If you haven't depressed the trigger on a blowtorch and heard the momentary hiss of the gas releasing, followed by the low whoosh of the flame catching, well, my friend, I recommend you try it. There must be some caveman-brain connection with fire that takes place, or maybe it's the six-year-old in me. But either way, the first time I grabbed a blow torch and clicked it on, I was hooked.
Fortunately, it's also a ridiculous useful tool to have around the shop! It's one of those tools that you don't know you need until the occasion presents itself, but trust me, once you own one, you'll have plenty of occasions to use it. Here are just a few of the ways a blowtorch can make itself useful:
A few weeks ago I got a text from a buddy. He had just moved and was setting up the new house. He told me "I think this time around I want to make sure my sword has a place." By his sword, he meant his 1865 Union Artillery Saber that had been with him since the 1st grade. (Talk about high expectations when the parents give you a sword at age nine). But the issue was that he didn't have a good way to display it, and the cheaply made, $30 online holders just didn't seem fitting. That's why he called me up, and asked if I could help. I gladly accepted the challenge, and came up with this beast. Here's how I did it.
The coin ring is an internet DIY classic. I remember seeing an old video (on Makezine, perhaps?) on creating a nickle ring way back in the early days of the DIY and craft blogosphere. Like, 2006.
But, most tutorials simply harvest the coin as raw material, banging it and beating it until it looks like any piece of cool-colored metal. These pieces by Nicholas Heckaman, however, fully embrace the ring's origin, showing off that recognizable texture and type, giving the ring plenty of personality.
Kitchen knives, pocket knives, craft knives....a creative guy who likes to make stuff simply has to cut things up on the regular. Here's the ManMade list of the nine knives every man should own, but if you're interested in crafting your own from raw materials, it's actual relatively straightforward and requires fewer tools than you might think.
We've all come across the stubborn bolt. You know the one. That bolt that needs come off, like, now, but for no visible reason, the nut won't turn. Turns out, there's a simple trick: add a bit heat and get it turning quick. Here's how I make it happen.
There are some incredible and craftsmen out there willing to share their hard-won experience. Metalworking is a varied field, with everything from blacksmithing to more modern welding techniques. The maker in me really likes the idea of a forge and pounding metal into something amazing so these channels are intended to highlight some serious iron-working. So with that, here are five of the best metalworkers on YouTube you should be watching if you want to learn something new.
As the adage about trash and treasure goes, this dude literally found this rust-covered meat cleaver in the trash and decided to restore it to what I'm sure is more than its former glory. If you look in these up-close "before" photos you'll see that the rust is so thick it looks almost like soft moss. Not so by the end...
I am a total scrap hoarder. Whether it's wood, metal or other trinkets, I can't help but think to myself that one day I will use some of these. From time to time, I search the depths of Pinterest to find some really good uses for all the junk I collect. Because if I don't I might not have a workshop to work in anymore!
Here's a project that deserves to be checked out both for its utility on your own projects, but also for its simple, inspired creativity. This is why the DIY, craft, and maker movement continue to grow; there are super smart, thoughtful folks figuring out how to help other keep making stuff.
If you're getting serious about working with metal, an anvil is an essential part of the shop. Here's how to use an old piece of train track to make your own.
There isn't a day in western life that goes by without something from GE's massive engineering activities making life easier for us all. So when I saw this video about their experiment to preserve a snowball in hell, I just had to see it. You should too.
Maker and designer Nick provides this awesomely detailed tutorial to create a custom, traditional straight razor from scratch. And by from scratch, we mean from. scratch. This build process includes everything from grinding shaping, and sharpening the blade, crafting the wood handle, and even creating custom hardware that allows the razor to pivot while staying balanced.
The Kiridashi knife, known for its simplicity in design and general utility can be a work of art all on its own. And frankly so can the video documenting the process. Watch the silent and curious process video from Miller Knives and learn how to make your own Kiridashi utility knife from a single piece of 1085 high carbon steel...
There are some things that just make me stop and stare. If you're like me this video of a CNC lathe crafting a chess piece from a metal blank is about 4 minutes of mesmerizing relaxation. Being a diehard maker at heart, this video makes me happy.
With spring in the air, it's time to start thinking of long nights on the patio with food friends, and a bit of vino. Nothing goes better with that bottle of wine than the cheese plate, and here's a handcrafted cutter that looks as good as it works.
Do you spend much time behind a desk during the day? Here's a healthier way to clock the hours with a few standing desk projects you can do this weekend.