Tip Trader: Table Saw Fence Check and More

Home-improvement enthusiasts share their home and workshop hints.

Pop-can tab picture hanger
Club member Larry VanMaastricht of Waupaca, Wisconsin, wanted to hang a picture one afternoon, but when he went into his shop to retrieve the tools and supplies needed for the task, he realized that he was out of picture-hanging hardware. Unable to run to the local hardware store at that moment, Larry decided to relax and have a soda instead. Then inspiration struck: He noticed that the soda-can tab would make a perfect picture-hanging hook. He removed the tab and drove a screw through one of its openings into the picture frame, leaving the other opening available to hook onto the fastener in the wall.

Sprinkler-valve illumination
Tired of fumbling around inside the dark hole that houses the on/off valve for his sprinkler system, Club member Dennis Henry of Pueblo, Colorado, devised this solution. He purchased a small LED flashlight and attached its lanyard to a long string. The light can be lowered into the hole, illuminating the valve and making it much easier and quicker for Dennis to attach the key and turn the sprinkler system on and off.

Table saw fence check
Frustrated by inconsistent results with his table saw, Club member James Coulter of Kerrville, Texas, created this tool to check the alignment of his table saw fence. He cut a scrap piece of oak to fit inside the slots on the table saw surface; then he drilled holes in the oak piece to fit a 1/2-in. dowel and an eye screw to secure the dowel in place. When the fence is set for a desired cut, James uses the jig to check the infeed and outfeed ends of the fence and makes slight adjustments where necessary to ensure that the fence and blade are precisely parallel before making the cut.