In the early days of building your workshop it's important to invest in tools with multiple functions so as to get the most bang for you buck. Now normally I'd think a blowtorch doesn't exactly fit that criteria, although since reading this I'm beginning to rethink that...
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.
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.
Bikes, by their design, have moving parts. And as we know, anything with moving parts requires a little care and maintenance from time to time. If you, your friends, or your kids enjoy riding (and you should!), it's important to keep all those parts in good running order to keep everyone fast, make riding as easy as possible, and to stay safe on those roads.
If you're a serious off-roader or just a generally well-prepared person, this might be the thing for you. It's a portable welding kit that runs off of car batteries and is perfect for getting whatever welding you need done regardless of where you are.
Odds are if you're reading this blog, you're already taking good care of your kitchen knives with a home sharpener of some sort. But are you keeping as good an eye on your pocket knife or other daily-carry type knife? I recently realized that I hadn't quite noticed how dull the knife I often carry had become and set out to buy a good whetstone to take care of it. So here's a brief guide on how to give your pocket knife the TLC it desperately needs.
When Scrap Wood City needed a tiny lathe (smaller than a mini-lathe) to turn truly tiny things, he set out to make his own using a Dremel rotary tool and some wood blocks. A lathe this tiny allowed him to create small furniture, miniature models, and other tiny reproductions that would otherwise require numerous man hours carving them by hand.
There's no better way to introduce this blog post than to say: I think it's a really, really good idea. The look is classic, and it helps protect your tools edges and handles by encasing them in soft, sturdy material, and it helps protect your hands by keeping the business ends covered. And, since you're making it from scratch, you can create custom slots and pockets to hold exactly what you want, and keep things where they need to be. And did we mention it looks great? Yes? Okay, great. Let's make one.
The Essential Toolbox series is ManMade's picks for tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. Today: the best sawhorses.
The sawhorse is a familiar sight in on construction sites, or in the bed of a contractor's pickup. There, the use for those banged up concrete and paint encrusted beams is obvious: they're portable work stands, designed to be moved around from task to task and job to job. But at home, they're often forgotten for dedicated surfaces such as benches or worktables. And for good reason: traditional sawhorses, those that were big and sturdy enough to take on real work, take a lot of room to store; valuable space
When it comes to serious woodworking, a marking knife beats a pencil for most layout tasks. And here's why: 1) The knife's edge is finer and flat on one side, allowing you to truly scribe a line along a straight edge, not just next to it. 2) The knife cuts the wood grain on the surface, so that when you go back to make a through cut with a chisel, saw, router bit, etc, the fibers will stay clean and crisp along the surface. 3) The knife's indentation gives you a place to register your tools, ensuring accurate and gap-free cuts.
Don't own one yet? Don't like yours and want to improve it? Want to multiply your arsenal so you can keep one in every corner of your shop? Well then... it's time to roll your own.
Back when I wanted to be an astronaut (just kidding NASA take me now I'll do anything), my mom gave me a space pen that somebody had given her and it was SO cool. Besides being able to write upside down, I loved the design of the sleek little guy and the connection I felt with my gravity-defying heroes. The history of their design is quite the little story, recently featured by Cool Material.
Every man should own a corkscrew, but admitedly there some times in life when everything is going right in terms of wine acquisition and there's just no corkscrew to be had. Never fear. As long as you've got a key on your person, you'll be ok...
Look - I'm not implying I only have fifteen things in my kitchen. I love to cook, to the point that I ask for new tools and gadgets for Christmas and birthday presents. But, I also cook three meals a day at home, and for 90% of them, it's with the same basic handful of utensils and cookware.
There's nothing more impressive than walking through a man's workshop, seeing the cool projects he's working to bring into existence out of nothing, and then realizing that even his tools are made from scratch. I can only fathom the satisfaction and forward momentum one must feel when beginning a hearty new endeavor and seeing the fruits of your past creative labors supporting you in the process of new creation.
When I was in graduate school, I taught guitar lessons to several neighborhood kids for some extra income. Inevitably, after a few months of convert's zeal, their practicing would slow down, and a parent would always ask me, "how can I get ______ to practice more at home?" I had some musical tips, sure, but my first answer was always: buy a guitar stand, and leave it out. No one is going to pick up an instrument that's locked in a case and placed under the bed or leaned against a wall in a closet. But, have it out and within a grasp in just a few seconds, and one can't help but just pick it up and rock out.
A little personal update: after a few years of saving, I finally bought my first home. It's an awesome Northwest Craftsman bungalow built in 1924 in a great inner southeast Portland neighborhood. We're totally in love with it.
And it needs a lot of work. Not a lot to make it livable, but to make it ours. To make it a space where we're going to live and work and welcome others for the next 30 years. Of course, as a DIY blogger, I want to do most of it myself, and thankfully, I built up a handy collection of tools from my woodworking and general tinkering efforts (and now I actually have a garage in which to put them!)
When you're just getting started in the world of building things, you'll find it can be rather hard to develop the "best practices" to help guide you down the right path. You're busy trying to figure out what the difference between a bevel and a miter is, but what you really need is someone to say "do this, not that."
It wasn't until I took a few classes and befriended some woodworkers that i really started to learn how to not do dumb things. Here's a list of six things I wish I would have learned before I wasted money and time on early projects.
There's something incredible about watching a process from start to finish. The transformation from log to finished set of bowls is something already fun to see, but watching a Chinese craftsman do it on a foot powered lathe is something else completely.
Looking for a way to stay prepared no matter what? This survival credit card case is a good start to being the guy everyone knows is ready for anything.
Are you still feeling the lingering of the Christmas spirit? Keep it going by crafting some carpentry tools dating back beyond the first century. This DIY guide takes your old plywood remains and an old circular saw blade to combine them into a custom and sturdy hand plane.