Five Clever Tool Hacks

Five Clever Tool Hacks


The Family Handyman magazine posted an article on their website of 22 clever new uses for tools. Here are five of my favorites. (My comments in parens.)

Cut with a Drill (Above image) “If you need to shorten a bolt, let your drill do the hard work. Spin two nuts onto the bolt, tightening them against each other. Then chuck the bolt into the drill and hold a hacksaw blade against the spinning bolt. The nuts help to steady the blade and clean off burrs when you unscrew them.”

usesForTools_4Lube with a Pencil
“It’s not the perfect lubricant for most jobs, but the graphite from your pencil is slippery stuff, and it’s always right there in your tool belt. Just rub the part to make it slick.”

usesForTools_3Drive Hooks with a Wrench
(A trick I have used for years) “Screwing in a big storage hook requires strong hands or pliers (which wreck the plastic coating). Or you can use a wrench. Start by screwing in the hook by hand, then slip the wrench onto the hook. The wrench will catch the front of the hook and drive it home.”

usesForTools_2Lift with a Clamp
(I don’t know how much load-bearing I would let this clamp do, but certainly as an assist and a handle on the receiving end…) Whether you’re raising plywood to the roof or lugging a sheet of MDF across your shop, a C-clamp gives you something to grab onto.

usesForTools_1Cut Pipe with a String
(This is also a trick used in scale modeling, to cut plastic pieces with a string that you can’t otherwise reach with a hobby saw.) “It’s almost as fast as a saw and fits into tight spots where saws won’t. To give the string a starting point, cut a shallow notch with a file or hacksaw blade. Then simply pull the string back and forth to slice through PVC or ABS pipe.”

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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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