Gareth's Tips

Using Dowels as Drawer Slides

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #70

Using Dowels as Drawer Slides

Clever idea for drawer slides.

Clever idea for drawer slides.

In this 3x3Custom video, Tamar experiments with a unique way of making slides for the drawers of a desk. Spoiler alert: She uses dowels. Besides the slides themselves, there are some other clever ideas here, like how she cuts, spaces, and sands the grooves for the slides. It’s also inspiring to see how she works around the limitations of her workshop where she has a very small planer and no biscuit joiner.

Palm Router Hacks

Not much to look at, but it gets the job done.

Not much to look at, but it gets the job done.

In this Donald Bell Cool Tools video, he talks with maker and author, Mike Warren, about his palm router. Mike offers some useful router tricks, like making a plywood sled that attaches to your router’s base plate and turns it into a crude planer. And he shows how he cut a hole in his workbench that accepts the router from underneath and attaches to a plywood base and fence to create a homemade router table.

3D Printed Metric Fasteners Guide

Yet another 3D measuring guide.

Yet another 3D measuring guide.

Here’s a useful fastener visual measuring guide on Instructables. It measures screw and bolts lengths, screw and bolts diameters, nut diameters, and drill bits sizes.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Cleaning silver with an aluminum baking pan, baking soda, salt, and boiling water.

Cleaning silver with an aluminum baking pan, baking soda, salt, and boiling water.

A few weeks ago, I had bookmarked a “kitchen cleaning hacks” article from Family Handyman and was hoping to run it here. But when I finally got around to reading it, I thought the tips were pretty dull and many seemed suspect. So, I was happy to see my Cool Tools colleague Claudia Dawson recommend this piece from TheKitchn. Same concept, much sharper ideas. One thing they recommend, which I just recently started doing myself, is to keep a self-soaping kitchen brush in your bathroom and spend a few minutes each shower cleaning the tiles. I’ve been doing this with an old toothbrush, but I think I’m going to trade up.

Just Say No to Drano

Stop pouring money down your drain.

Stop pouring money down your drain.

Drano and other decloggers are expensive, and if you have old, sluggish pipes like I do, you can spend a lot keeping the flow going. Like a lot of household products, there are a number of DIY alternatives that work just as well (or almost) and don’t cost much. For an easy pipe declogger, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a ½ cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for half an hour and then pour about 2 quarts of boiling water after it. Repeat as needed. BTW: If you do use Drano, don’t follow the instructions on the bottle of pouring 1/5, 1/3, or a half of the contents as usually specified. They’re just trying to get you to use a lot of product. Pour about a shot glass at a time. Put a full kettle of water on, and when it whistles, pour it down the drain. Repeat until the drain is clear.

3rd Edition of the Maker’s Notebook

I made this!

I made this!

I am thrilled to announce the third edition of the Maker’s Notebook. This was one of the projects that I spearheaded when I first joined the Make: staff many moons ago. For this edition of the popular project notebook, I wrote a new introduction, corrected bad links, and added a bunch of new reference material, like 3D printing filament and microcontroller selection charts, top tips for makers, maker slang, and more. The bulk of the book is a lab-compliant graph paper notebook with an elastic closure. A sturdy pocket in the back is filled with fun vinyl stickers you can use to customize/storyboard the cover.

Maker’s Muse

Where there's a will...

Where there’s a will…

11/26/20

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