Tips of the Week: Shop Vac Digging, Know Your Bolts, and Arranging Your Drivers

Tips of the Week: Shop Vac Digging, Know Your Bolts, and Arranging Your Drivers

Several of our tips this week deal with tool organization. It’s springtime, always a great seasonal excuse to think about cleaning and organizing your shop and tools. If you have any tips related to organization, please share them in the comments below. And happy Spring, happy Friday, and Happy Easter!

Digging Post Holes with a Shop Vac

Our pal Jake von Slatt is at it again. Several weeks ago, we shared his tip on using 2-way tape to hold small nuts on your fingertips for getting them in hard to reach places. This week, he offered this gem on Instagram, using a strong shop vac to “dig” post holes. He was pretty jazzed by how well it worked.

Digging post holes with a shop vac is a game changer! 48" in about 10 minutes!

A post shared by Jake von Slatt (@vonslatt) on

Under-Shelf Drill Holders

Oakland-based artist and maker, Christopher T. Palmer, shared these pics on his Facebook wall of his new drill rack. You can find many projects like this on Pinterest for how to use PVC/ABS plastic piping to create a rack of holsters for holding power drills. For Chris’ rack, he used 3″ ABS piping, getting three holders out of one 24″ piece. He then used a 1.5″ hole saw and a jigsaw to fashion the holders and attach them to pieces of 2×4 that he then used scraps of steel hanging strap to, in turn, attach them to the underside of his Metro shelves.

Removing Paper Backing from Laser Cut Components

I posted an item this week about Greylight May’s miniature stained glass chapel she designed and laser cut for tabletop gaming. One especially good tip she included in the video is how she got the backing paper off of all of the stained glass pieces for the windows. She first assembled the windows on masking tape, glued all of the pieces together, removed the tape, and then putting all of the windows into a baking pan. She then filled the pan with just enough Simple Green cleaning solution to cover the windows. Once soaked, the paper backing came off fairly easily with the help of a chopstick.

Know Your Bolts

We’ve sung the praises of the Bolt Depot’s screw, bolt, and fasteners charts before, but that was years ago. If you don’t already know about this very handy resource: You’re welcome.

Using Paper to Hold Screws in Place

I couldn’t find an image for this one, but it’s fairly straightforward. If you’re trying to get a small screw or bolt into place but can’t quite get a grip on it, just poke it through a scrap piece of paper and hold onto that while you start screwing it in. Once the threads have taken, you simply rip the paper away.

Arranging Tools for Easy Retrieval

The always clever and resourceful Dave Hyrnkiw of Solarbotics shared this simple gem with us. To organize your slotted and Phillips head drivers, always make sure to orient them in the drawer so that slotted goes with the handles facing in one direction, Phillips in the other. Easy.

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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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