When not in use, keep your work ladders locked up so that burglars cannot use them to break into your house through the upper floors.
When you want to measure something at home or in the hardware store and you don’t have a tape measure handy, try using a dollar bill. It’s 6 1/8 inches long and almost exactly 1 1/2 inches when folded in quarters.
When drilling blind holes in iron or steel, fine metal bits usually fall into the hole. To remove them, you can use a strong magnet and a soft iron or steel rod that is smaller in diameter than the hole. Push the rod to the hole bottom, then press the magnet to its upper end. Keeping the magnet to the rod, pull it out of the hole and brush away the bits of metal. Repeat until all of the metal bits are removed.
If you have a ladder you carry around from project to project, it often takes a couple of tries to find the right spot to grab it so it balances in a horizontal position. To solve this trial-and-error handling, do this: Grab one side and adjust your hand until the ladder balances. Then put a dab of bright paint or tape on that spot. Then you will always know exactly where to grab the ladder to move it.
Read and keep the owner’s manual for all of your tools. They often contain vital info you’ll refer to throughout the life of the tool.
Keep a tiny pencil sharpener in your nail pouch to keep a nice sharp point.
A sharp pencil is essential for making accurate cuts. To keep the pencil point sharp, rub it back and forth a few times against a sanding sheet. This will give the pencil point a chisel shape which is excellent for marking.
If you need to cut a bolt to proper length, first thread the nut on, past the cut mark. After cutting, file- off sharp edges, then back the nut off to clean up the threads. To clean up rusted or damaged threads on a bolt you want to salvage, cut a slot through the side of the right-size nut. Clamp the nut halfway into a vise with the slot down, then run the bolt into the nut. For more cleaning action, tighten up the vise on the nut.
On jobs where you don’t want to be held up, like felling trees away from home, consider having two chainsaws available. Make sure both are in working order before starting. Then if one needs its chain sharpened, you can use the second one to finish the job. By using two saws any maintenance can be done between, rather than during, the project. Also consider doubling up on other small tools, like pliers and screwdrivers, so they can be kept in different areas to cut down on running from house to garage.
Ask any pro, they will tell you that the key to a great project is not only having the right tool for the right job, it’s also taking advantage of the best tool features available. New tools, such as those shown here, offer dozens of new ways to power up for your next project, large or small.