Tip Trader: Sharper Chains and More

Home-improvement enthusiasts share their home and workshop hints.

Handy Applicator Holder
If cans of spray lubricant came with built-in holsters to prevent their plastic applicator tubes from getting lost, Club member John Kriegshauser of Chicago, Illinois, wouldn't have needed to try this new spin on an old trick. Before you lose one more applicator, take a 5-in. length of plastic soda straw, and starting 1-1/2 in. from the bottom, make two cuts as shown in the drawing. Fold the straw and tape it to the side of the can. The collapsed portion of the straw that results from the cuts creates a gentle pinching action that retains the applicator tube when it's inserted, even if the can is turned upside down.

Fast Chain Saw Sharpening
Club member Karen Jean Saverda of Fairbanks, Alaska, uses her chain saw a lot and likes to keep a few extra sharpened chains on hand. To help speed the process of sharpening all those chains, she devised this simple jig. Use a handsaw to cut a slot down the middle of the top and side edges of a 14-in. length of 2x6, and make the cut no greater than the depth of the handsaw blade's teeth. Clamp the 2x6 in a bench vise; then simply lay the chain in the slot -- the slot will keep the chain secure as you file the teeth.