Spring is a good time to paint fences and the exterior of your home, especially wood surfaces. This way, they will be protected from summer heat and sun. Wood decks should also be sealed once a year.
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.
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.
Never change your drill and router bits without first disconnecting the power cord.
Here's a tip on how to increase the life of old wooden gutters. The first step is to lay a new rubber liner along the inside the gutter. Adding copper flashing along the edge seals the liner, adds extra durability, and allows water to run off easily. Finally, add a second strip of rubber on top of the flashing for extra protection.
Making perfect dovetail joints can involve some shop practice, so consider starting out with a less-expensive jig that is designed for making only one or two types of joint styles. Then you can later work your way on up to the more expensive and versatile jigs that will let you make up to four or more styles of dovetails. With any dovetail jig, try to avoid using a router that is very light; heavier routers will produce crisper and cleaner cuts.
The big secret in finishing wood is in the sanding. To speed up the sanding of flat surfaces when using a vibrating sander, some pros will insert two sheets of sandpaper into the sander at the same time. Then, when the top layer becomes either worn or ripped, they simply tear it off and the second layer of sandpaper is already in place.
An easy way to make sure your garden tools are clean and rust-free is to use a bucket filled with a sand-oil mixture. Fill up a 5-gal. bucket with clean, dry sand, then lightly saturate it with new motor oil. When you are done using tools like shovels, forks and spades, scrape off excess soil and plunge them up and down in the mix. Small tools like trowels can also be cleaned the same way. Wipe the tools dry before storing.
When painting from a paint can, give it a half turn periodically throughout the job. Dipping the brush into the can alternately on one side of the can and then the other automatically keeps the contents stirred at the surface and prevents a surface film from forming. Also occasionally sweep the tip of the brush back and forth through the paint, especially with a fast-drying latex.
To take measurements inside an area like a cabinet drawer, use your measuring tape from inside edge to inside edge. Take the reading and then add on the length of the tape housing which is often stamped on the case. Another way is to use your tape along with a combination square. Position the square upside down in one corner and pull the case past the square's blade. Select a number on the blade, and add the length of the tape.