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

Broken Screws

There's a solution for dealing with wood screws which have broken off below the surface of the wood. If you don't want to risk damaging the wood by digging it out, try driving the screw deeper into the wood with a nail set. Then just fill the hole with a wood filler, and drive a new screw next to the broken one.
Read More

Blade Balance

A sharp mower blade is a key to a perfect cutting job. However, whenever you sharpen a blade yourself, always check it for balance. An out-of-balance blade can cause excess mower vibration and wear. One way to check is to tie a metal washer onto a string, thread the string through the center hole of the blade, then hold the blade up with the washer supporting it. The washer should be on center and turned perpendicular to the blade. The blade should stay level. If it doesn't, grind it for balance on the back side of the blade. Always disconnect the lawnmower's sparkplug wire before removing or replacing any blade.
Read More

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.
Read More

Bucket Storage

You can use several plastic 5-gal. buckets fitted with tough nylon tool holders to help organize your shop. When not being used they can be hung up neatly on screw hooks to the side of your workbench or inside a special cabinet. Using several buckets will allow you to organize in various ways, like inside work, outside work, plumbing work or electrical work.
Read More

Drill Bit Cases

When you buy a drill bit set, it most likely will come in a storage case. This case will help you figure out which size bit you need to use. When drilling holes for a pilot or lead hole for a nail, find which slot in the bit case the nail will fit in. The next size down is the bit you should choose. When drilling a pilot hole for a screw, you need to choose two bits. One for the starter hole and one for the pilot hole. Find which slot in your bit storage case the screw will fit in. That is the size of bit you should use for the pilot hole. For the starter hold, use the next smaller sized bit.
Read More

Bark Saver

When doing tree pruning work, making an extra undercut with your pruning saw will help keep the bark below heavier branches from stripping down and marring the trunk. Make the undercut from below the branch, about 4 to 6 inches out from the trunk. Then cut from the top of the branch, just outside the lower cut. Lastly, use the saw to make a final cut close to the terminal base.
Read More

Brass Restoration

Here's how to restore the missing brass hardware on an antique door. The ghost image of original brass hardware is often visible. It can be replicated by tracing the impression. A cardboard template is made to scribe the design. The brass is cut on a bandsaw and smoothed with a belt sander. The piece is polished and installed on the door.
Read More

Blade Helpers

If you are about to change the blade on your bandsaw, dig out your small spring clamps to make the job easier. A new bandsaw blade can have a tendency to slip off of the top wheel while you try to get it on the lower wheel. Use a pair of small clamps to hold the blade on the top wheel while you slip it over the lower wheel and apply tension. Remove the clamps from the wheel before you begin making final adjustments.
Read More

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.
Read More

Blade Height

Before turning on your table saw, make sure that the height of the saw blade is no more than 1/2-in. and no less than 1/8-in. above the surface of the workpiece. When setting the height of your table saw, you want to balance the need for safety with effectiveness. The goal is to leave as little exposed blade as possible while still being able to cleanly saw through the wood. When too much of the blade is exposed above the workpiece, friction is increased and the chance of chipping is greater. Also, the higher the blade height, the greater the severity of injury.
Read More