Rubber Band Guns


A fellow DangerClubber invited me to a murder mystery evening. My character was listed as a Gun Runner. This inspired me to make some rubber band guns. 
I started out by making some rough shapes from plywood. 

I went through three rapid prototypes in scrap plywood before I got a good shape.

Once I had a shape I liked I traced it onto some scraps of MDF

I used all of the scrap MDF I had laying around and came up with 21 pistols

With every project I try to develop a new skill. This time round it was bandsaw work. I have been meaning to pick up a bandsaw for ages. I used the bandsaw to cut out the blanks. I considered using a template router setup but it was going to be a pain in the ass.

rough blanks before sanding and routing.

Once I had all the blanks cut out I used a 1″ spade bit on the drill press to bore out the “trigger” holes. 

blanks after routing on the left and before routing on the right

Next step was to round off all the edges. I used a 1/4″ roundover bit on the palm router and zipped through the roundings quickly. 

all pistols rounded. ready for the next step

To fire rubber bands I needed to notch the front end of each barrel so its back to the bandsaw. 

small V notch at the end of the barrel.

Final step was to glue a clothes pin to the top of each gun and clamp them together to set. 

21 guns. glue drying.

The next morning I decided to take it a step further and try to make a couple other style of guns

I made a sawed off shotgun 

And a Tommy gun

The rubber band guns were a big hit at the party. 

Rolling Board Game Cart


Some friends of mine host a regular board game night at our office. They store their games in the basement and they have quite a lot of games so they’ve been borrowing a rough crate from me for a while. I’ve been meaning to put something together for them thats a little more civilized. 

I planned the build to make maximum use of two sheets of MDF with the least waste possible

my rough plan board

Once I had all the panels cut down it was time to round the edges. 

i used a roundover bit on a palm router to make the edges more user friendly.

On each project I do I try to learn a new skill or process. This time I decided to try pocket hole joining to pull the panels together. 

I used my Kreg pocket jig to set holes in the panels

I added pocket holes every 6 inches along each joined edge with an extra one 2 inches from the end of each edge.

The pocket hole joints worked great, once all the holes were prepped it all came together pretty well. 

assembling the end panel, base panel and central spine panel.

cabinet awaiting shelves.

Once everything was put together it was time to add wheels. 

finished product

plenty of room for games

Folding board game tabletops


Years ago I decided that our 3ft square table wasn’t big enough to play board games on. I went through a couple of iterations of a removable topper before settling on using surface recessed sewing maching hinges. 

this was a test of freehand routing to set the hinges.

These hinges allow the tabletop to fold up on itself for storage. 

The table worked great for years but I never got round to finishing it. Raw plywood, even when sanded, gets dirty

left side is before sanding, right side is after sanding.

So when some friends expressed an interest in having me help them in making a similar table for themselves I decided that I would take the opportunity to finally finish mine. I also d cided to make a 6ft by 4ft topper for bigger games. 

original topper, sanded and about to be stained

after stain

Max applying the first coat of polyurethane

in place, ready for games!

starting to set hinges on the 6ft by 4ft table

I put 4 hinges on the 6ft long version to help offset buckling

6 footer after stain

6ft tabletop all finished up and ready to use.

after 2 coats of poly

for my friends’ tabletop I sanded between the first and second coat of poly. I also added a third coat of poly for extra protection.

Laser-engraved Engagement Ring


Back in the heady days of 2014, when I decided it was high time I proposed to Adrienne, I gave a good deal of thought to what kind of ring would suit. With her being Irish, I thought a Claddagh ring would be rather fitting. The thing is, I wasn’t much taken with most of the designs out there. Besides, I wanted something more personal, something I could make (or at least design) myself.

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Tool Cabinet Handles




A while ago, Adrienne and I bought this great big tool cabinet from Harbor Freight. It’s been super useful. The one problem is, the only space we have for it is in the living room. It clashes with our otherwise old-timey decor. How to make this beast play well with others? Replace the ugly square silver handles with handmade leather drawer pulls.

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Tin Can Banjo


This is my second attempt at a home-made instrument. The first one came to an abrupt end…yeah. Let’s just say I learned an important lesson about leaving wood to dry in communal spaces without a note. Le sigh.

Two things to note before you continue reading. First off, I took a lot of photos while I was doing this. It’s a long post. I made many mistakes along the way, and they’re all on display here. Learn from my blunders!


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Honing Guide


I found myself in need of a honing guide. I didn’t have a honing guide. I wondered how practical it would be to make one myself? They seem like simple enough devices. I found this tutorial on youtube and figured this might be something I can do:

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Cigar Box Lamp, MK II

Verson 2.0 of my cigar box lamp is complete. This time it has twin bulbs and a dimmer switch. The dimmer has push-on, push-off functionality, instead of turning to switch on. This lets you turn it on to whatever brightness it was set to last time. I actually prefer the kind where you twist to turn it on, then brighten…but this one was free from a friend. The problem with the dimmer is that it’s designed for a wall switch, and had a big ugly white dial on it. Underneath that is a big ugly shaft, that goes up and down when you click the lamp on and off (that’s the main reason I don’t like ’em). Some alternatives were tried, like a wine cork:


And a more stylish radio knob:


I think I tried a chicken head knob as well. All had potential, but I felt like I needed something more to spruce up the switch area. That’s when I found a load of old rusty door hardware at a store in Gowanus. Keyhole covers, maybe? All I know is, I loved the shapes. I picked ’em up for a buck a piece or so. Just looking at these suckers could give you tetanus.


The store had three shapes, all with their own character.


Some de-rusting treatment (WD-40, sandpaper) brought out the potential. I decided not to make them completely shiny, since I liked the halfway distressed look.


Here’s how they look on the box:





Still playing with ideas for the switch. On a more square box, I could also add brass corners. I’d like for this thing to be really slick when it’s done. By the way, those cut-glass bulbs cast some really cool patterns on the wall when they’re on. Found them at Lowes, so they’re easy to come by.

Cigar box lamp, MK I

I really enjoy making things out of cigar boxes. I’m working on some instruments, but for quick and dirty fun you can’t beat a simple table lamp. Here’s what I used:

IMG_0420 IMG_0452

  • cigar box
  • cord and plug assembly
  • electrical wire
  • wire caps
  • socket
  • vintage-style bulb
  • toggle switch
  • hand drills and bits
  • needle files
  • pliers
  • wire snippers
  • compass
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • clamp
  • brush
  • tea
  • more tea

To work!


First off, I marked where I wanted the power cord to come into the box.


Clamped and drilled.


Wire’s through the hole, with an underwriter’s knot to keep it there. Very handy trick, that knot.

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The plug goes onto the other end of the wire.


Next I drilled a hole for the toggle switch, on the top of the box.


I didn’t have a big enough bit, so I used a file to enlarge the hole.


And now it fits!




This is where things got…interesting. I measured out how big a hole I’d need to fit the socket into the box.


I bored holes along the diameter with the drill and then used my needle files to cut between them. Would have been nice to have a hole saw right about now.


This took a while. And required more tea.


Finally! The socket fit in place. This model was keyless, with springy tangs on the side to keep it in place.




Now that everything was in place, I wired it up and prayed (I hadn’t made anything electrical before).



The finished lamp




It works! Damn was it bright, though. 60w bulb, but that long squirrel cage filament is a doozie.


Photo taken with the shutter speed waaay up to capture the filament.


Steampunk Jetpack

I’m a big fan of the steampunk genera, as well as the DIY movement. So, as such, my wife and I attend steampunk related events as often as our schedules will allow. For the 2012 Edwardian Ball in San Francisco, CA, we decided to go as a pair of jetpack clad aviators. So, it was time to build a jetpack . . . but where to start?

Fortunately, after all the work I had done on Project Goldfinger, I had plenty of leftover PVC plumbing of various sizes to work with. My idea was to make a back-pack style jet-pack reminiscent of the movie The Rocketeer, but with the added bonus of making it mostly hollow, so I could smuggle things into the events we attend that we might want (*cough*rum*cough). I started simply enough: cut the pipes to size, and bolt them together . . .


Next, I added some embellishments, like old vacuum tubes and things . . . mostly I made a mess in the living-room . . .

jetpack in progress

With the basic form set, all I really needed to do was add the lights (which turned out to be a huge distraction). The lights themselves are held in two stainless steel bottomed shipping cans that I put a wire mesh top over. This allowed me to not only mount the battery powered lights with ease, but also install some magnetic hardware to hold the cans in place. That way, the contents of the jetpack would never be in question unless I was indiscreet. The final product was so good, I got people taking pictures of me and my handiwork all night. I was quite happy with it.


Of course, my wife didn’t want to wear the full jetpack rig, which I could understand, it was rather bulky and heavy at the end of the day. So, we opted to make her some “Rocket boots”. Thematically similar to the jetpack, but instead they were “rockets” that attached via a copper harness and leather belts around her lower leg.

rocket boots