Tip Trader: Spark-Plug Socket Mod. and More

Handyman Club members share their home and workshop hints.

Spark-Plug Socket Mod
If you’ve ever changed spark plugs, you know how frustrating it can be when the socket won’t release from the spark plug socket and instead pops off of the extension and stays behind in a hard-to-reach spark-plug well. To prevent this problem, Club member Vic Strauch of Citrus Heights, California, modifies his spark-plug sockets. He first drills a 9/64-in. hole perpendicular to one of the faces of the socket’s drive shank. He then uses a No. 8-32 tap to thread the hole and installs a matching set screw. When he snaps the socket onto an extension, he simply tightens the set screw to prevent the socket from popping off. This tip works great for low-torque spark plug sockets, but you shouldn’t modify any regular-use sockets this way because the drilled hole could cause the socket to crack as higher torque is applied.

Gutter Protection
Club member Jerry Komassa of Muskego, Wisconsin, came up with this practical way to keep his ladder from damaging his home’s gutters. Simply slip a length of pipe insulation around each of the ladder’s uprights at the points where it rests against the gutter. The insulation will protect the gutters, and it can easily be repositioned to accommodate different gutter heights.

Great Grinding
To make working with his angle grinder easier, Club member Stewart Bush of Woodbine, Maryland, created an adjustable grinding workstation. He started with a scrap of laminate countertop, through which he cut two opposing slots for the grinder’s mounting bolts. The slots allow Stewart to adjust the position of the grinder to better accept long workpieces in his small shop, and because the workstation is mounted directly to the wall, there’s no base cabinet to get in his way when he’s working up close.