16 Genius Hand Tool Hacks You Need to Know
Hand tools are great, but they’re even better when you use them creatively for things they’re not designed to do.
Avoid Ugly Hammer Marks
Circle Gets the Square
Caulk Gun Clamp
Customized Chuck Key
The advantages? Besides no longer scraping your fingers on the gears, you’ll have increased leverage with less effort and a much more comfortable grip when tightening the chuck. Plus: Never lose your chuck key again!
Last-Ditch Nail Pulling
When you need to extend the reach of your cordless screwdriver, just pull the shaft out of a four-way screwdriver and clamp it in the chuck.
Longer-Lasting Utility Blades
Mini Drywall Saw
A coarse jigsaw blade mounted in a scrap of wood makes a handy little drywall saw. It’s easy to carry and is good for cutting around electrical boxes and other tight spots.
No-Dent Finish Nailing
PVC Sanding Files
- 1/2-in. i.d. = 7/8-in. o.d.
- 3/4-in. i.d. = 1-in. o.d.
- 1-in. i.d. = 1-1/4-in. o.d.
- 1-1/4-in. i.d. = 1-5/8-in. o.d.
- 1-1/2-in. i.d. = 1-7/8-in. o.d.
To apply sandpaper to the pipe, spray both the paper and the pipe with a generous layer of adhesive. Let both surfaces dry several minutes before joining them. Use two grits on each pipe—80-grit for sculpting a precise radius, and 100- or 120-grit for finish sanding. When the sandpaper’s worn out, just pull it off, spray fresh adhesive on a new strip and go back to having fun. Check out these other genius sanding tips.
Six-Point vs. 12-Point Sockets
If mechanics swear by six-point sockets, why are there 12-point sockets? A 12-point socket is fine for most lightweight repairs, but heavy wrenching calls for a six-point socket. A six-point socket is much less likely to slip off a stubborn fastener or round over the corners. Here’s why: (1) Six-point sockets have thicker walls, so they’re less likely to flex. (2) A six-point socket is designed to the head of a fastener well away from the corners so is made on the thickest part of the socket and the flattest part of the fastener. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of slippage and rounding over the corners. And (3), the edges of a socket are angled back a few degrees to allow the socket to slide easily over a fastener. The angle is less on a six-point socket than on its 12-point counterpart, again providing more area inside the socket.
One last point. Most high-quality sockets are chrome plated to prevent rusting and make cleanup easy. However, after years of use, the chrome finish can flake off. Don’t use a socket if the chrome is peeling. The chrome will be as sharp as a razor blade. Any reputable tool company will replace a tool that has peeling chrome.
Socket Wrench Screwdriver
Tabletop Chisel Storage
Start with a 4-in.-wide board. Using your table saw, cut stopped slots to match the width and depth of each chisel (plus some wiggle room). Screw or glue on another board to create the pockets, then run the lower edge of the doubled board through a table saw with the blade set at 15 degrees. Now cut three triangular legs with 75-degree bottom corners and glue them to the pocket board. If you like, drill a few holes through the boards for pegboard hooks so the holder is easy to store on the wall.
Take a Nip Now and Then
Keep a pair of ‘nippers’ in your pouch whenever you’re doing trim carpentry. When you pull trim from the wall, use them for pulling the nails through the back of the trim.