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    4 Life-Changing Things You Didn't Know You Needed.

    There's nothing more satisfying than hearing the phrase "Where'd you get that!?" Ok, maybe it's just me, but I consider that phrase to be the apex of achievement when you've truly found a cool item. Here's a round up of 4 unique, life-improving things that I use everyday and you should too!


    4 Life-Changing Things You Didn't Know You Needed.

    A Fish Turner Spatula

    I use this tool almost as much as my chef's knife. You'll be throwing out several kitchen utensils once you see how superior this spatula is to those plastic ones. If you use cast iron (and you should) to cook most of your food, this tool can guarantee that nothing will ever stick. It's robust yet flexible metal allows you to really scrape, flip and pick up anything that's remotely sticking to a pan. It's even sharp enough to split a panini in half and slotted to drain grease from deep fried food. It's my ultimate kitchen multi-tool. Only downside is you can't use it on non-stick. But, who needs that stuff anyway? ;)

    4 Life-Changing Things You Didn't Know You Needed.

    Nite Ize DoohicKey

    Speaking of multi-tools, I recently picked up this tool as a replacement for my worn our carabiner on my key chain. It has so many cool features: bottle opener, box cutter, flat-head driver, 3 wrench sizes and a 2-inch measuring mark. I've used the built in ruler more than you'd think.

    4 Life-Changing Things You Didn't Know You Needed.

    Nerd Wax

    Sweat and sunglasses don't mix. It's such a frustrating problem to always be pushing them up. Not classy. This invention is so simple and so amazing. It's am all-natural wax you apply to the bridge of your glasses to keep them from slipping down your face! My friend Don developed this idea while working in the music industry watching musicians struggle to keep their sunglasses up during outdoor shows. After a super successful Kickstarter you can find these tubes of wonder paste online! 

    4 Life-Changing Things You Didn't Know You Needed.

    A Catch-All Plate or Bowl

    I am the worst at losing small essentials like my wallet, phone and keys. Having a catch-all plate helps keep all of those things in one place and helps me not be so forgetful. Making your own (like mine pictured above) is certainly recommended, but if you can't get around to carving your own, then you should definitely find something that is unique and memorable. Maybe a vintage family heirloom or a rustic bowl you found on a vacation. If you pick/make the right one you'll keep it for a lifetime.

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    Pieces for a Custom Set-Up GaugeWhile there are plenty of workshop tools you can buy from the store, the true mark of a handmade maker is when custom tools start showing up on the shelves. Make this simple set-up gauge for faster, more accurate tool adjustments in the shop.   

    A substantial amount of time in my shop is spent setting up tools for the next cut. Squinting at flimsy tape measures or battered rules makes even my best tools semi-accurate at best. So making a set-up gauge like this can be a fun skill-building exercise that produces a useful tool for much more dependable results time after time.Finished Set-Up Gauge

    While the instructions are pretty basic on the tutorial over at Lumberjocks, there are only a few pieces and so following the pictures is all a handy maker will need to produce something that can be counted on for years of perfect set-ups.

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    created at: 01/30/2015

    No matter which team you rooting for this weekend, or whether you care about football or the Super Bowl at all, I think we can all agree on one thing: nacho are amazing. They get our vote for the ultimate TV-centric party food; whether watching the game or French La Nouvelle Vague cinema, they beat out wings (but just by a hair), cause you can do most of the prep work ahead of time, and they don't involve big, messy pots of scalding hot oil while trying to cook for a crowd. Deep-frying doesn't mix with beer consumption very well, either...Therefore! Nachos. Make some this weekend, to enjoy while cheering on the Seahawks (that'll be me), the Pats, or the hero of whatever Netflix series you're binging on. 

    1) The team at Bon Appetit offer their seven great commandments of making amazing nachos, exploring everything from chip selection to topping distribution and easy clean-up (pictured at top). Their go-to recipe (referenced in the technique article) can be found here: Nachos with all the Fixings


    2) Saveur magazine, on the other hand, seeks nacho nirvana by claiming "The Best Homemade Nachos are All About the Sauce." And from the looks of that photo, I think they're probably right. 


    3) Serious Eats author Daniel Gritzer breaks down the proper technique for The Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos into each step, building the right base, and finishing with magic that puts flavor in every bite. 


    4)Beer Braised Slow Cooker Carne Asada Nachos - Cook your steak on Saturday, add toppings on Sunday, and enjoy!


    5) Chorizo Nachos with White Queso Sauce from the Kitchn - this is what Tex-Mex is all about. 

    Oh, and if you're more of a "just the chips and cheese, please" kinda dude, check out the Ultimate Cheese Sauce recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt:

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    created at: 02/02/2015

    In honor of Groundhog Day, the holiday (?) occurring every February 2nd (that's today), and the 1993 cult film Groundhog Day, Randy of the Instructables Design Studio managed to created his own take on Groundhog Day alarm clock. The hack results in a DIY'd version of the one of the film's most iconic images, the clock radio on Phil's nightstand that awakes him each morning at 6:00a, playing Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe."

    Randy even scored the original model of the clock, a vintage Panasonic RC-6025 Alarm Clock, but you could use any secondhand model with similar features. 

    Don't forget your booties cause it's cold out there today.

    Get the full how-to and schematic from Instructables: Groundhog Day Alarm Clock

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    Tiny House

    The tiny house movementhas been gaining so much steam in the last decade that it's easy to parody, but I'm continually blown away by the innovative and stylish decor people come up with.   

    Tiny House Huckberry recently profiled Evan Kinsley, an adventurer and building extraordinaire, about his process and slow foray into building his own tiny house, and the photos are spectacular. As an arborist, Kinsley had an eye toward sustainability and so the floor is made either out of inexpensive woods like bamboo and cork, while the rest of the house is built from beetle kill pine (the leftover wood from trees that have been killed by the mountain pine beetle) giving it a unique look. Tiny House In a house this tiny, aesthetics alone are never enough; everything must have a purpose (and usually multiple purposes).

    Tiny House Kinsley is sort of testing the market to see how these tiny houses will fare (the one pictured is currently for sale), and then hoping to build a couple a year moving forward. Click here for the link and get inspired!

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    Stitching a Leather Folder

    We all have a few files in the office that tend to stick around. For me there are a couple that I refer to almost daily and the folders tend to disintegrate much too often. This leather folder tutorial is a great project for those looking to class up their daily office routine.   I'm a fan of the simple projects that take our daily items into something more. There is a classic ease that comes from upgrading our office pieces with handmade goods instead of throwaway paper products. This tutorial from Design Sponge turns an ordinary piece of leather into a solid handmade folder that can be used over and over again.Finished Leather Folder

    While the tutorial shows how to do a simple stitch to hold them together, there are plenty of other more complex and varied stitches to switch it up a bit and make it a bit more personal and embellished. Now get out there and make something you will be proud to carry about in your daily commuter bag.

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    Backpack The WorldIf you've ever considered backpacking around the world, or are simply interested in economic travel-packing, then this post is for you.   

    David Danzeiser recently spent a year wandering the globe from beyond the Article Circle in northern Norway to the rainswept islands of Indonesia to desert climates in Australia. His travails spanned numerous activities across a variety of climates, cultures, and terrains – and yet he did it all with his belongings packed into a single 26 liter backpack weighing 20 pounds. 

    Danzeiser recently wrote an article for the Art of Manliness detailing the gear he took (and what he wishes he did and didn't take) after extensive research, and unpacks his thinking process around the ideals of mobility, efficiency, and inconspicuousness. There's some great wisdom in here, down to little things that might be common sense to some yet new to others, such as purchasing neutral clothing (browns, blacks, greys) to minimize standing out in a crowd or being targeted as someone with valuables on their person.

    Backpacking The WorldIf you're planning a big trip or merely curious about slimming down your daily gear, I highly recommend taking a look. 

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    created at: 02/03/2015

    The butterfly spline is a prominent way to shore up a damaged piece of wood in a way that shows off the joint instead of hiding it. Take a look.   I've only used this skill a few times in the past few years, with varying results. But overall the installed spline was a beautiful repair to a split piece of wood. One of the things I love about this type of inlay is that it allows for basic practice with a solid durable piece that can take some abuse and still come out great. Take a look at this tutorial that walks nicely through the steps to make this simple joint.Wooden Inlays

    After taking a look at the steps I'm willing to bet you'll be looking around for a cracked piece of wood as soon as you're done reading all about it. Take your time, and enjoy the experience of building a new skill that can really shine on your next project.


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    Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

    created at: 02/03/2015
    I always like a tool whose name indicates its purpose. Oh, what's a screwdriver do? A citrus squeezer? How about a box cutter? The function is all right there in the name. 

    In many ways, a speed square falls right into the category. It tells helps you determine "square" - that is, when one edge or line is exactly 90° to another, and it helps you do it quickly. Done. Right? Wrong. 

    created at: 02/03/2015

    Well, actually, yes, but, wait! There's more. 

    A speed square is a carpenter's tool rather than a fine woodworking tool, which means its intended for quick and reliable marking of butt and miter joint lines, rather than precision layout of parts for furniture. And, in this case, that's a good thing: cause, combined with a tape measure, this will help you break down dimensional or "two-by" lumber in no time. When using a marking knife, I'll reach for a try or combination square; but anytime I'm using a pencil, the speed square is the way to go. 

    Since it's a solid piece of metal with no joints or moving parts, a speed square can be used as a try square and a miter square, or, a simple way of marking 90° and 45°, due to the long fence that runs along one side. It protrudes on either side, allowing the square to be flipped and used on any edge. 


    created at: 02/03/2015One of my favorite uses for the speed square is to scribe long lines parallel to the edge of a piece of plywood or solid wood, as for a rip cut. There are notches spaced every 1/4" on the inside of the square, allowing you to place a pencil in the notch, butt the fence firmly against and edge, and scribe a long straight line along the grain.


    created at: 02/03/2015

    When making crosscuts along shorter widths of stock, a speed square makes a great fence with which to guide a hand held circular saw. Just use the square to mark the cut line, and then a guide line the same distance of the blade to the shoe plate's edge. If making a rip cut, use the scribing technique above. 

    The speed square includes common angles for roofs, stairways, and decks, noted by the Hip - Val (hip and valley rafters) scale. That can take some practice to learn, and specific jobs to use. But along the hypotenuse edge lies a relatively accurate - and super fast - protractor: a way to read and mark angles.

    It works like this. Find the pivot edge (the right angle) and hold it up to one side. On the opposite edge, find your angle, and align it to the same edge. The long side of the triangle - the hypotenuse - now crosses your project at your desired angle.

    So, as an example, let's say you want to scribe a 20° line across the face of the stock. Do this:

    created at: 02/03/2015 Just make sure the pivot point is butted firmly against the edge once you've made your rotation. There. 20° line. Two seconds. 

    The speed square's "rough and tumble" build quality is a strength, and key to its usefulness on a variety of projects. It's stamped, not finely machined, which means you won't think twice about throwing it in a toolbox, taking it to a buddy's house, or using on a ladder or above hard concrete, because there's no way for it to go out of whack. If you drop it, it'll still be a-okay. 

    Oh, and they cost less than ten bucks. With that price, you might as well get two. Just make sure to keep the little blue book to reference in case you want to learn more about the Hip-Val scale. 

    ManMade recommended: 

                Swanson Tool SO101 7-inch Speed Square -  $9.48 

                Swanson Tool SO107 12-Inch Speed Square - $18.23





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    The French Connection The classic scene is a cinematic tour de force as hardened detective Jimmy Doyle (Gene Hackman) manically steers his 1971 Pontiac LeMans through crowded New York City streets in pursuit of a bad guy on the run in an elevated train above him. Unlike today's filming methods, much was left to chance as pedestrians were poorly controlled (though thankfully unhurt) and the scene even features at least one unplanned car crash (2:41 in the video below).   

    According to IMDB:

    "The car chase was filmed without obtaining the proper permits from the city. Members of the NYPD's tactical force helped control traffic. But most of the control was achieved by the assistant directors with the help of off-duty NYPD officers, many of whom had been involved in the actual case. The assistant directors, under the supervision of Terence A. Donnelly, cleared traffic for approximately five blocks in each direction. Permission was given to literally control the traffic signals on those streets where they ran the chase car.

    Even so, in many instances, they illegally continued the chase into sections with no traffic control, where they actually had to evade real traffic and pedestrians. Many of the (near) collisions in the movie were therefore real and not planned (with the exception of the near-miss of the lady with the baby carriage, which was carefully rehearsed).

    A flashing police light was placed on top of the car to warn bystanders. A camera was mounted on the car's bumper for the shots from the car's point-of-view. Hackman did some of the driving but the extremely dangerous stunts were performed by Bill Hickman, with Friedkin filming from the backseat. Friedkin operated the camera himself because the other camera operators were married with children and he was not."

    Gothamist recently published a short piece on the history of the event including an interview with director William Friedkin discussing the difficulties in making the scene. 

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    At this point, five weeks into the new year, your resolutions are set. You either embraced that new food or exercise plan, or you didn't. You've kept up with your promise to save more or drink less or go to bed earlier, or you haven't. And, to be fair, that's okay. You know yourself best. As strange as it sounds, one of my resolutions for 2015 was to use more paper. Not because I like wasting paper (I don't) or because I don't understand that everything is digital nowadays. But, honestly, a lot of those things are too distracting to me. I like all the apps and such, but sometimes, I want everything in one place. And in this case - that one place I want things to be is my desk: to-do list, personal goal sheet, and, now, calendar.

    I'll still use Google calendar for dates and events and meetings etc, but I favor "week" view there, and I'd like to see the whole month at once to help with planning, editorial goals, and all the other high hopes I have for myself this year.

    This is all a very longwinded way of saying: has this cool, vintage letterpress-inspired calendar you can download. It looks particularly stylish and rustic on a classic clipboard, and I'm gonna use it this year. You should too. 

    Download: Printable 2015 Calendar []


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    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    I recently saw an image of something like this guy on Pinterest and after many minutes of searching, I couldn't find where I could buy it. So, I made my own! It's a roll-up wood tray you can drape over the arm or cushion of your couch to create a flat surface for all kinds of good stuff. The original intent was to make a handy couch-tray, I quickly discovered there were a bunch of uses for this tray. Here's a few I thought of: a travel valet tray, a hot food trivet, or a pad to set your laptop on (I'm using mine as I type this very sentence!)

    It couldn't be easier to make. Here's what you need.

    • 4 strips of wood - 1.5" wide x 1/4" thick x 36" long.
      • I found these oak strips at Home Depot, precut and planed flat. Easy!
    • Saw (we used a table saw)
    • Thick piece of felt of your choice. Roughly 20 x 15"
    • Wood Glue and rotary cutter


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    I set my fence at 7/16" and the blade at 25 degrees. This gives it just a slight chamfer that will add a great finished looked. After you've cut the chamfer, chop each strip into 12" pieces and lay out in a row to check for uniform lengths. I was totally off in my rough cutting, and I had to hack down a few to make them even. Whoops.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Now my (least) favorite part, sanding. Take some time to sand it down to 300 grit for a nice smooth finish.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Add some wipe-on poly. I love wipe-on poly because it dries quickly and has a great worn-in look.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Lay out your piece of felt, making sure its longer than you need it to be. This can allow you to focus on lining up the wood strips without being precise on the edges. Spread the glue carefully with a brush or your finger. If the glue spreads to the sides, wipe them off so you don't accidentally glue together your wood strips. 

    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Lay out each strip as you apply glue, placing them as close as you can to one another. This will provide a tension that will add stability on uneven surfaces.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Flipping over the mat was a challenge I had to get a couple of flat trays to flip it over without it falling apart. (Try two cookie sheets!) Use a brayer or rolling pin to press the felt into the glue. Notice the glue seeping through in one part, that's because I put too much glue on that strip. Don't do that! A thin even layer should be good enough. After you've rolled the felt, let it dry overnight.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Run a rolling blade or box cutter along the edges of your tray to cut off excess felt.


    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

    Tah-Dah! Now all that's left to do is to put it to work!

     For a final touch, get a nice strip of leather to tie it up when you're not using it. 

    Oh, I came up with a few more as I was writing this: a display mat, a decorative display tray, a footstool or coffee table topper...see, so many possibilities!

    Make a multi-purpose roll-up wood tray

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    Raised Panel LogoOnce we put together the pieces for our raised panel set-up, of course it's time to take a look at what parts make the pieces of a door.   First, let's take a look at the pieces it takes to make a raised panel door:Raised Panel Doors1. The Main Raised Panel - This panel is the body of the door and it makes the bulk of the impression. The panel cutter is the largest bit of the kit, and the MLCS bit adds a back cutter to make the panel fit flush with the back of the door. Because the bit is so large, multiple passes should be planned to make the cut smooth and clean. Sidenote - assembling the center panel in a large door may require gluing up a few smaller pieces into one larger panel, use the glue joint bit to make them up and cut to size. Also, be sure to cut the endgrain of the panels first so that any blowout will be handled when cutting with the grain.

    When picking the materials for the main panel, it all comes down to the anticipated finish. If you plan on painting, use poplar or MDF for a smooth final product. When the grain will shine with a stain finish, the choice of wood comes down to cost, look, and personal preference. Raised panels can't be plywood, as the side grain shows after the panels are shaped.Raised Panel Doors

    2. Rails & Stiles - The rails of a door are the side pieces along the edges, they have a 1/4" channel that holds the floating main door panel and also are where the hinges are installed. These pieces integrate seamlessly into the stiles, which are the horizontal pieces that fit along the top and bottom of the doors.

    A few notes:

    1. The main panel of a raised panel door is actually floating, to account for the natural movement of wood due to heat and humidity. Leaving a bit of a gap in the door is mandatory to make sure the door doesn't warp after installation. Take a look at a few inserts like the space balls or spacing tape to make sure the panels don't rattle when kids slam those doors.

    2. Double and triple check measurements before cutting everything to final dimensions. the problem with so many pieces is that a few basic measurements won't fully screw up the assembly. Asa rule of thumb, be sure that the stiles are 1/8" - 1/4" longer than the panel. I actually had to re-adjust the rails/stiles to make the doors match up to my openings (I know, which no one besides me would notice!).Raised Panel Door

    3. Make sure to plan for the right hinges. There are plenty of configurations to choose from, it will all come down to matching other styles in the house and personal preference. Keep in mind that the hinges have specific overlaps, with the most common being 1/2" and 3/4". The hinge pictured above is a cup configuration with a 1/2" overlay on a face frame. The nice part about this type of hinge is a simple installation by drilling a single large hole and securing with a few screws. It is also very adjustable to make sure all the doors line up cleanly after they're in place. 

    Our next (and final) part to this series will look at constructing and assembling the pieces to our raised panel doors.

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    A tree branch slice coaster is a wonder of simplicity: it's rustic, it's organic, it's functional, and adds some outdoor style to your coffee table. And they're easy to make, costing you much less than buying a set; you just gotta know what you're doing.    Mike from Instructables offers his take on the project. He walks you through selecting the right seasoned wood, safely slicing the non-square, natural shape, finishing to prevent them from further cracking, and employing a cool stacking technique that helps the coasters stay organized, looking like a length of limb while not in use. 

    Check out Mike's full how-to at Instructables: Wood Coasters by Mikeasaurus



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    created at: 02/05/2015

    I think it's incredibly hard to make an argument for casually browsing talk radio in the modern age when there are so many amazing podcasts on any subject a man could want. There are even podcasts (many of them) that are entirely devoted to simply bringing you a fascinating assortment for random information for those of you who really like browsing. According the PBS, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled over the last five years to 75 million, and there's never been a better time to jump on board. I personally listen to podcasts pretty much whenever I'm cleaning, driving, or working out, and so I figured I'd give a shout out to some of my favorites that other men might be interested in as well.   


    First of all, if you haven't listened to this one, it's great place to begin since this was many Americans' first introduction to podcasts. Serial is an offshoot of This American Life and tells a single true story told over the course of an entire season. The first season unfolded like you might imagine an old whodunit radio show… except that it's all true and FASCINATING. Here is the description from the Serial website:  

    On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

    Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she's been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators' notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence - all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

    My Brother, My Brother, and MeMY BROTHER, MY BROTHER, AND ME

    Imagine getting to sit in each week as your three wittiest friends talk about interesting things with all of the camaraderie and linguistic shorthand that only old friends  (and in this case, brothers) have. The pitch is so simple it sounds dumb: three adult brothers chat about life and answer questions sent in through Yahoo Answers. That's it. The brothers are all in different parts of America and different stages in life, and hearing them all come together to offer their opinions and offhand, deep-cut pop culture references, has both intrigued me and made me laugh so hard while driving I actually needed to pull over. I'm actually pretty new to this one, but I've loved every one I've heard it's the favorite podcast of almost everyone I know who listens to it.  

     Art of Manliness


    Brett McKay's Art of Manliness podcast is a must for guys interested in pretty much anything manly. The goal of the podcast is "to help men become better men" and it does this through in depth interviews with doctors, entrepreneurs, medal of honor recipients, authors, economists, and the list goes on and on. I've listened to a number of other podcasts that touch on men's interest subjects, but Art of Manliness is not only the best, but I've found Brett to be the most enjoyable host to listen to among them. 

    The TruthTHE TRUTH

    The Truth makes movies for your ears, according to their blurb. Episodes range between 15 minutes and an hour, in an attempt to re-image what audio drama can be. Each story is created through a collective that improvises all of the dialogue. These are great to listen to on headphones since they're recorded to be an immersive, theatrical experience. They're often topical, and for whatever reason kind of remind me of the Twilight Zone (without necessarily massive sci-fi twists) since they generally deal with unique aspects of the human experience. The pilot episode was inspired by the real speech (In The Event of Moon Disaster) written for President Nixon in the event that the Apollo 11 mission to the moon was a disaster. This is a great one to fill the void in your heart while we wait for Serial's second season.

    On The MediaON THE MEDIA

    For those of you who are so busy you don't even have time to follow the news, On The Media is just the thing. Hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, On The Media is a sort of meta-podcast covering issues in journalism,  often recently touching upon technology and First Amendment issues. The podcast attempts to filter through the news of the week and dissect the narratives as framed by the media at large. It's a great way to get your news if you're in a hurry, while also receiving analytical reviews by experts who have the big picture in view. 


    These are just a couple of my favorites, with more to come, but I'd love to hear what some of your favorites are!

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    Saw horses are some of the oldest work holding and support systems, and they still do a great job, centuries later. But now that they compete for precious shop space with stationary power tools and lumber storage and modern workbenches, it can be hard to find floor space to keep a pair on hand.

    created at: 02/06/2015

    Answer: don't store them on the floor.    Lumberjocks member Rex B. took some inspiration from fellow member Canexican’s popular Shopdog design, and crafter some simple, yet sturdy, folding sawhorses from 2x4s and some 3/4" stock for the braces. He added a taut line hitch knot on the braces, which will pull closed, clamping the top (removable) 2x, avoiding racking or unnecessary movement under weight. The French cleat system allows them to be hung on the wall for storage until they're needed.

    Rex doesn't provided an actual step-by-step tutorial, but his pictures detail the process, and these can easily be built in an afternoon. If you'd like a measured drawing, you can purchase plans from Canexican at

    Folding Sawhorses []



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    The presence of cast iron has changed in the United States over the last one hundred years. Once the dominate form of cookware in any kitchen, it's been replaced by high-ply clad stainless, anodized aluminum, and all sorts of Teflon-coated beasts that let your food slip around freely. 

    Likewise, the manufacturing process of cast iron cookware has changed quite a bit over the century as well. Enthusiasts claim that modern pans are thicker, with 'pebblier' surfaces, and made of a lower-quality iron. Add that to the high-heat preseasoning that doesn't make for a reliable coat, the question stands: is the vintage stuff better than new cast iron?

    Jason Weisberger from BoingBoing did an anecdotal test to find out. He snagged a sub-$10 skillet from the thriftstore, brought it back to life, and gave it a head-to-head test against his new cast iron. 

    Check out his findings: Is antique cast iron cookware really better than new?[]

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    This DIY headboard project makes a very fine way to add a little rustic texture to your sleep space. It uses a 5x7' canvas tarp (twenty bucks!) and, the best part, no sewing. Just some 2x4s, a bit of plywood, and some staples and screws to hold it all together.   

    Megan tells the story of her inspiration: 

    Our dream for the guest bedroom was to bring inspiration from our favorite places we have traveled and hotels we have stayed at. One of these places is the Ace Hotel. These hotels are the perfect oasis in the cities they reside in. Although we have not been to the Ace in Portland, we have been to the New York, LA, and Palm Springs hotels and we have always loved the softy/pillow-like headboards. We love the headboards in Palm Springs, but love the army color in the Portland hotel. We want the guest room to feel like hotel room, remember us saying that? Well, this is our way of making that happen.We looked all over for a DIY on building a similar Ace hotel headboard and we found pretty great ideas, but nothing that matched what we had in our heads. So, we took it as a challenge and have created our first home DIY. We have been planning this headboard since the end of December and this last weekend we finally conquered it. It took a lot of planning, some math, a lot of sketching, and a few fights. After 5 pages of sketches, a lot of measuring, hours spent hunting for the right color canvas online, and a very friendly man at Home Depot we finally gathered everything we needed.

    Looks to me like they nailed it. 

    Get the full how-to, with links to all the materials, at Megan and Mike's site, The Fresh Exchange: DIY Ace Hotel Inspired Headboard


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    created at: 02/09/2015

    The best gifts come from the heart, and it's infinitely better if they can come from human hands as well.   

    Andrew Snavely of put together this list of thoughtful and reasonably priced Valentine's Day Gift Ideas that are worth taking a look at for some good idea inspiration.

    There's no need to spend extravagant amounts of money on your significant other when you can make something a little more heartfelt, and if you're really short on time, you might considering simply buying one of these gifts and personalizing it for your love. 

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    Space Launch PhotoKickstarter is an incredible funding resource for the masses. With so many projects posted almost daily, it's easy to find something worth throwing a few coins towards, especially when the projects involve space travel.   Talk above bragging rights. The lack of gravity, the views; but the price tag is a just a bit out of my budget at the moment (here's the only private way to get there). Here are a few projects that may not get me there, but at least it's a step closer to the great expanse.

    Space Flight

    1. Mission Space by Alex McFarlane - This project will send a weather balloon up to the edge of space and take pictures to prove it. The science teacher plans to fully equip a balloon to climb to over 90k ft. and capture the views that on 564 people in history have taken in for themselves. While it's already fully funded, there are still a few days to get in on the benefits for just a few bucks.

    KickSat2. KickSat by Zachary Manchester - If looking at pictures isn't really your style, this project will allow you to send up a one-of-a-kind personal satellite (called a Sprite) to orbit the earth.  While sprites currently will only be able to report back that they're up there orbiting, in the future they can be equipped with sensors, cameras, and whatever other devious contraptions you can think of (as long as it fits on a chip the size of a postage stamp). This project is over double the original funding ask, and it's been closed for a while now so for now you've missed your opportunity to say "you see up there, that's my postage stamp floating by".

    While space travel is still far far away for the average man, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are very involved in building a business where commercial travel may actually start to make economic (think affordable) sense. If you find yourself staring up into the night sky often, take a look at their programs to dump a bit of gasoline on those star studded dreams.


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