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CUT YOUR CLEANUP TIME IN HALF WITH HANDY WORKSHOP TIPS

Whether it's a repair or a hobby project, getting the job done in your workshop can often be messy and sometimes hazardous. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems:

Work clothes

- Never wear a watch, ring, neck chain or any other piece of jewelry when working with a power tool. Mount a bright-colored hook over your workbench to hold these items. The hook will remind you to take them off when you come into the shop, and best of all, you'll always know where you put them.

- Can't find your rubber or work gloves when you need them? Just use a binder clip (available from office supply stores) to hang them on a hook in full view.

- Rub clear silicone sealant onto the palms of your work gloves. Once the sealant cures, you'll be able to get a much firmer grip with the gloves.

- To cut down on the likelihood of slipping on a dust-strewn floor, wear rubber-soled shoes.

- Tired of fumbling to tie your shop apron behind your back? Replace the strings with a single piece of half-inch twill tape - a standard sewing item. Sew the tape to one side of the apron. Then attach it snugly and neatly to the other side of the apron with Velcro fasteners.

- Here's an easy way to make disposable aprons for messy chores. Keep a box of plastic garbage bags with built-in handles in your shop. When you need an apron, trim off the bottom of a bag, then pull the bag over your head, slipping your arms through handles.

Eyewear

- Do your reading glasses keep falling out of your shirt when you bend over? Attach a removable metal clip from a ballpoint pen to one of your glasses' stems. Position the clip so that it catches comfortably in your pocket.

- Don't rely on ordinary eyeglasses to protect your eyes. Wear special protective safety glasses with side shields, safety goggles or a face shield.

- Clean your goggles in a matter of seconds with window clean and a paper towel.

- Because of the static electricity that builds up in dry shop air, fine sawdust tends to stick to safety glasses. To cut static and remove dust, wipe the surface with a sheet of fabric softener - one already used in the dryer so that it won't scratch or smear.

- To keep a plastic face shield clean and scratch-free, cover the front with clear plastic wrap. It won't affect your vision and, when it gets dirty, you can just peel it off and replace it.

Hands

- Before beginning a messy job, coat your exposed skin lightly with petroleum jelly. It keeps paint or grease from getting into pores and washes off with soap.