You can save money by stocking up on your battery needs (AA, AAA, C, and D cells) when they are on sale. Discount store regularly feature them in their weekly ads.

Most brand name batteries carry a use by date that is several years in the future. You can, however, extend their storage life considerably longer if you place them in a deep freeze (one that maintains 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). They can be stored for over 10 years or more and still perform as if you had purchased them today. Freezing is also helpful if a battery powered device uses an odd number of batteries (3 cell flashlights for instance) and you have to buy three two packs or a six pack get the right number of cells. Then what do you do with the extras? Instead of leaving them in a draw to slowly self discharge-freeze them.

Before putting them into the freezer take them out of the original packaging. Separate them into pairs and wrap them in plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap), making sure that they are wrapped tightly to force out any air, then tape it shut. I usually place a scrap of paper in the package with the date written on it. I wrap a few batteries singly for those devices that require only one battery. When you need fresh batteries remove only what you require from the freezer and let them reach room temperature over several hours, then install them into you device.

Although it takes a bit of effort it is worth it knowing you have fresh batteries at hand.

A router is a “must have” for the serious woodworker. Practically every quality power tool manufacturer have several models in their line. They have motors of various power output from light duty to industrial applications. The less powerful have collets that take only 1/4″ bits while the heavier duty machines come with 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets. Variable speed models are the best choice as they allow you to control the speed when using different sized bits. With larger bits the motor should be run at a slower speed and the cuts should be relatively shallow. Several shallower cuts will give better results than trying to do a cut in one pass.

Routers are most commonly designated as fixed base and plunge base. The fixed base units can do much the same work as the plunge base machine but are more tedious in adjusting the depth of cut for each succesive pass than the plunge type. The plunge base router is best suited for repetitive cuts at varying depths. This router is equipped with several depth stops usually in a turret arrangement. Each depth stop is set to give a deeper cut than the previous one. The first stop is set for the initial cut. The turret is then turned to the next stop to give a slightly deeper cut while the last stop will give the final depth of cut. Once you have the stops adjusted correctly you can do cut after cut at precisely the the same depth without having to use a ruler or depth gauge for each pass.

The first thing that comes to mind about the router is decorative edging. There are any number of attractive bit profiles that can add that quality touch to your project such as Roman ogee, bullnose and beading, to mention just a few.

Edge decorating is just one of many tasks the router can be used for. With the right accessories you can do inlay work, cut dovetails, make stile and rail raised panel cabinet doors and do lettering for signs.

Some jobs can be done with the router guided by hand but for many applications a router table is essential for safety and ease of use.

When you need to drill holes in plaster or cinder block in order to install wall anchors/plugs don’t start with the exact drill bit size that the anchor calls for. Instead, first start with a bit two sizes smaller than required and then enlarge the hole with next larger size bit (you may at this point be able to tap the anchor into place without having to further enlarge the hole). The reason for this is simple: as the material you are drilling into tends to crumble you can end up with hole that is larger than than the anchor diameter. If you start with a smaller diameter bits and do it in stages you can usually avoid this mishap.

If the worse happens and you end up with a hole too big to give a snug fit to the anchor all is not lost. It can be fixed with polyurethane glue (Gorilla Glue is one popular brand). Apply a little water to the hole and the exterior of the anchor and then squirt a small amount of glue into the hole. Coat the anchor with a little glue and insert into the hole. Leave this for an hour or two.The beauty of polyurethane glue is that it swells as it cures, thus providing a nice tight fit for the anchor. You should then be able to drive in the screw without the anchor slipping as you tighten. Although this procedure is a little time consuming it can save you from having to resort to more complicated fixes.

If you notice the water flow from your kitchen or bathroom sink faucet isn’t what it used to be chances are there is a buildup of debris on the top surface of the aerator (the part that’s screwed into the spout).

Unscrew the aerator, being careful not to lose the rubber washer (it’s a good idea to cover the drain to avoid parts falling into the drain opening). Usually, you’ll see a layer of grit on the screen surface. Brush this off and then backflush the aerator with a good stream of water and then reinstall it into the spout. This should now give you a much better aerated flow pattern.

If there isn’t much improvement try this: remove the aerator, place it into a small plastic or glass container and pour in enough vinegar to cover it completely. Swish the liquid around for about 30 seconds and then place it to one side. Periodically agitate the vinegar and then set it aside again. Leave it for several hours or overnight if possible. Then install the aerator into the spout. This treatment should have definitely cleaned any mineral deposits from the interior of the aerator and you should now have a good flow of water.

The vinegar treatment can also be used on the clothes washer if you notice diminished water flow as it fills.

In this case turn off the hot and cold faucets that the water supply hoses are attached to. Unscrew the hoses from the faucets. Set the water temperature control on the washer to warm and set the machine to fill position. Briefly start machine for about five seconds (this will clear the water from the hoses). Don’t leave the machine on any longer than a few seconds or you could possibly burnout the water inlet valve solenoid. Next fill each hose with vinegar and prop them upright so they don’t drain out. Again, leave them standing for several hours. Then reattach hoses to the faucets, turn on water and set the machine to fill and start it up. This should have cleaned the screens of the water inlet valve and the water flow should be much improved.

The vinegar cleaning procedure usually works best in hard water areas. It is also non toxic and enviromentally friendly.

When they first came on the scene they left a lot to be desired, what with their short run time per battery charge and rather anemic motors. As with any new technology time has bought improvements on both fronts. It’s become commonplace to see tools offered in 18 volt, 19.2 volt, 24 volt and 28 volt designations. A few years ago 12 volt and 14.4 volt items were the real workhorses.

Battery technology has also kept pace with the more strenuous demands of the higher powered tools. The original nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) is still widely used by the vast majority of cordless tool manufacturers. However, lithium ion (Li-Ion) and nickel metal hydride (Ni-Mh) batteries are now being introduced by some makers. These have definite advantages over Ni-Cds (longer run times and quicker recharging are just two).

Today cordless tools can perform tasks that would have been unthinkable when they were first introduced. There were jobs that demanded corded tools. These are now easily performed with a cordless equivalent. Who would have thought that there would be cordless hammer drills, reciprocating best sawzall, jig saws or circular saws (Porter-Cable even have a cordless router).

If you are considering purchasing a new power tool don’t dismiss the cordless offerings from the various makers. When brute force is needed there is still a place for the corded type. But cordless are definitely capable of doing a variety of jobs.

The name brand tools usually come with two batteries and a charger. Consider buying a third or even a fourth battery at the same time. Also, every maker offers a flashlight in the various voltages of their lineup. This can be an invaluable addition to your kit. And that’s were the third or fourth battery proves useful.

Keep ‘em sharp-your drill bits, that is. Trying to drill holes with dull bits is not only frustrating but can also be dangerous. This is especially true when using the smaller diameter bits. The smaller sizes tend to flex more as pressure is applied to force the bit into the material. At any moment they can snap due to heat buildup and pressure.

The result can be painful. If you are supporting the material with one hand as you drill with the other, at the very least you might end up with a hole drilled into your hand as the drill jumps to the side when the bit gives way. More seriously that broken piece may end up flying into your eye if your not wearing safety glasses-another thing to keep in mind.