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    created at: 09/21/2015"There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing," so says Google CEO Eric Schmidt. While the truth of the matter is a little more nuanced, but as the world begins to flood itself with content, the quality of its delivery is becoming increasingly important. Hence, the resurgence of hand-crated books like the ones bound by Arion Press using painstakingly exacting methods in this process video from Anthony Bourdain’s Raw Craft series.

    Where some might scoff at the esoteric skillset of the bookbinders, I found myself inspired by their commitment to quality and artistic integrity, especially where no one would see it.

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    essential tool: shop vacA good 'ole dusty mess in your garage or shop is a sign of a very productive weekend. But it's also a sign of a time-consuming cleanup. That's why I love my trusty shop vacuum for picking up and blowing out all kind of debris from my biggest projects. If you don't already own a heavy-duty vacuum, you definitely need to add one to your list.


    shop vac on tableWhy Do you need a Shop Vacuum?

    Shop-grade vacuums (also known as wet/dry vacs) have been around almost as long as the traditional vacuum and boast similar features (picking up dust and dirt). The biggest difference is in their ability to pickup a variety of debris and collect it into a rather large drum for disposal. No bags! This is perfect if you're running it through your shop, picking up nails, saw dust and woodchips. My vacuum has such powerful suction, I have to be careful to keep it from grabbing an entire shop rag or rope I might have left lying on the floor!

    Pick up the dusty and the damp

    Shop vacuums really shine when you apply them to particularly nasty messes. I'm talking wetness. A large wet/dry vac can suck up several gallons of water, which is handy for all kinds of unpleasant situations. I often use mine after a good rain storm (think: basement water). I bought my first shop vacuum after a toilet decided to back up all over the bathroom.

    Amazing Extras

    These industrial vacuums also boast some amazing extras to suit any kind of shop. 

    • HEPA Filters
    • Tool Storage
    • Quiet Operation
    • Project specific attachments
    • Reverse port for leaf-blowing or speedy inflation

    essential tools: shop vac

    What to look for in a great shop vacuum

    1. The right size 

    Pick the size vacuum that is right for your floor plan. If your workshop is a grand total of 100 square feet, like mine, you might want to opt for a small 2-3 gallon model. You'll find yourself emptying the bin more often, but the floor space savings are worth it. If you have the room, go for a larger 6-15 gallon model. 

    2. Power

    Most shop vacuums rate their suction in horsepower (HP). For smaller sized vacs, keep your eye out for about a 2HP motor and the larger ones should be around 5-6.5HP.

    3. Mobility

    If you're looking at a larger vac, make sure the wheels are smooth and don't bind up when you're yanking it all over the place. If the smaller models are what you need, check and see if it has a great handle or a built-in mount for wall storage.

    4. Accessories

    Shop vacuums come with tons of accessories. Keep in mind how you'll be using your vacuum as you look for what you need. Attachments like brushes, extension tubes, wide-mouth nozzles and more can help you clean your shop floors and accessories with ease. Some models come with small and narrow attachments for cleaning small spaces like vehicle motors and machine parts.

    tool essentials: The shop vacuum

    ManMade Recommended

    Large Vacuums

    Rigid WD1450 - Not only does it get great reviews, I see this vac at almost every job site and workshop I step foot in.

    Festool CT26 - If you love a pristine workspace and the precision of Festool and you have the wallet for it, you cannot go wrong with this one. Note: this is not a wet/dry-vac

    Compact Vacs

    Shop-Vac 5873410Shop-vac Micro Perfect for small shops or closet storage. Similar model to the one pictured.

    Dewalt DCV581 - I'm a personal fan of DeWalt products. This is a great compact option


    Need more proof that a trusty heavy-duty wet/dry vac is worth investing in? Read Bruno's tale of woe and wetness in the sewage-soaked basement of his first house: Plumbing of Age: What Every Homeowner Should Know About the Sewer System (Part 2 here)




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    Last Wednesday I committed the absentminded sin of locking myself out of my apartment with the only spare key also locked inside. It was late at night and the realization of the struggle that was about to be rest of my evening was bordering on overwhelming. Luckily I’d left the bathroom window slightly ajar and after some clever thinking and a little jimmying, my buddy and I were able to take off the screen and slip through.    

    It occurred to me in that moment that learning some basic lock picking skills might not be that bad an idea. Picking a lock is a skill that is often associated with criminal intent (which of course isn’t necessary), but a lot of people who learn the skill do it as a meditative avenue for tactile problem solving. So the next day I found this guide for basic pin-tumbler lock picking from and it’s a good place to start if you’re interested. It’ll give you a good conceptual framework for lock picking if you’re new, while also showing what to look for as you seek to improve your methods.

    Check out the link with photos and video here.

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    Check out this sharp-looking and functional from Kreisdesign: a large-scale wooden pegboard panel with a variety of shelves, pegs, and hooks for some stylish storage in your office, kitchen, or workshop.   You can check out all the options at their site, but I'm thinking this is ripe for a DIY effort. Get some baltic birch plywood, and drill a grid of 1" holes, spaced perhaps 3 or 4" apart on center. Make pegs from 1" dowels, chamfered on one end to allow them to be easily inserted and removed. Shelves are simple plywood rectangles. Finish the whole thing with Danish Oil, and you're good to go. 

    Check it out in full at Kreisdesign - Peg-it-all : Wall-mounted Storage Panel


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    Hamilton 920 Pocket WatchWe all have a few vintage mementos in our collection. Things we collect or gather along the way, that we know well, and every now and then, take out for a closer look. Among my treasures is my grandfather's Hamilton 902 pocket watch.  The Hamilton was a well-known railroad timepiece, relied upon for its accuracy and durability. The jewel movement and gold filling made it popular as a collectible timepiece.

    Hamilton 920 Pocket WatchI don't know when my grandfather picked his Hamilton up, but he was a mail carrier after World War II, and it tagged along on his route for most of his working life.

    Hamilton 920 Pocket Watch

    There's something fascinating about a mechanically wound watch that draws me to the tiny complex movements. It's the frenzied but reliable tick, the tactile need to wind it, and especially the complex gearing. His Hamilton 920 is packed with nineteen jewels, miniature precision weights, and a still shiny interior almost ninety years after it was assembled... a feat of engineering so beautiful it was worth diving into a bit deeper.

    Hamilton 920 Pocket Watch

    Do you have any vintage mementos you haven't taken a look at lately? Isn't it about time to open them up and appreciate what our fathers and grandfathers created by hand?

    Hamilton 920 Pocket Watch

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    This is a guest post from Mike at The Crafty Gentleman blog – a site dedicated to original DIY and craft projects. 

    created at: 09/23/2015

    Yeah, we're living in the digital age, but I still enjoy a magazine or newspaper with my morning coffee. To keep them tidy and at hand, I designed this minimalist magazine holder, which would fit neatly alongside any table or sofa. The raw wood and denim look gives it a rustic, rugged feel – but you could easily paint the wood or use different fabric, to customize it perfectly for your space.

    created at: 09/23/2015

    This DIY makes use of both simple sewing and some basic construction techniques , but you definitely don't need to be an expert in either to make it! All you really need is to know how to use a cordless drill, and how to add a simple running stitch to fabric (using a sewing machine, or by hand). If you aren't sure on either of these, this is a great place to start. 



    • 2x hardwood dowels, 5/8" thick
    • Several wood slats 
    • 2x 3/8" bolt and accompanying wing nuts
    • Wood screws
    • Large piece of fabric
    • Needle and thread or sewing machine

    Editor's note: Mike lives in England, so material availability varies a bit than those in the US.

    1. Cut a piece of fabric to 90 by 40 cm (this measurement includes seam allowance).

    created at: 09/23/2015

    2. Hem the sides by folding one edge of the fabric over onto itself by 1 cm, then again by another 1 cm. This ensures that the raw edge is hidden. Pin and sew this hemline in place, removing pins as you go, then repeat for the other three edges.

    created at: 09/23/2015

    3. Fold one of the shorter sides of the fabric over onto itself by 5 cm, pin and sew in place along the very edge (so you leave a loop/gap through which to insert the dowelling). Repeat for the other short edge of the fabric.


    created at: 09/23/2015

    4. Cut four identical lengths of wood to 40 cm each and sand the edges. Mark the middle of each piece of wood, then drill a hole through the centre of each. Make sure the hole is large enough to fit a bolt through – you'll need to use it later.


    created at: 09/23/2015

    5. Cut a thick piece of dowelling into two 45 cm long pieces and sand the edges. Place the flat end of one piece of dowlling onto the side of one of the wooden pieces (position it at the end of the large flat face, so the wood and dowelling form a right angle). Drill a long screw through the wood and into the dowelling, so it goes down through the centre of the dowelling (you might need to drill a small hole first to guide the screw).

    created at: 09/23/2015

    6. Thread one end of the fabric pouch onto the length of dowelling that you've just joined to the wood. Repeat the previous step to add another piece of wood to the other end of this piece of dowelling, in exactly the same way. You'll be left with two parallel pieces of wood, joined at the top by a length of dowelling that has one end of the fabric pouch looped onto it.

    7. Repeat the previous two steps using the final two pieces of wood and the second length of dowelling. When it comes to threading on the fabric pouch, just use the loop at the other end of the fabric.

    created at: 09/23/2015

    8. Finally, join the two pairs of wood together by screwing a bolt through the hole you made earlier in the centre of each piece. Rotate each pair in an X shape, so the fabric drapes between them, then fasten in place with a wing nut (you should only need to make it finger tight). Repeat on the other side. 

    created at: 09/23/2015

    Pretty simple, right?! Even if you aren't a magazine reader, this would be a great DIY to store an iPad or books in. Or why not make one for your office, to hold your paperwork? You could even change the scale of this project and make a small letter/notes holder. So many options!

    created at: 09/23/2015

    See more projects like this over at The Crafty Gentleman blog now, and follow Mike on Instagram and Pinterest. 

     created at: 09/23/2015

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    created at: 04/15/2013

    Why anyone would pay for a bottle of vinegar and oil-based salad dressing is beyond me. Homemade vinaigrettes should be a staple in every kitchen, and they're super easy to make. It's simply a matter of memorizing one easy recipe, then adding and adjusting seasoning to fit any meal.

    So, the anatomy of a vinaigrette... and some other nerdy facts that will leave you feeling like a true gourmand.

    What's a vinaigrette?

    Without getting too geeky, a vinaigrette is a temporary emulsion that's made out of oil, vinegar, and a seasoning (usually salt and pepper). Different from a traditional salad "dressing," which has more ingredients and may be a permanent emulsion like mayo, vinaigrettes are very easy to make and can be served with nearly any veggie on planet earth. They even work great as marinades for your summer BBQs (the acid in the vinaigrette tenderizes the meat and, the oil helps in the cooking process).

    Since they only require three main ingredients, you can pretty much make any combination you can think of with any ingredient available in your kitchen cabinet.

    Once you have the correct ratio of oil to vinegar, then you can go wild and creative.

    What's the perfect vinaigrette ratio?

    The perfect ratio is 3:1 - 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. That's your secret weapon. Once you've tried a few times, you'll be able to eye the ingredients without using any measuring tools, and you can whip these up in no time.


    Step 1: Measure 1 part of vinegar.

    Step 2: Measure 3 parts of oil.

    Step 3: Add seasoning.

    Step 4: Shake it like a polaroid picture!

    Step 5: Serve and enjoy.

    Now that you know the basics, let's get adventurous and start mixing and matching different ingredients. Here are a few ideas to get your started:

    created at: 04/15/2013


    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: the all-in-one choice. You can get a good quality EVOO for $37 over at Williams-Sonoma, or for less at your grocery store. TIP: Make sure the bottle is dark green - light bottles expose the oil to daylight, which could potentially change the flavor. (Fun fact:this bottle of EVOO costs $15,000 - holy shiza!)
    • Avocado Oil: Rich in vitamins D, E and A - a tasty alternative to EVOO, available at most natural/organic grocers.
    • Flaxseed Oil: Perfect for all of you Omega-3 fans. Make sure you always keep in the fridge and use it within 3 months of opening, otherwise it will go funky.
    • Sesame Oil: A tasty asian twist. I wouldn't use the full oil ratio with this one, as it tends to be quite strong. I say you mix it with something like canola or EVOO to tame it down. 

    created at: 04/15/2013


    • Balsamic: My go-to vinegar for a quick and easy vinaigrette. The real Balsamic can be quite costly (because it's aged for years and all that jazz). Nevertheless, there are tons of affordable, "Balsamic variations", with added flavors available at most markets.
    • Apple Cider: Chosen by many for its health benefits - apple cider vinegar goes well with most everyday salads. Fun Fact: According to this article, "it's supposed to kill head lice, reverse aging, ease digestion, and wash toxins from the body". Intense, right?
    • Champagne: if you want to get all fancy pants, go for this option. To be honest, it's worth the extra bucks - especially when you're using high quality ingredients (not for everyday use, but you should definitely have it in your pantry).


    created at: 04/16/2013



    This is my favorite part; you can have the same oil and vinegars, but by mixing them with different seasonings you can create a bunch of different recipes. You can even make your own artisan salts or you can use any herbs in your pantry. Here are a few ideas:

    • Seasoning Salts: Same stuff you use for roasted potatoes! A total no-brainer, just sprinkle, mix, and go.
    • Chipotle Rub: Yep. It's not only for BBQs. Add it to your mix for a spicy kick.
    • Herbs: Thyme, Oregano, Basil, you name it. Mix your favorite herb (fresh of dry) with a pinch of salt and voila!

    What did I tell you? Vinaigrettes are the easiest thing to make. I suggest you start by making small batches, then once you are a pro, bottle your own mix! This way, you'll save time and money.

    Got any recipes of your own? Share them in the comments!



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    "There's a lot of wood out in the world free for the taking," says Will Holman. So much, in fact, he was able to cobble together a wide variety of materials found "in dumpsters, back alleys, vacant lots, abandoned buildings, recycling yards, and architectural salvage centers."  The results? A 10'x30" dining/work table constructed entirely from the free, repurposed lumber, and a little elbow grease and ingenuity.    

    My favorite part: the construction process uses a clever laminating technique that eliminates the need for dozens of extra long pipe clamps (mega $$$), and the results look just as great. The whole thing uses truss rods to keep it aligned over time, and relies on custom trestle legs to support the top along its length and raise it to the perfect working-level height.

    Check out the full process: Scrap Table




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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. 

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: workbench vise

    No matter how experienced you are with DIY having a helping hand can sure make completing your projects a breeze. If you don't own a bench-top vise then you need to add this little helping hand to your toolbox.

    A vise is one of life's simple machines, so simple you might not even consider it a necessity for your own workshop. I certainly put off that $100 purchase for several years. Let me say that was a big regret. Vises can bring a lot of much-needed stability and comfort to many of your small and large projects.

    Why You Need a Vise

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: workbench vise

    It's a Helping Hand

    Depending on what kind of vise you get, their main job is to grab hold of what your working on and keep it there. For example: I use my woodworkers vise (pictured above) to hold wood still for hand planing and jointing. 


    ManMade Essential Toolbox: workbench vise

    Keeps Things Still and Stable

    Clamps do a lot of great things but it takes a lot of them to keep something upright and sturdy. When it comes to dovetailing, flattening scrapers or hack-sawing a pipe, having a strong vise can keep your items set in the angle you need and from shaking all over the place is a game-changer.

    It Sticks Around

    At this very moment, I am not entirely sure where all of my clamps are if I happened to need one of them in a moment's notice. However, I can always count on my vise to be bolted to the table, right where I left it

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Workbench Vise

    Pick the Right Vise for the Right Passion.

    There are all kinds of vises in all kinds of sizes. It's important to consider which one you need for what you'll be doing the most of at home. We'll narrow it down to the two most common for DIY tasks.

    Woodworker's or Bench Vise

    A woodworkers vise can be spotted with a shop-made wooden jaw that allows the worker to hold materials without damage to the surface from too much clamp pressure. The wooden blocks are also set and perfectly flat to help with jointing and precision cuts. Most woodworking benches feature a great vise but you can also buy your own kit and install it to any sturdy work surface you have.

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Workbench Vise

    Cast Iron Engineer, Machine or Portable Vise

    These are more common in a home shop and easier to find in big box stores because of their versatility and cast-iron heft. It's great for a wide range of materials and can pack a strong squeeze on things like iron pipe when you need a hand for cutting. They also range in size. Pick a size from whatever a store like Home Depot sells. You don't really need one of those 100 lb dudes.

    ManMade Recommended: 
    Expect to spend around $60-100 for a quality vise for regular use. Buy the right one, and it'll last a lifetime. 

    Woodworkers Vises 

    Machine Vises

    • Yost 6.5" Vise - Great standard workshop vise at a good price.
    • Bessey - Known for their woodworking clamps, this is a great product too!
    • Irwin 4.5" Bench Vise - Smaller, but great for basic use. If you don't have a benchtop vise, this is the first one you should get. 

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    created at: 09/25/2015

    Ever wonder why your jeans have that little fifth pocket on the right side? 

    Turns out, the fifth pocket was introduced around the turn of the 20th century, and its original purpose was: to hold a pocket watch. Truth. Even today, most jeans that are manufactured to traditional measurements will still be able to house a size 16 pocket watch, and the belt loops are still spaced to be able to accommodate the watch’s ring-clip chain. 
    Cool, huh? Got a pocket watch? Give it a shot.

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    I'm a fan of doing things yourself. I love how much goes into creating something unique with quality materials, and the ability to customize it for the space it will live. But I can't make everything and I still appreciate a well-made product. That's where the market for artisanal pieces comes in.    If I can't make it myself, I want to support those that can and so my house is checkered with pieces made by others with the same spirit of quality and style. The problem with well made, one-off pieces is that the price for those products can spike. Here's a great look at the burgeoning world of Artisinal firewood, and the very pinnacle of custom decor:

    Credit: This is That (CBC)

    Now that you've seen the potential for your very orderly firewood stash out back, take a look around and find something else worth turning from burnable trash into equally burnable treasure.

    Funny...but we still totally want that apron that dude is wearing.

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    created at: 09/25/2015

    There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.      Throughout the next few months, ManMade is seeking out the best affordable bottles of a variety of spirits that work well in your home bar, but know you can grab at the store the next time you head to a friend's house or a party.

    Now that it's officially fall, it's time to put away the gin and tequila of summer, and embrace the ultimate cool weather spirit: whiskey. Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing our favorite picks for a variety of whiskey styles (bourbon, Scotch whisky, etc), but today, we're starting with a lesser known type, at least in the U.S.: Irish whiskey. 

    created at: 09/25/2015

    And for the best value bottle, my vote goes to: Kilbeggan Blended Irish Whiskey, which costs around $23 - 27. It's not the cheapest out there, but provides an awesome value and a great balance between price point and flavor. At the price, it's around $1.05/oz, or $2.10 for a standard 2 oz. dram. So, two bucks a drink... you can't get that at your local watering hole. 

    Kilbeggan is named for St Bécán, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland from the 6th century, who founded a monastery in the community where the distillery resides. It's technically the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland, founded in 1757. The original building has an interesting history. Here's what Wikipedia says: 

    The economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s took its toll on [the distillery]. In 1947 it was put up for sale and the successful bidder, the Transworld Trust, involved fraudsters from Switzerland and Austria...On 19 March 1954 production ceased at the distillery. It closed closing completely in 1957 and the building began to fall into disrepair. Twenty five years after its closure, the community of Kilbeggan restored the distillery and opened it to the public as a whiskey distillery museum. Cooley Distillery bought the license to produce Kilbeggan and Lockes Whiskey, and later took over the museum along with opening a new working distillery in Kilbeggan.

    Today the distillery is known as Kilbeggan Distillery, and includes a...19th-century waterwheel that is in working condition. The distillery can also be powered by a steam engine, which is in working condition but rarely used. It was installed to allow the distillery to continue operating in times of low water on the river.

    Whiskey production recommenced in 2007, the year in which the distillery celebrated its 250th Anniversary. One of the two Copper Pot Stills that is being used in Kilbeggan was made in the early 1800s and is the oldest working Pot Still producing whiskey in the world today...In 2010 Kilbeggan became a fully operational distillery once again, with the installation of a mash tun and fermentation vats.

    created at: 09/25/2015

    As for the product itself, it's good. Quite good; especially at two and some change a glass. It has a notable nutty, oily flavor and texture, which is real plus. It's not very sweet, but has the richness of honey and deep malt flavor. It's quite dry, which reads as complexity. It takes particularly well to a small splash of water to open it up; it helps to bring out the fullness of the flavor profile. Without the water, it just kinda tastes like a not-very-sweet bourbon (which isn't a bad thing; it's just not Irish whiskey). 

    I don't drink my whiskey on the rocks, so I don't know how well it reacts to ice, but I think this guy would be delicious in a simple cocktail or highball; I recommend trying it with ginger beer or apple cider and a squeeze of lemon. 


    Give it a shot this weekend, and let us know what you think in the comments. Cheers. 

    For more in our Best Value in Booze series, check out these great bottles!

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    I studied in London for a semester while I was in college, and a friend of mine stayed with a family who lived in a house that was once convent smack dab in the middle of London. I remember walking though the house with an odd feeling since the house was at once extremely home-y and chill, but at the same time carrying a sense of excitement that only comes from getting unrestricted access to a public place.    

    When I saw the photos of this Foxtons house (currently on the market for £10,000,000), I couldn’t help but get a bit of the same feeling.

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    Wood Pile

    I am a total scrap hoarder. Whether it's wood, metal or other trinkets, I can't help but think to myself that one day I will use some of these. From time to time, I search the depths of Pinterest to find some really good uses for all the junk I collect. Because if I don't I might not have a workshop to work in anymore!

    Here's a collection of some of my go-to ideas on sites like Pinterest to get your brain storming on what you can do with your growing pile of scrap in your own shop.

    Some photos contain actual DIY project links, others are just inspiration.

    Get a good forstner bit and turn your cut-offs into some votive holders.

    cut off votive candles

    Tis the season for pumpkins. How about a few rustic pumpkins for your front porch?

    scrap pumpkins

    Make a super simple table centerpiece with some 2x4s

    scrap wood and mason jar centerpiece

    How about a bathroom storage ladder from a few strips of old wood?

    Rustic bathroom ladder

    Give yourself a real challenge and figure out how to construct a side table like this one. I think I might have to try this one next!

    scrap wood side tabls

    If you have some large, left over cast iron pipe, maybe you can spruce up your backyard with a few rusty succulent planters!

    rusted steel planters

    Those leftover copper cutoffs can turn into a steampunk wall planter.

    copper wall planter

    If you happen to have loads of scrap fabric from old shirts or unused rags, turn them into twine! My wife and I use a lot of our leftover fabric to make into decorative twine for gifts. It's a big hit.

    scrap twine

    Let's not forget about leather! Turn all your leftover leather scraps into a simple key fob.

    leather key fob

    And finally, for all those little cutoffs you can't help but save, turn them into a nice piece of wall art! 

    Like this:

    Mosaic Wall art

    Or this literal scrap mantel wall!

    wood scrap wall

    What are some ways you like to turn your scraps into DIY gold? 

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    Breakfast burritos and enchiladas are high high high on my list of foods in general and they really can't be beat on the camping trail. Especially as we move into the crisp autumn season, some toasty breakfast foods can make all the difference on how the day goes. I'm looking at trying this at home as well.   

    All you need are your basic ingredients and a cast iron skillet and you're good to go. Check out the recipe on the Huckberry Journal

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    DIY Cement CandleholdersHave a little cement and metal left over after a project? Turn them into something much more interesting than a pile of clutter in the corner of the garage.   I'm a man who lives in a house with a woman and three little girls, and there are plenty of small candles dotted all over the house. Candles are a great way to smooth off a room, adding a whole different type of light. Here is a simple DIY project to make some candleholders with a rustic, "manly" feel.Concrete Candleholder

    I like this project for plenty of reasons, but the best part is the variety of materials and ideas of how to make them into something that will fit right in on the mantle next to those, um,  deer antlers?

    Concrete Candleholders

    So go out and look around for your last project leftovers and see what materials you have to make some concrete candleholders to toughen up your space.

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    Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.

    If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?   It will, of course, and now, folks in Estonia will be able to hear it. As well as the other amazing sounds of the forest, and perhaps a John Cage-inspired composition or two. 

    Colossal reports, 

    Estonian Academy of Arts decided to infiltrate a nearby forest with three giant wooden microphones. The sound-amplifying installation is near  RMK’s pähni nature centre , an area where one can currently rest within the grooves of one of three megaphones to intently listen to the detailed rustling of leaves or chirping of birds both near and far.

    Valdur Mikita, a writer who has often covered the way Estonian culture is tied to the 51% of forests that comprise it said, “It’s a place to listen, to browse the audible book of nature – there hasn’t really been a place like that in Estonia before.”

    I love this in so many ways. Read more at Colossal: If a Tree Falls in the Forest… These Megaphones Will Amplify Its Sound

    If you plan on ever deep frying anything at home, this is a very, very good idea. Also, this fried chicken recipe looks killer. See more at

    Taiwanese design firm Acorn Studio created this globe lamp that looks like...well, you know what it looks like. We'll have one for each room, please. 


    Wow. How did humankind ever figure this stuff out? More impressive to me than the iPhone. 

    created at: 09/30/2015

    Fall foliage predictor from Here comes October. 

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    Two weeks ago in Geneva, Vacheron Constantin took the horological world by storm with an unprecedented design: The 57260, the undisputed world record holder for the most complicated mechanical watch in the world. Among a host of singular features, the 57260 includes a customizable night alarm setting t0 silence the watch between 10pm and 8am, although this has to be adjusted by one of the three men capable of adjusting it...   A lot has been written about this watch since its unveiling, but this article from Hodinkee has the gorgeous photography that really lands the impact of such a complicated and integrated piece of practical design. 

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    Heated Affair

    As the leaves change color and the nights cool down, it's time to take a look at a few of our go-to hot cocktails to keep the party going into the cold fall nights.   1. Heated Affair (pictured above) - A glass of tequila isn't just for margaritas. Mix in with a bit of cider and top it off with some cream for a smooth but potent glass of evening bliss. 

    2. Hot Toddy - This classic nightcap is a great way to wrap up an evening feeling warm and ready to doze off after a great day. Also known as Grandma's cough syrup, this fortifying drink helps to push off the common cold. It can be made with Bourbon or Brandy, Whiskey, or Rum, so pick you favorite poison and grab a mug.

    3. Pumpkin Spiced Booze with hot apple cider - last year, we shared our ManMade take on the whole "pumpkin spice" thing... but adding it to liquor. Combine with some warm cider, and you've fall in a glass. 

    Hot buttered Rum

    4. Cinnamon Bun Hot Buttered Rum - You can almost chew this sugared up hot drink that just drips holiday cheer. Make up a big batch in advance and the guests will easily move into enjoying the night around the firepit with a few of these in their bellies.. 

    Pumpkin White Hot chocolate

    5. Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate - Adding a bit of pumpkin and chocolate into the night is almost a must as the holidays start to appear just over the horizon. This spirited version of the classic and ubiquitous pumpkin spiced everything is an essential part of the season, so we might as well embrace the new tradition.

    Whatever your warm fall drink may be, if it keeps the guests warm and happy it's the right drink for the season. So take a few minutes and stock up on the essentials for a great evening with friends enjoying the weather with something warm in hand.


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    Some of you may know that I built a raft and traversed the Mississippi River a few years back, having no prior knowledge of boat building. Believe it or not, it was remarkably easy to do if you're willing to plan ahead and put in some good labor hours. Here are three bizarre stories of different DIY boats from True Almanac, each constructed for different purposes, such as the "disaster-proof" boat designed to survive a tsunami pictured above.   

    There's also Vinny's Magical Boatmobile constructed from his pickup truck, and How to Build Your Lover a Houseboat

    Check out all the stories here.

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