Tips & Guides

TIP #1 : How to Count Alligator Teeth

Very carefully open mouth and count.
Bring in your accurate count for a prize. See Image…

TIP #2 : Extension Cord Storage/Carrying Cradle

  1. To make the cradle cut two pieces of 1″ x 1″ – 24″ long.
  2. Then cut two pieces of 1″ x 1″ – 6″ long. Join the shorter pieces of wood, one at each end, about 6″ in from the ends.
  3. Ensure that the longer pieces are even and that they are parallel.
  4. The joining may be done by screwing the pieces together in a butt joint. For greater strength “L” brackets may be used on both sides of the joint.
  5. The interior rectangle of the cradle will be about 6″ wide by 12″ long.
  6. Next take your extension cord and mate up the receptacle and plug. Proceed down the cords until the loop end comes into view. Hold both cords forming the loop and place it over one of the legs of the cradle. Now wrap both pieces of the cord back and forth between the cradle legs until the receptcle and plug ends come up. Then take the two ends and tuck them into the fold or under some of the wrapped cord to secure their position.
  7. A handle may be attached to one of the sides for carrying or storing. See Image…

TIP #3 : Selecting Grain for Drawings

  1. Cut your patterns out of clear acrylic or mylar material.
  2. Then place the pattern on the piece of wood you are using.
  3. The pattern then can be moved around while the grain selection is observed. The best selection of grain can then be obtained for the pieces that need to be cut.
  4. This technique enhances the work piece.
  5. Also, a permanent pattern is produced for long term storage.

TIP #4 : Nail Dimple Filling

Filling recessed nails is always a challange. By covering the spot where one desires to drive a finishing nail or staple, first cover the spot with masking tape. Drive and set the nail or set the staple. Then fill the dimple with wood filler of choice. Remove the tape from the spot. Sand if necessary, then finish if needed. On prefinish wood, it may not be necessary to apply any finish.


It is very easy to determine the cutting angle required for multi sided frames for any type of project. A square or rectangle is well known for having 45 degree cuts at its corners.

The formula is as follows: 360 degrees divided by 4 (the number of sides) divided by 2 equals cutting angle. For a square/rectangle 360 divided by 4 equals 90… 90 divided by 2 equals 45 degrees. Therefore the cut is 45 degrees. For a six sided figure 360 divided by 6 equals 60… 60 divided by 2 equals 30 degrees. Each end of the six sides has to have its cut at 30 degrees to fit to produce a hexagon.

TIP #10 : Dried Silicone

Many times the complete tube of Silicone caulking is not used and it is saved appropriately. However, with best intentions the contents becomes dried and can no longer be pressed through the nozzle.
Cut the tube open and extract the contents.
Then the contents may be used for the cleaning of sand paper.
Such sand paper that is used on drums, belts, etc.

TIP #11 : Shelving

A shop is always in need of shelving. In fact everybody is in need of shelving at times.
Shelving can become very expensive.
Today most shelving bought in stores are produced from particle board which yields under weight and becomes bowed. Particle board is very sensitive to moisture, which causes it to expand, and temperature changes.
Try BIFOLD doors for your shelving. Since only one side is required for the shelf, a damaged door is inexpensive.
A Handyman’s Haven sells damaged doors as well as undamaged ones.

TIP #12 : Wheelbarrow Tire Flats

Most tires on a wheelbarrow are of the tubeless type.
Placing a tube inside the tire can become a chore. Many times the tire may not rebead to the rim with the tube inside.
A suggestion is to purchase a automobile tubless tire repair kit. Repair the wheelbarrow tire as you would an automobile tire.
This experience gained will assist you in repairing your own automobile tire when it goes flat.

TIP #13 : Ointment for Screws

In order to drive screws into wood with realitive ease ointments may be used.
Bar soap is a good lubricate for setting screws.
Another source is to obtain a toilet bowl seating ring. The wax is nothing more than Bees Wax. this is an excellent, low cost, source of lubricate that will be around for a long time.

TIP #14 : Drawer Glides

Many times the wood to wood drawer glides become very difficult for the drawer to move in and out smoothly.
This phenomenon may also occurr anytime two pieces of wood have to slide upon eachother.
A suggested remedy is to apply a coat of hard wax or paraffin to the surfaces.
A low cost hard wax may be obtained from candles.

TIP #15 : Bench Guards

Finding a non ignitable surface to place your Bench Grinder on does not have to be difficult.
Purchasing a roll of Aluminum Roof Flashing may be the answer.
Locate the area that your grinder is going to be placed.
Line the entire area with the Aluminum Flashing.
This lining creates a non-combustible area for all the sparks that like to fly around at supersonic speeds.
This area may be used for any hand grinding that may be needed.

TIP #16 : Glued Wood Joints

What does one do with the oozed glue?

If no block of wood is being used, a damp rag may be used to wipe up the oozed glue. This is a very simplistic task.

Another effective method is to prime the wood first, which tends to seal the pores. The dried oozed glue then may be chipped away from the surface.

When a block of wood is used to assist in the joining of wood pieces, a concern is given to the block being attached to the joint because of the oozed glue.

There are many ways to prevent the adherence of the block to the wood joint. Some are as follows:

  1. Wax paper may be used to cover the appropirate area.
  2. Cellophane, plastic wrap, grocery bags, etc will also work. Remember to place any coloring on the bag away from contacting the glue. The color may transfer to the wood surface.
  3. Plexi glass, acrylics, etc may suit your needs.
  4. Plastic from milk bottles, cleaning bottles, etc.
  5. Large plastic blocks the size of your wood blocks ae very effective.

TIP #17 : Lighting

Many times additional lighting would enhance the work place. The attachment locations become very difficult to establish. Some suggestions are as follows:

  1. Find a floor lamp that is not wanted or does not work. These items have a heavy base to to reduce tipping. A clamp on flood lamp incandescent, halogen or flourscent may be attached to the pole and positioned as desired.
  2. A table lamp may also be used in the same format.
  3. Another means is to locate a flexible pole, cut the pole about 1/4″ – 1/2″ longer that the floor to ceiling distance in the area where the light is required. By flexing the pole it will remain in position. then attech a clamp on light source and enjoy your work.

TIP #18 : Medium Density Fiberboard

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a composition of fine uniform wood particles that are cooked and steamed under pressure with an adhesive to form the composite.

High quality tools may be required to cut this product. MDF may be joined with glue, nails and screws, suggest that a pilot hole be used first.

TIP #19 : Radial Arm Saw Blades

A positive rake saw blade may not be the proper tool for a radial saw or a sliding mitre saw. the positive rake blade may tend ot accelerate and even jump over the top of the wood piece that is being cut. This could be a serious safety issue if the operator is not ready for the adverse action by the saw.

By using a saw blade with ZERO or NEGATIVE RAKE the saw blade may not pull itself along as rapidly as a positive rake blade.

TIP #20 : Caulking Tube Sealers

Have you ever appropriately sealed the end of the caulking tube only to find out the next time it was to be used that the caulk had dried in the nozzle?

Many craftpeople have been in this position.

Suggestion: Clean out the end of the nozzle a certain distance and dip the nozzle into bees wax. By fillihg the end of the nozzle with wax. air is eliminated and a better seal is provide.

TIP #21 : Windows

Frame material for windows may consist of these more popular materials:

  1. Wood – Traditional susceptibile to rot, termites and insects.
  2. Fiberglass – The matereial is high in strength and allows for greater insulation qualities.
  3. Aluminum – Most frequently used.
  4. Vinyl – A PVC, polyvinyl chloride, product. It has good insulating qualities and is betted suited to deter insect and weather problems than wood. By establishing the Aluminum frame as a basis for comparison the savings of other frames may yield the following approximate percentages:
  5. Vinyl or Wood Frame with Double Clear Glass – 27%
  6. Low E – Wood or Vinyl Frame with Double Pane Glass – 33%
  7. LOw E – Insulated Frame Types with Triple Pane Glass – 38%

    The cost of the window goes up considerable as the percentage of savings increases slowly. A quilted drape over the window during the appropriate times is a very effective low cost method of controlling heat and cooling loses through the window. The cost factor of the drapes are much less than the cost of the so called Low E rated windows.

TIP #22 : Dowels versus Biscuits

Many wood joiners desire dowels to assemble the project. When preassembly takes place for fitting purposes, the difficultly in disassembling the project may the order of the day.

Biscuits may provide an easier method of assemply and disassembly for testing purposes prior to gluing.

However, by constructing a flexible type dowel, the disassembly of the project may become easier.

By taking dowels and cutting a saw kerf into the shank of the dowel it becomes flexible and easier to remove. The cuts should be 90 degrees to eachother and continue 1/8″ past eachother in the center of the dowel. By using a back saw the construction of these aids become easy to manufacture.

TIP #23 : Prints of the Surface

During the finishing phase fo a project, fingerprints, at times, show up on the surface. This effect may occur more frequently with certain stains over other types of stains.

If this does happen the new suface may have to be removed and the stain applied again. Needless to say time consuming and messy.

If the prints are noticed soon enough, by using lacquer thinner the prints may be removed. Then the spot may have to be touched up with the stain.

TIP #24 : Weights

To keep plastic cans from tipping over a weight may be placed in the bottom of the container. Where does one obtain the device. Oh yes, a rock may do.

At A Handyman’s Haven we have round circular weights that have been removed from inoperative weighted floor lamps that can be used.

TIP #25 : SEER Rating

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

The SEER ratings of cooling units descibe the efficiency of the unit and gives an indication as to the cost factor associated with the unit. The higher the SEER the more efficient the unit. Also, the cost of the unit increases as the SEER goes up. The Cost of the unit has to be balanced with three factors.

  1. 1. The efficiency of you current unit in relation to the new unit.
  2. 2. The cost of the new unit and the amount of savings that it would yield.
  3. 3. With the savings how long would it take to amortize the initial replacement cost.

    Click on Image to see a chart that may be of some assistance. See Image…

TIP #26 : Tack Cloth

When using a tack cloth open the cloth up and make a ball with it. Do not press hard when wiping the surface. The oils in the cloth may transfer to your paintable surface and prevent the new surface coating from adhering. The oil of the cloth may create a contaminated area.

TIP #27 : Pipe Clamp Stabilizers

When using pipe clamps they like to roll around periodically. A medium that assists in the fixing of the pipe clamp is thick foam insulation. The thickness of the foam is a fuction of the size of the pipe clamp and how far off of the work bench the pipe is. The thickness of the foam may be of any thickness greater than about 1 1/2″ – 2″. The thickness has to be such that the end pieces are off of the work bench.

Then cut a slot in the foam to accommodate the pipe. The depth should not be such that the foam would touch the work piece. About half of the diameter of the pipe would work sartisfactorily.


What does it mean?
. It means that all or most all of the roduct was manufactured in the USA.

There are some pitfalls though.

  1. The guidlines are established by the Federal Trade Commission.
  2. Sometimes the “Made in USA” is placed on an accessory, but does not apply to the complete unit.
  3. The FTC does not pre-approve advertising or labeling.
  4. “Assembled in in USA” does not work.
  5. “Made in America” or “Built in America” does qualify.

If athere are any questions call the FTC. 1-877-FTC-HELP


Do you have switches for your band saw light, vaccuum system, and band saw?

Try a multi plug surge protector. With the flip of one switch all units can be set up to start at once. Uniqely enough they all turn off at the same time. Whoa!!!


A beaded boad can be made from any board of any type of wood. By dadoing a grove the size of the dowel, bead, that is to be used will accomplish the task.

Cut the dado the length of the board and at the spacing that is desired.
With a sanding block sand down the edge of each channel.
Then glue in the desired dowell or type of insert desired.
Thewse dadoes could run cross grain as well as along grain.
by using different types of wood various effects may be generated.


Table saws may be used for manufacturing coved doors.
By placing a fence on a specified angle the appropriate angle can be developed.
Small cuts to the desired depth of the cove makes the task easier and safer.
This method is less expensive than developing a router system with the special table required to handle the large horsepower router and the required special blades.


The length off nails are designated by numbers from 4 to 60.
The “d” that follows the number indicates “penny.

FRAMING: Use common or box nails.

REPAIR WORK: Use common or box nails.

COMMON NAILS: These are best suited for framin work where strength is important.

BOX NAILS: These are smaller in diameter and are less likely to split the wood. Also, they are good for thin materials and light projects.

COATED NAILS: These nails are great for their holding power.


Ssafeguarding plugs from being inserted into receptacles by small children can be accomplished by protecting one of the tines. Most tines of plugs have a hole in them. By inserting a small padlock or a key ring your child may be prevented from inserting the plug into a hot receptacle.


Removing a broken light bulb at times provides a challenge.

Frist – Ensure that the switch is turned off, the appliance is unplugged or that the circuit breaker is off.

Second: With a pair of pliers, grip the filament and turn very carefully counter clockwise. The filament may break off. Be careful.

Or: Use a bar of soap and plant it on the glass, gently, a turn counter clockwise may work.


When disconnecting a receptacle, remembering what color of wire goes where may be an item for consideration. Masking tape with a marker can assist in labeling the wires before disconnecting them from the source.


Coating a steel tape with paste wax protects the tape from rusting and allows the tape retractor to operate more smoothly. The waxed tape blade prevents dirt and grease from sticking to the tape blade.


Line your tool drawer with a piece of carpet that has been sprayed with a light coat of oil. This reduces scratches on the tools and may prevent rusting.


Use a wire nut appropriately sized for the end of the cauliing tube to provide a good seal.


Store glue bottles upside down on a scrap piece of wood. The glu will always be ready.


Many times when repairing/replacing copper fittings there is water standing in the pipe. How do yoou sweat the new fitting on with water in the pipe?

Obtain some white bread and place it in the pipe with the standing water. do not use the crust. The bread soaks up the water and then disolves and does not create stoppage in the faucet.


There are several ways of repairing holes in dry wall

NAIL POP OUT: First use dry wall screws above and below the popped out nail. Then drive the nail back into its slot. then cover the nail hole and screws with some paper tape and dry wall mud. Let dry and sand. Put on as many coats as needed to feather the added material to provide a smooth surface. Priome the area and then paint.

DIMPLE BUT NOT PUNCHED THROUGH: This type may be repaired just by filling in the dimple with dry wall mud. Sand, prime and then paint.

RAGGED OR SMALL HOLES: Cover the area with a peel-and-stick repair patch. These patches have a metal mesh. Regular house window screen may be used in place of the sticky screen. Cover the area with dry weall mud over the patch and beyond so as to feather the edges. Smooth the area with a damp sponge or dry wall knife. Repeat the dry wall mud coats as necessary. Sand, prime and paint.

LARGE HOLES BETWEEN STUDS: If the studs are too far away, then square up the hole. Place cross pieces inside the hole and attach them to the dry wall with srcews. Cut a piece of dry wall to fit the hole. Place it in the hole and seal the cracks with mud and then tape. cover the area with as much mud as needed to feather the entire patch. Smooth with a sponge and let dry. Sand, Prime and Paint.

LARGE HOLES: When the hole is large enough so that the studs can be reached, cut the repair hole to the studs and square up the top and botom. Install horizontal cross pieces at the top and bottom to provide support for the patch. If you are unable to cut to the center of the stud, then install a strip of wood along the studs to support the patch. Place thepatch in position using some dry mud as glue to hold iit in position. Screww the patch into the studs and cross pieces. Mud, tape, mud, feather, sand, prime and paint. The patch is going to look like new. Eureaka!!!


When trimming vineer or plywood many splinters may occur when the saw ablade cuts through the top layer. If using a circular saw the otp face will become splintered. When using a table saw the bottom face will become splintered.

By scoring the face that the saw blade is going to come up through is one way to reduce or eliminate the splintering.

Anoather way is to set the saw blade at a height where it will just score the face. This provides the space for the blade to penetrate without splintering the face.

Have fun ! ! ! ! ! ! !


When trimming vineer or plywood many splinters may occur when the saw ablade cuts through the top layer. If using a circular saw the otp face will become splintered. When using a table saw the bottom face will become splintered.

By scoring the face that the saw blade is going to come up through is one way to reduce or eliminate the splintering.

Anoather way is to set the saw blade at a height where it will just score the face. This provides the space for the blade to penetrate without splintering the face.

Have fun ! ! ! ! ! ! !


Dowels come in various diameters.
Dowels may be slick sided, fluted or with spirals.

Dowels that are smooth sided scrape the glue to the bottom of the hole. It could create an air pocket making it difficult to seat the dowel or glue two pieces together.

Dowels with flutes or spirals allow the glue to creap along the side of the dowel and piece. The escape of the glue allows for a stronger joint.


Dowels should be kept 1/4″ to 3/8″ away from the sides for gluing. The dowel jig should be placed identically on the same faces. The width of the wood piece should not be more than 1 1/2″ wide for one dowel. Two dowels for a piece about 5″ wide. If you are gluing edge to edge boards the dowels may be placed about 10″ apart.


When removing an item from a peg that is on a peg board the peg likes to remove itself from its mounting. By placing the bottom peg in a dob of hot glue the peg stays in place.


Does your battery pack on your cordless tool have a difficulty holding a charge? ?

Well, there is a fix.
Open up the battery pack and locate the dead cell. Purchase a replacement cell from a battery company. Resolder the new cell in place and bingo. It should all work again.


Does your drill bit produce chips while drilling wood? ?

If the chips are on the bottom – place a backer board prior to drilling.

If the chips are on the top side, then your bit may need sharpening.