Tip Trader: Shutoff Access and Clean Staining

Home-improvement enthusiasts share their home and workshop hints.

Seaworthy Shutoff Solution
When Club member Paul Dix of Annapolis, Maryland, planned to remodel his wife's basement craft room, he knew he had a problem. Because the ceiling was low, he wouldn't be able to use a conventional drop ceiling. Yet he'd need occasional access to shutoff valves in the space overhead. Paul took a lesson from his boating experience and installed 4-in. bulkhead access ports (purchased from a local marine supply store) in the ceiling. Now he can reach those water valves whenever necessary, and his ceiling has a clean, professional look.

Two-Sided Tip
Club member Michael Whitley of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was looking for a cleaner way to stain wooden buttons for woodworking projects. To prevent staining his hands, he applies double-sided carpet tape to a scrap board, peels off the paper tape backing and sticks wooden buttons onto the exposed tacky surface. The tape holds the pieces firmly while he applies stain, and he can reuse the same strip several times. Once the tape becomes clogged with stain, he just applies a new tape strip over it.