SendPlumbing & Mechanicalyour Tool Tips for a chance to win $200 worth of RIDGID tools.

First Place

Bucket Brigade
I took a three-gallon plastic bucket and cut a 3/4-inch hole in the bottom. Then, I slid a 3-ft. hole saw extension bit through the hole with a lock washer on top and bottom. After that, I put a large bending spring up the extension bit and locked it in place with some of the spring extended. That way the bucket can slide up and down the bit a little.

I also cut a 1 1/2-inch hole in the bottom and locked a vacuum hose to it. Now, any hole saw can be put in the bit; a vacuum cleaner attached to the hose will suck up all the dust. Armoflex, duct-taped around the top edge of the bucket, protects the finishing ceilings. Hook up the drill, and drill and clean. Move to the next hole with no mess.
Michael Flanagan
Trethewey Bros.
Roslindale, Mass.

On Firm Ground
To attach beam clamps to bar joists, weld a socket in the end of a 21-ft. length of steel pipe. Make up beam clamps with all thread already attached. The socket will hold the beam clamp assembly and allow attachment without using a lift.
Tommy Wood
Woodbridge Plumbing Inc.
Woodbridge, Va.

When soldering and doing a cut-in with water in the lines, I use a 3/8-inch O.D. PEX lav tube (placing the knob against the pipe) to blow the water out of the lines for a quick tie-in since the PEX is flexible enough to fit into confined spaces.
Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson Plumbing & Heating
Willow Grove, Pa.

If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers. You can e-mail your idea directly to PM editor Steve Smith at, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.

Our first-place winner will receive the following from Ridge Tool Co. The RIDGID® Prize Package consists of eight professional hand tools and has a $200 total value:

  • 14-inch and 18-inch HD RAPIDGRIP™ Self-Adjusting Wrenches for easy, one-hand operation.

  • One-Stop™ Wrench, a compound tool for installing compression couplings.

  • 10-inch Wide-Mouth Adjustable Wrench featuring tapered jaws for tight areas.

  • 10 1/2-inch Plumber's Tongue-and-Groove Pliers with extra-wide opening jaws.

  • No. 117 Midget Tubing Cutter for use in confined areas.

  • No. 151 Quick-Acting Tubing Cutter for smoother operation.

  • 6-in-1 Multi-Purpose Screwdriver with two Phillips heads, two flat heads and two nut drivers.

Ridge Tool Company is the sponsor of Tool Tips and does not necessarily endorse the readers' submissions.