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    stone sink

    Even as an avid DIYer, stonework has always been something I thought was completely unattainable. Thinking it required a mess of tools and well-studied skill, the art of carving and shaping rock for my own DIY projects found itself at the bottom of my to-do until I saw this great project from the Samurai Carpenter.

    According to the Samurai, all  you need is a masonry saw (rented), hammer drill, diamond grinder bit, a cold chisel, laser level and about 4-6 hours of patience to get a some truly beautiful results.

    Check out his first video that details how he carved a beautiful piece of granite.

    Once you've dusted off from doing that yourself (didn't it look easy!?) Check out how he did the hardware and install.

    Whenever it is I decide to build my very own home (on the beach like his) you can bet a project like this will be accounted for! 


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    created at: 10/01/2015

    Let's be clear: we love our ManMade readers. We appreciate your loyalty, your comments, your ideas, your feedback, your readership, your images, and the community that we've built together that allows us to keep doing this for more than five years (!). 

    You guys are great, and we hope we say it enough. To show how much we love you, ManMade is crazy excited to team up with our partners Murphy-Goode Winery and Big Green Egg to give away the ultimate backyard grill: a Big Green Egg ceramic cooker. 

    created at: 09/29/2015

    Anyone who knows anything about food knows about the Big Green Egg. It's a kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker that has its origins in China and Japan as far back as the third century. Its thick walled construction and beefy design makes its use of charcoal incredibly efficient; you can get a low and slow cook for as much as 14-16 hours on a single load. And the vent system allows you to reach temperatures as high as 700° or as low as 200°F. It's like a grill, a smoker, and a wood burning brick oven in one unit.

    created at: 09/29/2015

    The Big Green Egg is well loved by its loyal and devoted fan base, and the amount of accessories available is inspiring. We think it's a great tool for the perfect backyard bbq: gathering with good friends and good wine for some seriously good times. So, we want to give our ManMade readers and Murphy-Goode fans a chance to enjoy one of these great creative tools at home. 


    created at: 09/30/2015

    Here's how the contest will go down:



    That's it. So, head on over to Pinterest to get started, and enter for your chance to win.

    created at: 09/29/2015


    Good luck! We hope you win.

    Thanks to our partners Murphy-Goode Winery for sponsoring this giveaway. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who support ManMade!  


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    created at: 10/02/2015Enjoying a glass of something strong is a good way to end the night every now and then. But do you know how to actually get the best out of the experience? Here's a quick and dirty on how to get the most fun, flavor, and enjoyment I was reading a some of Chris's posts about whiskey on ManMade while polishing off a small glass of the good stuff a few nights ago, and for some reason it just didn't feel right; mostly because I was drinking it out of a highball glass with crushed ice. I know; I got lazy. But that made me think a bit about what I was missing out on, what flavors were lost in my approach, and what my Uncle Art (visualize the quintessential 1950's man) would think if he could see me doing it. So, I set out to figure out how to enjoy like a true connoisseur. 

    Choosing the Drink - There are so many kinds of whiskey to pick from, take a look at these 6 and find your favorite. Then come back here to take a look at how to drink it best.

    Nice Glass

    The Glass - First, the glass is a huge amount of the experience. Using a rounded, stemmed glass is the best way to funnel the aroma of the drink to the nose, and gives the glass room to be held without warming it. The Glencairn glass is the standard for the whisk(e)y industry. If you prefer something a little less omnitasker, these 10 oz heavy bottom rocks glasses work great.

    ManMade Recommended:

    The Ice - I'm usually a fan of the neat pour myself, straight up and room temperature to let the flavors really stand out. But when the heat is on, I'll enjoy one chilled, particularly a bourbon or blended whiskey. When that happens, it's best to have large cubes of ice to slow the dilution of the drink as much as possible. While normal cubed ice works, consider picking up a silicon mold that forms up large round ice balls or, even better, soapstone "whiskey stones" that cool without melting.

    ManMade Recommended:

    Now that we're done with the tools, let's talk technique. Pour about an ounce in your glass and take a look at it. You should see a brown, caramel-colored drink that leaves legs on the glass. Without swirling, take a long deep breath above the glass (no need to stick your nose in too far, it's potent enough to smell from a distance).Sip

    The Aromas - These cask-heavy drinks are packed with hints of oak, smoke, vanilla and caramel. With a proof upwards of 40 or more it's easy for this syrupy brew to be overwhelming in both flavor and smell if you don't respect it. Don't swirl the glass, as this can bring out the bitterness.

    The Sip - Now comes the sip. Take a deep breath, hold it, then take a small sip. Let it sit on the middle of the tongue and coat your mouth before swallowing. Then breathe out and enjoy the flavor. The warmth in the chest and the distinct flavors will shine through. The benefit of holding a breath while swallowing is that it tends to minimize the burning and bitterness of the drink and helps to open up the flavor profile. This works with other spirits as well, anything with a thick consistency will benefit from this approach.

    Now you know the right tools to really enjoy your next nightcap. But always remember that however you enjoy it - really enjoy it. Cheers!


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    created at: 09/09/2014

    There is bar food and there is drinking food. Bar food tends to center around the deep fryer and the reheating of frozen goods within, and it can certainly be delicious, and also horrible.

    Drinking food, on the other hand, is designed to be a foil against your beverage, a complement. The beverage enhances the food, the food the beverage, and everyone has a good time. 

    This is not a recipe for chicken wings, or for putting pretzels in a bowl. But it is an amazing, and unbelievably simple, snack that you certainly need to make the next time you bust out the bottle opener. 

    created at: 09/09/2014The recipe is called Kai Saam Yang, and I first learned about it at the Whiskey Soda Lounge, a member of the Pok Pok empire, and I wanted to eat nine portions all by myself. The name translates to "Chicken Three Ways," though there is no chicken involved. And while it consists of Thai flavors, what amazes me most is its versatility. The snack tastes equally awesome with beer, a highball or cocktail, or even a neat dram of whiskey.

    It's important to note the simplicity here. This is, in its most basic form, a bowl of bar peanuts. But coupling that standard with a few aromatics really takes it somewhere else entirely, providing a flavorful, salty backbone to any libation.

    created at: 09/09/2014

    Here's how to make it.

    • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender inner layers only
    • 1 purple shallot, finely diced
    • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

    Remove the woody outer layers and green parts of the lemongrass, then split it in half and chop finely. Mix with the peanuts and shallots in a bowl, and enjoy. 

    What's your favorite snack to enjoy with a drink? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Ocean View We all need a reminder that life is too short to spend inside. Here's a fantastic video by a man who decided to live a life outside and as he says: "A simple life is the happiest".   I don't know about you, but it feels like I spend too much time inside taking care of my ever growing pile of stuff. Even though it's great to get out and play in the woods, those times just seem to come fewer and farther between. Here's a reminder I think we all need that it's beautiful out there, and your greatest memories will never be of your things, they will be of the world you saw and the experiences you had in it.

    Bagmaker brand Millican put the video together. They say this about the project:

    "In the early 1900s, outdoor pioneer Millican Dalton quit his conventional 9-5 routine in London to pursue a life in the open in Borrowdale Valley, in the English Lake District. He lived life in his own way, chasing romance and freedom from his cave on Castle Crag.

    Millican Dalton chose experience over material gain and inspired us to do the same."

    Now get out there and enjoy this life one adventurous step at a time.

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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. 

    Blow TorchThere's always room for a flame in the workshop... or the kitchen. Here's the run-down on blow torches and how they can be extremely useful on your next project.  

    A bit of portable heat can be a godsend in the shop. A focused flame can soften, melt, shrink, loosen, char, and solder your projects right where they’re needed for professional results. While it can be a bit daunting to know where to start working with direct flame, the set-up is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you need to get going:

    Blow Torch Close-Up

    General Use: I bought my first torch to sweat copper joints in my bathroom plumbing, so the basic propane kit was all I needed for that project. The kit consists of a small propane tank, and a torch head. The small head is simple and easy to use, but doesn’t have a trigger start and won’t handle MAP gas. This means it’s just slightly inconvenient but performs well for overall shop use. I recommend springing for a bit better model with a trigger ignition to keep from hunting around for a lighter. 


    Note: MAP gas is a blend of propylene with a small mix of propane. It burns a bit hotter (about 130 f higher than propane) which means faster heat to for soldering pipes, but won’t make much difference in most projects. MAP is also about 3x as expensive so don’t go that route unless you really need a boost.

    What do you do with it? Well, lots. Anytime you need to heat something generally, but not make it hot enough to 1) catch on fire or 2) weld or fuse to the areas around it. Some uses are:

    • soldering copper pipe joints
    • starting a charcoal or wood fire for grilling
    • loosening stuck bolts
    • create smoking wood chunk for smoked cocktails or food
    • softening paint for removal
    • brazing to join metal
    • charring wood for visual effect
    • softening roof tar and materials
    • browning a steak or chop
    • toasting sugar, marshmallows, or desserts
    • softening sheet metal for bending 


    ManMade Recommended:


    Special Use (Soldering, precision heat, shrink wrap tape) – For more precise work, a pencil torch or micro torch is more in order. I bought a small butane kit a few years ago, and it has been a faithful tool on many projects where a small, focused flame is needed. Here’s the difference between the pencil torch attachment and a butane micro-torch:

    • The pencil torch is a small attachment for the standard propane bottle. It provides a smaller, more focused flame that is perfect when the surrounding area can’t get burned. The smaller head works well to heat small pieces or shrink wrap tape, but takes quite a while to heat a copper joint for plumbing or brazing.
    • The micro torch is ultra-portable with a small butane reservoir instead of a bulky propane tank. While butane burns about 2000° F cooler than propane, its small size makes it ideal for portable jobs where precision heat is needed. Most micro-torch kits also have small attachments for electrical soldering work, wood burning, or nylon rope cutting.

    ManMade Recommended:


    So, however you like your flame, there's a torch for you. Take a look around and I'm sure you'll find a need in the shop for a bit of precision fire.

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    ManMade reader Ruben van Dijk sent us his most recent DIY project: a set of stylish concrete shelves. His girlfriend had asked for a clean and simple solution for displaying
    her camerasand Ruben knew concrete would be the way to go. And? He was totally right. Ruben crafted the whole thing from scratch, using floating shelf brackets and custom plywood molds. Check out the full build process, then try making some in your own shop. 

    See the full how-to here: Concrete Shelves []


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    Last week a dear friend of mine moved to another city and bequeathed me a bunch of camping gear, which got me thinking about where I should be looking to complete this lovely cache of camping items. Thankfully the team at Outside Online put together this guide for the best deals to look for when building your basic camping supplies.  

    While a quality sleeping bag is hard to find, there are all sorts of other items (like the parachute cord pictured above) that you'll find at an incredible discount at an Army Surplus store as opposed to your local outdoor goods store. I found this incredibly handy since my care for quality often outweighs my budgetary constraints and so I have a hard time navigating the line between what should be a name-brand object versus a quality generic option. 

    Click here for all the buyer's wisdom.

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    created at: 10/06/2015

    Gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "finish coat," right?

    Woodworker Rob Brown invites us to look at our hand tool collection in whole new light... not simply using the tool only for tasks it was intended for, but as opportunities to see these common items beyond their typical use.Specifically, how can nails and sets and screws and chisels and gouges and even small power tools continue to interact with the wood to create signature textures on you projects, giving them a whole new look? 

    Brown explores several common tools, most of which you probably have in your workshop already, and shows the kind of reoccurring patterns and textures they can create in the surfaces of your stock and materials. The results are pretty amazing, and a great way to add a signature look to your finished projects. 

    Check out the full piece at Canadian Woodworking: 12 Ways To Add Texture With Tools You Already Have [via Makezine]

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    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Bin Storage

    Small-parts storage is one of the biggest steps you can take in creating the perfect workshop zen. When all those little fasteners, nails, washers, odds and ends all have a home you can work in peace, not pieces.

    The life of a DIY-er is paved with extra parts. Instead of just a singular hobby focus you've expand yourself into building and making almost anything and it's important to always keep around all those extra parts because you never know when you're going to need them again. However, it can be a nightmare storing all things! I don't want to admit how long I went with a teetering stack of cardboard nail and screw boxes piled on a shelf all mislabeled and rusted.  I finally gave in an invested in some serious bin storage for all my little bits and it's changed my life! 

    Types of Bin Storage

    There's two major types of bin storage that work for different kinds of needs. If you have a permanent shop and not the garage with the car backed out, you might find a better investment in wall and shelf bin storage. These are the more common products you'll see with hundreds of tiny plastic drawers with detailed labels. These boxes can be secured to the wall for easy and permanent access. 

    ManMade Essentials: Bin Storage

    Arko Mils 44 Drawer Cabinet


    The other kind is more portable in nature. Perfect for DIYers like me who don't have any kind of permanent shop. These products allow me to toss all my things into my truck and head to my next project or stack them neatly in my shed for easy access when I need them. They seal tight and keep each compartment intact as you sling them around. I have two different kinds of portable bin storage.

    ManMade Essentials: Bin Storage

    One is my larger Husky cantilever storage system. Here's where I store all kind of odds and ends like compressor parts, stray machine screws, Dremel accessories, razor blades and more. It's my catch-all for small items that don't have a home. If you don't have a ton of shop bits (not yet at least) start with one of these.

    ManMade Essentials: Bin Storage

    If you find that your bits and pieces seem to grow exponentially with every project, you might want to invest in a more modular system like a stacking deep-bin organizer case. I have several of these, arranged by use: screws, nails, nuts and bolts, etc.

    ManMade Essentials: Bin StorageThe best part is that each bin is removable. Need your 2-inch screws for a project? No need to take the entire box with you, just slip out the inner bin and leave the rest behind. It's simply amazing. 

    If you continue down the thrilling path of DIY trust me when I say you're going to really need these storage solutions. The best part is all of these products are inexpensive and in the end will save you time and money by keeping track of all the little things you would otherwise lose or throw away.

    Man Made Recommended

    Permanent Bins


    Portable Bins


    If you need more inspiration on the zen of shop organization, check out the shop of one of my favorite gods of DIY, Adam Savage, and see how he keeps his OCD at bay with his awesome storage system.


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    Japanese Textile Mending

    If you have a few wardrobe items that haven't seen the light of day due to some wear and tear. Take a look at the Japanese method of mending textiles, especially denim, with unique, stylized stitchery.

    Japanese Style mending

    This style of mending certainly beats the traditional method of finding a matching pattern to cover up the hold. Instead, you can embrace the flaw through embellishment.

    See the entire story and learn a little how-to over on Design Sponge.

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    created at: 10/07/2014

    I'm not much for lattes. In general, they don't do much for me, but I especially can't stand the overtly frothy, foamy ones that demand all that sugar and syrup and whipped cream to cover up the fact that the coffee is burnt in the first place. 

    But, I'll admit it: I get jealous that people get so excited about these pumpkin spice coffee drinks this time of year. I like seasons, especially fall, and I wish I could grab a scarf and march right down to the burnt coffee shop and Instagram the s--t out of my to-go cup and my boots standing in fallen leaves. But, I can't, cause I'm a dude; and I won't, cause...well, I'm not much for lattes.

    So, this year, I decided to bring the seasonal, pumpkin-pie-spiced-thing to something that I like ... you know, like booze.

    Thusly, we present - the ManMade guide to making your own pumpkin spiced liquors, to drink neat, in cocktails, mixed with cider, or even, well, coffee.

    created at: 10/07/2014

    If you do a bit of research, you find that the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte doesn't, in fact, contain any pumpkin. Just the sort of spices one would use to flavor a pumpkin pie. Sad for pumpkin fans, but good for our purposes, cause it makes this project much easier and cheaper to create.

    Pumpkin pie spice is a mix of cinnamon, ginger, mace, cloves, and allspice. You can find it pre-mixed at your local grocery store, spice shop, or online. Ground spices only last six months or so, so unless you're gonna be whipping out carrot cakes or raisin muffins like crazy this year, a small bottle is all you'll need.

    For the spirits - anything will do, really, but I recommend sticking to liquors that mix well with spiced flavors. Any straight spirit that's been aged in oak will work: dark rum, bourbon, even brandy. Here, I've gone with a reposado tequila, because it plays well with all kinds of flavors. You could use vodka if you wanted, and actually give it some flavor, but I'd avoid anything with competing aromatic flavors, like gin or fortified liqueurs. A pumpkin spice Tom Collins or G&T might be delicious, but I'm not gonna waste a whole bottle to find out. 

    created at: 10/07/2014

    When infusing liquor, the thing to keep in mind is: a little bit of stuff, a short amount of time. You're not making an aged liqueur or tincture here; you're just taking advantage of alcohol and water soluble flavors, which can be extracted quite quickly.

    For a standard 750 mL bottle, you don't need anything more than a simple teaspoon of mixed pumpkin pie spice.

    So, here's an official recipe for the scrollers:

    Pumpkin Pie Spiced Liquor

    • 1 750 mL bottle distilled spirits like rum, tequila, or whiskey
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    Mix the two together in a large container, cover, and lest rest for one hour, two max.

    created at: 10/07/2014

    The spices will settle at the bottom, so give it a sturdy shake or stir every fifteen minutes or so to keep things moving.


    created at: 10/07/2014

    Then, strain the mixture back into a bottle through a coffee filter set in a funnel. This will probably take fifteen or twenty minutes to allow all the liquid to seep through. Use a marker to write "spiced" on the label or a strip of masking tape, and you're good to go. 


    created at: 10/07/2014

    So, what do you do with it? Anything you want. Use it to make your favorite cocktail recipes, or simple highballs. A pumpkin spice Old Fashioned is a mighty fine thing to drink in October. It tastes awesome mixed with a strong ginger beer (a la a Dark and Stormy), or with some seasonal cider. Your brain probably associates this spice flavors with sweetness (think zucchini bread, sweet potato pie), but this will actually work well without any sugar at all. If you do find yourself upping the simple syrup, be sure to add more acid from fresh lemon or lime juice to keep things in balance.


    Cheers, and Happy Fall!



    For more autumn cocktail ideas, check out our guide to: 7 Ways to Make Your Homemade Cocktails Taste Like Fall


    This ManMade post originally appeared on October 2014. We're sharing it again because it's fall!

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    created at: 10/08/2015

    Ok, it's not entirely from scratch (where do you even get scratch nowadays?) but this unique guide will walk you through the entire guitar-making process from choosing and sculpting your lumber through wiring the electrics to the finishing touches. Most DIY guitar guides will prescribe a repurposed neck, but here you'll be making it all yourself.     

    View the exhaustive How To guide on If you stick with it, you should have a professional quality instrument at the end. The actual guitar skills however are on you. 

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    El Sueño Americano, "The American Dream" is a photo series by Tom Kiefer that showcases collections and items belonging to migrants that were apprehended by customs and border officials along the United States-Mexico border in Arizona. 

    Kiefer says, 

    The photographs included in the project "El Sueno Americano" document the personal effects and belongings of migrants apprehended in the desert by U.S. Border Patrol agents which were subsequently seized and surrendered during processing at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in southern Arizona. During processing this property was considered non-essential by the officials and subsequently discarded. These personal effects and belongings represented each individual's choice of what was important for them to bring as they cross the border to either start or continue their life in the U.S.

    Learn more and see the whole collection at [via JunkCulture]


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    created at: 10/08/2015

    I was reading Justin's piece from earlier today on building an electric guitar from scratch, and the title got my wheels spinning. What does "made from scratch" actually mean? Is it slang for some cheap material like sticks or straw? Is it related to using "scratch" as colloquialism for money? 

    "From scratch" is a value we promote on ManMade, and I'm sure I say it often. So, I did a little research into where it comes from. Answer: competitive sports.

    Specifically cricket, where players would scratch in the ground or dirt to create a boundary line for the batter. Similarly, "starting from scratch" comes from boxing, where 

    The scratched line...specified the positions of boxers who faced each other at the beginning of a bout. This is also the source of 'up to scratch', i.e. meet the required standard, as pugilists would have had to do when offering themselves for a match.

    Scratch later came to be used as the name of any starting point for a race. The term came to be used in 'handicap' races where weaker entrants were given a head start. For example, in cycling those who were given no advantage had the handicap of 'starting from scratch', while others started ahead of the line. Other sports, notably golf, have taken up the figurative use of scratch as the term for 'with no advantage - starting from nothing'. - From:

    "Made from scratch" comes in later, where it was  "applied figuratively with the meaning 'from nothing', and it was used thus by James Joyce in Ulysses (1922): 'A poor foreign immigrant who started scratch as a stowaway and is now trying to turn an honest penny.' Thereafter it was taken up in cooking once boxed mixes and prepared foods became widely available." - Take Our Word for It, Issue 58

    created at: 10/08/2015

    Cool, right?

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    Talk about going all in for a DIY project! Andy George of How to Make Everything goes the whole nine yards to make a chicken sandwich from scratch. 

    Check out this 12 part series where Andy details out how he made every ingredient to build a simple grilled sandwich over the course of 6 months and a $1,500 expenditure. He covered everything from harvesting sea salt to separating the wheat from the chaff in his living room. It's a fantastic perspective of a modern DIYer without all the fancy tools and high-end know how. It made me feel like I, too, could make my own sandwich from scratch.

    How to make a $1,500 sandwich

    How to make a chicken sandwich

    How to make a $1500 sandwich

    You can watch a summary video below or check out the entire 12-part series on YouTube.

    And the $1,500? It's averaged after cost of supplies and labor. Spoiler alert? Mr. George said it was just an OK sandwich.

    You can also check out the rest of Andy's series where he makes suits, books, tools and more over at his website How to Make Everything.

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    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Chisels

    For many centuries, from wood to stone, chisels have literally chipped away history to reveal some of our most lasting and beautiful artwork. Do I need to give you any other reason to get yourself a set?

    Like a chef's knife collection, so goes a crafter's chisels. Each one is made for a specific purpose, whether to shape, smooth, chip or to carve chisels are a very handy tool that every toolbox needs.

    Woodworkers Chisel

    Perhaps the most common chisel is a set of woodworkers chisels. These sharp and true chisels come in handy for a myriad of woodcraft needs. Their biggest use is for removing waste, whether it peeling and shaping or chipping out waste from several shallow saw cuts (pictured below) When used properly chisels make light of precise work.

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Chisels

    When you're looking for a great set of bench chisels (the most basic kind of wood chisel), I'd recommend keeping it small and simple at first. Look for a set of 4 ranging from 1/4" to 1" wide. WoodCraft's Woodriver brand makes a decent set (pictured) if you can have them resharpened by a friend or at a store that offers blade sharpening.

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Chisels

    What to look for when you're buying a set:

    1. Weight - Is the weight comfortable? Heavier weighted chisels help with the workload but you don't want something too heavy and have to lug them around. 
    2. Flat bottoms. The side opposite of the chisel bevel needs to be really flat. This helps with grinding and honing a truly sharp surface.
    3. Comfortable grip - Make sure the grip fits your hand. Also, if the tang feels loose in the handle, move on to another brand.

    ManMade Recommended

    Combination Chisels

    If you're not focusing a lot of time improving your woodworking craft, then maybe a full set of chisels isn't the best thing for you. I do believe, however, every DIYer needs at least one kind of chisel. Like this DeWalt multi-use construction chisel. If you're only going to have one on hand, lets make sure it can do several other things too. Multi taking tools for the win!

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Chisel Set

    This specific tool has a chisel head, a serrated edge (I use to cut wire and rope a lot) a wide striking edge (for those pesky pop up nails) and a strong bevel tip. I use this tool mostly for restoration jobs where I need to pry off small pieces or split and scrape painted surfaces. It's also perfect for remove glue squeeze-out. 

    ManMade Essential Toolbox: Chisels

    What to look for in a Combination Chisel

    1. A combination of uses - Whether it's a rasp, serrated edge or hammer claw, make sure it has a few other features. Saves tool space and time! 
    2. Weight - make sure it's a good meaty product that will last you a long time. You'll know it once you pick it up.
    3. Good Grip– This Dewalt has a great ergonomic grip. I haven't accidentally tossed it across the room yet!

    ManMade Recommended

    One More Thing: Keep Your Chisels Separate!

    If you plan on investing in a great set of bench chisels, it's important you have at least one junk chisel for the rest of your crafting. That way you don't have to worry about damaging your precision cutting ones trying to hurriedly finish a project. Learn from my mistakes and don't use nice chisels to cut or chip anything but wood!


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    I go in waves health-conscious eating. I'm currently in the middle of one and so granola is factoring in pretty heavily. It's a great (and INSANELY versatile) food option that can be fairly healthy like the Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Granola bars above, or something on the most desert-y end like the Raspberry Granola Energy Bars seen below.   

    With autumn in full swing, I'm all for busting out some quality granola. Whether it's on an actual trail or in the comfort of the home, these are 25 Homemade Granola Recipes You'll Crave at Any Time.

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    Colored Pencil RingWe all love to give unique gifts. The kind that are handmade but striking, and memorable enough to stand out next to that coffeehouse giftcard. Make this polished ring from colored pencils and you're sure to leave an impression.   Turning a very normal set of colored pencils into a pile of used sawdust is usually the job of a 6 year old as they scribble all over that coloring book. But this project takes the very same supplies and creates an impressive and one-of-a-kind ring instead. The process is deceptivly simple but incredibly creative and really reminds me that there's beauty to be found just about anywhere, it's just a matter of having an eye to see it.
    Glued Up Pencils

    Take a look at his video below for a really cool overview of how to make something like this yourself.

    After that, it's time to take a look around your place and find something unique to make from that pile of toys.

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    A few years ago, I was attending a conference, and, as I recall, not really listening to the keynote speaker. It was one of those trying to eat-lunch-and-try-to-meet-new-people-and-I-can-barely-hear-from-the-back-of-the-room sort of things.

    But, in a moment of unexpected drop in the banquet room din, I caught something that sunk in. The speaker, musing on happiness, suggested that it's all those little tasks and the clutter that hang over our heads and keep joy from settling in. That knowing you have a million little tasks to do is more stressful than actually doing those tasks. And it's not the big work projects, the term papers, the spring deep cleaning that keep us down, but the little stuff that piles up and creates anxiety about when we'll get it all done. The solution, she suggests, is to not put those things off, but to just do them now. The mantra here is "If you can do it in one minute or less, do it now." You always have 60 seconds available, and the impact is huge.

    I've been trying to implement that in my life for the last three years, and though I get out of the habit sometimes, it's a commitment that consistently helps me feel more peace, more organized, and indeed, more happy.

    So, with that in mind, here's a list of things you can do in one minute or less that really will make your life better and your mind quieter. 

    1. Make your bed. It only takes 30 seconds.

    2. Go around your house and pick up all the dishes and drinking glasses on your nightstand and coffee table. More than one is too many. 

    3. Trim your toe nails. Seriously, it's less of a effort than you think. Don't be caught barefoot with those things. 

    4. Clean off your computer desktop. An organized space is a productive space. 

    5. Wipe off your bathroom mirror. You'll be amazed what a difference this makes, even in a less-than-spotless washroom. 

    6. Open all the mail and envelopes you know aren't important. Just throw them away now. 

    7. Pull in your trash, recycling, and compost bins from the curb. Might as well take out the trash while you're at it. 

    8. Plug in your phone and charge it. Make sure it's ready to go when you need it. 

    9. Take that pile of shoes by the front door (or under the coffee table) and put them where they belong. Which is probably not by the front door or under the coffee table.

    10. Wash that plate or cereal bowl instead of putting it in the sink. If you have time to move it, you have time to wash it. 

    11. Take all the receipts and papers and bags out of your car. You don't have to vacuum it clean, but there's no need for it to be cluttered.

    12. Back up your computer. Don't give Time Machine a chance to tease you with those little pop ups.

    13. Wipe off the front of your refrigerator or oven. Boom. Instant shine. 

    14. Send that one email reply you've been avoiding. But just that one. Don't get caught up in your inbox. 

    15. Clean the coffee pot or toss the filter and grounds now, not later. 10 seconds. No icky build up.

    16. Floss. Your. Teeth. They're the only ones you got. 

    17. Go through your text messages and make sure you've actually replied to the important ones, not just replied in your head. It's not the same thing. 

    18. Invite your spouse or partner for some intimate time later. That should take way more than a minute, but the planning is easy and gets everyone on the same page about expectations. 

    19. Microwave a bowl of half white vinegar and half water for one minute. This loosens the grime and makes it easy to wipe clean. 

    20. Clean out your browser tabs. You're really not missing out by not reading that article you've had open for the past eight days. 

    21. Replenish your toilet paper reserves. They'll be there when you need them.

    22.  Throw all your dirty clothes in the hamper or a laundry basket. It won't make them clean, but it will make them not on the floor. 

    23. Water your plants. And spend the remaining thirty seconds putting a reminder on your calendar to do it next time. 

    24. Stack up books, magazines, records, DVDs, library media, etc, that you're currently enjoying.  You don't have to put them away, you just need to put them together. 

    25. Switch out your bathroom towels. Time for a fresh option. 

    26. Take your vitamins. Really, you have 3.5 seconds. 

    27. Look away from the computer screen. Focus on something in the distance to give your eyes a break. 

    28. Refill your soap dispensers. Don't have this issue come up when you're covered with germs.

    29. Stand up, take a walk. Repeat every thirty minutes. 

    30. Put on sunscreen. Then go outside.

    31. Smile. Really, really big. If you don't have it in you, fake it til you make it. 

    32. Fluff and straighten the pillows on your sofa. Sounds fussy; makes your living room look like you just cleaned it even when you didn't. 

    33. Download current episodes of your favorite podcasts. Do it now while you're on wi-fi, so they're ready for when you aren't. 

    34. Tell somebody you love them. Easy and free. Text your mom. 

    35. Do 30 pushups. Or work on it until you can. Then go for 30 more. 

    36. Take all the coats and jackets off hooks and back of the door and hang them up in the closet.  There's a reason they call it the coat closet. 

    37. Shake out door mats and bathroom rugs. Go outside and smack them against something. 

    38. Sweep underneath the toe kick on your kitchen cabinets. Do this once a day, and avoid getting the crud down in the crevices. 

    39. Wrap and coil up your cables, headphones, and power cords. No more tangles. 

    40. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 60 seconds. You'll feel better. Trust us. 



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