I don't know what I would do without magnets .. they have got to be one of the handiest things in the workshop and with the new Earth Magnets, they are super strong and so small you can use them in many many places that I would never have thought of years ago, but now, they come in so many shapes, sizes, and strengths you can find many applications for them.
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There are so many little things we can do in the workshop to make life easier. I am reminded of this when I visit other shops and I see so many things they could be doing that would make their work quicker and easier and for very little cost ...
... for example ... the bottom of your wooden hammer (for those of you who still use wooden handled hammers) I just drilled a small hole and used some 5 minute 2-part Epoxy Glue and now I can use the bottom of my hammer to hold things like nails, or other magnetic things that help to give me a handy place to find nails, or a place to put them if I am pulling them out. It's just a handy place to put magnetic things and always know where they are. I would not even be surprised to see one or more of the hammer manufacturers add something like this to their tools in the future. A great way of adding a feature for a very little cost.
And that Magnetic Extension Tool that I am always using to pick up nuts and bolts and screws that I drop that always seem to roll under the workbench or under a machine. It also works great for picking up screws or nails and by inserting it in a plastic bag, then picking up magnetic items on the outside of the bag you isolating the magnet from the metal, so when you remove the magnet, the steel parts just fall away. I use it from time to time when I am picking up nails that are mixed in with sawdust, or when I want to pick up iron filings or drilling fragments from around my drill press or around grindings from around my bench vice. It's a quick handy way of collecting together iron bits and releasing them to a new location quickly.
Some of the tape I use in the workshop is horrible for trying to find the leading edge. Masking Tapes are always easy but some of the plastic tapes are very hard to find they blend in so well with all the other tape on the roll. It can be very annoying when you are in the middle of something, then you want to add some tape to something to hold it ... and you can't find the leading edge of the tape. I discovered the best way to beat finding the edges is to use one of those little plastic dispensing tabs you can buy at stationary shops and departments, often sold under the brand name of Post-It Tabs, they are excellent for bookmarks, you can write on them with felt pens so great for note making, but best of all they are an inexpensive way of marking the leading edge of tape rolls.
In my workshop, because it is small, I need things to be able to move around and when I am cutting longer boards on my table saw. or on my sliding mitre saw, I need to support these boards and the best way for me to do this is with using Roller Stand. I use this same stand frequently on my Sliding Mitre Saw and from time to time on my Jointer. The problem with moving it is I have to re-set it up each time, which only takes a few minutes, but it takes away from the workflow. I finally decided to mark the center column with the height of each tool I go to that can be quickly reset, rather than having to actually use a board to set it up each time. I can't believe how much quicker and easier this is, not to mention more accurate. It takes seconds to set the perfect height. Quick, easy and accurate.
I have a suspended ceiling in my workshop and from time to time I need to install ...uninstall lights, cords, plugs etc and working with a drill between 16-inch center joists isn't always fun ... When I mentioned this to the people I was buying some new replacement lights from they said, oh, just pick up a Drill Angle Converter. A drill accessory I had not heard of at the time, but WOW ... what a great little invention. I picked the one that had a slightly longer shank so that I could actually grip it when I needed to add pressure, such as when I am removing screws. It works great and I don't use it a lot, but when I do, it gets into corners that I would otherwise have to leave or maybe try and insert screws by hand which is not always the most secure method so this accessory has made those tough to get at jobs easy, easy, easy.
It always amazes me how much time can be saved, and often a better job was done with so many little tricks that we pick up along the way or that we learn from others who readily give up their ideas and suggestions ... a true woodworking community ...
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Copyright Colin Knecht