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Make tools that aren't sold in stores.  These are scrapers, scoops and mixers.

Get the last drop out of your bucket and minimize waste.  Extend the life of your favorite bucket by cleaning it instead of letting dried mortar ruin it.  Toss unused material into the trash and don't wash it into the yard where it leaves a big mess or kills the grass. Spend less time standing out in the cold hosing off buckets and mud pans.  Leave the scoops in your mud pan so it will be there whenever you decide to return... no rust!  Keep your mud free from lumps and crumbs by removing dried material from the sides of the bucket.

Make multiple tools and keep one in your paint box, one in the drywall box and one in the basement.  They are compact and FREE.  One bucket will make 6-8 tools. 

Coming soon, a paintbrush and roller cleaning tool.

Step 1: Draw Vertical Lines

Using a straight edge, draw vertical lines on your bucket.    Following the print makes it easier.

Step 2: Draw Horizontal Lines

Easy to freehand by following the print.  Cut out the shape with a saw.  (Maybe someday the bucket will come with the template already printed on the label.)

Step 3: Create Curved Edge

Using the bottom of the bucket as a guide, mark out a curve on the edge of the rectangle. Sit on the bucket so it will pin the scraper flat to the ground.

The tool works best if the curve is on the flat edge rather than the concave edge. See how the scoop is at a right angle to the lettering?  You may prefer your edge on the concave.  It's a bit stronger that way when scooping, but less effective when scraping a dirty bucket or loading material into a drywall pan or into the trash. 

Step 4: Cut the Curve

Using tin snips or a saw, cut the curve.

Step 5: Smooth the Edges

Using a bench grinder, a file or sandpaper, clean up your edges.

Step 6: Check the Curve

Hold the curved edge against the inside of a bucket to see if your scoop will make good contact and won't leave material behind.  If it is still imperfect, make a new mark on your scoop using the inside of the bucket as a guide. 

Step 7: Creating Outline for Mud Pan Tool

Use the outside of your mud pan to create your mud pan tool.  It is not necessary to make the taper on both ends of the tool, I  just liked the look of it.  It can be left square since that end is just the handle of the tool.  Make this from the flattest area you can find on your bucket, whether it is the lid or the bottom.

Step 8: Variations

Experimenting with different prototypes.

Buckets that have been sitting outside are not good candidates.  They get too brittle.  Don't feel you have to cut up one of your good buckets! It's okay to use buckets that have a layer of mortar or stain stuck inside them. If it doesn't come off during the cutting and shaping, then nothing significant is going to come off onto your project later.

Metal buckets are too thin with the exception of the top rim area.  Metal scrapers develop a sharp edge that scuffs up paint buckets and then the buckets are hard to clean.  It doesn't matter if mortar buckets get scuffed.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a bath installer by trade. I also enjoy gardening. I just celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary.
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