Five Excellent Jimmy DiResta Shop Tips (and Nine Nifty Tips Videos)

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4004 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4004 Articles

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Have you seen Jimmy DiResta’s Jimmy Tips videos? I’m a DiResta fanboy, so I watch every video and show that he does, but also being something of a tips collector, I particularly love this series, which is now nine episodes long.

You probably already know DiResta from his popular and highly-regarded Make: YouTube show, DiResta. He also has his own video channel and has done videos for some other sites, like our friends at Core77. In the Jimmy Tips series, DiResta runs through his favorite and most useful shop tips, some he learned from his dad, co-workers, and other makers, and others he’s dreamed up himself.

So far in the series, he’s covered such things as gluing, measuring, sanding, drilling, painting, and more. The most recent video features DiResta’s top tips on using tape. As always, his loveable (and handy on the band saw) shop cat, Spike, is in on the action. And I love the funny interjections from David Waelder, DiResta’s shop mate and camera man. Hearing DiResta talk and explain his working methods are also a nice break from his usually wordless videos.

Here are a few tips that I found particularly useful in this latest episode (the descriptions are mine). See the video for the full demo of the tip.

Organize Straps with Stretch Wrap

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If you have tow straps and ratchet straps in your shop or truck, you can quickly bundle them using stretch wrap so that they stay organized and don’t get all tangled together. Just a few loops of wrap and your rolled straps are neatly packed and ready to go. On the job, you can even reuse the wrap to bundle them back up.

Use Stretch Wrap with Bubble Wrap

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When packaging and mailing fragile items, wrap them in bubble wrap, then stretch wrap, then close the wrap with tape and leave a folded tag on the end of the tape so that the unpacker just has to pull on the tape to unwrap the bundle. The normal method of taping the bubble wrap requires cutting/slicing to unpack, which can damage what’s inside.

Store Tape On Tool Handles

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If you want to have some tape handy on the job, wrap a small spool of electrical or other desired tape around the base of your hammer (or sheath knife, mallet, etc.) and it’s right there when you need it.

Use Tape To Indicate Drilling Depth

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To drill to a precise depth, measure that depth on the bit and mark it with a Sharpie. For greater visibility, you can also wrap a piece of bright tape at the depth line. Then simply drill to the bottom edge of the tape. As an added benefit, the sweep of the tape will clean away all of the wood shavings when you get to the desired depth.

Lessen Tape Stickiness Using Your Shirt

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If you want to lessen the adhesive grip of high-adhesion tapes (so that it can be more easily and cleanly removed), stick the tape onto cotton fabric (e.g. your t-shirt) first. The cotton fibers will lower the tape’s adhesion value.

You can see all of the episodes of Jimmy Tips here:

DiResta: Jimmy Tips 1: Hot Glue
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 2: Paint Brushes & Cans
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 3: Sanding & Scraping
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 4: Geometry, Rulers & Patterns
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 5: Band Saw Tips (featuring Spike on the band saw)
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 6: Wall Hanging
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 7: Drill Tips
DiResta: Jimmy Tips 8: Crazy Glue, Epoxies & Bondo

Warning: Do NOT let your house cat use the band saw or any other shop machinery. Spike is a highly-trained professional.