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Why Didn't I Think of That ?


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Show us the tools you have made that are a head slapper,  as you say "why didn't I think of that"? 


A piece of metal to hold a belt in place while you attach the belt to the pulley.

Why didn't I think of that ??


To use in the garden to lay out straight rows.

Why didn't I think of that ??


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Greetings All,


At Glens request he ask me to post under this thread a few of my famous " Why didn't I think of that tools "


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First a simple multi position welding jig made from 1/4 plate for placement in a vise to hold small parts for welding ..   The cut out is handy for open area welds.   It works great for TIG welding with a nice flat surface to rest your hand...  Once you have made one you will find many uses other than welding..



 post-30666-0-39454900-1417494546_thumb.j  post-30666-0-04991800-1417494610_thumb.j 


Second my vice jaw spacers


A simple group of 1/8 spacers on a bar in place of all the make shift spacer blocks that we can never find..


Great easy to make tools that will serve you well.


Forge on and make beautiful things


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Jim - glad to see you posting here, I hadn't seen the welding jig, and I'm sure you have some other gems not posted yet....


I'll make a small contribution (forgive the poor quality cell phone pic). Although others may have done this already, I haven't seen it that I can recall. I don't have a swage and wanted to start making fry pans, bowls, etc, so welded a hardy stem onto a short piece of thick walled pipe which I radius the edges of. It works quite well and I have produced various sized and shaped items using it.




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One that occurred to me is common practice among electricians.  A set of water pump (channel lock) pliers with the dipped plastic stripped off the handles makes a great inside and outside diameter thinwall pipe reamer.


Holding the pliers by the inside handle with your thumb on the lower jaw allows you to adjust the opening one handed.  Set the jaws a little loose relative to the pipe diameter and rotate the pipes edge into the upper jaw.  On hot-dipped galvanized conduit the jaws will debur, ream, and smooth the outer diameter in a couple of rotations.  Some journeyman tap the side of the jaws against a freshly cut pipe edge to knock the burrs to one side before reaming.


Set the jaws far enough apart that the handle tips will fit inside the diameter of the pipe.  Holding the pliers near the pivot push into the pipe and rotate.  The drop forging of the pliers typically leaves a separation line along the outside edge of the handles.  That neatly engages any burrs before smoothing the interior edge to a nice taper.


With practice it's possible to debur and ream a freshly cut edge of thinwall pipe in a couple of minutes.  This works best on pipes from 1/2" to about 1-1/2".  After that, it's better to use a half round file.

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I learned it early and take it as given, but some people who see me doing it have never seen it before:

For a clean cut with a hacksaw, measure where to cut and grind a small notch with a file. The saw will bite immediately and not slide to the sides.  

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I've done something similar with a reciprocating saw.  Getting the blade to grab the right spot is half the battle!


You reminded me of another trick relating to pipe/ round sections.


A standard metal measuring tape will wrap around a pipe.  You can wrap the marked side of the tape around and over itself which gives a perfect 90 degree line around the pipe.  We would often use our measuring tapes to scribe a pencil or ink line around the pipe.  When cutting it's often easier to stay straight if you rotate the pipe such that the uncut side is facing the operator.


With just a little practice it's possible to get a very nice edge.


Another related tip is using a ladder as a pipe or unistrut saw bench.  A right handed person sticks the pipe through the open "A" of the ladder extending the "to be cut" end through the third or fourth step.  The cut line is extended past the right side of the ladder and the left knee and left hand press the pipe against the ladder.  For most folks, their left foot is resting on the first step. 


A less stable and comfortable version of this is to stick the to be cut end of the pipe between your legs at knee level.  Again for a right handed person, the left knee is on the ground and closes over the long side of the pipe, and the right knee presses down on the pipe.  This option is best for pipe 3/4" and smaller since it's pretty uncomfortable for any appreciable length of time.


We didn't get pipe vices unless we were running rigid conduit.  An apprentice who didn't learn to cut the conduit square wouldn't last long.

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Get a couple of big cheap magnets from HF and make a bracket to attach a piece of copper tubing to. You can put these on the other side of the sheet metal and weld on the opposite side, very short welds.


Here the magnet/heat sink




I was patching up the firewall on my old truck.  I'd rotate the two heat sinks around the area until it was completely welded.

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When I was testing my 1st blown forge I used a plastic lid from a coffee can as an air gate, it was just handy, roughly the size of the squirrel cage fan and light enough to be held in place by suction.

Just so happens that a backfire will pop the lid off the fan and the increased air pushes the fire back where it belongs.

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