Top 5 Simple Solutions: Tool Hacks for Your Garage Workshop


This week, hear Joe Truini’s tool hacks that will completely change the way you work in your garage workshop. 


Hands painting white nail polish onto a plastic tube from a tool
White nail polish highlights indented measurements on tools. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Using Nail Polish on Tools

There aren’t many reasons to use nail polish in your workshop, but here’s one of them.

Many tools come with markings that are virtually impossible to read. Wire strippers have little gauge numbers, squares have numbers and graduations that are hard to read, and sockets are some of the worst offenders.

It’s even more of a problem when you’re in a dimly lit room. So, then you have two things working against you: your sight and the light! (Or lack thereof.)

Well, the days of straining to see vital information on your tools is over.

We’re going to highlight these numbers and graduations with white nail polish. Making the change couldn’t be easier, and it will make the numbers stand out more.

Just shake up the nail polish and make sure it’s mixed well. Then you need to brush it on. Don’t worry if it’s a little sloppy, because most of this is going to come off in a second or two.

Coat the entire area on and near the numbers. Then, let the tool completely dry.

Finally, take a damp rag and lightly drag it over the tool. It should remove the excess nail polish while leaving nail polish in the recessed areas. It’s just like grouting tiles!

Watch: Why You Should Use Nail Polish On Your Tools 


Drilling a pilot hole and countersink to keep from splitting wood when driving screws inside a garage workshop
Drilling a pilot hole and countersink prevents splitting wood when driving screws. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

How to Drive Screws into Wood without Splitting

Cordless drills are great for driving screws; but they are so powerful, they can split the board if you’re not careful.

To prevent this from happening, drill a pilot hole in the wood and countersink the screw head before driving the screw.

Using a reversible drill driver bit, which has a drill bit and countersink on one end and a screwdriver bit on the other, is a great way to speed up the process.

Watch: How to Drive Screws in Wood Without Splitting


Man cutting wood with miter saw sawdust flying everywhere inside a garage workshop
Sawdust flies in your garage workshop, but here’s how to collect it quickly with just a wet-dry vacuum, a miter saw and a bicycle inner tube. (DepositPhotos)

How to Collect Sawdust from a Miter Saw

I love everything about my wet-dry vacuum, except that I bought it, specifically, for use with my miter saw and discovered that the vacuum hose is too big for the back of the port.

Plastic adapters let you attach the hose to the saw, but I’ll just make one using an old bicycle inner tube.

I took a pair of scissors and just cut a section about 3 or 4 inches long. I’m going to use it to connect the hose to the saw.

You can take the little section of inner tubing and fold back the end — that makes it easier to slip onto the hose.

You then take the other end and put it on the vacuum port.

Now when you hook it up, and you go to make a cut with the saw, all you need to do to collect all that dust is flip on the vacuum.

Watch: How to Collect Dust With a Miter Saw and Wet-Dry Vacuum


Hands holding a homemade crosscut guide jig with circular saw inside a garage workshop
Make cuts perfectly square each and every time with this crosscut guide. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

How to Make a Crosscut Guide for Your Circular Saw

The best way to make square, straight crosscuts on lumber or plywood with a circular saw is by using a homemade crosscut guide.

To make a crosscut guide for your circular saw:

  1. Cut a piece of 1”x 4” lumber the length you want to crosscut plus about 6” (we made our guide 18” long for crosscuts on boards up to 12” wide).
  2. Cut a piece of 1/2″ plywood 3” wide by 16” long.
  3. Glue and screw the plywood to one end of the board at a 90° angle, using a framing square to align the two pieces.
  4. Place the crosscut guide on a scrap board, and run the saw along the guide so it trims off the excess plywood cleat on one side of the guide.

To make a crosscut using the guide:

  1. Mark the board you want to cut at the location of the crosscut.
  2. Align the end of the crosscut guide cleat with the mark.
  3. Hold the crosscut guide firmly in place, and run the base of the circular saw along the crosscut guide to make the cut.

Watch: How to Make A Crosscut Guide for a Circular Saw 


Chalk line on a piece of plywood resting on two 2-by-4 boards
Adding two 2-by-4 boards for support near the cut line prevents plywood from sagging. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Tip for Cutting Plywood Sheets

Here’s what most people use to cut a sheet of plywood: a circular saw, a couple of 2-by-4s and a pair of sawhorses outside their garage workshop.

The problem with cutting it like that is once you snap your chalk line and go to make your cut, the plywood has a tendency to sag in the middle. This will pinch the sawblade and create a dangerous kickback.

Instead, use four 2x4s, with two of them on either side of the cutline. This will support the sheet better as you make your cut.

Then, when you make the cut, there will be no chance of sagging and pinching the blade.

Watch: Tip for Cutting Sheets of Plywood 


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