Tips of the Week: Distance Between Two Holes, Shop Labels, and Not Over-Driving Your Voice

Tips of the Week: Distance Between Two Holes, Shop Labels, and Not Over-Driving Your Voice

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.


Closed Captioning

I am hard of hearing. As my hearing has deteriorated, I have turned on the Closed Captioning on my TV and YouTube. It is a godsend. Along with finally being able to clearly understand dialog, I also discovered many other benefits to CC. Song titles in shows and lyrics are often accurately spelled out. Background conversations that would never be heard naturally can be “heard” with CC. And, in watching DIY and tech videos, technical data and numbers that might otherwise be missed are revealed. And on some YT channels, like Primitive Technology, turning on CC reveals all sorts of technical info you don’t get on the normally narrative-silent show. Several friends who have been exposed to my CC-enabled TV watching have become converts. Try it out and see if you join them.

Heat-Sealing Storage Bin Labels

On Nick Ferry’s YT channel, he shows what he came up with as a solution for labeling the portable storage cases that he’s now using in his shop. He discovered that you can iron white melamine edge banding right onto the plastic handles of the cases. He roughed up the handles a little beforehand to create a bit of tooth for a better bond. The results look great. I just re-organized my shop using the same Harbor Freight bins. I just used a label-maker, and so far, my labels are adhering just fine. But this does seem like a more durable, long-term solution.

Don’t Over-Drive Your Voice!

When I was the Editorial Director here at Make:, I harped on this when we were producing videos. Basically “over-driving” is what I call that super-happy, overly enthusiastic, and amped-up radio announcer/salesman voice that everyone tends to assume (including myself) when doing any audio/video programming. It probably comes from a lifetime of us all hearing TV and radio announcers and commercials. It’s like that overly postured poetry voice that people assume whenever reciting verse. Nearly everybody who reads poetry falls victim it, so we think that’s how it’s supposed to be done. In both instances, it comes off as sounding affected and phony. My advice is to just speak confidently in your natural voice, articulate well, and be relaxed. Smile, be upbeat, and for goodness sake, have fun, but leave the over-driven recitation for late-night TV commercials, Monster Truck Rally announcers, and door-to-door salesmen on Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Finding the Distance Between the Centers of Two Holes

This week, an old friend of mine, Tim Tate, asked a question on my Facebook page:

Say I have a side panel on a box, and there are two holes drilled in it. What’s the best way to accurately measure the distance between the *centers* of the two holes? Or from an edge to the center of a hole?

A number of my FB friends came back with solutions. One was a link to this Instructable on How to Accurately Measure Between Two Holes. The other was this, from Andrew Christenberry:

If the holes are the same size, measure from the same edge (left edge to left edge or right edge to right edge) of the holes. That will be the same distance as center-to-center. Use a trusted tape measure starting at 10″ (not at the end hook). Measure and subtract 10″. An even easier way is to put a strip of tape down across the holes. Rub your pencil over the holes to take their impression. Remove tape and transfer wherever you like.

Magnetizing Your Tape Measure

On WoodWorkWeb, in a video on tablesaw tips, Colin shares this simple tip. If you don’t actually use the metal clips on the tape measures in your shop, place a rare earth magnet underneath the clip. Now the tape is magnetized and will securely stick to any metal surface, such as the outside edge of your table saw.

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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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