It is perhaps in the spirit of our anxious, rickety age that antique tool, machinery, and toy restoration videos are becoming increasingly popular. There is something oddly comforting and therapeutic about seeing the old, the forgotten, the previously reliable (now seized with rust and neglect) being lovingly restored to life.
These videos are simple, quiet (usually with no spoken narrative), and most of the restoration process is carefully shown, from disassembly to cleaning, sanding, repainting to re-assembly and testing. This is a world in which time, Evapo-Rust, a wire wheel, and some rattle-cans of enamel paint can repair the past to near show room luster.
I can't get enough. And for makers, there are lots of great repair and restoration tips embedded in these videos. Here are a few of my favorite channels.
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Volker Rieck transformed vintage old chess boards into fantastically nerdy coat racks to sell on his Etsy shop CreativeHolz. Chess club bonus points for the intentional arrangement of chess pieces into the Caro–Kann Defence and an Italian Game opening.
(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
This calm and relaxing video depicts Li Ziqi making paper by slicing and drying tree bark, soaking it in water, slow-boiling it with ash under burlap, fastidiously cleaning it, crushing it, chopping it up, muddling it with a gigantic mortar and pestle, then smoothing the resulting cellulose slime on a floating mesh rack. Paper! There's even a funny twist ending.
Li Ziqi's channel has many other beautifully-shot videos of things -- mostly simple but laborious meals -- being prepared from scratch. Read the rest
Manipulating safe locks can be fun
and profitable! It also takes practice. I recently bought a used safe combination dial lock and mounted it to a piece of reclaimed wood. Mounting a dial lock involves threading the dial spline bolt through the combination wheels, and then hammering a soft, brass "spline key" into the spline's notch so that the dial will turn the wheels.
My lock came without a spline key, so I searched around the house for some brass to use. I found a spent bullet cartridge casing, and attacked it with a rotary tool cutoff wheel to get a sliver of brass.
After sanding off the rough edges, I folded it over to the proper thickness to fit snugly in the threaded spline.
One solid blow with a deadblow hammer, and the soft brass wedged in place. The dial now turns beautifully.
I'll be bringing this and some other cutaway locks to Boing Boing's Weekend of Wonder, where I'll be teaching lock picking workshops, so if you're attending, please come check it out. Read the rest
Lisa Butterworth of Etsy interviewed me about my new book, Maker Dad.
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As a dad who’s done these projects with your daughters, what would you tell other dads about what they might get out of making things with their kids based on your own experience?
One thing I think they’ll get is patience. It’s going to take a lot longer to do a project than if you just take over and do it yourself. You have to hand the tools over to the kids and realize that they’re going to make cuts that aren’t straight, drill holes in the wrong places, be sloppier with the paint than you might be, but that’s just part of learning. You’re also going to learn that they want to try, they have their own ideas about how things should look that might not match yours. But that’s a good thing, I think, and it’s going to also teach kids compromise and bargaining. You get the whole operation.
Chris Yates is a polymath. A sculptor, artist, woodworker, cartoonist, entrepreneur, dog-kennel assembler, musician, and more. He's best known now for his handmade jigsaw puzzles. He's on the show to talk about his zigzag path to making a niche for himself.
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What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. There is no application process or waiting period associated with launching a campaign; individuals can start raising funds immediately. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees. Read the rest
You too can turn an old sweater into a comfy pair of swants! West Knits has a "Swants Tutorial." (Thanks, Brad Smith!) Read the rest
This animated gif of a chain-making machine is mesmerizing. Read the rest
Over at the Information Daily, my Institute for the Future (IFTF) colleague Jason Tester wrote about "Maker Cities," a concept that IFTF is currently exploring through on-the ground ethnography and a forthcoming forecasting game, created with BB's legendary developer Dean Putney! Jason writes:
The DIY ethos of making isn’t limited to creating physical objects—stuff. Makers are starting to reimagine the systems that surround the world around them. That is, they are bringing the “maker mindset” to the complex urban challenges of health, education, food, and even citizenship.
Makers are coming together in civic innovation hackathons to prototype new forms of citizen-led governance. Makers experimenting with new forms of community launched what would become the sharing economy, establishing new ways to measure and create value in local economies. And needing capital to make their ideas real, makers were the earliest adopters of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Crowdfunding raised an estimated $2.8 billion in 2012 to fund projects, and new specialized sites like neighbor.ly and Fundrise focus on group fundraising for municipal projects like building parks or upgrading failing infrastructure.
This last space of civic crowdfunding points to a common thread found in many of these broader examples of making—the systems being remade are often rooted in cities.
"Citizens Will Make the Future of Cities" (Information Daily)
Maker Cities game (IFTF)
(image: "Lego Chicago City View 2001" by Otto Normalverbraucher)
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