When sawing wood, take time to consider which side of the material will be facing up. Keep the good side up when you are using a hand saw, scroll saw, band saw or radial-arm saw. Keep the good side down when you are suing a portable circular saw, table saw or sabre saw. The principle is to have the tooth of the blade first break through the rough side of the board or panel.
A 4-ft. T-square for drywalling can come in handy for other projects. Besides being helpful in drywalling, it can be useful when laying out patterns or cutting on full sheets of plywood or particle board. The square is accurate, stable and will give you a full 48-in. straight line. Some newer versions come with a head that can be adjusted to various angles, then clamped in place.
When you process wood in your shop, it is helpful to make notations on boards so you remember which have been cut to length or run through equipment like planers or jointers. Instead of using pencils for the notes, use chalk. Chalk lets you mark the wood without marring it so you can be more liberal with your notations. An inexpensive children's sidewalk chalk set will provide several colors so that you can color-code your marking system.
You can buy depth stops to attach to drill bits to make blind holes at a certain depth. But for occasional jobs you can gauge depth by using masking tape around the bit at the right depth. Or, as shown, drill through the center of a dowel section, using the bit you need for the hole. Cut the dowel so the exposed bit will be the depth needed for the hole.
Glue squeeze-out can be wiped up with a wet rag, but this can drive some of the glue into the wood's pores. A method preferred by many pros is to allow the squeeze-out to form a thick skin (usually about 15 minutes), then use a sharp chisel, paint scraper, or cabinet scraper to remove it. A 1/2- or 3/4-in. chisel is handy for glue removal inside corners or next to mouldings.
One way to fix a loose screw in wood is to remove it and then insert toothpicks or burned wooden matches with a coating of wood glue into the hole. Allow the glue to cure, then cut flush and re-drive the screw. You can also insert a plastic wall anchor into the screw hole. When you put the screw back in, it will expand the anchor and will hold solidly.
If you will be building something which uses small parts produced on your tablesaw, you can let your shop vacuum pick up the pieces for you. It's fast, efficient, and safer than getting your hand close to the blade. Clean out the vac, then wire or clamp the suction hose so that the small pieces are drawn in as you do your cutting. Then, when you are done, simply open up the vac and collect the parts.
When removing the grade stamp from lumber, apply paint thinner before using your sander. This will help take out the ink from the wood.
One way to help either screws and nails penetrate wood without splits is to use beeswax on the fastener. In fact, some carpenters will drill a hole in the end of a wood hammer handle to fill it with beeswax. An alternative is to buy a wax seal for a toilet. It's made of beeswax processed to stay soft, and costs much less.
The plastic containers used for push-up deodorants can be recycled into excellent holders for items like nailsets, small drill bits or saw blades. The containers have easy-to-remove caps, and you can push up the bottoms to expose smaller items. Use a felt-tipped pen to mark what's stored inside.