DIY projects around the home are a great way to save money but can end up taking more time and energy than if you hired a contractor, and can sometimes give you less-than-perfect results. Many home DIYers have both the tools and the know-how to get started on their DIY projects but lack the insider tips and tricks to speed up their progress and get a professional looking finish on their work.
As a result, projects often remain unfinished or you need to spend more money to fix your project than you would have originally spent. Cut down your work time and make your life easier by using these tool hacks to help you complete any DIY project.
A drill is a small but powerful rotating motor, so you can use a drill for other purposes aside from drilling holes. Many of these hacks will come in handy when you don’t have the specific tools for a DIY job, and you don’t want to spend the money on a tool that you will probably only use once. A good quality drill can always help you out of a DIY jam.
Cutting a Bolt to Fit
If you have a bolt that is just a bit too long, you can trim the bolt and leave a clean edge by using a power drill and a hacksaw.
First, mark the place on the bolt where you want to cut. Screw on a nut until just below the mark, then screw another nut underneath and tighten to secure. Attach the bolt to your power drill. Steadily hold the blade of the hacksaw against the mark on the bolt and run the drill. Once the saw has cut through most of the bolt, just twist off the part of the bolt you want to use.
Make a Concrete Mixer
If you have a project that requires a small amount of concrete, and you don’t have a mixer bit for your drill, you can make a DIY mixer from kitchen utensils.
There are two options for making a DIY concrete mixer: a wire whisk or a hand-held mixer blade. If you use the wire whisk, you will need to use pliers to remove the hanging loop from the end before you attach it to the drill. Or, if you don’t want to destroy your whisk, use the mixer blade, which can attach directly to the drill by tightening the chuck.
Drilling Screws into Resistant Wood
If you have ever tried DIY woodworking and have had trouble getting screws to go into the wood without damage the finish, this hack is for you.
Simply find a block of hard soap and rub the screw in the soap to coat it. Otherwise, if you don’t have hard soap, you can use your builder’s pencil. Every DIYer should have a builder’s pencil in their essential toolkit. The graphite in the pencil is very slippery and will lubricate nails and screws in a pinch.
Other Power Tool Hacks
Buffing Wood Finish with a Sander
If you are refurbishing old wooden furniture, you need to buff the finish with fine steel wool to get a professional-looking shine. Manual buffing takes a lot of arm work, so, to make your life easier, buff your wooden furniture with an orbit sander.
Attach a very fine sanding pad to the sander, and the rotations will gently polish any dull wooden surface to a high shine. It will get it done it half the time as manual sanding.
Gluing with an Air Compressor
Some DIY projects require you to spends hours working glue into cracks with tiny brushes or toothpicks. Glue in a fraction of that time by using your compressor.
Squeeze a line glue along the crack and then blast along the crack with the air compressor to drive the glue inside. As a bonus, it starts the drying process to complete your project quicker.
This trick also works well with varnish. If you want to ensure you won’t have an ugly unstained line on any surrounding wood panel on your woodworking projects, use your compressor to blow the varnish into the groove, cracks, and corners.
Hand Tool Hacks
Cut a PVC Pipe with String
Cutting already mounted PVC pipes in tight places is tricky if you don’t have the specialized equipment available. This quick and easy hack will make slicing through pipes a breeze.
Simply cut a small notch on the accessible side of the pipe to give your string something to grip on to. Then pass the string around the back of the pipe and move it back and forth until the piece of pipe comes loose. It takes less time than you think and couldn’t be easier.
Cut Ceramic Tiles with a Glass Cutter
For landscaping or retiling bathrooms and kitchens, you often need to cut tiles to make them fit the dimensions of the space you have. Unfortunately, power tile cutters are expensive, so, unless you are going to use them frequently, they may not be worth the investment. Try this hack instead for a cheap and easy solution to your DIY tiling problem.
Mark on the tile where you want to cut, then submerge that part of the tile in water for at least 2 hours. When you take the tile out of the water, lay the tile on a steady, firm surface with the part to be cut off hanging over the edge. Run your glass cutter along the mark, and then snap the tile off. Soaking the tile in water helps to soften the material and create a clean edge.
Use a Magnet to Keep Your Nails Close By
Magnets are useful items to have around the house. They are useful for so much more than just keeping things on your refrigerator. They can be helpful for many different life hacks, but, for DIY projects, you can use magnets so you never need to go searching for the right nail or screw ever again.
Use a hot glue gun and glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer to keep your nails close by. Alternatively, put a sweat band around your wrist, hide a magnet underneath and store the nails or screws on top of the magnet.
If you want to keep track of your screws while using your power drill, simply attach a magnet to the top of the chuck. Not only will this keep your screws handy, but it will also hold the screw in the drill bit more securely.
DIY projects can save you money but end up being more effort than they are worth if you don’t have the right tools on hand. Fortunately, there are some tool hacks that you do with your hand and power tools to help make your life easier when completing DIY projects. Try some of these simple hacks next time you have a project, and see just how easy and effective they are.
By Randy Burg of FastToolNow