I love how different all of the submissions are that I receive from subscribers. Some are more along the DIY line while others are all woodworking related, and since most of us often do some of both ... they are all valued at one point or another.

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The first entry today is from Karin, and I must admit I had heard of one of these tips, but never got around to trying it until Karin sent me the email ...  

Apparently ... if you soak a latex hardened paintbrush in water, with a dryer sheet, it makes the bristles in the brush softer, so I did happen to have an old paintbrush with some hardened latex paint on it, so I tried it. For some reason, in my head, I was expecting it to be something like a paint remover, but no .. mine wasn't like that. After soaking the brushes overnight, the next morning I cleaned them off and dried them ... and yes one of them, the one I wanted to try and salvage, did seem to have softer bristles, and it was usable. I do not "clean" the brushes like another more caustic mixture might, but it did seem to work. 
I may have given the mixture a bit more that it could handle too, my dried up brush is probably at least a year old, so that might have something to do with it too, still, I will try it again another time, with a less challenging brush. 

Cleaning Paint Brushes

Another tip that Karin sent in, and I really liked this one .. if you are painting with a roller and are waiting for subsequent coats, rather than cleaning the roller, she suggests putting it in a zip-lock plastic bag to prevent the air from drying out the roller. This is a great idea because cleaning rollers is time-consuming and often you are wanting to put a second coat on just hours later, so this was a great tip ... thanks, Karin.

Keeping roller brushes from drying out

This tip is from Craig who is making bases of tables and using lap joints in the form of an "X".  Lap joints are super strong when glued, but they can be a bit tedious to make because often we take some 2" material, make multiple cuts on the table saw on each side, then dig out the middle with chisel ... and sometimes that dugout part can be a bit rough, not that we care what it looks like, but if it is too rough, it doesn't hold the glue as well.
Craig's suggestion is rather than cutting the lap joint out, build it, by using thinner lumber. The advantage to this is that it's probably quicker, and when the lumber is glued together it is often stronger and more stable than natural wood.
Now you can make perfect lap joints by gluing wood together and making a super-strong joint every time ... probably in half the time. Thanks, Craig.

Wood Blocks

This tip comes from Gerry, and anyone who has a chop saw or sliding miter saw will really love this tip. 
Gerry says to gang cut a couple of pieces of wood that are flush against the fence of your saw. I numbered them "4" and "5" to help with the visualization ... You don't need to take much off the end, just enough to make a clean cut.

Then ... take them to any place in your shop that has a straight edge (they say you just cut them on my work, but you are always better to find another source just to make sure your fence is not the issue)   ... 

Miter Saw Cuts

Then take those 2 boards, push them flush to the straight edge, then flip the top one over and upside down as shown in the picture.
If the 2 sides are even, you saw is perfectly aligned, if the saw has the split the way it shows in the picture below the blade needs to be angled more to the right and of course it the split is at the top, the blade needs to be angled more to the left. If you take small cuts, you can use the same wood to make multiple cuts as you work at aligning your saw.  This is a great tip, Gerry ... thanks! 

This next tip is from Michael, just outside Vancouver ... and if you are like Michael and I, you probably have a small collection of bits gathered up over the years with all sorts of different ends, that do NOT have the circular locking grove in them. Often these bits are sold with magnet-based screwdrivers so they don't need the grove in them, but if you want to use them in your drill/driver or impact driver unless they have the locking grove they almost always pull out of the driver every time. 
Michael's suggestion is to use your driver, and angle grinder (a Dremel tool might work too) and cut your own groves in the bits. It's really easy and you don't have to be super accurate with them, I cut a few and every one of them works great now and I can use them in either my magnet driver or now .. in my cordless impact driver and they work great.  Thanks, Michael, I have already adapted my bits !!

Thanks to everyone who has sent tips in, I still have many to cover, and they keep coming in every day, so lots more in the future ...

Copyright Colin Knecht

Subscriber Submitted Woodworking Tips and Tricks - Episode 8