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May 20, 2019

How to: Fix Your Shoelace Tips & Repair Frayed Laces

You know the phenomenon. No matter how hard your try, eventually, the little plastic tip on the end of your shoelaces (the official term is "aglet") will get crunched up, and slowly, you find yourself with a set of frayed laces. You could do the classic trick of burning the ends with a match to seize the fibers, but that's a temporary solution, and eventually, you'll end up exactly where you started.

Shoelaces are, of course, replaceable, and if you simply need a white or black pair for sneakers, or perhaps the classic golden variagated laces often found in leather workboots, you can switch them out if you like. But, so many pairs of shoes rely on the complement and/or contrast of the laces as a design element, and so often, you can't find a replacement.

So, instead, let's figure out how to fix shoelaces so they stay compact, useable, and fray-free.

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Aug 17, 2018

How to Enlarge a Hole in Wood without Ruining Your Project

how to enlarge a hole

To the non-DIYer, dedicating an entire blog post to this process may seem like overkill. But anyone who wields their cordless drill on the regular can attest: the issue of making an existing hole larger comes up all. the. time. Whether repairing something around the house, replacing a part or piece of hardware, or just because you didn't quite get it right the first time, any maker, woodworker, or generally handy person knows how frequently one needs to enlarge a hole, and how surprisingly difficult it can be to pull off. 

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Apr 27, 2018

How To: Repair Rubber Boots

Second only to my shovel, I count my big rainboots as my most essential yard work possession. Ever since I got them as a gift in 2010, they've kept my feet dry as I've tromped through muddy backyard gardens, turned compost piles, and cleared some seriously weedy rows of peppers on a local farm. (They made a cameo appearance on our article about digging a garden patch using only a shovel.)

Constant use has taken its toll on the natural rubber, though, so it was time to put into practice one of my favorite Depression-era maxims on frugality: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Let's take a look at how I patched up my leaky wellies.

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Aug 22, 2016

The Easiest Way to Repair a Split Zipper

It happens to the best of us. On a jacket, pair of jeans, backpack. Zippers are moving parts, and as the ManMade Fourth law of physics goes, anything with moving parts will eventually wear out or break. 

created at: 08/22/2016

But, no worries. When a zipper splits, you don't need to toss your goods. It's a simple, one-tool repair you can complete in five minutes.   

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Aug 11, 2016

Meet One of the Few Jukebox Repairmen

Meet Perry Rosen, a jukebox repairman keeping mechanical music alive in a mostly dead industry. But as we all know, there's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead. And that makes it all the more fascinating...   

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Apr 20, 2016

Fix It: How to Repair Your Own Camping and Hiking Gear

created at: 04/20/2016

Outdoor recreation activities - camping, backpacking, climbing, and the like - bring with them a fair amount of gear. And while it's built to stand up and protect you from the elements, all that exposure, packing and unpacking, weather, bugs, rocks, trees, etc will eventually bring with them some wear and tear.   

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Feb 10, 2016

DIY Essentials: How to Assemble the Ultimate Homeowner's Tool Kit

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!)

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Jan 27, 2016

How to: Restore an Antique Pocket Knife

created at: 01/27/2016

I spent time over the holidays sorting through old boxes of knick nacks and came across some heirloom pocket knives I'd inherited from my grandfather that had fallen into disrepair. I considered throwing them out but figured it was worth looking into how one might go about repairing them. 

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May 05, 2015

The Last of the Typewriter Men

The last of the typewriter repair menA lot of us have nostalgia for old typewriters, regardless of how many hipsters put them on display. I have one myself and I was surprised by how much the guy in my local typewriter repair store knew about my machine and how quickly he solved my problem. This is a celebration of "a dynasty of repairmen keeping the world's typewriters from going obsolete."    

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Apr 15, 2015

How To: Give An Old Chair New Life

created at: 04/15/2015

I finally took the time to repair an old chair that was described as "the most uncomfortable chair I've ever sat in," more than once. Here's what I did to bring new life to my old chair.  

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Mar 02, 2015

Mend Your Clothing the Japanese Way

Japanese Textile Mending

If you have a few wardrobe items that haven't seen the light of day due to some wear and tear. Take a look at the Japanese method of mending textiles, especially denim, with unique, stylized stitchery.

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Jan 16, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: You Should Own Locking Pliers

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.  

created at: 01/16/2015Locking pliers, commonly called by the brand name Vise-Grips, are, well, basically what both names suggest: they're pliers, whose jaws lock around an object, providing a vise-like grip.

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Nov 11, 2014

How to: Repair Worn-Out Cutting Boards with a Few Simple Steps

created at: 11/09/2014

Have you ever pulled out your cutting board just before dinner to find a rather large crack running up the middle of it? When you pay a fortune for a good board, problems like this can make you hesitant to want to throw them out for another one. Frank Howarth recently posted an inspirational process video for a repair job he did on some rather large sushi cutting boards for a local restaurant.    

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Oct 14, 2014

How to: Repair a Damaged Electric or Power Cord

Credit: Ethan Hagan

Whether it’s by accident or misuse, chances are you’re going to need to repair a power cord on something you own. I can’t count how many times I’ve almost cut my circular saw cord while ripping a board or yanked a lamp line and ripped it clean off. The good news is you don't have to toss out your expensive tools to a severed cord. Instead you can repair it yourself!    

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Jun 06, 2013

How to: Fix a Broken Zipper

created at: 06/06/2013

Many an otherwise great jacket or pair of jeans has been ruined by a faulty zipper. A tailor or gifted sewing machine user can replace your zipper for you, but if yours is a high quality all-metal set, you can easily fix your current zipper without any special tools or parts.   

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Aug 28, 2012

How to: A Quick and Easy Way to Reattach a Book or Notebook Cover

created at: 08/28/2012

Last week, the unthinkable happened: the pages of my notebook separated from the cover.

Okay, well, it's not really unthinkable...I'm pretty tough on it. It goes everywhere with me, falls off the workbench daily, gets covered in sawdust and paint, regular interacts with power tools and sharp things, and I'm pretty sure this is the one I threw across the room when I just couldn't get the math right for a project.I've had this one for nearly two years, and it's spine has been covered and reinforced by layers of duct tape for more than half its life. So, unthinkable? No, but discouraging, nonetheless. This thing still has at least 20% of its

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