On the Level is a home remodeling & repair blog to keep you informed on the products and trends that we see in the field.

Bent Nails

Bent nails often result from poor hammering technique. However, they can also be caused by a dirty hammer face, especially when using cement-coated nails or working around adhesives. If you have problems, occasionally run a piece of fine sandpaper or emery cloth over the face. If you keep the face clean you will gain more solid contact with the nail and will avoid black marks on the wood caused by a dirty hammer.
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Blind Holes

When drilling blind holes in iron or steel, fine metal bits usually fall into the hole. To remove them, you can use a strong magnet and a soft iron or steel rod that is smaller in diameter than the hole. Push the rod to the hole bottom, then press the magnet to its upper end. Keeping the magnet to the rod, pull it out of the hole and brush away the bits of metal. Repeat until all of the metal bits are removed.
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Board Division

A rule can be used to quickly divide a board into equal parts. Lay the rule on the board with the start of the scale against one edge. Then angle the opposite end to a number that is easily divided by the number of parts you want. (If you want to divide a board into three equal parts you might use 9 and mark the board at 3 and 6.) Likewise, if you need four equal parts, angle the rule to numbers divisible by four, like 8, 12 or 16.
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Straight Wood

Before you glue up wood for a project, examine the parts. If at all possible, start out with cleanly cut, perfectly straight boards of the proper thickness. Take out any bow or warp before you begin your gluing work. By using straight and true stock, you won't have to force the boards in one direction or another, and you won't have to get into tricky, complicated clamping set-ups.
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Helping Hand

It seems that for some jobs, you need three hands to get it done. Your pliers can lend you that extra hand. Use the pliers to grip the wire or small piece you need to have held. Then wrap a rubber band around the handles to maintain the grip while you complete the work.
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Painting Temperature

When using latex be sure that the temperature is above 50 degrees F. It is difficult for latex to form a film at lower temperatures. With solvent-borne paint, be sure the temperature is at least 5 degrees above the dew point. If it isn't, water may condense on the surface as it cools while the solvent evaporates, causing an uneven blushing effect.
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Storage Boxes

When you reorganize your basement or garage, buy yourself a number of cardboard boxes all the same size instead of scrounging various-sized used boxes. This way they will all have covers and you can stack them neatly. Mark each box with a big letter and number, like A-1, A-2, etc., on all four sides and top. Use a three-ring binder to write down the box number and its contents.
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