Be More Effective and Efficient on the Job With These Pro Tips
A collection of efficiency-boosting pro tips that will turn you into a productivity machine on the jobsite
How to Keep Nails From Splitting Wood
A nail is basically a wedge. A nail pounded in too close to the end of a board could “wedge” the wood fibers apart and result in an unsightly split. Thankfully, there's an easy fix to this problem: Turn your "wedge" into a "punch". Before hammering the nail through the wood, take a few seconds and pound down the tip of the nail. Without its sharp, dividing tip, the blunted nail will “punch” through the wood without splitting it.
How to Restore Banged-up Bolts
Sometimes the threads on the end of a bolt can get dinged-up, leaving you with no way of threading a nut onto the end of it. But there's an easy fix to get your bolt back in working order, if you have access to a grinder. Gently hold the bolt up to the grinder at an angle and taper the end. This should restore the groove and allow the nut to be threaded back onto the bolt.
How to Remove Stripped Screws
Sometimes screw heads get stripped out. It's just a part of life on the job. As long as the head of the screws you’re struggling with is sticking up above the surface, there's actually a pretty simple solution. Just open the chuck of a drill, place it over the stripped screw, and then clamp the chuck down onto the screw head. Then simply reverse the drill like you normally would to remove a screw.
Why You Should Toenail Screws in Backwards
When toe-nailing (or toe-screwing in this case), you normally want the screw to emerge at the middle of the bottom of the board you’re screwing in to. But driving in a screw at an angle and making it come through in the right spot sometimes seems like it can be half guesswork, half luck. There's a way to toe-screw that eliminates the luck factor; just do it backwards. Driving in from the underside of the board first allows you to control and accurately place the screw exactly where you want it to be. Once the hole has been created from the bottom side, just back it out and drive in from the top.
How to Clean Up Spray Foam
Applying spray foam can be a sticky proposition. No matter how careful you try to be, the stuff always seems to find its way onto surfaces it is not supposed to. If you’ve created an unintentional sticky mess, clean it up with acetone. A little acetone squirted on fresh foam will dissolve it instantly.
No acetone on hand? Acetone is what most nail polish removers are made of, so you could try using that. But make sure you get to the foam before it hardens. If you wait too long, there is only one way to remove it: a whole lot of scrubbing.
Build a Frame for Cutting Metal
Cutting metal on a miter saw can be a risky proposition. Miter saws have a tendency to send things flying during the cutting process; if you are cutting metal, this could potentially lead to a terrible injury. One way to lower the risk of injury when cutting pieces of metal on a miter saw is to build a wooden frame that is around the same size as the metal you want to cut. By placing the frame firmly against the fence of the miter saw, the frame will support the metal piece and hold it in place while you make the cut. This tip is especially useful when cutting a lot of metal pieces that are the same style and shape, as you can reuse the frame over and over.
Be Smarter Than the Nail
Problem: You’re pulling out a long nail, and the nail head got to the point where it was too tall for the hammer claw to reach it.
Answer: Shove a block under the hammer and continue on to a successful conclusion.
How to Remove Sticky Bolts
When you are faced with a particularly stubborn bolt that just won't budge, try locking together two wrenches and attacking that sucker again. The extra wrench will provide more leverage, hopefully enough to remove the bolt. Of course you could use a pipe, but the beauty of this tip is that if you have one wrench on hand, there's usually another nearby.