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Oct 31, 2017

How to Drill Straight and Square Holes without a Drill Press

Sure, every once in a while, you choose to intentionally drill a hole at a specific angle. Perhaps your compound joinery demands it, or you're going for a stylish, contemporary look on a project.

But most of the holes we drill — I'd hazard to say a good 99% of them — are intended to be drilled straight on, perfectly perpendicular to the surface. You can do this precisely with a drill press, but many makers don't have one, and they require specific set up and work that's small enough to be placed on the table. 

So that leaves the cordless drill. A tool that, when balanced on the tip of a drill bit, can be easily canted and slanted off square in every single direction, especially when you're putting force behind it. 

But! The task is not impossible. Yes, DIYers, you can drill a perfect 90° hole with a cordless drill. Here's how it's done.    

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04318

Sep 21, 2017

How to: The Easy Way to Remove Pencil Marks from Your Woodworking Projects

Saws are exciting, and chisels and hand planes look really great on top of your workbench. But if you ask me, the number one most-important, guaranteed tool I use on every single project is: the No. 2 pencil.

created at: 07/19/2016

It's essential for everything from sketching to measuring to layout and marking parts, and its "easy to remove" nature makes it perfect for seeing now, disappearing later. Except, have you ever actually tried to remove pencil from wood before applying a finish?   

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Aug 08, 2017

If You're Not Doing This Every Time You Grill, You're Missing Out on Serious Flavor

During summer, it's my goal to bust out the charcoal and chimney starter as much as possible. Call it a masculine stereotype if you must, but I never miss an opportunity to take advantage of extended daylight to cook dinner outside. It avoids heating up the house with the oven, and, of course, makes everything taste amazing.

And, if you want you grilled food to taste even better, here's my tip. It takes all of five seconds to set up, and takes your meal up to the next level:     

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04618

May 05, 2017

Fact: A $5 Can of Spray Paint is the Best DIY Value Out There. Here's How to Get it Right.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through my spray paint arsenal, and I took stock of my collection. It occurred to me how much I really use those little rattle-cans in the shop. I picked up a few this weekend, and gave a few things around the house a quick upgrade. Take a look.   

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Mar 16, 2017

I've Been Drilling Pilot Holes Wrong My Entire Life. Here's How I Learned to Correct My Technique.

So, ever since I learned to use an electric drill, I've followed this rule: when joining two pieces of wood, you drill an appropriately sized pilot hole completely through the top, and down into the second. This guides the screw, and the two pieces are held together when the screw's threads grab the wood and lock everything into place. The pilot hole's size is determined by the inner diameter of the screw's body, minus the threads. Right?

Wrong.    

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04566

Jan 31, 2017

How to Actually Prevent Your Beer from Getting "Skunked" and Producing Off Flavors

Perhaps you've heard this piece of advice: never let a cold beer warm up and then become cold again. Practically, this means if you buy a refrigerated beer from the case, then you must keep it refrigerated until it's time to drink it. And it should never sit out at room temperature on the counter, in the pantry, etc.  The threat is: the bizarre, off flavors of a beer that's been "skunked" usually described as tasting like wet newspaper, rubber, or if you ask me, the way the pet store smells.

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Jan 23, 2017

How to Cut a Mortise with a Table Saw

A mortise and tenon is an extremely sturdy and strong way to join wooden furniture. A recess is created in one member (mortise) that allows a protruding tongue from the other (tenon) to fit tightly inside. There's no better way to assemble table bases, chairs, benches, and even frames. 

Except, mortises can take a serious amount of work to cut. Unless you have a dedicated mortising machine, you're in for lots of time with a chisel and mallet, especially on large mortises like the one shown above.   

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Nov 03, 2016

How to: Drill Picture Perfect Countersinks

Countersinking hardware, such as screws or flathead bolts, is key to a sleek surface and a quality, finished look. But it doesn't always go smoothly, and the multiple bits can lead to tearout and misshapen holes.

Recently, I was making a jig from some hard maple that required precise countersunk holes for hardware alignment. I needed the hole to be placed exactly for registration, so I first drilled out the hole, and then the countersink. But every. single. hole. gave me fits. Once I finished one side of the jig, I was determined to come up with a better solution.    

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04413

Oct 05, 2016

How to: Calculate the True Costs of Driving vs. Flying

Finally, an online calculator that allows you to enter all of your conditional factors into one super-calculation to help you decide the most efficient way to travel to wherever you want to go. It’s called TravelMath, and it includes factors like current gas prices, car rental prices, airfare, the price it’ll take to get you to the airport, and one more vital component…   

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Oct 04, 2016

5 Seriously Good Productivity Tips that Aren't Just About Getting More Stuff Done

I'm not a multitasker. At least, I shouldn't be. And when I am, I'm not at my best. I won't go into a whole thing about the distractions of the internet and multiple browser tabs and social media and our whole plugged-in life; you've read those articles, and you believe them, or you don't. 

These aren't ideas to get more stuff done. They're ideas to get good stuff done, and get it done more quickly and with less stress. If that frees up time for you to try more things, that's great. If it only helps you meet your goals without feeling insane, that's good enough.   

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Aug 31, 2016

How to: Tame Household Clutter with a DIY Home Landing Strip

We don't like to admit it, but it's beginning to be that time of year when the things we bring into the house start to get bigger and bulkier. In the warm months, it's a bag or briefcase, your phone, and a few essentials for work, but in the cooler months, enter the coats, boots, hats, gloves, snow shovels, in addition to the magazines, mail, your keys and all the other things that come inside with you. 

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Jul 25, 2016

6 Myths About Wood Finishing that Need to Go Away

created at: 07/25/2016

I'll admit it... applying a finish to a woodworking project is always the most intimidating part. Once you've spent hours or days designing, milling, measuring, cutting, joining, smoothing the wood, it's a bit scary to know that you can mess up all your work in the final step.   

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May 24, 2016

Eight Things You Probably Didn't Know You Could Stream On Spotify

Spotify has completely revolutionized my music-listening experience. Their browsing feature and Discover Weekly playlist has made into a much hipper dude and generally increased my quality of life, no joke. However it was only recently that I discovered a whole host of new Spotify streamable options, turning the widening gyre all over again.   

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Apr 04, 2016

10 Tips From Shop Class You Should Never Forget

created at: 04/04/2016

Chris Lyons is the master craftsman behind Clyons Creations, where he specializes in handcrafted guitars and other DIY woodworking projects. He's also a "technology education instructor" at a local junior high, but he prefers the old school title of "shop teacher." And as such, here are his 10 Tips From Shop Class You Should Never, Ever Forget...   

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Feb 09, 2016

Woodworking Faux Pas: 6 Things You Should Never Do When Tackling a New Project

When you're just getting started in the world of building things, you'll find it can be rather hard to develop the "best practices" to help guide you down the right path. You're busy trying to figure out what the difference between a bevel and a miter is, but what you really need is someone to say "do this, not that."

created at: 10/06/2014It wasn't until I took a few classes and befriended some woodworkers that i really started to learn how to not do dumb things. Here's a list of six things I wish I would have learned before I wasted money and time on early projects.   

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Dec 10, 2015

Travel and Packing Tips You Should Actually Employ

I used to get free/discounted flights through a relative who worked at the airlines, which meant I spent a lot of time traveling. While I’m back to being an airline plebeian now, I’m always on the lookout for good packing and travel tips, and this is one of the better ones I’ve seen, and just in time for the holidays.   

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Nov 09, 2015

Groomed For Fall: How To Upgrade That Morning Prep Routine

Grooming ProductsAs we move into the cooler weather, it's time to take a hard look at your daily groom and throw out those empties for something a bit better.  There are places in life to save a few dimes but when it comes to your morning prep, go a

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Oct 20, 2015

Try This Simple Trick Anytime You Use Wood Glue on Your Woodworking Projects

created at: 10/20/2015

Whenever you're working on a bigger woodworking project that involves milling and preparing stock for parts, you often have to work on several parts at once in order to maximize efficiency. For example: dimension, plane, and joint all the wood at once while the tools are set up, cut all the joinery while the dado stack is installed in the table saw, etc. 

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Jan 20, 2015

Project Lessons - What My Wife Taught Me about Demolition and DIY

To Do ListLast year, I tore out a fireplace and replaced it with two large skylights and a kitchen island. The project quickly became much more complex than I expected with some substantial hurdles, one of the largest being my wife. Her expectation versus reality meant we had a lot of conversations about how the power would “magically” appear in the island, what a bearing wall was, and mid build plenty of things changed to match her evolving taste.  I seriously began to dread the words “hey, babe . . .?” Here are a few things to plan ahead for when building to satisfy your toughest customer – your partner.

1. Get agreement up front, preferably in the

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Nov 08, 2012

Quick Tip: How to Install a Shower Shelf Over Glass or Ceramic Tiles

Installing a shower shelfI was really bummed when my wife, Alicia, suggested we install a shower shelf. I mean, figuring out how to arrange and balance all those shampoo bottles and soap bars on the two-inch-wide edge or the tub is what kept me occupied during those boring morning showers. But after the four-thousandth time I knocked a domino-ish chain of plastic containers into the tub, I began to see her reasoning. Fortunately, installing a shelf in your shower is really easy. Read on to see how I did it, with a few supplies and some help from my local TrueValue hardware store...

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