A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.
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Moving from Solderless Breadboard to a Soldered Circuit
Becky Stern continues her highly-recommended beginner electronics and Arduino series for Digi-Key. In this episode, she shows how, once you have a circuit designed and working on a solderless breadboard, you can make the move to soldering the circuit onto perfboard. Becky covers circuit diagrams and why they're important, different types of perfboard, tips for successfully transferring the circuit (e.g. using your phone to photograph the breadboard circuit before moving it to perf), tools that can be helpful, and more.
Understanding Sapwood and How to Use It
I was a little concerned seeing the thumbnail image to this Stumpy Nubs video showing the wonderful Dave Picciuto under the title “Wasteful Woodworkers on YouTube.” Turns out, the juxtaposition was a playful bit of clickbait. James of Stumpy Nubs is a fan of Dave’s, too, and got his permission to tease him in this fashion. The video is about woodworkers who think sapwood (lighter, moister, outer wood) is too weak and should be removed from heartwood (inner, stronger, more durable). Not true if used correctly, says James (and he details the challenges and solutions). And, he points out, more makers are starting to feature sapwood in combination with heartwood to celebrate the entire tree and for the aesthetic contrast between the two wood types.
Oiling Clamps? Who Knew?
I have never oiled a clamp in my life. But now that DiResta mentions it… Of course, you don’t have to use fancy Starrett M1 lube, at close to 30 bones a can. Most of us arent’t making that DiResta bank. :-)
Life Hack — Berry Jars
Recently, a friend of my wife’s shared a tip with her that I was initially skeptical of: Berries will last a lot longer if stored in glass jars in the fridge. We all know how frustrating it is to buy berries that seem to immediately start spoiling the moment you get them home from the store. We’ve been using jar storage for a month or so now and the berries definitely last much longer and don’t mold. Bonus: They look especially nice in your fridge.
Gar shares fascinating, useful, and fun entries as he reads through Tools and How to Use Them by Albert Jackson and David Day. This week, saw blades.
Tips & Tools readers join in the conversation.
In response to our ongoing conversation about EDC (everyday carry), reader Kyle writes:
Just watched the compact EDC video you linked to, and have a comment to add about compact daily-use knives.
I carry a knife for daily use (and use it very regularly), but have zero interest in maintaining it. I don't want to sharpen it, worry about the blade when cutting through something I shouldn't, breaking the blade, rust, whatever. As such, I'm not interested in a fancy Swiss-made Damascus steel urban explorer serrated edge super tactical EDC knife. I want something sharp and readily accessible, and if it's dull, I want to replace the blade and get on with my day.
So, I took a cue from Bob at I Like To Make Stuff and purchased one of these little folding utility knives from Mossy Oak. They're great, fit in your tiny coin pocket or clip to a regular side pocket edge, can be opened and closed with one hand (be patient, they're stiff when they're new). And, when it's dull, I swap out the blade. I can even swap in the slightly scary serrated utility blades that Husky makes (available at HD), or this brand on Amazon.
Before this, I carried the bulkier Gerber folding knife, which was great, but I like the thinner, compact nature of the newer ones. And, it's easier now to change the blades.
It also looks like Mossy Oak and Workpro (and now Duratech, all from the same manufacturer, I'm sure) have retooled to an even slimmer setup. I haven't held these. in my hands, but I am interested in trying them.
Please note: The silver-bodied knives seem to come in 3-packs, while the black bodied ones come in 2-packs. I keep my spare in a zipper pocket on my backpack for the days when I leave my regular knife in my other pants.
Sam McDonald, Technical Writer03/10/23 Picks and shownotes