Tip Trader: Clamp, Sander and Jig

Home-improvement enthusiasts share their home and workshop hints.

Stacking panel clamps
“I built myself a set of stacking panel clamps using 2x4 lumber, threaded rod, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW) salvaged from a sawmill and skate laces,” says Club member Jeff Warkentin of Leoville, Saskatchewan, Canada. He cut the rod into short pieces to serve as clamping posts and cut teardrop cams out of the UHMW. “I maintain clamping tension by cinching the cams together with the laces,” Jeff adds. He has employed this clamping system to create panels out of reclaimed barn boards, which he uses to build blanket boxes.

Corner-sanding tool
Club member Phil Duck of Columbia, South Carolina, created this easy-to-use handheld sanding tool for quick detail jobs. It features an ergonomic handle, and the face is cut to accommodate self-adhering triangular sanding pads. “The tool is comfortable to work with and saves me the trouble of finding and setting up a full-size electric sander when I’m busy working on a project,” Phil says.

Measuring an opening
“I’ve found that two sticks of wood can form the perfect tool to take measurements of an inside opening, such as a door or window frame,” says Club member James Edwards of Northport, Alabama. He recommends holding two sticks side by side so that the opposite ends touch the opposite edges of the opening. Secure the sticks with a spring clamp and you’ll have a portable measurement story stick of the dimension.

James suggests taking this tip a step further by screwing a piece of plywood to each stick, as shown in the photos; then scribing and cutting the plywood pieces to fit the exact shape of the opening. This works as a jig for projects such as creating a door threshold.