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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #77

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #77
Greetings, Tipsters! I want to start a new series here. Called “Tips Testers,” I want to deputize you, my readers, to pick a tip (from this newsletter or anywhere), give it a good test, and send me the results (extra credit for a video tips-test). In the spring, I will do a random drawing from those who’ve submitted tips tests, and 3 people will receive signed copies of both Volume 1 and the forthcoming Volume 2 of my Tips and Tales from the Workshop. Let me know if you have any questions, but that’s about it: Pick a tip, subject it to honest, real-world testing, report back.

Tips on the Snips
It's all about how you hold 'em.
It's all about how you hold 'em.
In this YouTube video, the Bob Ross of metalworking, Ron Covell, shares what he’s learned over the years about the proper use of aviation snips. These metal-cutting shears come in three configurations: right, left, and straight snips. How these different tools are supposed to be used is often confusing and the subject of much debate, even among professionals. Ron breaks it down. Tl;Dr: It’s all about how you hold the snips and how the metal you’re cutting interacts with the center pivot as you cut. You have to consider whether the waste is to your left or right and whether the handles are above or below the workpiece. Watch the video for a clearer understanding.
Stop Motion Animation Tricks
Peeling out in stop motion.
Peeling out in stop motion.
In this Edu Puertas video, he shows eight simple and effective stop motion animation tips and effects tricks. The light effects were the big eye openers for me.
Sprue Hacking
Squeezing out the "Ooey Gooey Spruey."
Squeezing out the "Ooey Gooey Spruey."
Anyone who’s done any scale modeling, game modeling, dungeon crafting, or other plastic modeling is no doubt familiar with sprues, those ubiquitous frames that hold plastic model parts and are part of the injection molding process. In this four-part video, game modeler Jon of Miniature Hobbyist, shows close to 40 different things you can make from this plastic waste material, from doors, walls, and cobblestone streets to piles of treasure, tents, barricades, cages, and even tools for your workbench, such as painting sticks and paint-pot holders. In part 4, he shows how you can turn sprue material, broken down in acetone, into a goopy plastic material (that he’s dubbed “Ooey Gooey Spruey”) for casting, gap-filling, turning into pipes and thick cables, miniature bases, and more. Fascinating stuff.
Take Multiple Passes When Razor-Cutting
Patience, Grasshopper. Patience.
Patience, Grasshopper. Patience.
In this Adam Savage video, he reminds us all to take our time when cutting material with any sort of razor knife. We all want to rush it. Don’t. Let the material tell you how many passes you need to make.
Vacuum Pump from a Jar and Plastic Syringe
A simple vacuum chamber using a glass bottle and plastic syringe.
A simple vacuum chamber using a glass bottle and plastic syringe.
I’ve been completely enchanted by a YouTube channel I just discovered. Xiao Qianfeng is a young Chinese maker. Her videos are like DIY ASMR. In a video on making a “thermal katana” sword from the new video game, Cyberpunk 2077, she creates a simple vacuum chamber (3:26) for getting the bubbles out of her casting resin. Ingeniously, she makes it from a large glass jar and a plastic syringe for sucking the air out. I also like the way she makes a handle out of shipping tape to lower the resin container into the chamber.
Delivering a Spray Liquid to a Set Spot
Spot on!
Spot on!
On Jimmy DiResta’s Instagram stories, he shared this tip (taken from Derek Forestier). If you need to deliver a spray liquid to a set spot (and avoid a lot of overspray), use a wooden skewer or similar. Spray the liquid onto the stick and let it drip down to the desired spot.
TOYS! Recomendo: The Expanded Edition
Your toilet tank needs this book!
Your toilet tank needs this book!
My colleagues at Cool Tools, Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, and Claudia Dawson, do a weekly newsletter called Recomendo. In it, they recommend “cool stuff” that they’ve encounter in their life-travels. In 2018, they gathered 500 of these recommendations of tools, books, apps, websites, YouTube channels, tips, and more into an on-demand book. This past holiday, they released Recomendo: The Expanded Edition, which has 1000 recommendations. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. It’s done in the same basic style as the old Whole Earth Catalogs (where Kevin was an editor). It’s so rewarding to just open it at random and browse. It has everything from work and domestic tools to recommendations for leisure and travel. Every time I poke my head into it, I find something new and interesting.
Leave a Toolkit Behind in Your House
Kitchen cabinet scratch pencils that came with my house.
Kitchen cabinet scratch pencils that came with my house.
Speaking of Cool Tools. Years ago, I was on the Cool Tools Podcast, talking to Kevin and Mark about tools around the house. I was telling them about how, when I bought my house, the former owners left behind a drawer of tools, including a Gilhoolie (lid wrench) which has become one of my favorite kitchen devices. Kevin thought that would be a great tradition to adopt. Whenever you sell a house, you leave behind a box of tools for the new owners, especially things that you’ve used to maintain the home. Let’s all d0 this!
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Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. Check out the Cool Tools website, the Cool Tools podcast, YouTube channel, and their other two newsletters, What’s in my bag? and Recomendo.
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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.