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Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #81

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #81
Thanks to everyone who responded to my question about which day of the week is best for the newsletter. Most people said they didn’t care. Many said that Thursday or Friday were best. So, I think I’m going to shoot for Fridays for a while, hopefully early in the day. And thanks to everyone who took the time to also mention how much you enjoy this newsletter and look forward to it each week. That means a lot to me. Onward!

Great Shop Tips from Colin Knecht
Get a grip!
Get a grip!
YouTube woodworker, Colin Knecht, has a fantastic series of videos where he shares his top shop tips and tricks. While these are obviously directed at woodworkers, many of the tips are useful to makers of many stripes. His most recent video in the series is a prime example. There is one tip here about cleaning saw blades, but the cover things, like easily finding the center of a workpiece, trimming “acid brushes” to make them more efficient to use with PVA glue, and using non-skid shelf pads on your bench to hold items you’re working on for sanding and such – these are applicable to many situations.
Which Home Furnace Filter is the Best?
Filter finder.
Filter finder.
On the amazing Project Farm, Todd wonders what the real performance characteristics and differences are between cheap furnace filters and the expensive ones. As always, he creates testing rigs and puts a whole pile of filters, from $1 to $50, to the test.
Tl;Dr: So which one won? It’s complicated. The thicker filters (2″ and 4″) performed better than the common 1″ filter size, but your furnace may not accommodate a larger size. The permanent, washable filter did not perform well. Nor did the cheap ones. Looks like you want to get the thickest filter your furnace will accommodate and one with the most pleats in the outer filter. Overall, 3M brand filters did really well, like the 600, 1085, and the 1900. (Obviously, you need to get the filter that is the correct dimensions for your furnace.)
Nerding Out Over Pencils
In search of the perfect pencil.
In search of the perfect pencil.
I got a big kick out of this Make Something video. In it, Dave Picciuto spends 13 minutes talking about some of his favorite pencils while constantly apologizing for spending so much time talking about his favorite pencils. Dave’s favorites (to date) are the Koh-i-Nor Mechanical Clutch Pencil (to keep in his pocket with his Field Notes notebook) and the Paper Mate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencil for having many pencils around the shop.
The C-Thru Triangle
"Memories...misty watercolored memories..."
"Memories...misty watercolored memories..."
This video from Adam Savage tweaked my nostalgia circuits. Like him, I started my adult worklife as a graphic designer and some of the first tools I fell in love with where the rulers, triangles, mechanical pencils, and pens of that trade. Here, he celebrates a favorite of mine, too, the C-Thru brand (Westcott) gridded triangle. The grid on this thing is perfect for alignment and it has a metal edge so your razor knife doesn’t cut into the plastic. I think I still have mine around here somewhere.
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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

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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.