Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #136

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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #136
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A Look at the Proxxon Motorized Angle Polisher
Last issue, I wrote about Adam Savage restoring the yellowed plastic cover of a vintage Nagra IV-S audio recorder. He ended up using a combination of a 12% hydrogen-peroxide bath and stages of a polishing compound to bring the cover back to its former glory. In this video, he talks about the Proxxon motorized angle polisher he uses while restoring the faded and scratched plastic dome on a spacesuit helmet replica and extolling the virtues of the tool.
Paint Coatings: The Great Weapon Against Rust
Grady of the fantastic Practical Engineering channel continues his series on corrosion engineering by looking at one of the great weapons wielded in the war against steel rust: paint (or more accurately paint coatings).
Next-Level Oscillating Multi-Tool Tips
Wow. James of Stumpy Nubs always brings the goods, but I learned so much from this video on improving one’s use of an oscillating multi-tool. I just recently bought my first cheap oscillating tool (to see how I like it) and am just beginning to learn how to use it properly. Even if you’ve had an oscillating tool for a while, I bet you’ll learn something here. How to angle your plunge cuts, pre-scoring cuts, holding onto the blade for better control (yes, it’s safe), using semi-circular blades for making straighter lines, so much more. Lots of tips for cutting metal with an oscillator, too. And, James has a good recommendation for an inexpensive blade assortment.
Quick 'N Dirty Aluminum Casting
In this Daniel Lupien YouTube short, he shows you how easy it is to create a simple sand mold and cast it in aluminum. All you basically need is a chunk of aluminum, a crucible and tongs, a source of heat, some kinetic sand (or regular casting sand), and something to press into the sand to create the mold.
No-Cost Stud Finder
When my wife and I moved to our new digs in Benicia, CA last fall, I needed to install a swivel-arm wall mount for our TV. I simply used a 1" disk magnet I had on-hand to locate the stud. No fancy stud finder needed. In this Becky Stern tip, she shows the method of using a string and a magnet. Easy peasy. If you’re uncomfortable with this method and want to make sure to find the center of the stud and locate (and steer clear of) any wire runs, pipes, etc., sophisticated imaging scanners can be had for under $30.
Fixing a Leaky Faucet with a Ten Dollar Tool
We know that professional plumbing doesn’t come cheap. Doing your own basic maintenance and repairs may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t. Jobs like clearing a trap, changing a toilet float assembly, or replacing faucet washers are relatively simple and easy. Years ago, I changed a toilet float kit. It was easy (after getting the very frozen-in old assembly out). And, I felt like I’d accomplished something and saved myself over $100. The replacement kit was $15.
Mark Frauenfelder of Cool Tools recently replaced the rubber washer in his shower. He writes in Recomendo: “Our shower head was leaking, even after I replaced the rubber washer. YouTube informed me that I had a scarred valve seat, which is the brass ring that’s supposed to form a tight seal against the washer. I bought a reseating tool for about $10 on Amazon, which smooths the surface of the valve seat. It worked, and saved me a $150 plumber visit.”
Notable Quotables
“Move carefully and fix things.” -Civic technologist, Bill Hunt
“Read your fear as excitement.” -Author and public speaking guru Scott Birkin [Said about public speaking, but applicable to many other, similar situations.]
Shop Talk
Reader Art Elliott shares this tip:
“My fav pencil is the tri-conderoga. It’s the best of both worlds. Three sided, so it doesn’t roll away, and thinner than a regular carpenters pencil, so you get sharper lines, but it’s also thicker than a regular pencil, so the lines are still nice and thick. My family got me a pack for Father’s Day and they’re my go-to in the garage.”
***
On the issue of CA glue curing accelerated by water or baking soda or baking soda and water, reader Josh Martin writes:
“Setting CA glue with water makes an inconsistent, often crumbly consistency to the set glue. Baking soda improves on this, but nothing works as well as accelerator (or just time).”
In reference to storing CA glue in the freezer, reader KX4WD enthuses:
“The money I could have saved on super glues over the years with this storage tip!”
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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales

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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales! is copyrighted by Gareth Branwyn, and published by Cool Tools Lab, LLC. Commissions may be earned from the links above.