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4 Favorite Shop Tips

4 Favorite Shop Tips

Here are a few of our favorite tips for building, staying organized and making the most out of everyday items. What are some of your go-to tips and tricks? Share them in the comments section!



Razor saws are handy for cutting various materials, but their teeth sometimes “snag” the material, especially during long cuts on hardwood. Here’s an old woodworking trick that works equally well for modeling. Rub a slightly damp bar of soap on both sides of the saw blade. The soap acts as a lubricant and helps the razor saw cut smoothly without catching its teeth on the cut edge.



Did you ever find it difficult to take inside measurements in confined areas, such as the inside of a fuselage or between wing ribs? You can make a simple measuring gauge using two pieces of telescoping brass or aluminum tubes. Cut suitable lengths of ¼- inch-o.d. and 9/32-inch-o.d. tubes, and insert the small-diameter tube inside the larger one and then collapse the mechanism. Place the gauge in the area to be measured, and pull the tubes apart until they touch both sides. Mark and withdraw the gauge, and measure its length. You now have the inside measurement that you need.




Your control over an airplane is only as secure as the plane’s servo-extension connections. Try this tip to make sure that yours don’t come loose during an aggressive aerobatic maneuver or a bumpy landing. Simply take the leads and cross them over into a half-knot, then plug them together. Any tension on the leads will draw the knot tighter and make it next to impossible for the connection to come undone. And if you ever need to disconnect them, you won’t have to mess with tape or glue joints.




Sometimes you need to drill a hole in a place that your drill bit can’t quite reach. A way to extend the bit’s length is to use a fiberglass arrow shaft or brass tubing as an extension. A couple of drops of thin CA will securely hold the drill bit in the shaft. Using different-size fiberglass and brass tubes will accommodate bits of different sizes. Just be sure to plug the open end of the tube with a dowel so that you don’t crush the tube when it’s chucked in the drill.



Send in a photo or sketch describing your favorite shop trick to: Shop Tips, c/o Electric Flight, 88 Danbury Rd., Suite 2B, Wilton, CT 06897, or email us at Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Updated: September 1, 2016 — 11:28 AM


Add a Comment
  1. Telescoping brass tubes a great idea! Also use an old FM telescoping antenna for the same purpose and get up to about 30 inches.

  2. On your measuring device the telescopic tubing add an internal spring so that you can work hands free while measuring. Just plug up the large end with leftover dowel rod and plug the small end up too so the spring has solid contact points. Now both hands will be free to do other things instead of holding it in place so that it doesn’t fall. Your measurement will be more precise.

  3. Great ideas. I’m not sure I would tie servo leads together. The stress on the wires at the plugs could lead to damage. Better to use shrink tubing, or just cut off the plugs and solder the wires for a perm fix

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