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Pocket screws allow you to quickly and easily join pieces. Several companies sell similar variations of the pocket screw jig, and they all work pretty much the same way. One exception is the Route-A-Pocket. It takes a few more tools and a little more effort, but produces what the manufacturer thinks is a better-looking and stronger joint.

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Line up the Route-A-Pocket jig on your work piece, chuck the special router bit and a 3/4″ bushing into your router, and you’re ready to make the pocket. Once the pocket is cut, you stick the pilot hole drill bit into a bushing on the end of the jig and drill the hole.

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After we sprung ahead into Daylight Savings Time, I changed the batteries in all my smoke detectors. Since we’ve lived in our house over ten years now, I figured I’d also take the time to replace the last of the old smoke detectors installed by the previous homeowner.

Imagine my surprise when I take one of the old detectors down, start to remove the bracket, and find drywall anchors sunk into the floor joist. I can think of two reasons why the anchors were there: the previous homeowner drilled holes that were too big and used the anchors to reduce the size of the holes, or the previous homeowner didn’t realize you don’t need drywall anchors in wood. Given some of the other repairs I’ve uncovered, I’d guess the latter, but maybe I’m being cynical.

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Add one more to the list of red-anodized aluminum tools you just have to own: the cross dowel jig. Cross dowels are used in assemble-it-yourself furniture that you might find in stores like Ikea. They create a really strong joint because you are mating a bolt with another piece of metal rather then threading into plywood or particle board.

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Whether out of boredom or necessity, at some time most of us have tried to join a few pieces of paper together without any external fasteners — the most common method is folding and ripping a tab in the fold. The Eco Stapler allows you to join up to 5 pieces of paper together in a much neater manner.

When you press down on the Eco Stapler it creates a slot with a hanging tab and a slit in the papers. Then somewhere between pushing down and releasing the magic happens; the tab is wrapped around and pulled through the slit, joining the papers together.

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Cable ties are nothing new, but sometimes you don’t want to put all your wires in one bundle, so Panduit’s double loop cable ties allow you to use a single cable tie to secure two different bundles. The double slotted head lets the tail go through like a normal cable tie, but the second slot allows you to loop the tail back around to form a second loop.

The linked cable ties are Panduit’s weather-resistant black nylon variety. The 11.8″ long ties can form two 3″ loops. Measuring .190″ wide by .052″ thick, these ties have a 50 lb minimum loop tensile strength and are UL recognized.

A hundred-pack of these weather-resistant double loop cable ties will run you about $28 plus shipping.  You can even find triple loop cable ties if you poke around Panduit’s website.

Double Loop Cable Ties [Panduit]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Unless you install radiant floor heating, you probably won’t need Malco’s foamboard stapler. It’s a stapler that allows you to fasten PEX tubing to an insulating foam board layer without getting on your knees or even bending over.

The stapler uses a leaf spring that automatically adjusts to the staple size, whether it’s 1-1/2″ or 2-1/2″ staples for 1″ and 2″ foamboard, respectively. The aluminum magazine holds multiple plastic welded strips of 25 staples and the fastening mechanism can cleanly separate the welds without jamming or deforming the staple. To deliver a staple, you just push down on the D-grip handle. The stapler’s concave head holds the PEX in place while you staple it.

Pricing starts around $230 for the stapler and pricing for the staples starts around $30 for a 300-pack.

Foamboard Stapler [Malco]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Unused hog rings kinda look like rounded staples. When you squeeze them with hog ringer pliers they form a ring capturing whatever happens to be in the center. They’re used in all sorts of applications, like fencing, landscaping, mattress and automobile seat construction, and even holding sausage casings closed.

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If you want to stop machine noise from leaving your shop or prevent noise from entering your media room or bedroom, these simple and relatively inexpensive Isomax clips will help attenuate unwanted sounds, without taking up a lot of space.

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You might have some luck getting a corroded fastener unstuck by heating it, but you probably want to avoid soaking the fastener with penetrating oil or lubricant before applying a flame to it.  With Freeze & Release, you can do the same thing with cold — get a fastener cold fast enough and the bolt and nut should contract at different rates, hopefully freeing the fastener — plus there’s no problem using penetrating oil to speed the job.

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Inevitably there’s times in your shop that you need a few screws of a certain type, but in order to get them you have to buy a 1lb box — and you always wondered why the old man kept glass jars full of miscellaneous screws. Get a head start on a lifetime of collecting things in glass jars with McFeely’s 5 or 10lb boxes of assorted screws.

McFeely’s is liquidating tons of mixed fasteners left over from their packaging operation, and rather than throwing them out they’re putting them in boxes and shipping them to your doorstep.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll get any specific mix, but all of the leftovers are their top-quality screws, such as stainless screws, concrete screws, and plated screws of all varieties — some of which sell for more than $20/lb.

Get the 5lb box for $13 or the 10lb box for $25.  You pay around $8 shipping for the first box, and each additional box adds a few bucks.  Limited quantities are available — they’re only selling what’s on hand, not creating batches of mixed screws on purpose.

5lbs Mixed Screws [McFeely's]
10lbs Mixed Screws [McFeely's]

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