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    created at: 07/23/2015

    What's not to like about watching a consummate actor, humanitarian, and adorable t-shirt wearer teach you how to make the ultimate plate of scrambled eggs?   

    To celebrate his upcoming film Mr. Holmes, Ian McKellen took to the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood to cook up some scrambled eggs on toast, a recipe he learned from his mother. They end up "exactly the way you want them to be," which is also how I feel about watching Ian McKellen cooking scrambled eggs.


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    The team over at Gear Patrol captured a great inside look at the Legendary L.L. Bean factory in Brunswick, Maine and their process for making their iconic Bean Boots.

    created at: 07/23/2015

    If you don't already own a pair of Bean Boots, I cannot recommend them enough. Their simple design and rugged craftsmanship have lasted me many years and many more into the future. It's the perfect marriage of simple design meeting a basic need (to keep your feet dry) tied together with honest craftsmanship. I found the story and the video very inspiring as I continue to hone my own craftsmanship. 

    Read the story behind the boots and lear more over on Gear Patrol's Website.


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    While we all know James Bond's sexy spy experience is a far cry from the lives of real life spies, you'd be surprised by how many cinematic spy gadgets were actually employed in the early days of the CIA. 

    From miniature cameras in cigarette cases to hollow coins, the collection of cool gear is a testament to human ingenuity and the maker's ethos.    

     

    The physical collection is only viewable to CIA operatives and analysts, but a good portion of the collection can be seen on their website here.

     

    And if you're still inspired, check out our Six Unique Cufflinks for the Aspiring Secret Agent.


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    Whether you're planning your own adventure or just looking for a little literary escape to combat cabin fever, it's always great to learn the tales of those who have gone before you.    Travel site Atlas Obscura has published an "obsessively detailed" map of great literary road trips across North America. 

    created at: 07/24/2015The author, Richard Kreitner, describes it as such: 

    The above map is the result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature. It includes every place-name reference in 12 books about cross-country travel, from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012), and maps the authors’ routes on top of one another. You can track an individual writer’s descriptions of the landscape as they traveled across it, or you can zoom in to see how different authors have written about the same place at different times

    Most interestingly of all, for me at least, you can ruminate about what those differences say about American travel, American writing, American history.

    It's a fun click-around, and guaranteed to fill up your library reserve list. Hit it: The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips


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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: 07/24/2015

    When we think about tools that cut things in the workshop, we tend to focus on the big stuff: table saws, metal cut-off tools, or even a chainsaw. Or perhaps we think of tools designed for dedicated tasks: an angle grinder, or a jig saw. But, know what the two items I most regularly pull down off my pegboard, even more than a hammer? Whose little silhouettes remain most routinely bare and hooks unfilled?   My pair of shop shears and a utility knife.  Cause sometimes, maybe even most of the time, you gotta cut stuff besides wood and metal. 

    So, here's our pick for the essential knives, shears, scissors, and such you should keep around to help with any DIY tasks. 

     

    created at: 07/24/2015

    1. A dedicated pair of shop shears. Yeah, these are scissors, but better. Shop shears feature heavy-duty blades that are more precisely ground, which lends to durability for everyday use and longevity over the tool's life. They often feature longer blades than normal office scissors, and have offset handles for better leverage for cutting tasks. They can cut through rubber, heavy duty fabric, leather, rope thick plastic, and the like. Oh, and my personal favorite part: they usually have oversized handles with larger finger holes, so you can use as much of your hand strength as possible to cut through thicker materials. The titanium coated steel allows for multiple resharpenings. Take them in when you get your kitchen knives done. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 07/24/2015

    2. A heavy-duty utility knife: I prefer the replaceable (or sharpenable) slide-out style  utility knives over the snap-off box cutter type. The sturdier handle allows you to apply more pressure for cutting through thicker materials, and the thicker blade is better when meeting resistance when opening boxes and packages; you don't have to worry about it slipping when pushing hard (away from you, of course). 

    If you need a finer or more precise cut, go for the craft knife below. 

    My very favorite to use is the Milwaukee Slide Open, except is has one crucial flaw: no hole to attach a lanyard or hang on a pegboard. Time to bust out the drill bits!

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 07/24/2015

    3. A craft knife: A partner for the utility knife when you need to make fine or intricate cuts. Use it for paper patterns, tape, removing glue or other imperfections. I also regularly use one as a marking knife for laying out joints or cut lines on a piece of wood (having a impressed start line for a hand saw or chisel is great). 

    Go for the classic #1 Xacto knife with the standard no. 11 blades. Use a piece of rubber tubing or other thick material to cover the blade when not in use, so you can toss it in a toolbox, belt, or apron. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 07/24/2015

    4. Aviation Snips or Tin Snips:We've covered these in depth already, but whenever your shop shears just don't cut it (ha!), reach for your snips.  They work great for metal and other thick material, but they also get my vote for the single best way to open heavy-duty plastic clamshell packaging. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    Anything we missed? What other essential knives, shears, and cutting tools do you use regularly in the shop? Post 'em in the comments below. 

     

    Here are those links again, for ease: 

    1. Shop Shears: 

    2. Utility Knife: 

    3. Craft Knife 

    4. Aviation Snips: 

     


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    Grilled Watermelon PizzaLooking for something new to grill for the next backyard gathering? Grab a Watermelon and try out this sweet and savory pizza recipe.   With summer in full swing, my BBQ barely gets cold before I'm ready to fire it up for the next meal. With so much time in front of the grill, it's a constant search for more things to cook on the smokey open flame.

    Since I've been enjoying the fruits of my fire roasted activities for so long, I'm surprised grilled watermelon hasn't been on the menu even once. I stumbled on this grilled watermelon pizza a few days ago and it immediately caught my eye. It's now officially on the menu for our next backyard get-together.

    Here's a link to the recipe.

    I took a look around, and here are a few other grilled watermelon recipes to try while the fire is still hot:

    Grilled Watermelon on flatbread pizza

    Grilled watermelon on flatbread pizzaGrilled watermelon caprese skewers

    Grilled watermelon caprese skewers


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    Any guy can attest. Whether it's your head, your beard, your chest, or, um, anywhere else, your hair has a grain to it... a natural flow that never shifts, no matter how much you have or how long or short it is. 

    And, because of course he did, in 1902, Dr. Walter Kidd published "A Chart of the Human Hair Streams, Showing Their Lineage and History."   

     JF Ptak Science Books, a blog that presents "A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing" spied the map in an old journal, says,

    There is something exceptional about the exceptional.  In this case, the category is maps, and in this instance the map that takes us away, far away, from the expected or standard is one showing the flow of human hair streams...This unlikely title is the creation of Dr. Walter Kidd (Fellow of the Zoological Society, London) and his attempt to reconcile the the influences of gravity, inheritance, genetics, Weismannianism, and other assorted biological bits via his study of hair growth patterns... I should add that I was attracted to this article solely for the possibility that this may well be the first map of directional hair growth. 

    So, there you have it. See more: Maps of Human Hair Streams (1902) [via Kottke.org]

     

     


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    created at: 07/27/2015

    In case you've never looked into it, a set of steak knives is, like, super expensive. Even a reasonably priced, high-quality set, like these six rosewood-handled knives from Victorinox, will set you back $130. Which, to be fair, works out to about $22 a piece, but, c'mon, if you were gonna spend $130 on some knives, would you really want to get a speciality tool you'll only you five or six times a year when you cook up some serious protein for guests?   

    I wouldn't...and haven't, which is why, despite all the cooking and entertaining I do, I don't own a set of nice steak knives. Either did the team at Chefsteps, which is why they came up with this great solution to whip up some serious steak knives... from a batch of thrifted, secondhand butter knives. 

    created at: 07/27/2015

    You should watch the video for the full process, but the short answer is: you can do this fairly easily and quickly, either with an oil or waterstone, or with the aid of a stationary or sander. (They call it a grinder in the video, but I'm pretty sure this is what they're using). Even if you have to purchase a set of stones or a tool to get the job done, you'll spend the money on something you can continue to use for other projects and hacks, not something that will sit in a box 99% of the time.

    Check out the video below, and learn more at ChefHacks.com: 


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    A guide to making the perfect pesto

    Pesto is a mighty Mediterranean-style sauce and condiment that’s super versatile and easy to make. It's amazing all warm weather season long, when the fresh ingredients are bountiful, and tastes fantastic on anything from the grill, on pizza or fresh pasta, or, as many will confess,  a spoon.

    Pesto has been around for a while, pretty much since ancient Rome, although back then they likely used herbs other than basil. The word comes from the same word as "[mortar and] pestle," and references that fact that it's a ground or pounded paste. Nowadays, you can certainly purchase pesto at any grocery store, but like most things, the flavors pale in comparison to a homemade version. 

     

    THE BASICS

    There are a few basic ingredients required to make a classic basil pesto:

    A guide to making the perfect pesto

    Traditional Basil Pesto Ingredients:

    • 2 bunches of basil (about 4 cups)
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

     

    THE METHOD

    1. Wash the herbs.Pat dry.
    2. In your food processor, pulse the greens with the grated cheese, nuts and garlic. It's better if you make it in batches.
    3. Drizzle olive oil as you go until you form a chunky paste (don't puree it!)
    4. Serve and enjoy

    In short: you need something as your base (in this case the herbs), some nuts for texture, and seasonings. Easy!

    Now the classic version is delicious, but is heavy on basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, both of which are quite pricey in your local supermarket. You can (and should!) grow your own herbs, but it's an investment, for sure. (Though worth it!) Thankfully, this classic recipe has lots of options and now there are plenty varieties with different flavors, textures, and price-points. 

     

    A guide to making the perfect pesto

     

     

    THE RECIPES

    Here are a few variations using different ingredients as a base. As you can see, as long as you stick to a base, a nut, and a binder (like cheese or oil), you can be as creative as you want. Have fresh mint on hand? Go for it? Pumpkin seeds? Sure. Just make some.

    Spinach Pesto

    This is one of my favorites; it's more subtle than the original one. For this recipe you'll need:

    • 5oz (a medium pre-washed bag) of spinach
    • Half a bunch of basil
    • A few sprigs of parsley
    • 1/4 of a cup of toasted walnuts (way more affordable than pine nuts)
    • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmersan cheese
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

    Follow the same steps mentioned above and you're good to go. You can even add kale and collard greens to make it extra green and nutritious!

     

    Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

    Ingredients needed:

    • 5 oz of sun-dried tomatoes
    • Half a bunch of basil
    • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (adds richness)
    • 1/4 cup of roasted walnuts or pine nuts
    • 1/4 of freshly grated grana padano (similar to parmersan, but more buttery)
    • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
    • Salt and pepper

    This recipe is awesome when you pair it with a hearty cold pasta salad and a glass of red wine. Yum! 

     

    Dairy Free Pesto

    This is a healthy alternative that contains no cheese, but still has lots of flavour. You'll need:

    • 5 oz of base of your choice (greens, tomatoes, basil, etc)
    • 1/4 cup of walnuts or pine nuts
    • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (this is your cheese!)
    • Hemp or flax seed oil
    • Salt and pepper

    The nutritional yeast will add a boost to your pesto as it is rich in vitamin B12. This recipe is totally worthy of Popeye's approval!

    The perfect pesto

    Pesto Tips:

    • Pesto tends to turn brown if left at room temperature, for this reason, you should use it right away.
    • When storing it in the fridge, cover with plastic wrap and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top to prevent it from browning.
    • Want to keep it for longer? Place the pesto in ice trays and freeze it. Once it's frozen, pop the pesto cubes out and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Whenever you need a quick meal, place a few cubes of pesto in a pan with pasta and you're good to go!

    So, what's your favorite kind of pesto?

     

     This ManMade post was originally published on May 29, 2013. We're sharing it again because it's summer!


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    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    I recently lost a beloved church pew to several years of rot and water damage. Totally my fault, I didn't seal it properly. But, that's ok! It gives me a reason to build something new! On top of that, I thought I'd challenge myself. I had a small get-together happening later that evening, so I needed to make a bench fast.  This bench was made, start to finish in less than 2 hours. That's enough time to knock out after dinner on a weekday! 

    We'll be building this out of cedar, it's weather resistant and much more attractive than pressure treated lumber, in my opinion.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • One cedar 4x4, 8' long
    • Two cedar 2x4s, 8' long
    • 2 1/2" Deck Screws
    • Five 1/2x4 cedar fence boards or reclaimed boards, 8' long
    • Circular saw
    • Speed Square and tape measure

    Total Cost: About $50

    Cut List

    • Two 60" 2x4s
    • Two 1' 2x4s
    • Three 14" 2x4s
    • Four 18" 4x4s
    • Five seat planks - 4"x 1/2" x 6 1/2' 

    Ready, set, start your clocks!

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Let's start by chopping up all your boards. Cut your post into four 18" legs.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

     

    Next, chop your two long supports (60"), two shorter supports (12") and three inside studs (14"). Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours Now that everything is cut, it's time to assemble. Grab your box of screws and drill and join together two legs and one shorter stud. What makes building this bench so fast is the softness of the cedar and the self-tapping screws. Fastening each joint of this bench doesn't require any pocket holes, pre-drilling or countersinking. Just angle each screw into each joint and drive it just below the surface.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Before you fasten your joints, center the 2x4 in the middle of the 4x4 flush the top of the 2x4 and the 4x4 as well. Drive screws in on three side of the 2x4. Leave the outward facing side of the wood empty.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Once you have you two sides assembled, fasten your longer supports in the same way. 

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Next, fasten your center joists in the same way you did your outer supports. I will note here, in typical me-fashion, I cut some studs too short (See the center joist in the picture), so I screwed the two short ones together and compensated for my mess-ups with some scrap 2x4s I had. 

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Now I'll rip my reclaimed painted boards for the benchtop. I ripped these three large pieces into 4" wide planks for my top. Once you've ripped your boards place them evenly on top of your bench. Leave a small gap between each board to allow drainage and prevent rot damage.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Fasten each plank along each vertical stud of your bench. I used 2 screws per board, per stud.

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Because I used reclaimed boards, the boards varied in length and quality (some had rotten ends). Once I got the boards lined up the way I liked it, I drew a cut line and cross-cut the varied lengths into a nice straight end with my circular saw.

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    And you're done! Finish off everything with a decent amount of sanding to dull the sharp edges and give everything a softer appearance. Oh, and don't forget to stop your clock! Did you clock in under two hours? Let me know!

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

     


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  • 07/29/15--07:00: The New Chuck Taylors
  • After 98 years of a singular design, Converse has revamped the infamous "Chuck Taylor" shoe to add a little more comfort. Named after the basketball player and shoe evangelist, Charles Hollis "Chuck" Taylor, Chuck Taylors are considered "the most successful basketball shoe in history" with over 80% of the market share in 1966.   

    The design alterations are minimal but seemingly have the comfort of Nike, now that Nike has done a little work on the redesign (Nike purchased Converse in 2003 when the company went bankrupt). 

    Check out the video below to see the new bells and whistles. 

     


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    Before Pic of WorkshopI'm finally re-vamping my cluttered, dark, dis-organized shop on a budget. Big projects need to be broken into manageable pieces. Here's the process I'm going through to make sure my budget shop upgrade comes together right.  
    I've been thinking about my shop upgrades for a while now. I've sketched, measured, dreamed, and worried about it for years, and now that I'm actually starting the build it's time to break it into pieces manageable enough to get done without going bonkers.  My uncle told me a few months ago "make sure you design it for when you're in the middle of a project, not for when everything is all neat and tidy." That's important, because it doesn't matter if it looks good but can't be functional. I've thought quite a bit about work flow, and design. Tools are spaced far enough apart to keep from overlapping, and all counters are the same height so materials can move from one place to the other easily.

    The key to a good plan is to start at the end and back into it, so I've taken some time to really get into the project with a detailed SketchUp model. Here's a look at the finished (hopefully) project, complete with scale tools:Final SketchUp Plan

    Now the key is that I've built each component to the point that I have a material list for each piece of the cabinet. I designed them separately and then imported into the model to be able to measure and plan each piece at a time. After that, I broke the project into 4 Phases to make sure I have the materials needed for each portion of the project. Here's what that looks like:

    Phases of Construction

    Now the first step over the next week will be to completely destroy the shop. Everything will come off the wall, off the floors, and out of the shelves so I can deep clean all the dust out and only keep what I need. This is a huge and important first step that will allow me time to figure out what junk I've kept for way too long. After that, we'll jump into the first phase:

    Phase 1: I am planning on tackling the wall first to start the organizational process. By adding a huge amount of open space on the wall, I will be able to clear out the shelves and start to get things into their place. I will also be painting the walls, and re-routing the dust collection and air compressor line so this phase is where the momentum for the next few comes in. $130 in materials

    Before Dewalt Planer Island

    Phase 2: Building that tool island will be the next step, giving me a place to park the tools that crowd my countertop right now. Right now, the mobile base is a pain, and honestly it looks pretty sad. I especially like the place where I've put the planer, out of the way but still useful. By leaving a space open below the top counter, and installing casters on the island I can dimension and finish wood with full out-feed support. Not sure how well I will like the low position of the tool, but at over 100lbs, I know that I don't like hefting onto my bench to plane a few boards. The challenge of this step will be to set up power and dust collection in a way that is accessible but not in the way. I'm tired of stepping around cords and hoses on the ground, so suspended from the ceiling is likely the way to go but I will need to keep clearance for the garage door. $120 in materials.Wasted Space Radial Arm Saw

    Phase 3: This is the largest phase of the project for sure, with a full tear out of existing shelves and a warped bench top. I will also be embedding my radial arm saw into the countertop for a large supported cutting surface. That sure beats the current set-up above with all that wasted space. I've designed the whole thing into modules 4 of which all have the same basic carcass with different face frames and doors. I'll build 8 drawers, about 12 doors, wire up about 6 outlets, and then lay a huge countertop on the entire thing. $300 in materialsOverall Before Shot

    Phase 4: My last phase will be all of the wrap-up that comes with a project, clean-up, rearranging, and final touch-up. I will be cutting down and re-sizing my current 4x8 workspace to about a 4x5 space with the table saw on one end and the router table on the other. I'll be working on some dust collection routing, and adding face frames and doors to the frame to stiffen it up and provide some dust-free storage space. $50 in materials

    So my total budget for this project is about $600 and that's pushing it. That's another benefit of breaking the project up into smaller phases, you have the ability to work as the budget (and time) allows, but you don't have to live with half-finished projects for too long.

    Final thought:

    After all the planning, I realized that I haven't taken into consideration 2 important items: sheet good and clamp storage. Both items have the potential to take up some serious room, so I'll be doing a bit of wrangling (or may just build a bit of protected storage outside). Take the time to sketch out detailed plans on the process and pieces to get a good idea of where the challenges are and also where things can be broken up into manageable pieces. I love SketchUp for this, it's a free and very robust program that gives the ability to develop something in 3D detail that is great for planning and visualizing a space. I talked last week about learning some of the basics here, and look for our piece on advanced model development for woodworking next week.


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    Leather Tools This inspiring video walks us through the making of a smooth leather cover for the Moleskine notebook. Watch as a simple piece of leather becomes a classy cover for all those world-changing thoughts.   I've carried a pocket notebook with me for years. It's been a constant message to me that my thoughts matter, that I have something to say, and also that I need to keep track of my grocery list. This little notebook means a lot to me, so a protective cover makes sense. Here's a beautiful video of Kinnari leather crafting a simple but complex cover for his Moleskine.

     

    What I love about the video is the variety of tools and techniques it took to make it something amazing. Leather working is a fully hands-on craft and there will always be something special about that.


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    created at: 07/30/2015

    Pergolas are unique in that they really don't protect you from any of the natural elements (no walls and barely a roof), but instead they define an architectural space in the outdoors. Making them perfect for a picnicking spot, a simple bench, or an afternoon with a special someone.

    created at: 07/27/2015

    Pergolas have been around for centuries, most notably as a staple of Italian Renaissance walking gardens that continue to endure today. They're often covered with vines or crawling plants and would make a perfect addition to certain backyards.

    If this peaks your interest, go ahead and check out this easily adaptable design from Popular Mechanics that comes with 3D animation and master-level blueprints.


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    Time off is essential. Being inspired by seeing new things is one of the best ways to take care of your self and fuel your creativity. So, if you're gonna do it, you might as well do it right. The Wall Street Journal reveals the work of "psychologists and researchers [who] have been studying how to create an ideal vacation that boosts our well-being, relieves stress that can impact our health, and helps us recharge for returning to work."

    Some of the key takeaways?

    • Longer isn't always better. More frequent trips is the way to go. 
    • Try to always see things you haven't seen before. It's the new activities, not just the time off, that makes you feel restored. 
    • End the trip on a high note. That's where the strongest memories are made.
    • Planning and anticipating your trip are an important part of the process. Embracing and enjoy the preparation components is half the fun. 
    • Take a day or two when you've returned home before diving right back into your old schedules to extend the beneficial effects. 

    Good read. Go soak it up, then get outta town: The Smartest Way to Take a Vacation [WSJ.com]

     

     


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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: 07/30/2015

    Often, in interviews or lectures or conversations with groups, I'll get asked, "What tool has the most best bang for your buck?" And my answer is always the same: the coping saw. While it's not as flashy as big standing power tool, or as commonly used as a drill or accurate measuring device, it most certainly provides serious versatility for such a small tool.

    Oh...and they cost less than two adult movie theater tickets, without snacks.      created at: 07/30/2015

    The coping saw is named for its ability to cope - that is, joining two irregular surfaces or faces together. This is most common when joining molding, wherein the coping saw cuts out the profile of the molding, allowing for a tight inside corner joint with a finished look - the mark of quality craftsmanship and a great professional look. 

    But, in addition to coping, it's thin, rotatable blade allows it to make a wide variety of cuts. In fact,

    this is often the only hand saw I'll throw in my tool box when I head to an outside job.

    Here are a few other common uses:

    • remove waste in joinery, such as finger joints or dovetails
    • saw intricate shapes and tight curves
    • As a safe way to cut small parts and decorative items
    • making internal cuts and shapes (by drilling a hole, and passing the blade through the material then reconnecting to the frame
    • Cutting gentle curves and wide shapes
    • Cutting aluminum angles or tubes, especially where fine or stopped cuts are necessary
    • Making corner cuts in large workpieces that can't be move to the bandsaw table 
    • Fine shaped cuts in thin material when a jigsaw would vibrate the material to strongly
    • Sculpting and shaping 3D wood objects (such as geometric shapes, letters, and other craft-y projects)

     

    created at: 07/30/2015

    The saw's design allows for the blade to be rotated relative to the frame by loosing the handle, setting the desired angle, and matching it at top. This often makes it the only saw to complete certain tasks. This design is a good 400 years old, and really, there's no reason to improve it. 

    So, which coping saw should you get?  

    Because of it's simple design, all the little details and features matter. Look for a model with a deep throat in the frame, and good overall weight, ergonomics, and comfort. The best saws make it easy to install, remove, and rotate the blade, and allow you to set the desired tension for the cut. A stiff blade is best - low tension just leads to headaches. 

    created at: 07/30/2015

    Also - as on many saws: the stock blades are usually no good. Grab a pack of 8-10 TPI blades, and keep them handy. 

    ManMade Recommended:

     

     

     


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    created at: 07/31/2015It's a bit of a run on sentence but you get the idea. Make a foray into the world of blacksmithery in an easy and manageable way and get some awesome tools out of the deal. The best part about this idea is that 1. it works, and 2. you can create it from a totally normal barbecue and use a standard airbed inflation fan as the bellows.   

     The idea came from RosemaryBeetle of Instructables.com and is wonderfully extensive. All of the tools seen above were made in the forge and there are instructions for making each of them. 

    Glance through the summary video below or view the full Instructables article here


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    I'm a big fan of takeout, just make a call and the food is ready to munch within a few minutes. Like most people, I have my favorite meals that define the restaurant for me. They are the go-to picks that I get and leave happy every time. But what about the joints too far away to make a call and grab what you want when the urge hits?

    A few years ago, my wife found a few copycat recipes so we could make some amazing lettuce wraps at home instead of driving a few hours south for the meal. After that, we found a few others, and now we can make them anytime we want, no takeout necessary.

    Keep in mind, these are not the approved recipes, they are copycats that come close to the original, and oftentimes, taste better with fresher ingredients. Here are a few of my favorites:

    1. Panda Express Chow Mein  - I'm a sucker for a good Chow Mein, and this is a great one. Although there are a lot of ingredients, it's much easier to make this meal than I thought, and the taste? Fresh and Delish.

    2. How to Make a Burger King-Style Whopper Truly Fit for The King - You've never seen a Whopper that actually looks like that... except in ads and commercials. That's because they're never actually that beautiful, or tasty. This one most certainly is. 

     

    Zuppa Toscana

    3. Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup - This spicy, sausage-heavy soup has a creamy broth and plenty of wilted spinach for a true Italian spin that will have you slurping the bowl clean on your way back for seconds. We make this in the crockpot and coming home to the smell of Italy is a great way to end the day.

    4. Almost-Chipotle's Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa- Cooling, refreshing, and full of flavor. Exactly what you want to eat this time of year. Serve on everything. 

     

    Lettuce Wrap5.P.F Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wrap - This is the recipe that started me down the culinary road to begin with. P.F. Chang's is too far away to enjoy on a regular basis, and that is a major issue for me because these, honestly, these wraps are amazing. The Asian influence gives these a salty, tangy, and very spicy flavor that I can't get enough of. We use turkey sausage instead of chicken because it's easy to find.

     Do you have any favorite copycat recipes you like to make from the comfort of your kitchen? We'd love to hear about it!


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    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    I recently lost a beloved church pew to several years of rot and water damage. Totally my fault, I didn't seal it properly. But, that's ok! It gives me a reason to build something new! On top of that, I thought I'd challenge myself. I had a small get-together happening later that evening, so I needed to make a bench fast.  This bench was made, start to finish in less than 2 hours. That's enough time to knock out after dinner on a weekday! 

    We'll be building this out of cedar, it's weather resistant and much more attractive than pressure treated lumber, in my opinion.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • One cedar 4x4, 8' long
    • Two cedar 2x4s, 8' long
    • 2 1/2" Deck Screws
    • Five 1/2x4 cedar fence boards or reclaimed boards, 8' long
    • Circular saw
    • Speed Square and tape measure

    Total Cost: About $50

    Cut List

    • Two 60" 2x4s
    • Two 1' 2x4s
    • Three 14" 2x4s
    • Four 18" 4x4s
    • Five seat planks - 4"x 1/2" x 6 1/2' 

    Ready, set, start your clocks!

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Let's start by chopping up all your boards. Cut your post into four 18" legs.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

     

    Next, chop your two long supports (60"), two shorter supports (12") and three inside studs (14"). Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours Now that everything is cut, it's time to assemble. Grab your box of screws and drill and join together two legs and one shorter stud. What makes building this bench so fast is the softness of the cedar and the self-tapping screws. Fastening each joint of this bench doesn't require any pocket holes, pre-drilling or countersinking. Just angle each screw into each joint and drive it just below the surface.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Before you fasten your joints, center the 2x4 in the middle of the 4x4 flush the top of the 2x4 and the 4x4 as well. Drive screws in on three side of the 2x4. Leave the outward facing side of the wood empty.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Once you have you two sides assembled, fasten your longer supports in the same way. 

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Next, fasten your center joists in the same way you did your outer supports. I will note here, in typical me-fashion, I cut some studs too short (See the center joist in the picture), so I screwed the two short ones together and compensated for my mess-ups with some scrap 2x4s I had. 

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Now I'll rip my reclaimed painted boards for the benchtop. I ripped these three large pieces into 4" wide planks for my top. Once you've ripped your boards place them evenly on top of your bench. Leave a small gap between each board to allow drainage and prevent rot damage.

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Fasten each plank along each vertical stud of your bench. I used 2 screws per board, per stud.

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Because I used reclaimed boards, the boards varied in length and quality (some had rotten ends). Once I got the boards lined up the way I liked it, I drew a cut line and cross-cut the varied lengths into a nice straight end with my circular saw.

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    And you're done! Finish off everything with a decent amount of sanding to dull the sharp edges and give everything a softer appearance. Oh, and don't forget to stop your clock! Did you clock in under two hours? Let me know!

     

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

    Weekday Projet: Make a Cedar Bench in Less Than 2 Hours

     


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    Eero Saarinen's 1962 JFK airport terminal, long since dormant and closed to the public, is finally being renovated and turned into a luxury hotel. But not before teams of photographers and architecture historians have had their way documenting it.   

    Looking through these pictures is like stepping into that time-capsule of American dreaming, when commercial air travel was suddenly available to the public and the everyman was no longer bound by his terrestrial nature. Check out the photos of Max Touhey who was recently granted access to the terminal or read this fascinating account of the historians who are 3D mapping the entire structure for future generations.


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