Tips of the Week: Tile and Gasket Cutting, Speed Drying, a Bench-Edge Cutting Blade, and Storing Christmas Lights

Maker News
Tips of the Week: Tile and Gasket Cutting, Speed Drying, a Bench-Edge Cutting Blade, and Storing Christmas Lights

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.


Easy Tile Cutting

This Old Tony takes a break from his usual machine shop hijinx to share this really wonderful tile cutting tip. As he points out, this is not his own discovery, but he didn’t think it was widely known enough. I’ve never heard of it. This is a dog-simple way of getting perfect pieces cut for tiling against walls and into corners.

Cutting Gaskets with a Cricket

On the YouTube channel, The Good of the Land, homesteaders Justin and Amy show how they figured out how to use a Cricket craft cutter to cut near-pefect rubber gaskets. What a great idea!

Know How to “Get In and Get Out”

Here’s another tip for any makers who do live media, public speaking, or otherwise may be called upon to sound intelligent on the spot. This was shared to me by a friend who’s a local DC TV news reporter. The basic idea is to know what you’re going to say to open your remarks, know how you’re going to finish, and then you’re free to ad lib through the middle. Or the way he put it to me was: “Know how to get, how to get out, and then just BS your way through the middle.” This is also basically true in writing. If you have a strong concept, title, opener, and closer, the heavy lifting is done. Then it’s just a matter of who, what, where, when, and why-ing your way through the middle.

Hacksaw Blade Bench Cutter

From Wood Magazine comes this useful idea for creating a sandpaper cutting jig for your workbench. All you need is an old hacksaw blade mounted to an edge of a workbench. You can also mark a guide for various sandpaper sizes right on the bench. If you don’t want it mounted on the bench itself, you can create a special cutting board outfitted with the blade edge. You can also create such a cutting edge on your workbench for cutting bench top kraft paper.

Use a Hair Dryer to Speed Drying Times

From Death Ray Designs comes this reminder that you should have a hair dryer or other heat gun in your shop for times when you want to accelerate paint drying time or for other situations when you don’t have the luxury or patience to wait for something to air dry.

Christmas Lights Storage Tip

Reddit user gtj reminds us that you can make productive use of your empty 3D printing filament spools by using them to spool up and store your holiday lights. Posting to the FunctionalPrint subreddit, he writes: “OK, so it’s not quite a functional print, but it’s functional, it’s print-related, and it’s seasonal. Mad at myself for not realizing this reuse concept years ago.”

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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