Archive for January 2016

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.