Clever Tools for Your Shop – Cool Tools

Clever Tools for Your Shop – Cool Tools

Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales – Issue #131

* Talk to me. Tell me a story. Share me a tip. A tool.
* Support my work by buying my tips books (Vol. 1, Vol. 2).
* Take out an Unclassified in this newsletter to reach fellow makers.
Clever Tools for Your Shop
As I frequently say about Stumpy Nubs videos, even though James is a woodworker, many of the tools he recommends apply to all sorts of makery. In this video he covers 7 clever shop tools. As a non-woodworker, I was particularly interested in CBN (cubic boron nitride) dowels and hones (an alternative to much more expensive diamond plates) for manual tool sharpening, FastCap FatBoy mechanical shop pencils, the Air Defender Bluetooth shop ear muffs, and fire blankets (a great alternative to extinguishers for small kitchen and shop fires). I was already a huge fan of the FastCap Long Nose markers. Good stuff as always.
Making Waterproof Tarps Out of Old Bedsheets
Behold ancient button technology!
Behold ancient button technology!
Here’s something I’ve never thought of — waterproofing old bed sheets to create waterproof tarps. You might wonder if it’s worth the effort, but the process basically involves little more than soaking the sheets in naphtha and cheap silicone chalking and then hanging them out to dry. The real eye-opener in this video comes at the end when Ben shows you how to make an ancient button out of a pebble. No, really.
In response to the tutorial in the last issue on tap & die, reader Craig shared these additional tips:

That’s a good tutorial on threading.

thing 1….hss [high-speed] steel taps survive much longer.

thing 2…i make threading solution from 3in1 and dry graphite lock lube and have done so since the 60s

thing 2a…aluminum and brass are sticky, you really need to use a lube

thing 3…you can thread HARD wood with metal taps

thing3a…i use pipe taps and dies for large plastic and wood threading

thing 3b…in plywood or pine that i’m going to thread, i drizzle CA or epoxy into my hole, let it set, then thread it…that makes the soft wood hard (so does styrene-based wood hardener)

thing 4…if you can’t find a bottoming tap you can grind off the taper of a regular tap

thing 5…even though tap and die wrenches are preferred, crescent wrenches and vise grips work in a pinch

TOYS! Bābe-Bot Glue Bottle
Everyone who’s ever worked in a woodshop, visited a woodshop, or seen one on YouTube is likely to have spotted a Glu-Bot. These are wood glue dispensers, designed by cabinetmakers, to be easy to fill, not drip, and to dispense glue in both horizontal and vertical positions. Once you get one, you’ll wonder what took you so long. Recently, on YouTube, I saw a modeling video where a guy was using a Bābe-Bot, a tiny 4 oz. version of the original 16 oz. bottle. I ordered one immediately. Now, I have all of the usefulness of the large bottle on my modeling table.
“You always go to school on your first one.” –Jimmy DiResta

“The day you believe you have enough [clamps] is the day you don’t.” -Newsletter Reader Craig

Finally, we have the response to the question asked by Steve Roberts several issues ago! Reader Daniel sent the link to this baker’s rack portable parts organizing solution that I remember seeing years ago. He even wrote up the instructions for making them. Thanks, Daniel!

Someone probably already sent you details on the baker rack solution. But just in case, I found the details here.


1) Cut cross bars on rack to make rack narrower for cases

2) Tap modified cross bars ( large bar – M10-1.5, small bar M6-1.0)

3) Remove rails from bottom position & use angled pieces to attach wooden work top


Saw – to cut aluminum cross bars

Drill for re-tapping cross bars


M10-1.5 (Drill = 8.5mm, 0.3346″)

M6-1.0 (Drill = 5.0mm, 0.1969″)

The racks have 90 lbs per rail and 485 lbs total capacity. I purchased such a rack here.

Hope this helps. I have followed Steven K Roberts’ blog for years.

NOTE: The racks that Daniel links to only have 3″ clearance, so they can only work with shallower Stanley and other organizer brands. Useless you remove sets of rack brackets as they appear to have done on the bottom of the racks pictured above.


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