workbench for a dust-free pencil holder. Other pencil hangouts? Wrap a strip of self-stick Velcro around a pencil and put a corresponding strip wherever you need a pencil. To make a pencil stay put on metal surfaces, attach a piece of magnetic tape ($2 a roll at fabric stores) to it.
Need another? Buy plastic coaxial cable holders ($2 for a 20-pack), reverse the brad direction and tack ’em on the side of a work-table or tool rack. You can quick-draw the pencils out of the plastic jaws. Or try adding a piece of tape the end of a pencil to stop it from rolling around.
Use a couple of rubber sponge ﬂoats to hold down boards on your jointer. Typically used in stucco work, sponge ﬂoats are available at home centers for about $6. They grip boards tightly, keep your hands far from the cutter head, and put a stop to vibration! Thanks to reader Clarke Green for this very useful tip. Check out another type of sponge for sanding.
Build this box from plywood or medium-density ﬁberboard and use it to cut tenons, lap joints, rabbets and other joints on the ends of boards. It makes accu-rate cuts and keeps your hands well away from the blade.
Make the box wide enough so the clamp handle will ﬁt inside, and screw a board on the side at 90 degrees to support the piece you’re cutting. To use the box, slide it against the table saw fence. To ensure accurate cuts, build the box with parallel sides that are 90 degrees to the saw table.