Tips of the Week is our weekly peek at some of the best making tips, tricks, and recommendations we’ve discovered in our travels. Check in every Friday to see what we’ve discovered. And we want to hear from you. Please share your tips, shortcuts, best practices, and tall shop tales in the comments below and we might use your tip in a future column.

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Hammerhead Anvil

In the Clem Mayer’s VRpi video that we covered a while back, at one point, he improves a clever little anvil. He clamped a hammer head on its side to his workbench. Necessity being the mother of invention.

Second Set of Eyeballs Using FaceTime

I got the biggest kick out of seeing this on Instagram. April Wilkerson, working on her new dream shop, found herself in a pickle when she couldn’t read the bubble on her level. What to do? She FaceTimed her bestie, Anne of All Trades, and let her read the level. Genius! Bonus points to Anne for having The Andy Griffith Show theme song as her ring tone.

Go for the Read, Not the Reality

This one comes from the miniature model painting community, but it can apply to any endeavor where you’re looking to capture the feeling of something vs. the reality of it. In painting a miniature for tabletop gaming, too often, the painter, working up close and personal with the model, will paint it in beautiful, realistic colors and detail, but then when you put it on the tabletop, at that distance, all of that impressive realism is lost. You want to think of it like stage make-up. You want it seen and understood by the back row. You need to be ready to exaggerate for effect. This can also apply emotionally, too, where you design something to appeal to people’s memories, nostalgia, or expectations for it, rather than the reality of it.

Opening a Box, DiResta Style

In Jimmy’s latest vlog, while opening his mail, he shows a great shortcut for opening a bunch of packages. Rather than cutting the top in 3 or 4 different places, futzing with the packing tape (which people always use too much of), he simply uses a utility knife to cut around the sides of the boxes, near the top. As long as you hold the knife to a correct depth (so that you don’t cut anything inside), you can zip around all 4 sides pretty quickly and be inside that box in seconds.

Making a Quick Peg Spacing Jig

Also from DiResta, from his recent commission to build a medicine cabinet-style vault for a knifemaker, comes this handy idea. The inside of the large cabinet required hundreds of pegs for hanging the knives. To be able to accurately space and sink all of these pins (at the same height), without it taking all day, Jimmy made a jig out of wood with holes large enough to accept the pins he made, all at the correct spacing. Once set up, it took him just a few minutes to install all of the pins.