Maintenance shop hacks

Try these tips to make shop life a little easier.


Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course

Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course
After grappling with magnets falling out of magnetized nut drivers (top), we tried adding thin liquid “super glue” to new nut drivers to hold the magnets in place (bottom). So far, the magnets are staying put, and dirt and metal flakes are easier to remove from the drivers. Photos by Scott Nesbitt

Glue for magnetic sockets?

After several nut-driver sockets lost their magnets, we dribbled liquid cyanoacrylate adhesive (super glue) into the sockets, after removing dirt and oil with brake-cleaner spray. Capillary action pulled the thin liquid into the pocket holding the magnets.

After a month or so, no nuts or bolts have fallen out of a magnetized nut driver when working upside down and contorted while fighting fasteners on a grimy, greasy machine. The coating of dried adhesive also makes it a little easier to clean dirt and tiny metal flakes out of the magnetized sockets. Worth trying.

Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course
A thicker version of PTFE pipe wrap tape worked great for threaded pipes and served nicely to wrap soldered electrical wires. The tape is a great insulator but should be wrapped with cloth wire harness tape as a final coat for abrasion resistance and to prevent unwinding.

A multipurpose tape?

A retired master plumber suggested I try Hercules Megatape for wrapping threaded pipe joints while installing air lines in my garage. It excelled. This tape is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, or Teflon) tape. It’s gray and is a bit thicker and a lot more stretchable and flexible than typical white pipe-thread tape. This tape sticks to itself nicely when finishing your wrap.

Because PTFE is an excellent electricity insulator and survives temperatures up to 500 degrees, I’ve started using it on soldered wire repairs. I cover the Megatape with cloth “wire harness” tape and find the assembly stays tightly wrapped better than regular vinyl electrical tape — and there’s no gummy black tape residue left on wires when they need to be unwrapped.

Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course
Purchased to replace a test probe with a burned-out bulb, this pen-type multimeter added many functions that made trouble shooting much easier. It even has its own headlight to help guide the probe in tight places.

Better than a test light?

After the bulb burned out in my old 12-volt test light, I hunted for a new one and came across a pen-type multimeter for about $20 on Amazon … just a few bucks more than some of the sturdier-looking bulb-type testers. I decided to give it a try. It was worth the gamble. 

It’s a real digital multimeter that tests AC and DC voltage, ohms, diode orientation, and even the frequency and phase of AC circuits. You can let it automatically decide what type of test to use or select the function. It has a continuity squealer loud enough to be heard and even has a LED “headlight” so you can see what you’re probing. There are many brands of these pen-probe multimeters available. The hardest part of using mine was downloading the “Kaiweets ST120-US_Japan Manual” to understand all its functions.

Scott R. Nesbitt is a freelance writer and former GCSAA staff member. He lives in Cleveland, Ga.

You may also like: Vintage chill killer