Literally tens of thousands of tools are in the market place, tools that have been developed over the years to perform specific tasks and solve specific problems. Some are very expensive and intended for the professional while others are low cost, will last a lifetime and, for the craftsman with little experience, eliminate a costly mistake. Illustrated are two fine examples, an Automatic Screw Hole Center Punch and a No-slip Nail Set.
If you have ever mounted a pair of hinges on a door you know the importance of making certain the hinge is in an exact position so the door will swing freely and accurately. How the hinges are screwed in place determine the accuracy, and if the hinge drifts every so slightly when screwed in place, the door will not swing properly. The pros can eyeball a screw so it can be driven in the exact center but we homeowners should use the screw hole center punch illustrated. The tool consists of a sharp punch mounted in a tubular casting that has a spring to hold the punch in the retracted position. The tip of the tube is machined to the same shape as the hinge hole countersink. Set the punch in the hole and it will automatically be centered (Figure A).
Drive the plunger with a hammer and the sharp tip will spring down and dig into the wood in the exact center. The centered hole will also make it easier to start the screw. Finally, use a screwdriver to drive it home (Figure B).
The same shaped tool with a retracting spring uses a blunt plunger to set a finish nail below the surface is the No-slip Nail Set illustrated. While most pros and home owners also have a few individual nail sets of various sizes, it is also quite common to incur a few hammer misses in the nailing process, misses that will dent the wood and require filling and sanding. To prevent such occurrences the no-slip nail set was invented because it does just that, prevent the hammer head from slipping and damaging the wood. The technique is simple; start the nail so the head is about 1/4 inch from the surface and then set the no-slip nail set over the head (Figure C).
Then tap the plunger and it will push the nail below the surface without risking damage to the molding. Two size units are available, one for 4 and 6 penny nails and a smaller size for brads. Manufactured by Stanley Tools, distribution is widespread in home centers, lumber yards and hardware stores but since Stanley markets thousands of products in various categories, if you cannot locate a source call their Customer Service department at 1-800-650-6199. Incidentally, the cost of each item is in the five dollar range.