Gareth's Tips

How to Store Shop Tape

Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue #158

– Send me a tip or tool recommendation.

Tell me a shop tale.

-Buy my books (Tips and Tales from the Workshop Vol. 1Vol. 2).

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How to Store Shop Tape

Regardless of what type of maker you are, you likely work with lots of different types and sizes of tape: painter’s tape, masking tape, Kapton tape, gaffer’s tape, duct tape, cellophane, etc. The common storage solution is a rod that has all of these tape rolls slotted onto it. If you’ve used this method, you know how annoying it is when you need the roll on the middle of the rod.

In a recent Tested videoAdam Savage tells the story of having his mind blown by going backstage at a theater in the Midwest and seeing how they stored their tape. They stacked the rolls onto thin shelves. The height of the shelves was designed so that each shelf could store a 2″ and a 1″ tape, or three 1″ tapes, etc. One of the cool things after this video came out was watching makers immediately responding by making such a simple shelf and posting the results to social media, while other people shared alternative storage methods, like this simple set-up using zip-ties and cup hooks:

Making Everyday Tools in Your New Machine Shop

Anyone who’s made their own shop tools and uses them in their daily workflow knows the unique joy and pride that comes in wielding a tool fashioned by your own hand. As part of Chris of Clickspring’s ongoing series on setting up a home machine shop, he details the making of 4 tools that you will frequently use (scriber, pin chamfer, counter sink, and hammer). He points out that these tools make perfect first projects in your new shop (and perfect gifts for fellow makers). And oh my word, the hammer that he makes — too beautiful to use!

TOYS! The Omnifixo Soldering Stand

In this Tested video, Norm Chan extols the virtues of his new Maker Third Hand from Omnifixo. It has all sorts of desirable features: 4 magnetized “hands” that can be configured how you want, spring clips that hold your workpiece in place, and the clips are conductive so you can test your circuit right on the board. Like Norm, I hate alligator clips and think they’re far too aggressive for a lot of applications. Nice to see these softer, non-damaging spring clamps here. At $60, this is not a cheap tool, but if you do a lot of soldering, especially very small-scale stuff like LED soldering, given its feature-set, it looks like a worthwhile investment.

How to Properly Tie Your Shoes

Back when I did a weekly tips column for Make: magazine, I covered another demonstration of this shoe-tying hack. Hopefully you’ve encountered this already, but if not… The basic idea is that, when lacing your shoes, when you go to tie the bow, instead of tying it counter-clockwise as you were likely taught to do, you tie clockwise (see the video for clarity). It’s a game-changer. In the video, Chris also demonstrates how to properly use the cinch holes found on many sports shoes (which lots of people ignore).

Maker Slang

Slang, jargon, and technical terms for the many realms of making things

Backlash — The play or movement that occurs between two interlocking components, such as gears or threaded mechanisms, when there’s a change in direction or when one component is stationary while the other is in motion. Also known as “backlash error” or “backlash tolerance.”

Clevis — A clevis fastener is a two-piece fastener system consisting of a clevis and a clevis pin head. The clevis is a U-shaped piece that has holes at the end of the prongs to accept the clevis pin. The clevis pin is similar to a bolt, but is either partially threaded or unthreaded with a cross-hole for a split pin. [From Wikipedia]

GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) — The tendency to believe that acquiring new equipment will improve your skills or enhance your enjoyment of an activity or hobby.

Hallucination — When an artificial intelligence returns information that is incorrect, made up, or non-existent, the AI is said to be “hallucinating.”

Shop Talk

In response to my posting on berries in glass jarsJerry Zipkin writes:

The Life Hack for mason jars works much better if you use the Mason jar sealers that come with or can work with many vacuum sealers [Ed: Here’s one that doesn’t require a vacuum sealer] . I have used this for all sorts of stuff over many years and it is an invaluable technique. Everything from the usual coffee beans to medical weed stays amazingly well preserved. I have a quart jar of premium saffron (like a lifetime supply) from Afghanistan that I had a friend track down for me while he was over there and it has stayed fresh for years now in my freezer. I take a small working supply out and reseal the main jar. I have not tried the berry technique as I don’t buy them fresh that often, mostly using frozen. I did get inspired to try it on the bags of Costco avocados that I would struggle to use up as they all ripened at once. The large avos fit nicely in a pint wide-mouth (sometimes two in a quart works) and then go into the fridge; best technique I’ve found so far! I once lost a jar in the depths and didn’t re-discover it until almost three weeks later and, while altered in appearance and flavor somewhat, it was still quite edible instead of a rotten mess it would have been. The Mason jar sealers may have already been a Cool Tool at some point but along with vacuum sealers in general they are indispensable for a solo living geezer like myself.


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