Clever construction tips to make your life easy
13 November 2019

Every builder has some tips and tricks that can help to reduce waste, save time and improve profit margins. Here are some ideas to streamline your building process.

Draw a ruler on your workshop floor. It won’t be precise, but for rough cuts on large pieces of timber, it can really speed things up.

A vintage punch-hole can opener is the perfect tool for removing old caulk while an empty coffee jar with a plastic lid is perfect for your paintbrushes. Cut an X in the lid and stick the handle of the paintbrush through it. Pour solvent in the can and close the lid. The lid prevents the solvent from evaporating while holding the brush in the right position for the bristles to be in the solvent without bending. Still got paint in the can? Before you clean your brush, paint a line on the outside of the can to mark the paint level and so you can see the colour without opening it.

Got a hole in a hollow door? Fill with spray foam so it’s above the surface and leave it to cure. Shave off the excess so it’s just below the surface of the door. Fill with drywall compound, sand and repaint. If you need to shave a bit off a door, you don’t need to take it off the hinges. Flip the sanding disk on your drill around so it faces the chuck. Place cardboard under the door to protect the floor and sand under the door, applying upward pressure.

Don’t damage your gutters every time you want to work on the roof. Where you intend to place your ladder, drive two 7-inch galvanised spikes with 5-inch ferrules (metal bands) into the gutters where each side of the ladder will rest. This will reinforce the gutter and prevent them from caving in or cracking when you lean the ladder against them.

Dropped a small part on the floor and can’t find it? Rest a flashlight on the floor and turn it in a circle. The shadow cast by your small part will make it easier to find.

If you need to make a really long cut with a circular saw, your metal extension ladder makes a great straight edge. Use clamps to keep it in place.

An old block of rigid foam is perfect for holding your drill bits. Push them almost all the way in so it won’t be top-heavy.

If you break the head off a nail trying to pry it out, clamp the top of the nail with locking pliers and pry under it with the pry bar.

Remove the kinks from wire by drilling a hole only slightly bigger than the wire in an 8-inch long piece of 2×2. Thread the wire through the hole and clamp it in a vice. Pull the wood along the length of the wire to straighten it.

Carrying large sheets of OSB or drywall alone? Take an 18-foot length of rope and tie the ends together. Hook the rope loop around the bottom corners of the sheet, gather the two sides in the middle and you have a nice handle.

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