Tips of the Week: Hidden Tools, Superglue Strength Testing, Proper Nozzle Flow, and How to Tie Your Shoes

Tips of the Week: Hidden Tools, Superglue Strength Testing, Proper Nozzle Flow, and How to Tie Your Shoes

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.


Tool Hidden in a Combination Square

I love the way Leah Bolden frequently reveals unknown or underutilized functions of common tools. In this See Jane Drill video, she reveals a scribing tool that is “hidden” in most combo squares. I had no idea!

PVC Pipe Projects

This video has a little bit of that viral hacks video quality, but I love PVC pipe projects and the countless things that you can do with this ubiquitous and versatile building material. Even if some of these projects might not be very practical, you can get lots of inspiration from seeing so many diverse applications. I also like that all 65 projects are linked in the project description.

Cutting a Caulking Tube Nozzle

Getting a good material flow and a proper shape to your caulking bead depends a lot on how you cut the tip on the nozzle. This Make Build Modify video shows the proper way to cut and point the nozzle.

Labeling Glue Flow Rates

We covered in a previous column how many glue bottle nozzles have two or three different steps molded into the tip to indicate where to cut to establish a light, medium, or heavy glue flow. If you use a lot of glue in the shop, you might want to have three different glue bottles with different flow rates. Here in this project video for creating a “stammer” (stamp hammer), you can see that Dustin Penner has his bottles labeled this way.

Superglue Testing

I love this branch of citizen science: makers doing surprisingly clever and scientifically rigorous testing of tools, materials, and supplies. In this video on Project Farm, Todd tests a number of the top brands of CA/”superglue” to try and determine if there’s any appreciable difference. The results are surprising. The brands do have different formulations and seem to perform differently when joining metal to metal, plastic to plastic, and when subjected to various types of stress. Definitely worth the watch.

How to Tie Your Shoe Laces

Dirt Farmer Jay offers this tip on tying your shoes to help prevent the bow knot from “spilling.” The idea is simple: Place the left lace over right lace instead of right over left (as is most common). I haven’t tried this yet to see if it works. There are some useful comments and additional suggestions in the Comments section of the video, including a link to this video on double-looping the bow knot for extra security.

Without the Thing, You Can’t Sell It

In this Evan and Katelyn video from August, “7 Tips to Start Small Scale Manufacturing|Business Ideas for Product Makers”, this industrious maker couple shares some of what they’ve learned in operating a cottage manufacturing business. Some of the tips include the obvious (but often ill-considered), like making sure you have a strong product to sell, to less obvious ideas, like designing your products around the strengths and weaknesses of the tech you’ll be using to manufacture them. For instance, in the design of their wooden ring dish, the circular patterns left by the CNC carving process, normally something that would require sanding out, became a design feature of the product. They offer several other clever examples of this.

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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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