“It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes.” – Hardy Amies
Handmade shoes are one of those things. The "once you try it, you'll never look back kinda thing..." And, yeah, they're a bigger initial investment. But they'll probably last for the rest of your life with proper care and maintenance.
Saville Row shoemakers Foster and Son were recently featured in The Victoria and Albert Museum‘s, How Was It Made? video series. This entry, The Art of Shoe Making, chronicles a cobbler at Foster and Son creating a pair of brogues from scratch...and its crazy fascinating.
One of my all-time favorite poems is "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by W. B. Yeats about the simple cabin ("of clay and wattles made") that he plans to build along shore of the lake and the peace he hopes to find as a result. The poem is beautiful and striking in its simplicity, and so is this process video of a man building an actual primitive hut from scratch.
The video has no dialogue or narration, but is presented in a way so that you can actually watch it and reproduce it yourself.
Working with your hands can take a lot of forms. Just take it from Anthony Bourdain as he visits Frank Shattuck, a boxer and tailor famous for his "bench-made suits" in this unique process video.
The series is called "Raw Craft" and features great conversations about the dedication to craftsmanship and simply about how suits should fit.
Raise your hand if you love process videos. Mine is definitely up - I'm always down to watch a slow tracked materials shot, a lens flare coming in through a shop window, a cluttered benchtop scattered with tools and coffee cups.
So is Sam, a public librarian in California who sent me a link to this cool video series by
I recently found myself falling down a rabbit hole on YouTube of "How It's Made" style videos and I just couldn't stop! Some of them were so fascinating I had to share them with you!
It started with "Wooden Bowls" a short video showing the speed and accuracy one company uses to churn out beautiful hand-turned bowls.
Truce is a handmade design company that creates all-weather backpacks and duffels from recycled sailcloth and drysuit nylon (used for cold water SCUBA diving). Each bag is created upon order from the reclaimed sailing and sporting materials, giving each piece a unique look and overall color scheme.
Truce's founder, Luke Mathers, "learned to sew industrial-grade fabrics while repairing sails and making boat covers at North Sails Oregon. He took a shining to experimenting with the loft’s scrap bin, which became his first source of materials for after-hours projects: making messenger bags, tote bags and accessories for friends and family."
There are few things more zen than watching a master craftsmen perform nuanced work with delicate grace. This soothing video from Watchfinder & Co. features Watchfinder head Tony Williams taking apart and demonstrating the intricacies of the Rolex calibre 3135.
Hobbyist woodworker Jesse McKee of Dallas, Texas recently finished up a seriously awesome project: a mid-century modern-inspired walnut coffee table complete with storage and visible box joints that show off the piece's handcrafted origins.
Jesse says, "[This is] a common mid century design that I added some of my favorite details to. Mainly the box joinery...
There's something about a custom trailer that can't be imitated by fiberglass and plastic. This inspiring look at a custom teardrop trailer build will have you looking for a spot in the shop big enough to make your own.
Years ago I used to cruise over to the coast to getaway and enjoy the ocean. During those trips I'd turn into a vagabond, living out of my car with the seats folded down and trunk popped.
Mid-Century modern decor has been making a comeback in recent years, and 2014 in particular saw a big resurgence in the industrial design world. The designs are often simple and sleek, with angular repetitions bespeaking an industrial creator. However, that doesn't mean the style can't be earthy or rustic.
Ever wonder how America's great bourbon is made? Like, from what it's made, and how does it become liquid, and if it's distilled, why is it brown?These guys went on a five-day blitz through twelve distilleries and cut together this video as a visual guide through the entire process.
Search the ManMade archives, and you'll find no shortage of love for cast iron cookware.
You'll also note lots of warnings about some of the pitfalls of buying new cast iron, and our recommendation to buy used or unseasoned pieces so you can indeed build that heirloom-quality non-stick surface that makes cast iron such a great investment and pleasure to use.
Pop quiz: how many crayons do you think the Crayola factory produces each day? I'd have said something like: 500,000.
Turns out, I was way, way wrong. The answer?
Two summers ago, for my birthday, we took a trip to Bourbon country in Kentucky.
One of the highlights - among the distillery tours and great Louisville restaurants and sites - was a cooperage tour: viewing the factory that makes the barrels in which the bourbon is aged.
Where I live, it's working on its way towards 100° today. It doesn't tend to get or stay that hot, so hardly anyone, including me, has air conditioning, and folks just tough it out on these rare days when the temps really crank.
For Werner, it all began with a trip to the lake. He recalls, "We were lured by a friend who had a sailboat with the promise of a nice lake with sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and a nice camping site. Everything was true but the wind, the frogs, the huge biting flies, and a massive category-five thunderstorm that soaked us inside the tent. My wife said that she had had it with the tent and unless I found something else to camp in, she was out."
So, Werner hit the internet to see if he could devise a solution to protect from the creatures and the natural elements while still enjoying the experience of outdoor recreation.
Industrial designer and maker Mike Cheung took a handmade approach to creating a custom beer tap handle. His design is made from hardwood - maple and walnut - with plenty of graphic details and type to convey the branding aspects of the client, P’unk Ave, a design agency in Philadelphia.
ManMade reader Donal McKernan is an expert in graphic design and dimensional sign-making at Danthonia Designs, a hand-crafted sign shop in Inverell, Australia.
Danthonia recently released a series of how-to videos, detailing the process to making a one-of-a-kind hand-carved wooden sign.
ManMade reader and filmmaker Alessandro Rodrigues got together with his buddy to create "Against the Grain," a film documenting the process of making a wooden surfboard from scratch.
I love reading this story of Yale faculty member Scott Strobel, who takes fallen trees from the Yale campus and mills them into large hardwood blanks, which he turns (literally) into hardwood bowls.
Dr. Strobel, who serves as vice president in addition to overseeing lab work in biochemistry and biophysics,