Man Made DIY



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Feb 04, 2016

Gifts for Your Girl on Valentine's Day

ManMade Valentine's Day gift roundup
Whether you're into it or not, Valentine's Day is 'round the corner and now's the perfect time to make a plan. Let's be clear: you don't have to do gifts for Valentine's Day. But you should do something thoughtful, caring and personal. If romantic expressions aren't your forté, a nice gift can go a long way instead. 

To help you out, we've rounded up a few Valentine's Day favorites we think will be a hit this year. If there's a woman to tell I love you, then these are a good way to go. … read more

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Jan 14, 2016

On Jumping into A Frozen Lake with Your Five-Year-Old Daughter

Frozen lake

The cold nylon of my swimming trunks crackles beneath snow-pants. My wool socks are damp, pooled around my ankles, snow finding its way down the top of my untied boots. My daughter and I are looking for the sauna. It's 8pm in a far-northern latitude; moonless and black. The snow is gray and luminescent as we puff through drifts, crunch over ice. 

She's giddy. And terrified. Her first time, in a new swimsuit her mom packed, with questions about how it will all work. 

"Will it hurt, Dad? Is it dangerous?"

I tell her it won't, and it isn't, even though I don't really know (being a first-timer myself).

And finally we find it. A hundred years… read more

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Dec 08, 2015

Essential Toolbox: A Reciprocating Saw is the Tank in Your Toolbox

Reciprocating saw buyers guide

Cut galvanized pipe. Vibrate a concrete mold to get the air bubbles out. Re-set PVC plumbing. Shave down an LVL header. Strip nails from hundred-year-old lumber. Flush cut wood and metal. Plunge cut into walls and cabinets. Demolish a kitchen. Rip out a toilet. Cut a clawfoot tub in half so you can lower it out a second story window. Trim your trees. Cut down a Christmas tree. Free a horrible laminate countertop from its cabinet base.

reciprocating saw flush cutting a nail

I have used my reciprocating saw (also known by it's brand name, Sawzall) for almost all of those things, and some more I can't even remember. Are there other tools for each of those things? Sure. Are there… read more

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Dec 04, 2015

Worth the Splurge: Quality Gifts to Invest In

 Gift guide: 10 heritage gifts that will stand the test of time

Look, I'm about to admit a deep, dark secret, so if you're not into that, you may want to move along. I am terrible at giving gifts. Maybe it's because I didn't get a ton of them when I was growing up, or maybe I'm just a cheapskate at heart and don't want to admit it. But when faced with investing in a gift of truly high quality, somehow my brain falls back to, "Wouldn't you rather have three or four of these crappy, cheaper things?"

No. Nobody wants those crappy, cheap things. One hundred gifts from the dollar store might be good for a few laughs, but they are - at the end of the day - just a hundred little pieces of junk. So, here are some ideas for gifts you can give (or, if you're lucky, receive) that are timeless, extremely well-made, and will have an impact no quantity of worthless chotchkies could ever have.

read more

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Nov 25, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You're Going to Like Having a Good Ratcheting Screwdriver

Why you should buy a ratcheting screwdriver

You know we here at ManMade always have praise for specialized, high-quality, long lasting tools. Chris went in-depth on screwdrivers earlier this year, and I second his opinion: 
"a high-quality set of wood handled screwdrivers are a true joy to use." But let me also put in a plug for the less-glamorous cousin, the ratcheting screwdriver. It probably won't last a lifetime, and it's certainly not hand-crafted, but it can be a joy to use, in the right circumstances, and I think every guy should own one (or two, or three).

Throw one in your toolbox, another in the trunk of your car, and a leave a third in your desk drawer at the… read more

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Sep 04, 2015

Manmade Essential Toolbox: Why You Should Definitely Own a Really, Really Good Circular Saw

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. 
 
Get the saw blade up to full speed before entering the material
A circular saw is one of those essential toolbox items I'm guessing a lot of you already have. It's often the first powered saw for many DIYers. But do you have a really good one that you love and trust using? And if not, why should you care?
 
For years my circular saw was something that had been handed down to me in a dusty milk crate by a friend's dad. Yours may have been picked up for next-to-nothing at a garage sale, or even found on the side of the road, or bought cause it was the cheapest option at the home center. Hey - no judgement here. Some of those old tools are awesome and solid. But a circular saw is powerful, versatile and potentially dangerous, so using one of poor quality, or in poor condition, is bad practice, and can actually lead to serious injuries. … read more
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Aug 04, 2015

Finally: Here's How To Pay Friends with Your Smartphone

Cash is boring. Use your smartphone.
Is it just me, or has the future turned out to be a bit of a disappointment? Hoverboards and jetpacks aside, I still can't beam anybody up, or down, or cook steak in my microwave, or have a sassy robot maid clean my house. But Square Cash is one area in which the future seems to have delivered, and I've been telling everyone about it for almost a year now. But, let me back up a bit and talk about the suckiness of non-future-money: paper currency.

Do you know what happens every third time I visit the drive-through ATM to get cash? I lose my card in the machine. Do you know how many armpits, waist bands, and god-knows-what-other sweaty… read more

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Jul 06, 2015

Four Questions With: An Indie Filmmaker

Indie Filmmaker John Kingman: gear bag
John Kingman is a video producer and independent filmmaker (and former ManMade contributor) whose first feature-length film, Pearl: The Assassin, is streaming now on Amazon. We thought it'd be fun to get a glimpse of what it's like make indie movies, so we caught up with John for the first of our "Four Questions With" series:

MM: Tell us a little about your background, and about Pearl.

John: 

My background is video production. I started out making comedy videos with my friends, and taught myself how to shoot, light, and edit. Now I run a boutique production company in NY, doing corporate video. Pearl came about around the time… read more

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Jun 23, 2015

Sister Sausage, What Happened To You (Or, Why Isn't Your 4-Year-Old in a Punk Band Yet?)

Rock Band Land Band Camp
Do you wish your kids were in a cool rock band? Do you wish you were in a cool rock band? Well, Rock Band Land can help with one of those things. At first glance, the San Francisco-based youth band camp might seem like just another ridiculous example of the artisanal-string-cheese-eating, urban-outfitted, hipster parenting you love to hate. But actually, it's a pretty awesome way to get kids involved a creative, artistic, collaborative expression.

And songs about cockroach villains who turn humans into sausages so they can sell them for a profit:… read more

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Jun 22, 2015

Free Stuff! Win an Aeropress - The Best Coffee Maker on the Planet

created at: 02/12/2015
Earlier this year,  we posted about the fascinating story of the invention of the AeroPress, a $25 plastic device that makes the best single cup of home-brewed coffee we've ever tasted. Our readers seemed to like that post so much, so we reached out to Aerobie (makers of the AeroPress, and, yes, the amazing flying disc) and asked if they'd let us give away a few ... and they gave a very enthusiastic and caffeinated thumbs up. 

Can't wait to see if you win the giveaway? Or just want to read all the reviews? Click here for the full product listing at Amazon. It has a 4.6/5-star rating with 3,500 reviews!

Anyway, this isn't a… read more

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