Clean a nut driver with putty

It would drive me nuts after spending good money on a nice set of magnetized nut drivers and within a couple months of use, the fasteners wouldn’t even begin to hold due to the buildup of dirt and shavings. I needed a solution that involved equipment I had with me every day: plumber’s putty.

Take a ball of warm putty and push it down into the end of your nut driver, leaving a fair amount sticking out. Now freeze it, or get it as cold as possible. Ok, yes I admit I casually dropped my driver in a customer’s freezer a few times.

After the putty is good and cold, a pair of needle nose pulls out not only the plumbers putty but everything else that didn’t belong! 

Craig Seewagen

Seewagen Contracting Services LLC

Pottstown, Penn..


Dry pipe with a turkey baster

Just in time for the holidays, I call this one the Turkey Baster. When you’re working in a tight spot like a crawl space and you’re repairing a split copper pipe of any size, this tool sucks up any excess water that won’t let you solder due to water laying in pipe. It is a plastic round bulb with a ¼-inch flexible tubing and a chamfered end. When squeezed, it sucks up any and all water, allowing a perfect solder joint without any interruption. 

Mike Dos Santos

Local 9 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union

Forked River, N.J.


Use solder to remove core bit

If you have a core drill to drill holes in concrete walls or floors, sometimes you can’t get the core bit off from the drill. What I found that works: Take a short piece of 50/50 solder that plumbers use to solder copper pipe and put it around the drill shaft — it will come off a lot easier. It will get flat, but it doesn’t matter — you can use the same piece over and over.

Albert Wurtz

Clearfield Electric & Plumbing

Delmont, S.D.


Send Us Your Tool Tips

If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers. The first-place winner each month will receive a Kinetic Water Ram from General Pipe Cleaners with a retail value of $325. Read here for more details.