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    created at: 05/08/2016A while back, John of I Build It had a big ol' thunderstorm knock out a bunch of trees and branches in his yard and he figured he might as well try and get some lumber out of the mishap. What he needed was a "quick and dirty" band saw mill that he could easily set up and then dismantle for storage. One 5-part DIY YouTube video series later, and the project was fully operational and made out of entirely out of basic shop supplies.   

    Following in the "chop your own wood and warm yourself twice" tradition, John was able to clean up his yard and save money on lumber for his other projects all at once. Check out Part 1 below:


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    created at: 04/30/2016

    Says Ernest Hemingway, "it is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” 

    We couldn't agree more. Nowhere looks more like itself than the way it looks on two wheels. And no matter your pursuit, there's a bike for it. Whether you're looking to spin for miles through country lanes on a road bike, run errands on a stout commuter bike built for comfort on city streets, or zip down tree-lined single track on a mountain bike, at the end of all the fun and adventure, you're going to have to get back to where you started. Safely, efficiently, and, hopefully, comfortably.

    This post is part of a series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!

    created at: 04/27/2016 To pull it off each and every time, there are just a few items you should take with you on every ride. They're designed to be lightweight and fit easily in a seat wedge, hydration pack, pannier, or messenger bag; to be mostly forgotten about when you don't need them, and then there and ready to go when you do. 

     

    created at: 04/27/2016

    1). A multitool - hopefully, you'll have made any important adjustments before you leave, but it's important to be able to loosen and tighten hardware while you're out. Slipping seats, unsquare handle bars, loose reflectors or accessories, squeeky chainring bolts can all happen after a few minutes of riding, so it's important to be able to deal with them while you're out and about. Any good bike multitool works like a Swiss Army knife, and should include at least

    • 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 mm hex wrenches
    • Flat and Phillips head screwdrivers

    More tools like Torx drivers, tire levers, and a chain tool are nice, but only if you know how to use them.  Personally, I carry and recommend the Topeak Mini Plus 18-tool, which includes two spoke wrenches, a chain tool with breaker, and a T25 driver. And a bottle opener...because why not? I love it, and it's light weight, and it still folds down the same size as tools with fewer features. 

    ManMade Recommended: Topeak The Mini Plus 18-Function Bicycle Tool $26.69

    created at: 04/27/2016

    2). A mini pump - Nothing makes a ride worse than a flat or under-filled tire. You should always fill up before every ride, but just in case, a lightweight pump can save your butt in case you forget, or worse, get a flat. You can find small pumps that fit onto straps on your frame, or into messenger bags, backpacks, or panniers. As a road cyclist, I like one that fits into a jersey pocket, so I recommend the Topeak Mini Morph. It includes a flip out handle and a little foot rest for leverage. The newer version even includes a gauge that reads up to 140 PSI, so you can inflate to just the right measurement.

    Alternatively, you can carry C02 cartridges and an inflator, which can get expensive and a bit wasteful overtime, but they do work well, especially for high pressure road bike tires.

    ManMade Recommended: Topeak Mini Morph Pump with Gauge - $37 and INNOVATIONS Ultraflate CO2 Tire Inflator - $17.61

     

    created at: 04/27/2016

    3). A patch kit - If you ride bikes, eventually you will get a flat tire, and you're going to need to fix it to get home. Thankfully, bike tires are (generally) tubular, which means it's a pretty easy fix. A patch kit works just like it sounds: once you find the hole (and whatever might have caused it inside your tire), you apply some vulcanizing fluid as an adhesive, and put a patch over the hole. Roughing up the tube a bit with sandpaper helps everything stick together.

    Do us a favor and skip the self-adhesive patches... they simply don't work at well, cost more, take just as long, and don't. work. as. well. The traditional patch kit gets your tube back and ready to fill in about 5 minutes, which is way shorter than it takes to walk home. Unless it isn't, then you should walk home and fix your tire there.

    ManMade Recommended: Rema Touring Patch Kit, #22 Large - $5.35

     

    4.) Tire Levers - With many mountain bikes and city/commuter bikes, you can remove and replace a deflated tire just with your hands. But for skinnier tires, it's nearly impossible to unseat the tire bead from the wheel without a little help. Two simple tire levers will help you do the job perfectly.

    ManMade recommended: Diamondback Bicycle Tire Lever Set, Black - $3.99

     

    created at: 04/30/20165. Safety Precautions: Cash, ID, Mobile Phone - Don't leave home without them. 1) Be smart, and tell people where you're going 2) Make sure that if something happens, you're prepared. It can be hard, cause carrying stuff on a bike isn't easy or straightforward, so get a seat wedge or other on-bike storage. The benefits of a cell phone and ID are obvious, and you're commitment to carrying one will make your loved ones feel better.  Credit cards are nice, but if you're out in rural areas, cash will be king. If you need a discrete way to keep a $20 on the bike, check out this simple DIY project. 

     


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    Thread Cutting JigThere is always a place in the shop that needs a set of threads. Shop made threads can work with clamps, adjustable workbenches, and handles, so take a look at how to make your own cutter here.   A few years back, I borrowed a friend's threading jig for a small project. With absolutely no experience and just a few minutes of practice I had a few threaded rods  - almost magical in its simplicity.  Of course, the thread box was a bit of a mystery to me with only a few parts but amazing results. Well, here is a great project that details not only the design but also the building of the thread box.Thread Cutting Jig

    Although the parts are simple, the complication comes from the shaping and tempering of the thread cutter. The process is broken down in easy to follow steps. So, take a look and then take the time to build this excellent jig. Cutting Edge

    Once you do plan on adding quite a few more projects to that list because threaded rods open up a whole new world.


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    Shower SignSummer is a time to be outside, to enjoy the sun, and a dip in whatever water you can find. But tracking that outdoor fun back into your house is a no-go, why not build an outdoor shower to keep the dirt where it belongs.  

    Rock Wall1. Stone Backed Outdoor Shower - Way more involved than a hose over the tree branch, this shower is built to last and really up your outdoor game.

    Metal Screen Shower

    2. Metal Screen Outdoor Shower - Built with a few items from the hardware store, this much less private shower is great for a quick outside rinse-off.

    Pallet Shower3. Pallet Outdoor Shower - For the true DIYer, here is a recycled pallet project that's as quick as it is dirty.  

    Beam Shower4. Urban Beam Outdoor Shower - If you really want to wow the guests, this stacked timber shower is a must.

    Outdoor Shower5. Private Outdoor Shower - For maximum privacy out in the open, this closed shower still lets in plenty of light and a breeze but keeps prying eyes at bay.

    Do you have an outdoor shower in your backyard oasis? We're curious to know how much you actually use it, is it a daily use during summer months?

     


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    created at: 05/03/2016 Once you've identified the essential tools you should take with you on every bike ride, and built a small tool kit to keep things running smoothly, it's time to look at assembling the right tools and materials to keep your bike in good shape without having to take it to the shop every time you need a small adjustment. 

    A lot of that comes with knowledge, but you can find loads of free information on simple adjustments online, and especially on YouTube. The trick is to make sure you have the right tool to tackle whatever you're learning. 

    This post is part of a series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy! 

    So, here's a collection of essential tools for making simple adjustments at home. Most of these can be purchased for less than the minimum labor cost at your local bike shop, and you'll learn something in the process. Plus, who doesn't love an excuse to buy new tools. Let's go!

    created at: 05/03/2016

    1. Chain scrubber: Sorry for the gross, dirty photo, but - hey - I actually use this thing. There's no better way to get dirt and build-up off your chain than with this tool designed exactly for that purpose. It's amazing how shiny it will look again. My rule is to try to clean and lubricate my chain every 100 miles, and scrub it every 300-400 miles. That's based on my type of riding, but a clean chain will never hurt. Just make sure you lube it again. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool CM-5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber - $24.00 


    created at: 05/03/20162. Gear Clean Brush:
    One end gets inside the cogs of your cassette, the other removes build up from your derailleur pulleys, crank arms, etc. There's no better way to get in there. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool GearClean Brush GSC-1C $5.62

     

    created at: 05/03/20163. Combination Wrench Set: 7mm - 17mm Adjustable wrenches work in a pinch, but having both and open and box end will work better, faster, and reduce rounding over your hardware. Spend what you can afford, but unless you're going pro, you don't need Snap-On tools, and a medium-duty wrench from the hardware store will work just fine. 

    ManMade Recommended: Stanley 94-386W 11-Piece Combination Wrench Set, Metric - $22.00

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    4. Repair Stand: This might seem like a dedicated shop tool, but if you're a regular rider and tweaker, you're gonna love having one of these. Even if all you do is wash your bike and clean and lube your drivetrain a few times a summer, an inexpensive stand will save tons of headaches. No reason to purchase a high end, fixed stand - you're not gonna be using this all day/every day. I've been more than happy with this folding stand from Conquer; I've used it weekly since I got it a few years ago. It takes me less time to get this out and put my bike in it to lube my chain than it does to try to find a place to lean my frame and pedal backwards without banging into something. There are loads of affordable options on Amazon. Spend as much as you think it's worth.

    ManMade Recommended: Bike Mechanic Adjustable Repair Stand by Conquer - $40

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    5. Spoke Wrench: You don't have to have years of training and truing stand to fix an errant wheel. You can do it right on the bike with a little patience. You don't have to buy all four sizes - just find out which size your bike needs, and get that one, or a multi-size option. Just remember - spokes are threaded from the outside of the wheel, so as you're looking down - lefty tighty, righty loosey.

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool SW Series or  Caldera Bicycle Wheel Spoke Wrench Tool

    created at: 05/03/20166. Chain Tool: At some point, your going to want to remove or put on a chain, remove a link, or free a stuck one. There's only one way to do it. A small, lightweight option won't bog you down if you choose to ride with it, just in case. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool Mini Chain Brute Chain Tool - CT-5 $15.26 

    created at: 05/03/2016

    7. Locking Pliers: Cause sometimes, things need a little, uh, encouragement. 

    ManMade Recommended: IRWIN Tools Vise Grip 7-Inch Curved Jaw (702L3) and  IRWIN Tools Vise-Grip Curved Jaw Locking Pliers with Wire Cutter (5-10WR)

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    8. Zip ties: Ask any bike mechanic how useful these things are when working with only two hands. Strong, cheaper, and super versatile. 

    ManMade Recommended: Whatever you can find in assorted sizes and colors. Don't over think it.

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

     9. Pedal wrench: If your family owns more than one bicycle, or you ride yours for a variety of purposes, you're going to switch out the pedals. A dedicated pedal wrench allows you to access the axle and hold it still while you rotate the cranks to tighten or loosen. You might be able to get in their with a 15mm open-end wrench or cone wrench, but you won't be able to apply enough force and you'll bang up your knuckles. Guaranteed.

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool Home Mechanic Pedal Wrench - PW-5 or  Park Tool PW-3 Pedal Wrench (15mm and 9/16 - Inch)

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    10. Bearing Grease, Thread Locker, and Penetrating Oil: In addition to a wet and dry lube, these three complete the "software" for working on all those mechnical parts, and decided which ones should keep moving, and which ones need to stay still.

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    11. Torque Wrench: Many parts need to be cinched down to a specific setting - in foot-pounds or newton-meter - in order to stay tight during all that movement, but not so tight as to hurt the materials. (Especially important for carbon fiber and aluminum components). A torque wrench lets you know when you've reached it.

    ManMade Recommended: TEKTON 24330 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-80 Foot/Pound $34.75

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    12. Double-ended Cone Wrench Set, 13-19mm: Many components on bicycles use a cup and cone bearing system: a funnel-shaped race in which the bearings run, and a cup-shaped cap to keep them in place. Wheel hubs (the center part that stays still while the spokes and wheel spins around) are an obvious example. These parts are small, and normal box wrenches will often not fit inside. A set of laser cut cone wrenches are designed for exactly this task, and are a signature tool of the bike mechanic. They will work coupled with your combo wrenches, and are much more affordable than a dedicated cast shop wrench in every size. There are two ends for the most common sizes: 13 and 15mm.

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool DCW-1 2 3 4 Double Ended 13mm thru 18mm Cone Wrench Bicycle Tool Kit - $18.50

     

    created at: 05/03/201613. 3-Way Wrenches: These make such quick work of hex key and hex-head bolts. The Y-shape makes them easy to find, easy to keep track of, and easy to apply force (especially helpful when loosening stuck hardware). A 4,5,6mm and a 2,2.5,3mm hex wrench and 8,9,10mm socket wrench will come in handy again and again. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

     14. Pitch gauge, cow magnet, and scribe: These three helpers are great assistants when at the workbench. The pitch gauge helps you check thread types if you need to replace something. The scribe is a personal favorite (you can also use a spoke that's been sharpened to a point): you can use it to mark things, clean out crud, check for pitting left from rust on a headset or bottom bracket, etc. Magnetized with a cow magnet, there's no better way to remove or replace ball bearings in their little bath of grease.

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    15. A copy of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance: There's no better place to look up the procedures and techniques to use all these tools than this mechanic's classic, now in its 5th edition. If you primarily ride mountain bikes, there's an edition for that, too.

    ManMade Recommended: Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance or Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance by Lennard Zinn

     

     Be sure to check out our beginner's tool kit and advanced mechanic's list for the complete list!

     


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    created at: 05/08/2013

    Some of the most frequent kinds of questions ManMade receives are inquiries like, "I just graduated college and finally have a real income and I'd like to start investing in some long-lasting goods..." or "my fiancée's birthday is coming up, and I'd like to buy him something every guy should have..." In 2013, I've been giving my take on those essential items, offering a new collection of ten each season:  winter spring summer, and  fall .    Some of these you might already own, some of these you might need to upgrade to a quality version, and most of these apply to women and households too. Please let me know what you think, and what you'd add or take away in the comments below.    

    Hey! Have you heard about the ManMade store! It's another great place for you to check out all our product picks and recommendations.

     

    1. A pocketknife or multi-tool: [pictured above] For most of my adult life, I wasn't a pocketknife guy. I had some, but reserved them for camping or backpacking trips, and I always kept a small Leatherman in my "go bag" (except when flying) as well as one in my car. But, over the last few months, after inheriting several pocketknives from my grandfather, I've taken to carrying a small one along with my other daily items, and, my goodness, it's useful. I don't know that I use it everyday, but I'm certain it's employed at least four or five times a week, and on those days I forget, I always seem to need it. Give it a shot. For more, see 20+ Ways to Use a Pocketknife 

     

    2. At least one living plant: Spring is the time when stuff grows, and it's important to have that ish inside your house. There's a certain zen that comes with caring for a plant - whether it's a single succulent that needs to be watered once a month, or a full-on farm. Those of us with gardens or lawns to manage are covered, but urban apartment dwellers or renters? Get. a. plant. And don't let it die. Put in on your kitchen table, in your office, build a window box, grow your own wheatgrass, whatever. Green thumb or no, it'll make you a better guy. If you want to really incorporate some into your home decor, check out our How to: Make DIY Wall-Mounted Succulent Shelves 

     

    3. A library card: Even in the era of the internet and eReaders, your local library is still a major gift to any community. It's full of media...that you can get for free. For free. Especially in the era when most video stores are closed, your local library remains one of the few places you can just browse for movies older than six months. And they have books! And magazines! And all kinds of interesting programming, and film series, and free classes. Libraries are awesome, and it'll be a serious shame if we lose them. I love discovering new music on the web or browsing Netflix, but there's still something special about finding a physical piece of media on a shelf, and making a commitment to checking it out. Go pay off your fines, and patronize your local library.  

     

    J Crew Harwick Backpack

    4. A weekend getaway bag: You have months of cabin fever built up, and there's just something good for the soul about spending a weekend away from home. Don't over-think it and grab a piece of luggage and three pairs of shoes and a garment bag full of suits. Just snag your toothbrush, a filled flask or growler for when you get there, a magazine or two, and a jacket and your favorite pair of jeans. Spend a weekend with a buddy in a neighboring city. Go see your parents. Take your sweetheart somewhere special. Just hit the road. For some multi-use solutions, check out our roundup of Five Awesome Gym Bags to match any style. (Just make sure it smells okay)

    Pictured: J. Crew Harwick Backpack - $98

     

    created at: 05/08/2013

    5. A bicycle: This might be a controversial one, especially for those in small spaces, but I'ma say it: every guy needs a bike. The world just looks different from two wheels. When we were kids, your bike meant freedom, and that isn't lost when you grow up. They're a great form of exercise, especially as we age and our joints can't always handle the impact of jogging. You can ride it for fun, for transportation, for fitness, to save money or gas. Bikes are awesome, and a solid one will last you for the rest of your life. There's no reason to plunk down a bunch of money on a new carbon-fiber racing frame. Used bike shops and co-ops abound in every major city, and you can get a perfectly useable older road bike for around $100. Just be sure to get one that fits, and make sure the tires and brake pads are in good shape. For more, see our Skillset post - How to: 5 DIY Bike Tune-Ups Every Man Should Know 

     

    6. A regular appointment that has nothing to do with your job - Those with kids will laugh at this, but we should all have at least one place we're committed to be during our off hours. Especially in the era of telecommuting, startup culture, freelancing, etc. Ideas? Take a class. Play a team sport. Volunteer with a local organization. Join a book club or discussion group. Attend a lecture. Take part in a community garden. Routine isn't everything, but it helps a lot of us living the creative lifestyle to have some balance.

    created at: 05/08/2013

    7. A great pair of sunglasses: Not an expensive pair, but something better than the stuff you can find at the gas station. Why? Sunglasses are stylish, but they also are good for you and your health. From our ManMade Guide to Sunglasses:

    Unfortunately, many men consider sunglasses to be mere fashion accessories, and therefore "not manly," but there are actually several health benefits to wearing sunglasses, particularly polarized lenses, when spending a day outside: they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light, as well as protecting the skin around your eyes and preventing wrinkles and "crow's feet." Furthermore, they allow you to see better when outside, helping you to better operate a car, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, lawnmower, backhoe, grill, etc. 

    See more at The ManMade Guide to Sunglasses: 5 Stylish Pairs Under $100

    8. A notebook, sketchbook, or journal: I regularly use digital tools to help flesh out designs and my phone to keep track of inspirations, but there's some magical about putting a pencil on paper and sketching or outlining ideas. No matter what you do, make, or like to think about, there's a case to be made about doing it away from a screen. I keep two notebooks, a small pocket-sized one that I try to keep on me, and a hard-bound graph paper book for designing projects and planning measurements. Currently, I'm using a Leuchtturm1917 that I got at Powell's, and I like it even better than the [no longer available] Picadilly books I used for years. See the comments section here for more ideas: How to: A Quick and Easy Way to Reattach a Book or Notebook Cover 

     

    Mini Umbrella

    9. A solid umbrella: Look, don't be tough. Sometimes you just gotta be outside when it's raining, and if you need to be professional (or comfortable), it doesn't make any sense to get soaked. Like most things, I suggest spending a little more and getting on that'll last for decades, rather than buying a bunch of plasticky discount store models. Plus, the potential to be a gentleman here and keep some nice old lady on the street or your cute neighbor dry? It can be good to be the guy with the umbrella. Pictured: Davek Lightweight Mini Umbrella - $49

     

    Timex Weekender

    10. A wristwatch - I have no idea when guys decided there was no reason to wear a watch once we all started carrying cell phones. Maybe that'll work for a casual work day, but wristwatches do so much more than keep time you the time. They're style accessories, and important ones at that. You don't need anything flashy or expensive. Just a piece that's solid, classy, and timeless. (Um....) I vote for having at least two - one for dress and one for casual wear, perhaps with a few easy-to-switch band options.  Plus, when you're out on a date and need to make a movie or show, or at a business meeting, you don't wanna be pulling out your phone to check the time. Watches, my friend. Watches. Pictured: Timex Weekender Slip Through - $45.00 

     

    Check out our 10 Things Every Man Should Own - Winter Edition here:

    This post was originally published in April 2013, but we're sharing it again now because we think it's still relevant.


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    created at: 05/03/2016

    Let's say you've learned to make basic adjustments on your family's bikes, and then assembled a basic bike-specific tool kit to keep things running smoothly and avoid labor costs and long turnaround times at the bike shop.  Let's say you actually enjoy it, and have learned to appreciate the zen and simplicity of keeping things running smoothly. Let's say you're actually good at it.

    If that's the case, then it's time to really upgrade your collection of tools to tackle almost any problem your bike might have. 

    This post is part of a series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!

    Before we move on, let's dwell on that "your bike" part a bit. There are lots of different styles of bikes, different manufacturers of component sets, and different eras of technology. The goal here is not to get a tool to tackle every problem any bike can have - that's the goal of an actual bike shop. So we're not recommending a headset bearing cup press, fork crown race setter, derailleur hanger alignment gauge, or a specialized tool for every style of bottom bracket out there. Instead, get what you need to adjust the parts of your and your family's bike that you feel like you can handle. Here's a basic set that will work for a wide variety of bikes, but not all. Use them as springboards to figure out what you need. If you don't know what size of something you need, take your bike into your local shop and ask a mechanic. They'll be happy to help you learn the craft they love.

    Note: This "advanced" tool kit set is meant to supplement our beginner essentials and intermediate-level tool picks. Visit the links to see the full list. 

    created at: 05/03/2016

    1. Tools for working on cranks and bottom brackets: Find out what it takes to work on your pedals, crankset, and bottom bracket. These parts see lots of abuse, and rotate thousands of times every ride. Crank pullers are as satisfying to use as any bike tool can be, but you need to know which style you have - or get one that works with square and round spindles, ISIS, Octalink, etc, like the CWP-7. Bottom bracket tools vary widely, but if you have common component set, this is a good place to start. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    2. Chainring Nut Wrench: A simple device to hold back the nut when loosening or tightening chainring bolts. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool CNW-2 Chainring Nut Wrench - $5.24

      

    created at: 05/03/2016

    3. Spoke, Bearing, and Cotter Gauge: Measures spoke length, bearing diameter, cotter diameter, and is actually my favorite ruler when I work in the garage. Sturdy, easy to read, and a simple pleasure to use. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool SBC-1 - $9.95 

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    4. Disc rotor truing fork: Have disc brakes? Get one of these to adjust bent or damaged rotors. An extra adjustable wrench can also help. Might work on the teeth of your front chainrings as well, and probably for pulling out a kiddo's loose front tooth also (if you're into that).

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool DT-2C - $17.00

     

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    5. Tools for working on wheel hubs, cassettes, and freewheels: In addition to cone wrenches, these guys help with hub overhauls, removing cassettes, installing cogs, etc. There are a wide variety of cassette lockring removers, so be sure to check your size. But you can probably start with the 12-spline FR-5. Plus, nothing looks cooler hanging on your pegboard than a chain whip. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

    created at: 05/03/2016

    6. Dedicated shop chain tool: A smaller, lightweight tool is great for long rides and tools, but at home, a cast steel, precision screw type tool reigns supreme. Its adjustable guides fit single speed and 5-11 speed chains, and features a loosening shelf to free stiff links after assembly. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool CT3.2 - $34.00

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    7. Headset Wrenches: For loosening and tightening the large hex nuts that secure threaded headsets. This are thin, but extremely strong, and take up hardly any space. 

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool HCW-15 (32 & 36mm)andHCW-9 (36 & 40mm)

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    8. Full set of 3-way wrenches: Addresses hex keys, sockets, and Torx bolts on newer bikes. You'll reach for these first, trust us.

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

    created at: 05/03/2016

    9. Dedicated Shop Cone Wrenches: These will supplement the double-ended wrench set from our intermediate kit for those occasions when you need two matching wrenches, or just a little more torque. They're heavier-duty, and more comfortable to use. Start with the odds - 13, 15, 17, and 19mm - and add the evens as needed.

    ManMade Recommended: Park Tool PT-09 Shop Cone Wrench Series

     

    Be sure to check out our beginner essentials and intermediate-level tool picks, as well as our five tools you should carry on every ride, for the complete list! Happy wrenching.

     


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    created at: 05/02/2016

    For our money, there's no better way to spend an afternoon than spinning on two wheels. But if the weather's not cooperating or the sun gone down too soon, then there's no better way than spending an afternoon getting inspired to ride tomorrow by watching a great movie about bicycles. Here are seven you can stream right now with your Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts.

    This part of a series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!

     

    created at: 05/02/2016

    1) Slaying the Badger (2014): ESPN's 30 for 30 Series takes on cycling, telling the tale of Greg Lemond, the only American to ever (officially) win the Tour de France, and his rivalry with  La Vie Claire team co-leader Bernard Hinault. Stream Now on Netflix

    created at: 04/27/2016

    2) Follow Me (2010): One mountain biking film to rule them all. Loads of crazy inspiring - and scary - first person shots. Let's hit the single track. Stream Now on Amazon Prime

    3) Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist (2014) "In 1998 Marco Pantani, the most flamboyant and popular cyclist of his era, won both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia - a titanic feat of physical and mental endurance that no rider has repeated since. He was a hero to millions - the saviour of cycling following the doping scandals which threatened to destroy the sport...Less than six years later, aged just 34, he died alone, in a cheap Italian hotel room." Stream Now on Netflix

    created at: 05/02/2016

    4) Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985): The story of a breakfast machine, a super big bathtub, the Alamo, and a man who really, really loves his bike. Stream Now on Netflix

    created at: 04/27/2016

    5) Bicycle (2014) "Michael B. Clifford tells the story of cycling in the land that invented the modern bicycle, tracking its birth, decline and re-birth from Victorian origins to today. "Bicycle" is a humorous, lyrical and warm reflection on the sport of cycling and the bicycle's place in the British national psyche." Stream Now on Amazon Prime

    created at: 04/27/2016

    6) Inspired to Ride (2015) There are several documentaries about riding "across the US" races (including several about the Race Across America) but this look at completing the Transamerica trail from Astoria, OR to Yorktown, VA is our personal favorite. Stream Now on Netflix

    created at: 04/27/2016

    7) Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story - The "other" Lance documentary...the one not made by Alex Gibney or with Armstrong's participation, it's still a perfectly compelling watch about how America's no-longer greatest cyclist and the sophisticated, rampant system that was (is?) doping in competitive cycling.  Stream Now on Netflix

     

    created at: 05/02/2016


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    Five YouTube Channels for Cyclists

    Ok, actually what you need to be doing right now is riding a bike (I hope). But if for some reason that's not happening/possible, then these YouTube channels are your next best bet:

    Global Cycling Network - A one-stop shop for cycling fans. Includes trainer workouts, cycling ettiquette, basic maintenance, and explorations of bike culture.


    Bicycling Magazine - Simple fixes, as well as gear reviews and industry announcements.

     

    BikeManforU -  A true character who discusses all the aspects of riding, gear, and repairs. Not for the spandex and carbon crowd, not for fans of competitive racing, just a small town bike shop owner with decades of experience he's willing to share in his own, uh, unique style. 

     

    Danny MacAskill - This one's a good start, but basically anything he's in will blow you away. 

     

    MBRMagazine - Solid gear recommendations, fix-it tips, and MTB test videos. Oriented (obviously) for trail riders, not roadies.

    Red Bull - I do not like Red Bull, as far as something I'd want to put into my esophagus goes, but I have to give it to them for sponsoring, promoting, and creating some incredible action/extreme sports videos. I wish they'd just drop the beverage part of their business and stick to the extreme sports. Oh well ... anyway, their mountain biking playlist is just an awful lot of fun to watch:

    What are your favorite YouTube channels for cycling videos? Let me know in the comments.

    Oh, by the way, don't forget to check out our series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!


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    created at: 05/02/2016

    If you search for a list of best books about bicycles, you'll find several... and among them, you'll notice a definite trend. They're all about "cycling" - the competitive racing of road bikes - rather than "bicycles" - the thing with two wheels and a chain and handlebars.

    Not that we have anything against competitive cycling (we love it), but only true dedicated fans of the sport need a list of biographies and recaps of historic Tour de Frances, and the like.   

    So instead, we set out to create our own cycling library that encompasses all aspects of the simple, brilliant machinery that is the bicycle, and all the fun that comes with it.

    created at: 05/02/2016

    This is part of a series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!

    So, we've got maintenance and mechanics books, history books, a novel, some meditations on the joy of pedaling, and even a biography of a racer (but a really, really good one). But mostly, it's a whole lot of really practical information that will help you get out there and ride more, ride faster, and ride safer.

    created at: 04/28/2016

    1. Zinn and the Art of Road Bike/Mountain Bike Maintenance: If you're gonna own one bike mechanic and maintenance book, this is the one. It strikes the perfect balance between firstly providing only the info you need for a practical, quick fix while still sharing a thorough discussion and the necessary goodness for complete disassembly and overhaul. 

    There's a version for both road bikes and mountain bikes, with the first focusing on streamlining setup, fit, and sensitive drivetrains and the latter for maintaining high performance for a high impact ride. You can pick the version that best represents the component set and frame of your bike, though fixes for both styles of bikes is a good 90% the same.

    ManMade Recommended: Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance or Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance by Lennard Zinn

    Honorable mention: The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes

    created at: 04/28/2016

    2. Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion: A newer publication, but if you're going to read one book about professional road race cycling, this gets our vote. It's easy to romanticize the days of steel frames, downtube shifters, and no helmets, but, truly, Mercx is truly the undeniable greatest two legs to straddle a saddle. Since it's not an autobiography, author William Fotheringham uses history and research to tell his story, not just the personal poetry of living on two wheels. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (see below)

    ManMade Recommended: Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion by William Fotheringham 

    created at: 04/28/2016

    3. The Chainbreaker Bike Book: Part DIY repair manual, part manifesto, this book is a hand-illustrated outpouring of the Chainbreaker zine from New Orleans. If you believe bikes to be more the transportation revolution rather than the sole purview of the carbon and spandex crowd, this is the place to get your info.

    ManMade Recommended: Chainbreaker Bike Book: A Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenience by Shelly Lynn Jackson & Ethan Clark 

    created at: 04/30/2016

    4. It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels: If you want an overview of the history of two-wheeled transportation combined with an enthusiastic endorsement of those who've been bit by bug of freedom of riding, you could do much worse. Robert Penn, as he says, has sat on a bike saddle nearly every day of his adult life. Formed around a narrative of travelings all over Europe and North America to build the perfect bike, Penn explores what keeps us spinning, and why we liked it so much in the first place. 

    ManMade Recommended: It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels by Robert Penn 

    created at: 04/30/2016

     

     5. The Rider: The only piece of fiction on this list, and some say, the only piece of cycling fiction any of us need. Written by a Dutch journalist in 1978, The Rider was only translated into English in the early Aughts, and became a beloved cult classic twice. "Brilliantly conceived and written at a break-neck pace, it is a loving, imaginative, and, above all, passionate tribute to the art of bicycle road racing. Not a dry history of the sport, The Rider is beloved as a bicycle odyssey, a literary masterpiece that describes in painstaking detail one 150-kilometer race in a mere 150 pages. The Rider is the ultimate book for bike lovers as well as the arm-chair sports enthusiast." Right? Right.

    ManMade Recommended: The Rider by Tim Krabbé 

     

    created at: 04/30/2016

    6. Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling: A thorough love letter/take down of the all the classes of people who ride bikes, best described in its own blurb: "Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners. Throughout, the author lampoons the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining a contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. Bike Snob is an essential volume for anyone who knows, is, or wants to become a cyclist."

    ManMade Recommended: Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by BikeSnobNYC

     

    created at: 04/30/2016

    7. The Rules - The Way of Cycling Discipline For everyone who knows there are long traditions in the world of cycling, but has absolutely not idea what they actually are. You'll actually learn what fondo, endo, bonk, and V02 max actually mean. These guys know its silly, and tease themselves in the process. You don't call yourself the Velominati unless you're totally in one the joke. 

    ManMade Recommended: The Rules - The Way of the Cycling Discipline by W.W. Norton & Co

     

    created at: 04/30/2016

    8. Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike Grant Petersen's attempt to strip the intimidation factor away from cycling for fitness, transportation, or just plain fun. No, you don't have to wear spandex; no, you don't have to eat gels from little tubes; and no, you don't have to stay on the sidewalk. In fact, you shouldn't.

    Bikes are for everyone. And this is how to stay safe, and keep your butt and legs from rebelling. 

    ManMade Recommended: Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike by Grant Petersen

     

    created at: 05/02/2016


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    Five YouTube Channels for Cyclists

    Ok, actually what you need to be doing right now is riding a bike (I hope). But if for some reason that's not happening/possible, then these YouTube channels are your next best bet:

    Global Cycling Network - A one-stop shop for cycling fans. Includes trainer workouts, cycling ettiquette, basic maintenance, and explorations of bike culture.


    Bicycling Magazine - Simple fixes, as well as gear reviews and industry announcements.

     

    BikeManforU -  A true character who discusses all the aspects of riding, gear, and repairs. Not for the spandex and carbon crowd, not for fans of competitive racing, just a small town bike shop owner with decades of experience he's willing to share in his own, uh, unique style. 

     

    Danny MacAskill - This one's a good start, but basically anything he's in will blow you away. 

     

    MBRMagazine - Solid gear recommendations, fix-it tips, and MTB test videos. Oriented (obviously) for trail riders, not roadies.

    Red Bull - I do not like Red Bull, as far as something I'd want to put into my esophagus goes, but I have to give it to them for sponsoring, promoting, and creating some incredible action/extreme sports videos. I wish they'd just drop the beverage part of their business and stick to the extreme sports. Oh well ... anyway, their mountain biking playlist is just an awful lot of fun to watch:

    What are your favorite YouTube channels for cycling videos? Let me know in the comments.

    Oh, by the way, don't forget to check out our series of posts about cycling, bike maintenance, and everything else related to bi-pedalism. Enjoy!


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    Father's Day Update on ManMade Store

    Here's the best gift you can give the dad in your life: make him some breakfast (eggs Benedict and strong, hot coffee, please), tell him you love him, and then give him the rest of the day to enjoy as he sees fit (maybe it's a nap in a hammock, maybe it's a pick-up basketball game with friends ... he'll figure it out).

    If, on top of that (totally sufficient) gift of a day, you want to give him something else, we totally understand. Giving gifts is fun! Especially if they're good ones. So we updated the ManMade store with a new section full of five years worth of our favorite picks for Father's Day gifts. Hopefully you'll find something perfect. Click through to check it out.

     

    Q: What's the ManMadeStore thing anyway? 

    A: After years of researching and writing about our favorite products for guys, we decided to bring it all together in one easy-to-access site, that way, if you're searching for tool recommendations, kitchen gear, bike tools, or yes, even Father's Day gifts, you'll know where to find 'em. Let us know if you think we're missing something important!

     


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  • 05/16/16--12:00: How to Find a Suit that Fits
  • Measuring tapes and helpful sales associates are great. But what looks great in the fitting room mirror doesn't always work out in real life. So, if you're in the market for a new suit - perhaps for the upcoming summer wedding season - looks to these few measure-free tips to make sure you get a suit that will stand up to real world wear, and look great while doing it. These would be especially helpful if you're ordering from an online retailer like SuitSupply or Indochino, and you want to make sure you've got a great fit once the box shows up.    

    This helpful four-step system is easy to memorize and will get you a great suit every time. It comes from the J. Crew blog, makers of the amazing Ludlow and Crosby suit series. And you can check everything with a mirror and your own two hands.

    Now get out there and look sharp! 

    How to: Find a Suit that Fits [Hello.Jcrew.com]

     


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    created at: 05/16/2016

    It's a problem we can all relate to. Anyone who has ever opened a paint, finish, or stain can knows the problem: if you don't use it all, you have to close it again. Hammers provide too much direct force, and can bend the lid, the lip, or the can itself. A rubber mallet is better, but you could shoot paint or finish out at you, and you'll cover the mallet in the material, which could get transferred to another project. Plus, if you're like me, the mallet always seems to be in another room.

    So...    

    created at: 05/16/2016

    Step on it. Seriously. According to finishing master Bob Flexner, it's definitely the best way to go. And this guy has opened and closed a lot of cans. The  firm but soft sole of your shoe plus your body weight makes a great combination of relatively indirect force to snap things up nicely without mess.

    Just line up the lid, and place one foot on the can. Stand on one leg, and you'll feel it set. Turn your foot (or the can) ninety degrees, and step on it one more time to seal it in the other two directions. Done and done. 

    created at: 05/16/2016

    Just make sure you check your sole or walk around in the grass or on a drop cloth just to make sure you don't track any product around. The can will be seal, and the lid good to use again and again. 

    See more at Flexner on Finishing blog at PopularWoodworking.com


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    Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I've been overly influenced by those images of the dad in Calvin and Hobbes or Homer Simpson. Perhaps it's those memorable times I've spent in Latin America, where they really know how to use 'em. Or maybe - hopefully not, but maybe - it's all those completely and horribly generic Father's Day cards I have to pick through each June to find the right one for my dad.

    But, I think a hammock is a damn fine way to spend a summer evening, and every man should have one.        

     

    And though it's not quite summer yet, it's time to get ready for the season to achieve maximum snoozing potential. I've seen the selections at the home centers and the garden stores, and, truth be told, most are super duper ugly and incredibly expensive. So, since this is a site dedicated to helping guys make the stuff they use every day, I thought I'd find a couple easy-to-follow tutorials that will help you whip up the exact style that works for your needs. 

    But first - if you're not inclined to bust out the ripstop, rope, or sewing machine and actually make your own, you can buy affordable hammocks designed for ultralight travel and backpacking at your local outdoor store for $30-60. Here's a well-reviewed option at Amazon. 

     

    1. [Pictured at top] A classic knotted rope design, created with an overhand knot. See the full tutorial by Jen Vitale and Laura Dart at Kinfolk. 

    2. A weather proof rip-stop option, that involves some basic sewing and seams. 

     

    3. This one's incredibly simple, using materials you probably already have: a blanket and some rope. Get the tutorial and links from Apartment Therapy.

     

    4. A more permanent solution created from a dropcloth, chain, and other fixings from the home improvement store. 

     

    5. A framed option from Little Dog Vintage using heavy canvas, grommets, and some wooden stretchers. This one's a great option for two. 

     

     

    created at: 07/29/2014

    6. A primitive/survival style tutorialmade from cordage and a tarp, a poncho, or even a bed sheet.  

     

    7. A size-customizable hammock using just a bit of sewing and some very affordable materials. This one's a great combo of both the basic and reinforced styles. See the full tutorial at Outside Mom.

     

    created at: 07/29/2014

    8.Claire from CamilleStyles makes a more advanced designwith a bit of knotting, some fabric, and hardware store parts. The fabric choices here are pretty feminine, but the technique is solid. Or, make one for a special woman in your life. 

    9. A reusable camping style hammock, complete with a mosquito net and double layer that allows you to include a sleeping pad. Find the tutorial at DIY Gear Supply. 


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    Simple no-knead sourdough bread

    Gluten is my homeboy. I don't care what the fad-diets say (and apologies to those of you who are truly gluten-intolerant). Paleo-be-damned, I'm grateful our ancestors developed agriculture, so we could stop foraging and eat mostly bread (and also develop science, art, culture, etc.). 

    Great bread is easy to make. Here's how I do it:    

    1. Get a sourdough starter from a friend (or make your own, or order one online, or e-mail me and I'll send you a chunk of mine ... is that even allowed?).

    2. In a plastic bin with an airtight lid (I use this one), mix until just combined:

    • 11 ounces of all purpose flour
    • 8 ounces of sourdough starter
    • 10 ounces of room-temperature water
    • 1 tsp salt (more or less, to taste)

    3. Cover tightly and let the dough sit at room temp for twelve-ish hours. Then put it in the fridge for a while (a few hours, overnight, several days, doesn't really matter).

    4. When you're ready to bake, turn your oven to 450 degrees (convection on if you have it), and put an enameled cast-iron pot (dutch oven) inside, with the lid on. If you don't have one, try any heavy-bottomed cookware (something that will retain a lot of heat).

    Forming the sourdough boule

    5. While the pot is heating up (30-45 minutes), pour your dough onto a well-floured countertop. Love your dough. Be gentle with your dough. Don't pound, knead, or stretch it. With flour-y hands (or a bench scraper), quickly fold the dough over once,  rotate 90 degrees, and fold over again. Now (Gently! Lovingly! Sensually? No, just gently is fine) work the sides of the dough down underneath it, rotating as you go, until it becomes a boule. You should be gradually stretching the top of the boule down underneath until you have a nice, smooth, round hunk of dough.

    6. Take out the dutch oven and put the boule in. Use plenty of flour (on your hands, and dusted all over the dough) to make this easier. Should you burn your hands on the extremely hot cast iron? No! You should avoid that. Once it's in, make four quick slashes in the dough using a very sharp knife (or razor blade, or katana sword). Cover and return to the oven.

    Slashed boule in the pot

    7. 30-or-so minutes later, check your bread. It should be mostly done springing up. Now you can remove the lid from the dutch oven, and rotate the pot for more even baking, and leave it in the oven another 30-ish minutes. Note the vague time indications; bread is done when it looks, smells, and sounds (and tastes) done. A timer is a crutch.

    (Below: oven spring is done, this one is ready to bake uncovered)

    Oven spring

    8. Wait for the bread to look and sound done (knock on the bottom, it should sound delicious and hollow but not dried out). Better to over-bake than under-bake it (if you're unsure). I wait for some of the wispy parts to start turning almost black/charred. 

    sourdough bread is done

    9. Take it out and let cool on a cooling rack, fending off your hungry children/spouse with the katana sword, saying 'Back! Back savages! Can't you see it's resting!?' Defend your beloved loaf of bread.

    Yum. Easy no knead sourdough

    That's it. Slice it nice and thick, spraying crispy crust crumbs all over the place. If you manage not to eat it all in one sitting, store it out on a cutting board, sliced side down, or in a paper bag.

    Ours never lasts more than 24 hours. 

     

    Troubleshooting

    1. Ask someone else - I'm not an expert baker.

    2. If your dough is way too sticky/wet to work with when you take it out of the fridge, try a little less water (I use 9oz. instead of ten).

    3. Dough is too dense? Make sure you're handling it gently during shaping. Once it's out of the fridge, you want to keep as much air in it as possible.

    4. Not enough initial spring? Make sure your oven is hot (at least 450, ovens vary a lot, even if the dial says 450) and that your pot has had enough time to really heat up.  

    5. Doughy/undercooked in the middle? I'm not totally sure why this happens, but I think it because the crust starts to set before the boule has had time to finish springing up. Also could be because the dough is too dry/tight, so it can't expand. Hit Command-Z a few times, or toss that loaf and try again.

    Are you an expert dough-slinger, or a beginning glutenphile? Let me know how your bread turns out, or what I'm doing wrong!  Posting a bread picture in the comments is totally not dorky. 

     

     

     

     


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    DIY Tiki Touch Bottles

    Waaaaaay better than bamboo, amiright?

    Sugar and Charm came up with this super simple way to repurpose empty bottles into some functional decor. 

    You can use them to add some cool lighting to your patio or balcony, or even as an emergency light for a power outage.

    To make one of these torches, you'll need:

    - Tiki torch wicks (found in here)

    - A few empty bottles

    - Tiki torch fluid

    - Matches

    - Hawaiian dancers (totally optional)

    Once you have your materials, follow these easy instructions by Sugar and Charm and you're set. I wonder if its possible to find some darker torch fluid to complete the look. Regardless, Aloha!

    DIY Tiki Torch Bottles by Sugar and Charm

     

     


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    ChairsFinding a comfortable outdoor chair is a pain, so why not make one you'll love? Here are two chairs you can make this weekend.   Here are two designs from Ana White and Rogue Engineer that will keep you and your guests comfortable during the next weekend BBQ.Outdoor Chair

    1. Belvedere Outdoor Lounge - This is a low and easy chair that you can sink in slowly and spend the rest of the night on the edge of dozing off. Using store-built cushions and a simple open design, it's a build that can be done easily and with only a few tools.Double Chairs

    2. Outdoor Arm Chair - This is build more like a square Adirondack chair, with a flat seat that is made comfortable by a nice thick cushion. The lack of curves makes it a simple project without too much set-up or complicated tools.

    Now there's no reason for you to pull back out those old ratty lawn chairs, make a set of these and you'll wonder why you didn't build a pair years ago.


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    With the temps warming up, it is most certainly time to get mouths a-watering for barbecue season. Whether gas or charcoal, most of us have a backyard grill, but a dedicated smoker can be a luxury. They take up space, can cost a lot, and while they make sense for true smoked food fans, might not be necessary for the average grill fan.

    created at: 05/18/2016

    In fact, they're not necessary at all. Cause with a little creativity and DIY ingenuity, you can turn the grill you already own in a smoker that can turn out tender, fall apart food fused with the flavor of fire. 

    This technique comes from Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, husband & wife and co-owners of Portland’s beloved OX. (I've been there. It's amazing) They live their life around the grill, but know the importance of a smoker and are happy to share their DIY hack.  It comes from their new book, Around the Fire, which shows readers how to re-create the signature flavors of open fire cooking at home. Can't argue with that. 

     

    created at: 05/18/2016

    How to Turn Your Grill into a Smoker

    This method is intended for a standing charcoal grill or kettle grill with a fitted lid. If you have a gas grill, you can light one side of the grill and place your soaked wood chips directly on top of the grate (the lit side) in a perforated grill basket or in the wood chip box that comes with many models, then close the lid.

    Step 1 Soak several cups of wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. For a longer duration of smoking time, scale up the amount of chips as needed. You will need about 1 cup of wood chips for every 30 minutes of hot smoking, and about half that amount for cold smoking.

    Step 2 Remove all grates from your charcoal grill. (At this point, be sure the small grate is relatively clean—you may be using it later to hold food.) Make sure the bottom airflow vents are open on the grill. Bundle up several sheets of newspaper or a paper bag and place it in the bottom of the grill barrel, pushing it off to one side. This will be used to light the coals in future steps.

    Step 3 Place the small grate over the paper, then add a small pile of charcoal directly above where the paper sits, off to one side of the grill.

    Step 4 Create a barrier between the two halves of the grill, with the goal of keeping the heat source out of direct contact with whatever food you are smoking. To do so, build a small wall down the center of the grill using a few bricks or a rectangular metal lid. If you have a small foil tray, stand it up lengthwise against the “wall” and secure it in place with another brick on the charcoal side. (Be sure the tray is not so tall that it gets in the way of your closing the grill lid.)

    Step 5 Light the paper to ignite the fuel, then wait until the charcoal is largely covered with ashes, about 20 minutes.

    Step 6 Add a small handful of the soaked wood chips to the ash pile, then place a few more pieces of fresh, unlit charcoal on top of the wood chips. You should perform this step at least every 30 minutes to guarantee that the wood chips continue to smolder.

    Step 7 On the side opposite the charcoal, place your ingredients directly onto the small grate, or use a small grill basket to hold them on the small grate.

    Step 8 Cover the grill, making sure right away that the vents are open and will be situated over the side opposite the fire. (If the vents lie over the fire, all of the smoke will go up and out.) Replenish with wood chips every 20 to 30 minutes as needed, then with charcoal, always in that order (regulate the temperature by using more or less charcoal). Remember never to let the charcoal completely die or the wood chips completely turn to ash without replenishing. Smoke until the desired effect is achieved.

    created at: 05/18/2016 

    Hot versus Cold Smoking

    Time, moisture level, and temperature will determine the flavors and intensity of smoked foods. In hot smoking, where temperatures register between 115°F and 185ºF, you will cook and flavor foods at the same time. Cold smoking uses a gentler, lower heat (between 90°F and 115°F) and is intended for times when you don’t want to cook a food (or intend to cook it later) but seek to infuse smoky flavor into it. Many proteins that are cold smoked have also been salted or cured.

    To cold smoke, follow the same steps for setting up your grill, but use a minimal amount of charcoal. Place the food atop a metal pan filled with ice, then cover the ice with kosher salt, which will lower its temperature to below 32°F, maintaining a colder smoke for longer.

    Regarding Crosshatching and Grill Marks

    Crosshatch and grill marks can look attractive on food and can be functional for keeping track of timing, such as when you’re organizing multiple pieces of meat being grilled to different doneness levels. But those classic television-ready grill marks on steaks and burgers are overrated from a skill and taste point of view. Caramelization, resting, and proper seasoning of the meat are truly what matter most.

    -------------

    Greg and Gabrielle Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez-Denton are redefining our understanding of grilled cuisine at their aptly named Ox Restaurant, where the menu is defined as “Argentine-by-way-of-Portland.” Their debut cookbook Around the Fire will similarly open readers’ eyes to the wonderful possibilities of the backyard barbecue. Inventive, flavorful, and achievable recipes showcase unexpected cuts of meat, seasonal produce (proving that grill-centric parties can be surprisingly vegetarian-friendly), and plenty of starters, salads, desserts, and drinks to round out your next indoor or outdoor feast.

    Get your copy at Amazon or Powell's Books

     

    All photos by Evan Sung


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    created at: 05/15/2016 The Half-Windsor Knot - the classic knot every man should know. It's the perfect versatile knot that works both in the office and on more formal occasions without ever drawing too much attention to itself any which way. Whether you've never tried it or if you just haven't tied it in awhile, here's a slick and well-produced how to video from MR PORTER to brush you up.   

    What's your favorite tie knot? Mine personally is the Half-Windsor so I'd love to hear your thoughts.


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