Everyday Woodworking Podcast Ep 21
Tools I Can’t Live Without #1
Hey everyone. I’m Ricky with Everyday Woodworking, your Podcast Home for tips, tricks and information on how to make the most of your woodworking time and money, every day.
Alright, alright, alright…well, look at us. All up in episode 21! Can you believe that!? That’s pretty awesome, man. I am excited to see those numbers going up.
Well, welcome back to the show. In case you didn’t catch it, I’m Ricky Fitzpatrick and this is the Everyday Woodworking podcast.
We’re just basically superheroes here, making woodworking magic and miracles happen. Making look easy.
You know one of the things I’m discovering that I really enjoy is building out new internal series with the show. Like, creating a series that we can add to…like our Q&A shows or Woodworking Myths. That’s a lot of fun. And you know, if you’re like not all that into one particular thing that we discuss say this week, then next week, we might just jump into something completely different.
Anyway, I’m starting up a new series this week. As I was out on the shop earlier, I got to noticing that there are certain tools that use every day. I mean like every, single, dadgum day! And a lot of them are so unexpected. Like, things that I never anticipated needing when I started, but today, I couldn’t make it without them.
So I wanted to start talking about Tools I Can’t Live Without.
Every time we post a new episode on this topic, I’ll share my thoughts and some info on one tool that I absolutely cannot make it without in the shop. I think this will be a lot of fun. Plus, it really opens the door for a lot of discussion and hopefully some suggestions for future episodes.
Tools I Can’t Live Without.
But before we reveal this week’s indispensable piece of hardware, let’s take a quick break. Then we’ll come right back and kick this show in gear…
THE PAINTER’S PYRAMID
You know when we started Apple Valley Farm (our woodworking business), I had an idea of what I’d need as far as tools go. Obviously a drill, a chop saw, a sander, yada, yada, yada. Basic woodworking tools. And my shop was (and still is) very small, so I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of room for a bunch of tools.
Nevertheless, I had a vision of at least a healthy collection of reasonably specialized tools.
But small shops don’t always have the luxury of space and budget for a plethora of task-specific tools. We tend to gravitate to more universal items that can be used in lots of applications.
Still though one thing I discovered pretty quickly, is that whether it was a general use or highly specialized tool, there were tools I would wind up using, and needing, virtually every day…and many that I never anticipated needing to buy.
And that’s what I wanted to tell you about today. This “tool” is something I use almost daily, but I never thought about needing it until I started using it.
It’s my Painter’s Pyramids.
Your painter’s whats…?
My Painter’s Pyramids. They’re made by Hyde Tools and these guys, are available just about anywhere, in store and online. I know, if you aren’t familiar with them, then you’re probably thinking that sounds dumb. And that’s what I thought too. In the beginning, at least.
I don’t even know how I wound up with these. Probably some impulse buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
That’s sort of my MO…just buying things completely out of the blue. I used to do that when I was a teenager. I’d go to the record store (yes, a record store) and just…browse.
I’d just look for hours. Reading the album notes, looking at the cover art. And if something jumped out at me…I’d buy it. Just to see. Who knows how many incredible artists I stumbled on because of buying an album just for the cover art! (Thank you, Petra, for hooking a young man, early on!)
Now, I browse the tool aisles! LOL!
So chances are, I was wandering the aisles at the local home improvement center, and I saw these flashy, red pyramid thingys, just calling out to me.
That was probably 6 years ago. Mine are red. I think they’re yellow now. Plastic. About 2 inches tall. And they’re shaped like pyramids. Mine came 10 to a pack.
But wait…what do they do?!
Oh yeah… Well, they go under whatever I’m painting to help hold it up off the surface of my worktable.
Bam. That’s it. How ingenious! Right?
And that’s pretty convenient if I’m painting the top and sides, but even moreso if I’m painting both top and bottom.
You know how it is, you need to paint the sides of something, but if you leave it flat on the work table, it leaves a messy line as it dries. Especially if you put some newspaper or cardboard up under your piece before you painted it. Ugh! What a mess.
Or if you throw a couple of scrap one bys up under it, then it’s never stable. Or it slides around every time you breathe on it.
Well the Painter’s Pyramids really do sort of solve just about any support problem.
They get everything UP. Up off the work surface so the whole process is just way, way cleaner and neater.
They come to a pretty defined point on their tops, so your work piece doesn’t slide around as easily. Plus, they’re all the same height, so everything’s level (assuming your work table is level!).
Also, they’re just one piece of chemically-resistant, durable plastic. Nothing to repair. Nothing to fall off. No genetically modified, nano-bionic, Bluetooth enabled thing. Just simple, one piece, easy. And frankly, the simpler it is, the better!
I say this in light of breaking the collet holder on my router today. It’s a cheap Ryobi fixed base router. I think I paid like $30 at the refurb store. But still, when it breaks, it’s a big chunk of my day, getting back up to speed. Lots of moving parts…lots to break down.
But my little pyramids…still rockin’ strong.
They claim they can hold up to 200 pounds. IMO that’s pretty hard to believe, but hey, who knows. I know I’ve had some pretty hefty stuff on mine and they’ve never deformed.
I have no idea what I paid for them, six years ago. Probably around $5. They’re $6.99 now, on Amazon. (See the link, below.) And to be honest, seven bucks for 10 of these is a steal. I’d buy several packs and always have them handy. They are a lifesaver when you get into a painting job.
Chances are, if you’re a prepper, you should throw these in your bug out bag. If we have a Zombie Apocalypse, you’ll probably be able to save mankind with them. Or at least paint a No Trespassing sign. LOL!
When you finish your painting and go to store them away, they nest, neatly and stack right up, taking up almost no space on the shelf.
They also come with tabs on one side of the base so you can tack them securely in place, if they happen to be prone to move around on your work table. Very nice.
Each pyramid also comes with holes in each side, that I used to think were just part of a material-saving design. But they’re actually designed to accept a dowel through the holes that would also help keep them securely in place. Pretty dadgum ingenious.
And…if that wasn’t enough, they interlock together to form interesting little supports for even things like round dowels or odd shaped crown molding. There’s almost nothing you can’t hold with these bad boys.
I will warn you…remember I said the points are pretty defined? So if you have soft material that has a little weight, it could leave a pin point dent in your work surface. That’s wood, BTW.
And if you have something like a canvas or cardboard or fabric, it might not be the best painting tool for that. The pyramids will almost certainly poke a hole in some softer material.
Also, I’d suggest using more rather than fewer. Meaning, don’t be shy about using a lot of them under your workpiece. The more you use the better supported it will be. I use mine a lot when we paint 5 ½ foot 1X12’s for signs. On those, I put two at each end, just a couple of inches in from the end, then spread 6 more out between them. That gives me lots of coverage and keeps the board plenty stable.
And keep in mind, if you paint, then flip and paint the other face of something, if the piece slips around (wet paint and pointy tops), it’s going to leave a streak. So my tips…if you’re going to do that, paint the back or least noticeable side first, in case you have any issues.
Well how was that? Number One of our Tools I Can’t Live Without series!
I think it sort of came across as an infomercial. That wasn’t my intent. FYI, Hyde Tools is not a sponsor or advertiser of this episode, so I’m not plugging their stuff. I genuinely love these Pyramids. So my goal was just to tell you all I could about them and share my experience in using them.
Hopefully we did that.
And inevitably, there will be things that I’ve overlooks, forgotten or completely gotten wrong about these guys. If you notice any of that, then let me know.
And otherwise, I hope you dig this idea and you go buy a bunch of them. IMO, they’re just freaking awesome. No small shop should be without a couple dozen, scattered about.
A last couple of things, as always…if you enjoyed this episode, please take a second and leave us a great review. It makes such a difference for us…especially if listen on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
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OK. That’s it. Have a great day. Thank you so much for being here and for making it possible for us to be here!
Hope to see you next time…right here, on Everyday Woodworking.
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