Six More “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Tips

Woodworking Workshop
Six More “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Tips

One of our most popular posts over the past few months has been Six “Now, Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Shop Tips. I love tracking down these little “ah-ha” tips that just make so much resonant sense when you first encounter them. So, I’ve been collecting such tips every time I come across them, waiting to accumulate enough to share with you. Here are six more.

Use Pliers to Twist-Cut Wire Mesh

tips 1This tip comes from a recent Jimmy DiResta video. Instead of using wire cutters, a wire cutting blade on a pliers, or a multitool wire cutter, in a pinch, you can also quickly cut chicken wire and other mesh by simply twist-cutting through a column of the wires with pliers. You just grab a wire with the tip of your pliers and twist until it breaks.

Use a Grinder to Widths of Wire Mesh

tips 2Here, Jimmy and Dave Waelder make quick work of cutting a width of wire mesh from a roll using an angle grinder.

Use a Straw to Scoop Up Squeeze-Out

tips 3There are many techniques for and much debate over how to deal with squeeze-out, the excess glue that squishes out from two bonded workpieces. Trying to remove squeeze-out from an inside corner can be especially challenging. This tip from WoodSmithTips shows a clever way of using a plastic drinking straw to scoop up squeeze-out from inside corners.

Make Your Own Spring Clamps

1-homemade-spring-clampsWe’ve covered using cut sections of PVC to create clamps for glue-ups before. This maker made a set of much beefier PVC clamps, cut from 3″ PVC with spring handles and protective tips added.

Fill Screw Holes with Match Sticks

screwHolesYou’ve likely seen this little hack before, but it’s worth posting in case you haven’t. The idea is simple — to “tighten” loose screw holes, jam a match stick into the hole and re-sink the screw. You can use wooden matches, toothpicks, and use multiples as needed, and even add some wood glue (especially if it’s a hole that requires more than one sliver of wood). After the hole is filled, re-screw as needed. This tip and image are from The Family Handyman.

Paint Over Tool Markings for Greater Visibility

Kreg-Jig-Pocket-Hole-Jig-modification-4-of-8Kreg-Jig-Pocket-Hole-Jig-modification-5-of-8From a site called Sawdust Girl comes this great tip. The markings on Ayisha’s blue pocket hole tool were not very visible, so she slathered some white acrylic paint over the area and wiped the surface clean, leaving paint inside of all of of the markings. You can do this with any tool that has either unpainted markings or paint that has worn off over time.

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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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