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    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    With all music heading to online streaming, I tend to buy my favorite albums on vinyl so I can cherish them for years to come. As my collection grows my need for space grows with it. So I had to quickly find a solution. Here's a simple project to create some stacking cubes that will hold records, books and more!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 2 - 12"x 8' x .5" glued, paint grade pine boards
    • Box of .5" wood screws
    • 2 4'x 1.5" angled aluminum 
    • Metal countersink
    • Drill bit to match your .5" screws
    • Hack Saw
    • Clamps
    • Sandpaper or Sanding Station
    • Measuring tape

    Before you get started, I recommend you crank up the best "workin' hard" playlist you have. It's certainly appropriate for this project.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Start by grabbing your largest vinyl, book, bottle or magazine you want to place in your cubes. You'll use this to base your cuts. I chose one of my favorites and it measures 12.5"all around, which is standard for most vinyls.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesUsing a table saw or circular saw, cut your boards to an equal length. I cut each of my boards 15" long. I'm making two cubes, so I cut 8 boards in all.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesOnce you've cut your boards, set them aside and grab your angle aluminum. 

    Please Note: Cutting and shaping metal can increase your chances of hurting yourself ten-fold. Wear gloves and safety goggles at all times! Also, learn from my near 9-1-1 experience and DO NOT use a miter or table saw to cut angle metal unless you have experience doing so. 

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Measure and mark a width just shy of the width of the box or be like me and don't measure! I used the first cut piece as a template for the others.

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Use a hack saw to cut your pieces to proper length. Don't forget to wear glasses and gloves. The metal gets hot and flings tiny aluminum pieces everywhere! 

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    I used my sanding station (80 grit) to sand the cuts and straighten them out. Let's be honest, it's hard to saw a straight line with a hack saw.

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    These are ready to go!

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Using a ruler or a sliding guide, set your hole marks. I spaced 5 holes evenly over ~12". Because I'm joining the boards by overlapping, not mitering, it's important to set your holes closer to the base (opposite of the peak) of each piece. On this 1.5" wide side, I set the holes 0.5" from the bottom.

    Note: Make one with proper measurements, drill your holes and use this piece to trace the holes on all the other pieces you have left.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Using a waste chunk of wood, I set my aluminum up at the drill press, drilled holes then went back with a countersink. I set my countersink depth to allow my screws to sit slightly above the surface. This way, I could accentuate the industrial feel I'm looking for.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    It's time to assemble! It's as easy as attaching the aluminum to the wood into a box shape. I didn't have to pre-drill holes into the wood due to the stubby 0.5" screws. I didn't have any problems with wood cracking. If you're worried about that happening, feel free to do so.

    I will do my best to explain this. With the angle piece set facing up (like in the picture above) I had better, tighter fitting joints when I set the tip of each screw to bottom of the hole in the aluminum. When you drive in the screw it will center itself and pull the aluminum down, creating a closer fit.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesFinished! Now, do it all over again until you have enough to handle your entire record collection. 

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    For a final touch, I cut 2 pieces leftover board to place between the two crates to create nice floating effect.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Other ideas to upgrade your boxes:

    • Stain or paint the boards
    • Brush the aluminum with steel wool for a stainless look
    • Make the boxes into crates by adding a back panel
    • Add another panel and hinges to make a cabinet
    • If you want to make boxes larger than the ones presented I recommend that you strengthen the butt joints with glue and screws, then cover over the corners with the aluminum plates. If you're really handy you can also use a dowel system and add dowel rods to the end grain, or use a biscuit jointer for support. 

    Go make stuff!

     

     

     


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  • 03/12/15--11:00: A Love Letter to Plywood
  • Two years ago, Tom Sachs offered his video "Love Letter to Plywood," and we're kicking ourselves for not catching it then. Thankfully, Tom has updated his piece, and this beauty is getting some fresh attention. If you haven't seen it yet, click play to watch below. Sachs is a contemporary sculpture and installation artist, and the piece comes from a series of videos on studio practices called "Energies & Skills," which are "required viewing" for studio artists and assistants. 

    The updates include a some features on screws and drivers, as well as sandpaper. If you don't know what "AC" means, or why plywood works so well for certain applications, this a great place to start. It's a little dramatic, a little tongue-in-cheek, and all kinds of inspiring. 

    Love Letter to Plywood. By Tom Sachs from Tom Sachs on Vimeo.

    (via Core 77)


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    created at: 03/12/2015

    We love a good furniture makeover, but we're even more excited by repurposing totally unrelated objects into practical items you can use in the home. ManMade reader Braden sent us a picture on Instagram with a "Hey, I think you'll like this project." Well, we did, so we asked Braden to walk us through it. Here's what he had to say.    

    I like browsing craigslist for stuff with the terms "old, vintage, rusty, retro" just to see what's out there. Sometimes you can find some pretty cool deals, and I love re-purposing​
    used pieces that have that great "patina" that only old rusty stuff has. 

     

    created at: 03/12/2015

     

    The utility truck box immediately caught my attention, and after getting in touch with the guy I was able to talk him down to $70. Had I found it where he did, I'm sure I could have gotten it cheaper, but I was still happy with the price... knowing what I had planned for it.

    After it sat outside for a couple weeks (we've had some really crummy weather down here in NC these last week of winter), I finally had a nice day on the weekend so I decided to tackle this project. The only materials I really needed were some pine board, some wood screws, some casters and some nuts and bolts. Thankfully the box measured in at exactly 8' long on the top, so I was able to buy lumber without having to make any extra cuts. 

    created at: 03/12/2015

     

    The width on the top was 15" so I ended up getting 2 1x12s at 8' long and one 1x4 at 8' long as well to make up the difference on the top. When I got home, I first drilled holes for the casters (which I already had lying around.) I chose to set the in from the edge about 2' to reduce the stress on the middle (not that I'm super worried about a solid steel box flexing much.) Once I got the casters all drilled and bolted on, I flipped the box back over and started working on the top. The two boards I got for the top fit perfectly without any cutting at all, so I clamped them together and got them adjusted just right. I then drilled pilot holes through both the wood and the metal with a bit small enough to allow the threads on the wood screws to catch the metal and pull the board tight. Since pine board is so soft, I decided not to use a counter-sink since the screw heads would end up sitting flush anyway.

    created at: 03/12/2015

     

    Once the top was done, I started the inside shelf. I chose not to get a board that would sit flush with the back wall of the box because I planned to leave a channel at the back for hiding all the wires from the electronics I'd be putting in it, which is one of the nicest things I found about this project. I cut some 2x4 scraps I had laying around to bring the shelf up level with the bottom of the openings on the front. I had to add some 1x2 strips to the tops of the 2x4s to get it flush. I then cut the remaining pine board into 3' sections so I could fit it into each of the 3 front openings. Lastly, I took my handheld cutoff tool and cut a square hole in the back of the box for the wires to enter, added a bit of rubber stripping to cover the sharp metal.

    created at: 03/12/2015

    And I was left with a nice, modern-industrial looking entertainment center. It could also be used as a bench. I chose to leave the pine board unfinished because I liked the contrasting color with the blue of the box, and I'd like it to develop some more character over time. Either way, you'd easily pay over $400 for something similar if you bought it "new." All said, the project took me about 2 hours to finish and definitely adds a lot of character to my living room. My original intention was to built it then sell it off, but I just ended up liking it too much, so it's staying with me.

    Thanks for sharing, Braden. If you've completed a project you think we'll like, feel free to email it to Chris@ManMadeDIY.com, or hit us up on social media @ManMadeDIY.


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    Cutting CorkI've had this extra frame sitting around the shop since my beer tasting party in November. It's been in the way and I really needed to find a project to get it back to something useful. So I decided to turn it into a classy bulletin board for my notes, ideas, and inspiration.Since I'm moving into a new office space on Monday, I was looking around for some upgraded version of my shredded bulletin board. For this project, I took backing board and added cork material, then threw a nice textured fabric over half to give it a clean look. The entire board is still a functional cork board, but now it's something I'm glad to have hanging in my new space. Here are all the pieces we'll need:Materials

     

    Material List:

    1. Frame (can be a simple photo frame, or something more complex). - $3-10

    2. 1/4" backing board, cut to fit frame - $5

    3. 1/4" cork squares I found mine here  (and only used 1/2) - $12

    4. 1 yard fabric, I used some navy herringbone I found at Jo-Ann Fabric  - $5

    5. 1 yard padded batting material - $3

    6. Large button, small button & thread (I used a craft cover button from another project)

    7. Staple gun

    8. Multi-purpose glue

    9. Yardstick and razor knife

    Steps:

    First, take the frame and measure out backing board for the opening. I have two openings, so I cut two pieces. Be sure to leave just a bit of play (about 1/8" total on the top & side) so that the fabric can wrap around and it will still fit nice and tight. Drill holes at this time for all buttons you plan on installing.

    Cork Board

    Next, set the cork onto the backing board and cut to fit. It's important to keep the pieces tight, and be sure to cut them with a very sharp blade to keep from chipping the flaky material. After it is all cut to size, secure down with an even layer of multi-purpose glue. Make sure to use enough glue so that the entire surface is glued down consistently.

    Batting for board

    After the glue is dry(ish) you can lay out and cut the batting material. Cut the padded material to fit right to the edge of the backing board. This material does not need to be glued down.

    Next, lay down the board on the material and cut it about 1/2" wider than the board on all sides. Make sure you have enough material to stretch all the way to the back and still have enough to staple it on without the material tearing. Lay the material face down, then the batting, and then the backing board with the cork face down. line up all the pieces and check for wrinkles or folds.

    Stapling on fabric

    Once it is all laid out, evenly pull the material over one side and staple down about 1" from the edge every 2-3". Stretch the materials tightly over the opposite edge and staple the same along that side, working from the center towards the edges checking for an even stretch across the entire pieces. Don't worry about the very corners until the end, just get it stapled tight within 2" of the corners. It's important to not stretch too tight, make sure it's even along the entire edge to avoid a visible line. Do the same for both of the sides.

    Finished cork board fabric

    After all sides have been evenly secured, work on the corners. Pull it tight, then pull it to one side and staple right in the corner. Then pull to the other side and do the same. Lastly, evenly pull it towards the center and staple it tight.

    Adding the button means threading a needle with heavy thread or (or fishing line) then pushing from the back through the material. Thread the large button on the front then pull back through to the back. On the back, pull tight and secure with the smaller button.Stapled In

    At this point, the board should be ready to install in the frame. I used staples bridging the board and frame to hold it all together. Add a few hangers if needed and the board should be ready to throw up on the wall and enjoy.

    Finished Board

    A quick note on Upholstery - This project uses a few basic upholstery skills that can be used for plenty of projects around the shop. Adding fabric to a project opens up so many options for better design, use, and overall style. I encourage you to go flip over a few pieces of your furniture and take a look at how they put it all together. It's a huge eye opener when you realize how much work goes into crafting that easy chair.

     

     

     


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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: 03/12/2015

    Here's a little bit of weird DIY trivia: you know those drill bit sets that they sell at every hardware store and home improvement center? The ones that you buy the full set of and use until they break, or until you lose them? The ones you place in you awesome cordless drilldriver and use to drill holes in all kinds of wood?

    They're not made to drill into wood.               

    You can use them in wood, of course. We all have, and probably will again. But everything about them - the tips to the edges and the flute design, are all designed for machine work: drilling into metal, at low speeds, with a drill press. Read: not into wood. (!)

     

    created at: 03/12/2015

    For wood boring, you actually want a different style: a brad-point bit. Like the name suggests, these bits have a self-centering pointy end, which allows the bit to bite into the wood as the initial hole is made, rather than skittering all around the surface. You know what I'm talking about. 

     

    created at: 03/12/2015

    The point helps improve accuracy - acting like an awl -  and allows you to place the bit exactly where you want it, important for joinery work, such as dowel joints, or when removing the waste in a mortise. 

    There's also a set of cutting spurs on either side which slice the wood fibers on contact, rather than just crushing them and displacing them up the flutes. This allows the bit to move through the wood cleanly, and its especially helpful when boring stopped holes. The bottoms will be flat, as well, rather than divoted. 

     

    created at: 03/12/2015

    Brad point bits are also designed to be used at high speeds, like the one you achieve when you fully press the trigger on your handheld drill. Which, unless you're a machinist or work mostly in metal, makes up a good 90% of around-the-house and woodworking tasks. 

    A brad point bit will create cleaner entrance and exit hole as well, reducing tearout on either side, making for a more attractive and stronger project. They're also less likely to split the wood when drilling near the edges, as the force is focused inside the bore. 

     

    created at: 03/12/2015

    So, should you chuck that set of black twist bits in the garbage? No way. Keep up for metal, and things like drywall and other super soft materials and random junky experimenting. But should you invest in a quality set of steel brad point bits for clean and accurate holes in wood? Ab. so. lutely. 

    ManMade recommended: 

     


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    I've always been a huge fan of miniature gardens and plants – likely stemming back to the first time my 8 year old self saw Mr Miyagiworking on his bonsai trees with such elegant diligence. The art itself has a long and storied pastand takes lots of practice.   

    If you don't happen to have years to dedicate at the moment, it's still possible to foster your own private, DIY garden in something as compact (and portable) as an Altoids tin. 

    Check out the tutorial here from Instructables.com or check out some of the miniature terrarium sculptures from the Brooklyn-based, Twig Terrariums.

     


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    created at: 03/13/2014

    Do me a favor this St. Patrick's Day: skip the green beer. Please. But, while you're not drinking that silliness, do try some Irish Whiskey. Often overlook by bourbon and Scotch drinkers, the Irish whiskey tradition is as old as it is varied. In fact, they kinda invented it.    

    Irish whiskeys are made from both malted and unmalted barley, which contributes to its unique flavor profile. They're often distilled three times, giving the whiskey a lighter flavor compared to Scotch, and the styles are varied: "single pot still", "single malt", "single grain", "blended", etc. 

    Like with most spirits, you can spend a fortune, but you don't have to. With that in mind, here are five favorites under $30. Of course, you can opt for the most popular Irish whiskey - Jameson - and there's nothing wrong with it. It's kinda like Jack Daniels or Budweiser or Glenlivet - they're well known for a reason. These picks are intended to stretch your palette a bit without breaking the bank. Sláinte!

     

    1. Bushmills Black Bush - $28.99 - This blend only costs about $6.00 more than the standard Bushmills, and I think it's worth the upgrade, especially if you're drinking it neat with a small splash of water to open it up. Mostly malt and aged in sherry casks. Very good. 

     

    2. Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey - $23.99 - Another solid blend. Very smooth and sweet, with a grain flavor that's a great introduction to the flavor of pot still whiskey. Kilbeggan is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland.

     

    3. Tyrconnell Single Malt - $29.99 - A great option for trying an Irish Single Malt at an affordable price. Tyrconnell was a legendary racing horse who won at 100:1 odds. Also distilled at Kilbeggan. 

     

    4. Tullamore Dew - $21.00 - An excellent value at just over a Jackson. Its green label reads "the Legendary Irish Whiskey" and features the signature of Daniel E. Williams, the master distiller in the late 19th century who perfected the recipe. A great option to bring to share with friends.

    5. Powers Gold Label - $23.00 - This is the one I'd order if I were at a bar. More character than Jameson, and likely costs a few dollars less. Would work will as the shot half of a Boilermaker, and would complement bitter or yeasty beers well. 

     

    Do you have a favorite Irish whiskey? Share your thoughts in the comments.

     

    Also, check out the ManMade roundup of affordable favorites of all styles of whiskey:

    The Best Affordable Whiskey: 6 Top Shelf Bottles Under $40

     

     

     

     This post was originally published on March 13th, 2014.


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    Win a trip to the Lumberjacks World Championships from Old Spice
    What? Yes! The Lumberjack World Championships is a real thing, and it looks kind of amazing. In celebration of National Flannel Day and Old Spice’s new nature-inspired Fresher Collection, Old Spice is launching their “Old Spice Getaway” promotion - and you can enter to win a trip to see all the log rolling, pole climbing, ax swinging and hot sawing your little hearts can handle. 


    Old Spice prize package

    Available now at Walmart, the Old Spice Fresher Collection harnesses nature’s power to help guys smell manlier and fresher than the great outdoors. With three new masculine scents - Timber, Citron and Amber, the Fresher Collection helps guys get that fresh outdoor scent all over, from antiperspirant and deodorant to body wash, body spray and shampoo.

    From now until March 31 you can enter to win the sweepstakes by purchasing Old Spice Fresher Collection products at Walmart locations nationwide and uploading your receipts at www.oldspicegetaway.com

    Old Spice Fresher Collection

    Hot sawing at the Lumberjacks World Championships

    In addition to the Getaway prize package, fans also can win lumberjack survival kits and flannel shirts via the Old Spice Getaway. Click here for a full description, rules and regulations.

     

    Pole climbing at the Lumberjacks World Championships

     

     

    This post is sponsored by Old Spice. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade.

     


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    Field DeskI've had a generally mobile office for years. What this looks like to me is a laptop, random notebooks, and a mass of cables. While I've set up my "office for the day" in a variety of spectacular locations,  I've always lusted after the campaign desks of old, which adventurers carried along to pen notes, history changing letters, and likely stash a bit of liquid courage.     In today's world I will likely never justify carrying around a large wooden office in a box, but I can't help but love these designs that conjure up dreams of sailing, safari, and military campaign. NY Civil War Field Desk

    1. NY Civil War Field Desk -  This civil war desk has a few simple drawers, a nice writing surface, and cubbies for letters, or other small pieces. The ring handles are clean and fit flush for a tight folding fit when closed up. The worn green felt writing surface of this table is great, with a few clean touches, like the locking flush-mount latch to keep it secured out there when it's time to break camp and head back into the field. This desk was owned by Charles W. Kennedy during the civil war is can be purchased today for about $5500.Kayser Field Desk

    2.Captain John G. Kayser Field Desk - This field desk is far more primitive than the example above, mostly because of the man who bought it. This box was used by a field staff member to organize the mountain of paperwork that comes with any battle. Reinforced with metal edges, and sporting solid side handles meant this case was expected to see some abuse. While I like the robust design of the outside, I'm inclined to prefer a few more drawers to keep the contents organized in transit. The hinges also don't allow for it to be laid on a flat surface very efficiently, so crafting a flush hinge was a well thought-out upgrade for the gentleman's version. This desk is safely in the Missouri civil war museum and not for sale (for now).WWII Field desk

    3. World War II Field Desk - A much more recent desk compared to the others, this one was upgraded with more metal, lighter materials, and the simplicity that indicates many things. First, there was much less of a need for so many paper cubbies thanks to radio communication and typists, second, the fact that all equipment and supplies traveled by vehicle instead of mule-train meant a full campaign didn't have to be stuffed into the little space. This small desk was likely used by an officer to organize personal information, correspondence, and also to make a space feel a bit more familiar in a foreign land. The simple wood frame and drawers contrast nicely with the metal box design. Although it's no longer found at the auction house, it was listed for about $1500 at the time.

    While I'm not sure if a DIY version of this type is in my shop's future, I think a solid camp kitchen project may be gleaned from this type of design. Solid necessity and a need for exceptional organization seem like the perfect match for a campaign-style field box.

    Do you work out in the field? We'd love to see a picture of your "office for the day"!


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    Billy Murray

    Bill Murray has made a name for himself not just in Hollywood classics such as Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and Lost in Translation, but also as an all-around sweet guy with some playful eccentricities. Whether bombing wedding photos,  crashing college parties and staying late to do the dishes , or giving toasts at strangers' bachelor parties, the man seems to have kept a good head on his shoulders and is always doing something unique.   

    Perhaps my favorite Bill Murray story is when a guy asked him for an autograph and instead he decided they'd film themselves walking down a hallway in slow motion instead...

    Check out this article of Bill Murray's life advice on how to live a more Bill Murray life from last year's Toronto Film Festival. 


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    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    With all music heading to online streaming, I tend to buy my favorite albums on vinyl so I can cherish them for years to come. As my collection grows my need for space grows with it. So I had to quickly find a solution. Here's a simple project to create some stacking cubes that will hold records, books and more!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 2 - 12"x 8' x .5" glued, paint grade pine boards
    • Box of .5" wood screws
    • 2 4'x 1.5" angled aluminum 
    • Metal countersink
    • Drill bit to match your .5" screws
    • Hack Saw
    • Clamps
    • Sandpaper or Sanding Station
    • Measuring tape

    Before you get started, I recommend you crank up the best "workin' hard" playlist you have. It's certainly appropriate for this project.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Start by grabbing your largest vinyl, book, bottle or magazine you want to place in your cubes. You'll use this to base your cuts. I chose one of my favorites and it measures 12.5"all around, which is standard for most vinyls.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesUsing a table saw or circular saw, cut your boards to an equal length. I cut each of my boards 15" long. I'm making two cubes, so I cut 8 boards in all.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesOnce you've cut your boards, set them aside and grab your angle aluminum. 

    Please Note: Cutting and shaping metal can increase your chances of hurting yourself ten-fold. Wear gloves and safety goggles at all times! Also, learn from my near 9-1-1 experience and DO NOT use a miter or table saw to cut angle metal unless you have experience doing so. 

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Measure and mark a width just shy of the width of the box or be like me and don't measure! I used the first cut piece as a template for the others.

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Use a hack saw to cut your pieces to proper length. Don't forget to wear glasses and gloves. The metal gets hot and flings tiny aluminum pieces everywhere! 

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    I used my sanding station (80 grit) to sand the cuts and straighten them out. Let's be honest, it's hard to saw a straight line with a hack saw.

     

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    These are ready to go!

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Using a ruler or a sliding guide, set your hole marks. I spaced 5 holes evenly over ~12". Because I'm joining the boards by overlapping, not mitering, it's important to set your holes closer to the base (opposite of the peak) of each piece. On this 1.5" wide side, I set the holes 0.5" from the bottom.

    Note: Make one with proper measurements, drill your holes and use this piece to trace the holes on all the other pieces you have left.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Using a waste chunk of wood, I set my aluminum up at the drill press, drilled holes then went back with a countersink. I set my countersink depth to allow my screws to sit slightly above the surface. This way, I could accentuate the industrial feel I'm looking for.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    It's time to assemble! It's as easy as attaching the aluminum to the wood into a box shape. I didn't have to pre-drill holes into the wood due to the stubby 0.5" screws. I didn't have any problems with wood cracking. If you're worried about that happening, feel free to do so.

    I will do my best to explain this. With the angle piece set facing up (like in the picture above) I had better, tighter fitting joints when I set the tip of each screw to bottom of the hole in the aluminum. When you drive in the screw it will center itself and pull the aluminum down, creating a closer fit.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl cratesFinished! Now, do it all over again until you have enough to handle your entire record collection. 

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    For a final touch, I cut 2 pieces leftover board to place between the two crates to create nice floating effect.

    DIY Modern Modular vinyl crates

    Other ideas to upgrade your boxes:

    • Stain or paint the boards
    • Brush the aluminum with steel wool for a stainless look
    • Make the boxes into crates by adding a back panel
    • Add another panel and hinges to make a cabinet
    • If you want to make boxes larger than the ones presented I recommend that you strengthen the butt joints with glue and screws, then cover over the corners with the aluminum plates. If you're really handy you can also use a dowel system and add dowel rods to the end grain, or use a biscuit jointer for support. 

    Go make stuff!

     

     

     


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    created at: 03/17/2015Cycling enthusiast and maker OddJob has created the "BAR T.A.B.," a "take along bar" mounted to the inside of a bicycle frame. It's basically all our favorite things in one simple project.    

    The process includes building a simple skeletal frame that mounts to the bike's top tube. A back wall is attached, and a set of dividers and shelves are installed to keep the goods. The front door is the same as the back, but attached with a hinge that allows it to open, becoming the "bar" itself. It's supported on the right pedal and crank with a simple spring clamp. 

    created at: 03/17/2015

    Get the full tutorial from OddJob at Instructables: BAR T.A.B. (Take Along Bar)

     

     


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    There are few things more zen than watching a master craftsmen perform nuanced work with delicate grace. This soothing video from Watchfinder & Co. features Watchfinder head Tony Williams taking apart and demonstrating the intricacies of the Rolex calibre 3135. 

    Watchfinder      

     

    First unveiled in 1953, the Rolex Submariner was designed to be the diving watch of the everyman with an emphasis on affordability and practicality. It was later popularized and adopted by British Ministry of Defense before being revamped in 2010. 

    The video is mesmerizing and gave me an immensely greater appreciation for the mechanics that go into watchmaking.

     


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    ManMade reader Mark Devlin, founder of the DIY site DesignsbyDevlin, came up with this great technique for an "open warehouse" -style industrial track lighting project that's easy to implement in your own home. So we asked Mark to walk us through the process, materials, and techniques. Here's what he had to say. 

    Having low ceilings and zero crawl space makes for a challenge when designing lighting for the main room in the house. If you love a good DIY project that involves electrical and industrial lighting, I designed a cheap and unique way to install custom industrial track lighting using simple products from Amazon.com and the hardware store.   

    created at: 03/17/2015

    First, I needed to find a light. I searched for something inexpensive, multifunctional, and that would look great.  I ended up finding the perfect light on Amazon which made for a beautiful display that dims, rotates and pivots. There are 9 lights in all, 3 tracks of 3 and each light can move to accent any piece of the room.

    Supplies needed:

    • ~30 feet of ½ inch EMT conduit
    • 9 small octagon EMT boxes
    • 3 large square EMT boxes
    • 12 gauge Romex and some 12 gauge black, white, and green solid wire.

    The build is simple and can be completed in a weekend to add a one-of-a-kind personality to any room.

    created at: 03/17/2015 Start by measuring the light locations and setting up the general frame.

     created at: 03/17/2015

    Once the framing and wiring are complete, drill a 3/8 inch hole in the octagonal EMT box plate cover and deconstruct the cube on top of the light mount so both can be combined.

    created at: 03/17/2015 All that’s left is mounting the plate to the box and wiring up all 9 lights.

     created at: 03/17/2015

    I have customized many aspects of my home, and I've learn to be truly proud of a project takes just a few things: proper planning, detailed craftsmanship, and choosing unique building materials.

    You can follow Mark’s DIY adventures on Instagram and see the entire Industrial Track Light write-up at Devlin Designs. 

     

     


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    Leather WalletRussia once again proves that the toughest people live in the North. This one-piece leather wallet is simple, strong, and deserves to hold my hard-earned cash. . . or ruples.   This wallet from a Russian Company called Dissident is made from a single piece of 2.5mm leather with a simple design, clean lines, and just enough space to hold it all together in a minimalist package. While heading to Russia is likely not going to happen for me anytime soon, it is inspiring to see a single piece of material turned into such a useful piece of everyday gear.Dissident Wallet

    When I decide to take the plunge into leather working, this will probably be right at the top of my list of things to make.Leather Wallet Template


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    Hollyhock House

    Considered to be the germination of what later became "California Modernism," the Hollyhock House was the first house designed in Los Angeles by Frank Llyod Wright in the 1920's for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. Barsndall never moved into it however, and eventually donated the house and its surrounding 12 acres to the city of Los Angeles where it fell into disrepair for decades. Finally, it's been restored...   

    Hollyhock House

    The entire house (which is a rather modest term for this lair) is inspired by the recurrent image of the hollyhock, Barnsdall's favorite flower.  The dining room now features original furniture with chair backs' sporting spines like hollyhocks, and perhaps the most striking feature of the entire house (although there are many) is the "showstopping hearth backed in an abstract, Hollyhock-themed bas relief, with a detailed skylight above and a pool below." The pool unfortunately isn't filled with water at the moment, out of an effort at preservation. Hollyhock House

    The house was recently nominated to the Unesco World Heritage List by the US Department of the Interior. Check out all the photos with more history here.

    Hollyhock HouseHollyhock HouseHollyhock House


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    Making a bandsaw box is a great starter project for learning how to expand your talents in the shop. Just a few steps transforms a block into a great desktop or nightstand box. I had a used block sitting around from another project, and this just seemed like a natural way to make it into something useful.   For this project, I used a piece of wood still around from my recent pallet projects. I love the stamping, used texture and random nails in the block, so I really wanted to find a small project that would make it something interesting for my office.  I always misplace my keys/wallet/brain while I'm trying to get out the door, so a small box is a perfect landing spot when I walk through the door in the morning. 

    Bandsaw BoxFirst thing, be aware that pallet wood can be full of random chemicals, metal, and other mystery items thanks to it's previous life so work in well ventilated areas with plenty of dust collection. Plan on running through a few nails/staples, so it's best to use your junk blades if possible.Finished Box

    Heres a quick material and tool list for the project:

    Materials:

    • 1 block of wood (mine was approx. 4"x4"x6) Grain should run the length of the box.
    • 2 hinges (I originally used small galvanized hinges, but re-finished them with a blowtorch for a more blackened look)
    • 1 small piece of material for a lining (optional, but it's a nice finish touch)

    Tools:

    • Table saw or hand saw (for cutting top and bottom off, then lid off at the end)
    • Bandsaw (for cutting out the center)
    • Sander (optional, you can use your muscle instead)
    • Chisel/Dremel tool

    Cutting Top Off BoxStep 1) Starting with the wood - The block should be square with parallel flat faces. Look for any nails or other metal that may be an issue when cutting. Decide what face should be the top, and mark it with a small x if necessary. My top had writing on it from it's previous life so marking was not necessary. Mark both sides with chalk or pencil from the top to bottom so they can be properly re-aligned later - this is very important, as the pieces have to match up exactly when putting it all back together.

    Top Cut OffStep 2) Set the tablesaw for 1/8" - 1/4" depending on how thick the top should be. On smaller boxes, 1/8" is generally enough, but if the wood is a bit weathered with cracks or knots it's safer to make it thicker. Be sure the blade is aligned to 90 degrees for a straight cut. After the saw is set, run the block through to cut off the top and bottom. I generally cut this step in 2 steps, cutting just over half the thickness then flipping the piece and slicing the other half. You should end up with a block of wood that has two matching pieces for the top and bottom.

    Band Saw Cuts

    Step 3) On the main block of wood, mark out the outline that you want for the inside of the box. when cutting with the bandsaw, curves are expected, so feel free to get a bit creative on the design. I didn't switch out my large blade, so I was limited in my design and I had to drill holes in the corners to allow for the blade to spin properly. Also, don't make the walls of the box too thin as this will compromise strength when installing hinges or sanding.

     

    Body Cut Out Box

    Step 4) With the design laid out, start the cut. Bandsaw boxes have a cut through the back into the middle, so slice a cut in from the back and start hogging out the material. Go slow to maintain a straight blade (cut). Slice out the material in small pieces and remove it frequently to be able to see and avoid binding up of the blade. I ran into a few nails that chipped my blade a bit, but after about 20 minutes I had all the materials cut out and a bit of rough smoothing done. I decided to keep the shape organic for visual interest. 

     

    Top and Bottom Box

    Step 5) Now that the box center was cut out, I used a small sanding head on my Dremel tool and a bit of hand sanding to get the inside smooth. Go especially easy on the back because the back cut can be delicate at this time. Once the interior is smoothed out enough, grab the top and bottom cut off in Step 2. This is why the chalk was important, because with proper marking the pieces should be easy to match back up into a block again.

     

    Gluing Box Together

    Step 6) With all of the pieces matched up, spread a nice layer of glue on the edges and clamp it together to glue it back into a single block. Don't use too much glue to the point that there's excessive squeeze-out on the inside, it's impossible to clean that up without a huge amount of hassle later on. Let the glue dry for at least a few hours, but overnight is better.

     

    Cutting Top off Box

    Step 7) With the block properly glued back up, it's time to cut the top (just the top) back off. Set up the tablesaw to slice the top back off, but also set it to cut about 1/8" of the side as well. This extra bit adds a nice touch (and reinforcement) to the top. *depending on your blade, a table saw "kerf" is about 1/16" - 1/8". This is the amount of wood the saw basically eats during a cut. Make sure to account for this when setting up the cut for the top. Just like in step 2, cut the top off in two passes. This should result in a matched box top.

    Hinges

    Step 8) Install the hinges by putting a piece of paper between the top and body of the box and using a few spring clamps to hold the lid aligned to the rest of the box. Take the hinges and line them up on the back of the box, then outline them with a blade of pencil. Using a chisel or Dremel tool, chip out a space for the hinges to sit flush with the back surface. When this is finished, paint or stain the pieces and then assemble. The back of my box was a bit thin, so the screws I used to install the top went through - I cut them off with a cutting blade on my Dremel tool.

    Close-Up Inside

    Step 9) That should leave you with a finished box. A few things that can be done to give it some final character are a small liner, and a jewelry box chain to keep the top from falling back. I added a liner in by cutting a small piece of vinyl and gluing down with spray adhesive, and by skewing one of the hinges slightly the box stays up through friction. Another thing I did was weather the hinges with a blowtorch to give it a blackened look. To do this, I heated up the pieces until they were glowing red, then added a few drops of lubricant oil to them and rubbed it in with a small rag (caution - don't breathe that lubricant-laden smoke, and glowing metal is hot enough to blister, so act accordingly). Don't forget to blacken the screws as well to make it all match up.Both Hinges

    There are plenty of ways to expand on this basic bandsaw box, like adding layers of complimenting wood, small drawers, or even some metal accents. So go try out this project and let me know how you make it your own!

    Finished Box


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    Brett is a working artist and musician who was trying to cut his expenses to spend less time working, and more time focusing on his creativity. So, when he found a "room" for rent in house shared by a group of arists his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, he went for it. The only thing? The room was actually a closet. A large closet, but a closet nonetheless. So, he came up with this awesome hand-built solution using only the tools above to maximize his space, creating a space to sleep, work, and store all his possessions. 

    Brett explains,

    I stumbled upon an apartment here in my home city of Providence, where a group of artists had, essentially, a large closet that they were renting out. The footprint was just large enough to fit a full sized mattress and little more. They had successfully gotten a few people to live there before, but a such a tiny room without a door that was adjacent to the living room seemed like a meager existence. All of that in stride, the price tag of only $150 a month + utilities still made it an intriguing enough prospect!

    I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone and every space is different, but maybe through this tutorial you might pick up some useful building techniques or inspiring ideas that will be relevant to your current or future living situation!

     

    I particularly love the staircase with the built-in storage cubes, and the little landing that allows it to wrap around the corner. The whole thing is built into the wall studs, allowing the house itself to contribute to the strength of the structure, rather than the bed, etc, just floating inside it. 

    See the full build, with measured drawings and tips to pull this off in your own space, at Brett's Instructable:  Tiny Room


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    As a child, I was under the impression that working with test tubes would be a bigger part of my adult life. Not only because I wanted to be astronaut/scientist, but I guess I just always pictured myself performing experience of some kind. If you happen to be in that boat, here's a fun way to do something useful with those unused test tubes, or if you missed that boat of impracticality, here's a potentially masculine way to display some single flowers.   

    The project is surprisingly simple and a great little way to add just a dash of plant life to accent a room. If you find the single stem flower display to not quite be your taste, maybe try crafting a larger unit and fill each one with those ikea bamboo stalks.  

    Check out the simple steps at Instructables.com


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    created at: 03/15/2015The Cabinet of Invisible Counselors is a term coined by success-guru Napoleon Hill referring to the great thinkers and authors whose work he found influential, whom he would summon in his imagination to consider their opinions on the tasks before him. Similarly, you may have heard the statement that, "You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time." Combining these two ideas has been one of the great decisions of my life.      

    Whatever goal you're aspiring to achieve as a man, whether physical, spiritual, familial, etc., you want to surround yourself with those who have achieved that very thing or who inspire you to dutifully pursue that task. Often times those great men are around you at work or in your personal life, but often times they're not. Reading - especially reading from the minds of great men and women - allows you to keep the thoughts of those great minds near you, even though the writer may be many years gone. While I highly suggest checking out the works of some of the greats like Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Ernest Hemingway, and Teddy Roosevelt himself, there's a quote by David Leach which says, "Don't follow your mentors; follow your mentors' mentors." In other words, eat closer to the metaphorical ground and put your mind through some of the same intellectual training that these fellows did. 

    Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson

    You might know Jefferson as the 3rd President of the United States or the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was also known as an intense lover of education and books in general. In 1814 all the books in the original Library of Congress were burned by British Troops and a year later they were replenished by Jefferson's personal collection of 6,487 books. The man was such a lover of both reading and innovation in fact that he had a rotating bookstand that could hold five books open at once. At the spritely age of 76 he founded the University of Virginia as a secular institution in which the library - not the chapel - held primacy. A figurehead of literary ambition, Jefferson often received requests for book recommendations. So often in fact that he ended up dividing them into specific categories: Ancient History, Philosophy, Literature/Epic Poetry/Play, Politics/Religion/Modern History, and Science. Jefferson in particular was a big fan of Cicero and interrogated Plato's Republic as an early model for the American system of government. 

    Check out his full reading list here.

    Frederick Douglass

    Frederick Douglass 

    Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland and first taught to read the alphabet by his master's wife, despite the fact that they were breaking the law in doing so. His master vehemently disapproved and eventually his wife discontinued the lessons which only fostered Douglass' voracious desire for knowledge. He began reading everything he could in secret, believing (as he later often said) that, "knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom." Douglass credits The Columbian Orator as one of the great collections of literature which helped form his mind at a young age. After escaping slavery at age 20, Douglass went on to become one of the 19 century's greatest orators and abolitionists following the publication of his autobiography (now in the public domain and a personal favorite of mine) Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Douglass' personal library became a part of the National Park Service in 1962, holding thousands of books (view the list in full here). The Art of Manliness link features 85 of his personal favorites which ranged from Christian apologetics to popular novels to history and science textbooks, while also including random subjects such as dentistry and knitting. 

    Theodore Roosevelt

    Theodore Roosevelt

    I have a hard time getting through a week without singing some of Roosevelt's praises. The man had his shortcomings to be sure, but his intellect and appetite for literature was unparalleled. Roosevelt notoriously read a book before each meal at certain points in his life (often in a variety of languages), but also was known to mentally disappear in his entirety into a book. As a contemporary biographer of his wrote, "his occupation for the moment was to the exclusion of everything else; if he were reading, the house might fall about his head, he could not be diverted." In particular, history has noted Roosevelt's love for Audubon's Birds of America and Alfred Mahan's Influence of Sea Power Upon History (also in the public domain). The full reading list he wrote out to a friend (in the original order he wrote it) can be seen here at ArtOfManliness.com although I highly recommend viewing the actual copy with his notesfor wonderful asides such as, "Some of Michael Drayton's Poems– there are only three of your I care for." I also highly recommend taking a look at Edmund Morris' three part series on the life of Theodore Roosevelt himself. 

     Ernest Hemingway

    Ernest Hemingway

    And finally, what reading list is complete without hearing from the outspoken, manly man himself. I recently learned that what I lack in bullfighting skills, I share with Hemingway in the reading multiple books at a time department - sometimes as many as ten. Hemingway read an average of a book and a half a day, including three daily newspapers at least. Apparently, he would even bring a duffel bag full of books with him on traveling trips, and he spent the majority of his afternoons and evenings reading, if only to keep his mind of critiquing what he'd just written. In true Hemingway fashion, the man read mostly great literature so, "he knows what he has to beat." 

    Check out his full reading list here, plus here'sa great interview he did with the Paris Review about his reading and writing process.


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