Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for April, 2011

Another Cheesy Idea

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Tired of dumping out a whole lot of grass seed where you just need a little? Just use an old parmesan cheese dispenser. The three-holed side dispenses seeds smoothly and evenly, or use the open side if you need more seeds for a big bare spot.

Grass Seed Container

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
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Sandpaper Slicer

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

To get clean cuts in sandpaper, you can simply screw a hacksaw blade to the side of a benchtop. It’s also a good idea to mount washers behind the blade to create a small gap for slipping in the paper.

Sandpaper Slicer

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)
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Replacing an Ordinary Mower Blade

Friday, April 15th, 2011

If you ever have to replace or remove an old mower blade for sharpening, it’s important to do it safely. The big challenge in this job is removing the old blade. Start by disconnecting the spark plug from the motor for safety. You want to remove any chance that the blade could spin and cause the motor to start.

Then turn the mower on its side. Ideally, the gas tank should be empty. And make sure you tip it so the carburetor is facing up to prevent fuel from spilling out.

Change a mower blade

Now you can remove the blade. It’s held in place with a bolt in the center. The problem is that when you try to loosen the bolt, the blade just turns. To prevent that, clamp a block of wood under the mower deck to jam the blade and stop it from turning (Photo, above). Now remove the bolt. They can be stubborn, so you may need a long wrench or a breaker bar.

Once you get the blade off, take it to the hardware store or the store where you bought the mower. Even if the blade is damaged, they may be able to sharpen it, which is cheaper than buying a new blade. If the blade is too beat-up, use it to get the correct size replacement.

Then you can reinstall the blade. You’ll need to rotate the blade so it again rests against the block of wood to prevent spinning. Just be sure to get it oriented correctly. It’s usually easy to tell, but not on all blades. If you place the blade upside down, the dull edges will be leading as it spins, and it will do a very poor job of cutting the grass.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Drywall Dust Catcher

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Drilling a hole in a ceiling can make a big mess, especially over carpet. To prevent that, start by driving your drill bit through the center of a plastic lid first. Then drill slowly to catch all of the dust.

Plastic Lid

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)
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Tips & Tricks for Painting Rusted Metal

Friday, April 1st, 2011

If you’d like to recover an old rusted item (like this tractor seat) with paint, it can often be challenging. Paint won’t stick to rusted metal, but getting rid of all the rust, especially on shaped pieces, can be difficult. Sandblasting is probably the best way to get rid of it.

But there is a way that you can paint a rusted metal piece like this seat without having to remove all the rust. The secret is to first coat the piece with a special rust-inhibiting primer. This type of primer actually changes the chemical composition of the rust to neutralize and encapsulate it, which prevents the rust from coming back through the paint. Rust-inhibiting primer has been used for years to help maintain cars and industrial equipment, so it will easily withstand your intended use. And now it’s available in any hardware store.

Plus, using the primer is easy. First, scrub the piece with detergent and water to get rid of dirt and grease. Then use a wire brush to remove any loose or flaking rust. You don’t need to get down to bare metal. Just get rid of the loose stuff.

Paint Metal

Now spray the seat with the rust-inhibiting primer. It covers the rust and leaves a paint-ready surface (Photo, above). You may need to apply several coats to fully seal the rust. You’ll know it’s sealed when the surface has a uniform color. Then just paint the seat with the color of your choice.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
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