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We came across this interesting project posted over on Instructables by user Vitizop. It’s a cool idea: take a key that you need to carry anyway, and shape it a bit to make it more useful — in this case, a lot more useful. As you can see above, this key can do quite a bit, even if you discount a few of the more far-fetched applications, like #7. Hell, #3 alone would be worth taking your housekey into the shop.

If you follow through some of the additional frames, Vitizop continued the creative streak past 10 uses, adding in a 2.5 cm ruler and even a freakin’ light from a Lego toy.

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So after you’ve converted your garage into a tiny house (TM 4/28/10), you decide that you still want to do some woodworking. If you’ve got a storage space of around 5′ × 5′, you can follow this neat Instructable by steliart from Nicosia — Cyprus, and cleverly craft everything so that it fits in the small storage space. In his case, the storage space was near his open-air parking space. His 59″ × 20″ multi-tool bench, shown above, has five major tools (drill press, sander, jigsaw, circular saw, and router with a lift), a vise, five small drawers, storage space on the bottom, and eight electrical outlets. It rides on five casters with brakes. The angled cut on the left corner above is to allow room to get into the storage space when the bench is inside it.

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Instructables has a short post on a quick way to make your own bicycle lockring, or head race, pliers that I find quite elegant in its simplicity. You take an inexpensive pair of water-pump (a.k.a., channellocks, or tongue-and-groove) pliers. Then file or grind away most of the teeth except the front ones, and, voilà, you’re good to go — and at a much lower cost than for a dedicated spanner or lockring pliers that can be $30 to $50 or more.

It seems like these might also work well on those electrical box connector nuts when pounding on them with a screwdriver doesn’t seem to do the trick.

DIY Lockring Pliers [Instructables]
Hozan Head Race Pliers Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Speaking of saddle cuts (e.g., TM drum smoker post on 1/18/2010), Instructables has a new posting on making perfect pipe saddle cuts with a bandsaw or chopsaw. For same diameter pipes, the author, samson3000, uses two cuts at approx. 35° close to, but not through, the center of the pipe so there’s a flat spot (as shown above), not a sharp point. An end view of the cut, pictured below, shows a pretty tight saddle.

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On Instructables (via lifehacker) is — IMHO — a neat use of zip ties to repair a broken Ethernet (RJ45) plug. I don’t know how many of these plugs with a broken, or missing, little plastic locking tab thingy you have around your house, but I certainly have a few. And it’s just a little bit annoying when you grab one, plug it in, and have it fall out when you’re not looking. This Instructable shows how to fix them with a couple of appropriately-sized (head width of 4.3mm, but test fit in an RJ45 jack to make sure) and trimmed zip ties. As shown in the above picture, one zip tie, with its head thinned by a sharp knife, is secured to the Ethernet cable by another zip tie, and bent to act like a spring.

Repair A Broken Ethernet Plug [Instructables]

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We always appreciate the small things that make life easier around the shop. This homebrew vise is a fine example of what a little tinkering around will get you. Reader Matthew Byrne lets us in on his little project and even went so far as to put together an Instructable on the process.

The idea behind this project was to create a simple and useful woodworking vice that could be clamped to my makeshift workbench (my desk). As I don’t have any metal working equipment, and only a few hand tools, a wood based vice made sense. Also, the wooden clamps I made a few weeks ago have performed so well that they seemed to be a good base for the project.

It wound up looking great, and as you can see from the above pics, it doesn’t take a whole lot by way of materials to build. Check it out if you have the time — you never know when this kind of MacGyvering will come in handy.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]
Wooden vice [Instructables]


After seeing his how-to on Instructables, I’ve been saying, “Eggman, the Noisemaker,” Mentos-style, all morning.  I can see many places in everyday life where this thing and a hearty rebel yell would be appropriate:  office meetings, standing in line at the bank — you know, somber occasions that need a little livening up.

Joking aside, reader Eggman is the man.  I love this thing, and I might have to build one myself, but I’ll make mine a little bigger and more obnoxious –- just for the hell of it.  We tip our hats to you, sir, for a finely crafted piece of fun.

And remember, noisemakers don’t annoy people — people annoy people.

Wooden Ratchet Noisemaker [Instructables]
Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


I love the woodworking arts best when they’re applied to the creation of functional and comfortable furniture for the home.  In that vein, reader schnaars posted up a few badass pics of his latest creation — a small bookcase.

Tackling a project like this won’t net you critical acclaim from the woodworking elite — but it will result in a sturdy, good-looking addition to your home, and it’ll help you move some crap out of boxes and off the floor, which might actually be worth more in the end.

Schnaars has thoughtfully provided instructions over on Instructables for how to build the tidy book-holding box — definitely worth a look if you’re curious.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]
Simple Book Shelf [Instructables]