Lamp Assembled from Drum Hardware and a Car Jack

Had this one kicking around for a while - it originally featured a boom arm for better adjustability, but this made it top-heavy - so it's now a humble, but neat-o straight desk lamp (though still somewhat adjustable).

As usual, I had all these things on hand being all lonely and useless. The blue rick-rack on the shade is courtesy of Melody, scored at an estate sale last month. Enjoy!


Report from the Cold Spring Craft Fair

Report from the Craft Fair
For it being our first craft fair, it went very well. We weren't concerned with making money, so much as observing people's reactions to our creations.

The scrapwood shelves turned a lot of heads, but a lot of the time there would be a man being interested in them and his wife pulling him away. :) But I did sell one piece, to a happy Martin W (who works for a NYC design firm, and is keeping my card on file - yippee!) pictured here. When he bought it he said he won't "ruin it by putting knick-knacks on it."
Report from the Craft Fair

Does this make me an artist? One woman said my shelves reminded her of Louise Nevelson, and when I admitted to not knowing who that was, she said "shame on you!" I tried explaining to her that I'm not an artist - this was just something I like to do, but this didn't seem to quell her agitation. All the same I take it as a compliment. It led me to check out Nevelson's work, which I really dig! And read this quote from her:

"When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you’re really bringing them to life – a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created."

I can run with that...

Scrapwood Shelving for Knick-Knacks and Tchotchkes


My wife, Melody and I have been hard at work all this week in preparation for the Cold Spring River Festival. Melody designs and sews some awesome and hilarious apparel, and I'll be selling all different sorts of things made from recycled and repurposed materials.

It doesn't take me a lot of time to accumulate all sorts of scrap lumber from different projects, and I can't bear to see it go to waste, so I designed and built these shelf units that are perfect for keeping your odds and ends and action figures and bric-a-brac that you don't know what to do with.

I tried to make everything look a bit less hacked together by filling in the gaps (with homemade wood filler made from screened sawdust and wood glue) with a putty knife, shaping it with the jigsaw, and sanding everything down.

I've got some other tricks up my sleeve for our table at the festival, but I really do hope a couple of these pieces sell.

The Story of My Sockets

Homemade Customized Socket Organizer
People come into tools for all different reasons - you might have the $40,000 super precision Snap-On Set, or the Chinese plastic molded toolkit you bought in Bushwick when you were scraping by as a college student. Maybe you've inherited some tools - maybe you've bought some specifically for a job, and even today when digging around you can still recall the exact circumstances in which you were made to acquire it.

For most of us it's a combination of all these things, and probably more. This motley set of sockets has come into my possession through many miles and at least a couple of generations. It was always my father's habit to throw his sockets into a box and go hunting for the right one when necessary. But I had just organized my drill bit collection (just as motley, and organized just the same way-back-when by my father) and wanted to put it to use.

I dumped out all the sockets and separated them by metric (aqua) and English (natural) units, then organized by size. After drilling the right sized holes for each piece, I had fashioned my very own socket organizer, perfectly tailored for my needs. It cost nothing but the few pieces of scrap wood I had, and if I ever acquire more sockets I can just cut out the parts I need to change - keep it ever-evolving. And by the way, I'll always remember that the aqua bits were from the picket gate I rescued from the trash to make tomato stakes with.

The easy route would have been to go to sears and buy the super-duper socket set and make sure to keep it organized, but this way I can append some pride to the whole matter - make do with my own design, and come to find that I'm actually the better for it. Now these sockets rest in a drawer in a dentist's cabinet in my basement (scored that gem with the marble base for 50 bucks at a barn sale). Again, it's a matter of seeking the alternative for the better, not just to settle for less, but to push for more! This is what "pushing the other button" is all about. When something seems too easy, or you're not quite getting the satisfaction from your work or yourself you think you should, go ahead and try the other thing - push the other button. You could surprise yourself with what happens...

Evaporative Cooler Update!

Methinks the evaporative cooling set-up did it's job just fine! Between 11:00 to 1:20 the inside temperature creeped from 85 F to 90 F and has held steady since then (writing this at 3:30). I'm calling this a not-too-shabby success, since the outdoor temperature climbed from 91 to 97 in the same amount of time.
Evaporative Cooler Triumph!
So I didn't quite reach the wet-bulb temperature of 84, but here I am writing this entry - a bit balmy, but if it were 97 indoors I'd probably have passed out before finishing this paragraph :)

Lots of thanks to Make: Magazine for featuring this project!

DIY Evaporative Cooling in a Heat Wave

At home, we only have A/C units on the second floor, and I do most of my work on the Mac, which is on the first floor. Yesterday the New York metro area wasn't just hot, it was Africa Hot, and today looks to be more of the same, but I've got work to do. This morning I lowered all the blinds in an attempt to keep the heat out, and set up the window fans on tables with shallow baking pans full of water in front of them. The idea is that the air flowing from the fans will evaporate the water and cool down the room.

DIY Evaporative Cooling in a Heat Wave

How much you can cool a room using this method is dependent on the relative humidity on that particular day. The less relative humidity, the more water you can cool the room down. I found a quick and dirty formula for calculating the "Wet Bulb" temperature, which is the lowest possible temperature you can attain by evaporation alone given the current atmospheric conditions. It turns out that today's wet bulb temperature is 84 degrees, which will feel around 80 for me with the fans going - a bit hot, but definitely tolerable. The thermostats on the fans are holding at 85 right now. However, we haven't reached the hottest part of the day yet - I'll update later this afternoon to see how the experiment worked out.
DIY Evaporative Cooling in a Heat Wave

"Ohm Sweet Ohm" Decorative Plaque

A while back I received a plaque saying "Home is Where Your Story Begins." It was just a bit too kitschy and corny for display in our home, but I didn't want a gift to go to waste, so I re-imagined it with a geeky twist.

"Ohm Sweet Ohm" - complete with the Omega symbol and a lightning bolt is much more our style. I made it by masking over the entire plaque and then cutting out the letters with an x-acto, making an adhesive stencil. Hit it with some silver spraypaint (boy do I love spraypaint) and voila - geektastic!