I’m continuing to get good engagement from readers of this column and the wider maker community who are eager to share their tips with us. Keep them coming! If you have some great, tried, and true shop tips, tricks, or hacks, please share them in the comments below and they will likely find their way into a future column.
More Non-Slip Deck Solutions
In response to the “No-Slip Deck Grip” item in last week’s column, Make: reader FC2CG65Tomahawk commented: “I got a better one for the non-slip deck covering, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Back in the Navy, we worked with non-skid, which is deck covering that allows sailors and marines to walk on the steel decking of a ship without sliding over the side with every roll of the ship. If you’ve ever seen the deck of a Navy ship, then you know what I’m talking about. And it’s easy to make: In a 5 gallon bucket, add 1 gallon of paint (we used black but any color will work), 1 gallon of premixed or 2-part epoxy, and a gallon bucket of broken glass. The glass can usually be found at a local hardware store or glass shop that cuts glass to size for free. They will have a 50 gallon drum full of the shards left over after cuttings. I’ve been told you can use VERY heavy grit sand in place of the glass. You want to put the glass in first and break it up with a sledge hammer or tamper or other heavy object until it’s a small pebble size (maybe a 10th of the size of a small playing marble). Next, add the paint and mix well. Then add the epoxy, being sure to mix it well. The paint will keep the epoxy from setting for about 90 minutes so you need to be ready to apply it immediately! Then, just use a paint roller to roll out your deck (or bridge). I assure you, speaking as a former sailor who had to go out on a steel deck during a hurricane… YOU WILL NOT SLID OR SKID! Also, once it’s dry, it is extremely fire retardant. Covers about 25 to 30 square ft per gallon. Caution: I wouldn’t use this around where children play! If they fall they will definitely have heavy abrasions and in one case on my ship a guy fell the wrong way and needed stitches.”
Holding Nuts with 2-way Tape
Our pal Jake von Slatt (@vonslatt) posted this great tip to his Instagram account. In this image, he shows how he places a piece of double-sided sticky tape on his fingertip to help him start a nut when trying to get one into a hard-to-reach place. Brilliant!
I am a huge fan of the Moleskine Cahiers notebooks. I have something like 20 volumes of them, going back to 2006. I recently got another 3-pack and noticed for the first time that the half-wrap paper banding around them has an 11″ Imperial and 20cm metric ruler on the other side! This type of packaging is called a B-side. It’s not uncommon in food packaging, but less so in other products. I’d love to see it elsewhere, with content that’s actually useful. Frequently, B-side content seems gimmicky, a throw-away. I also recently bought a Moleskine hardbound pocket notebook. Its B-side was a sort of travel log, with lines far too close to be even remotely useful; the kind of thing that nobody would ever take seriously. Note to product packaging designers: Make more cool and useful B-sides!
Hanging a Level on a Line
In a recent DiResta video, Jimmy shows how he uses a piece of string and a small clip-on level to find a level over a large area too big for a conventional level tool. With two nails, a string, and one of these clip-ons, you can establish a level over a really wide surface area.
Using Paper Templates, Patterns, and Guides
If you watch a lot of DiResta videos, you know that he’s a big proponent of making paper (and duct tape) patterns and guides as he needs them. In the same video where he uses the string level, an installation job for a steel and wood sign he made for the Bulleit Distilling Co, he uses a roll of kraft paper to lay out the steel letters and to establish where the mounting holes should go. Jimmy embraces a “If it looks straight, it is straight” philosophy and does a lot of eyeballing and guessing. Using a pattern like this, sketching it out on the floor and then transferring it to the wall, is a hella-simple way of installing a complex sign like this with lots of individual components. Jimmy also makes a lot of cutting patterns by covering the object he wants to duplicate with duct tape (or paper), cutting/marking drill holes and the like, and then peeling off the tape. Funky. Simple. Effective.
John Edgar Park shared this tip with us a while ago, but I bumped into it again this week. When figuring out project wiring or other parts of a project design that might be subject to change, tape sheets of acetate over your design and mark on that with a dry erase marker. That way, you can continue to change things around until you’re confident that you have the arrangement you desire.