Gareth's Tips

Maker Slang

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #105

Don’t forget to share your favorite 2021 tips and/or tools with me! I’ll be sending one submitter a copy of my tips book and a Maker’s Notebook.


Maker Slang
Technical terms, jargon, and slang from the realms of making.

A drawn (stamped) junction box with a grounding hump.

A drawn (stamped) junction box with a grounding hump.

Grounding hump – A feature of an electrical junction box where the grounding hole is on a inwardly curved hump so that the grounding nut will not protrude beyond the box.

Grail [item] – An extremely hard-to-find object that you are forever looking for but unlikely to ever find. E.g. a grail tool, or book, or game.

Zenithal priming – A painting technique that creates pre-shading by priming the object (e.g. a gaming miniature) in one color and then spray painting from the top (zenith) with a lighter color (usually white or light gray) to create a top-down underlight that will show through subsequent thin basecoats.

Making Your Own Multi-Outlet Extension Cords
In this video on Stud Pack, they show how to create a 4-outlet heavy-duty extension cord. There is a lot of great info and tips in this 18-minute video, like using a stamped junction box (called a “drawn box) as opposed to a welded one and using a strain relief on the box.

Project Farm’s Top Tools of 2021
One of the YouTube maker channels that I religiously follow is Todd Osgood’s Project Farm. On it, he does very well thought out performance and stress test reviews and comparisons of tools and materials. In this video, Todd runs through his ten best-tested tools from 2021. These include a Wiha 7-piece screwdriver setKnipex pliersGooLoo car jumpers, and a Lansky knife sharpener. Any of the products in this round-up would make a welcome gift for any tool enthusiast on your holiday list.

Shop Storage and Organizing Tips
In this Fix This Build That video, Brad runs through 13 shop storage and organizing tips. While the video is directed at woodworking shops, a lot of these tips can be applied to any sort of making. Some of the tips include having hard and fast rules about what scraps to keep, having dedicated materials storage carts and spaces (and sticking to them), adding shelves inside of drawers to better utilize space, using the full cube of your shop (e.g. using the walls and rafters for long-term storage), and more.

3 Cleaning and Safety Tips
On the Essential Craftsman, Scott runs through three things that every pro or amateur workshop or garage workbench needs to have: Good hand cleanernitrile gloves, and fire extinguishers. Scott apologizes for the content of the video being “boring,” but as usual with an Essential Craftsman video, he drops the science. Like, pointing out that liquids can soak through your skin and end up in your liver, so wearing nitrile gloves is not just about keeping your hands clean. And investing in fire extinguishers is only boring until the moment you need one. As Scott points out, you can even get aerosol can extinguishers for cheap ($13 on Amazon) and have one at every station of your workspace for small fire security.

Readers’ Favorite Tools for 2021
Reader Michael Walters:
I bought a vintage radial arm drill. Very cool functionality. Most recently used it to drill hundreds of holes at the same angle for a reproduction of a Poul Cadovius shelf unit for my wife.
David Brigden writes:
My favorite tool this year (and every year) is this old hammer. It’s been mine since I was 12(?) and was retrieved from my great grandmother’s estate. This is one reason why it’s my favorite: the history. This tool has (probably) been in my family for generations. I can imagine that my grandfather used it when he was young. If you look at it, it’s just a couple pieces of bar stock welded together with some wooden grips riveted to it. It looks like it was hand made by someone, and that’s the other reason it’s my favorite. Most tools now are, if not fully machine made, made on an assembly line. I can picture an individual craftsman building this from the raw materials. That narrative is quite attractive to me.


(Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here. — editors)

© 2022