My axe

I now have an axe, thanks to an estate sale. It’s an old Swedish 3-1/2 lb. Hults Bruk AGDOR felling axe. I’m going to restore it and then look for stuff to fell.

Wooden Beam Lamp

Lamp beam - hammer in lamp pole

Lamp beam - drill holeLamp beam - admire the first section of the lamp.Lamp beam - finishedLamp beam - deployed in our living room

I repurposed a scrap of 1939 4×4 beam from my house remodel to build a lamp base. I have a couple of these black metal gooseneck lamps in my garage with no bases — they broke years ago, some kind of cement in the base that crumbled, taking the threaded mount with it.
So, I drilled a hole in the 4×4, mounted the lamp post in there, and added bent nail to hold the cord. I love the result!

J. Edgar Park’s Aromatic Bitters No. 1

J. Edgar Park’s Aromatic Bitters No. 1
Make your own bitters to invigorate your beverages.

Aromatic bitters 5

  • 375ml of 151 proof grain alcohol
  • 375ml of 100 proof bourbon
  • zest of one lemon, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 tsp. quinine extract (from a health food store)
  • 1/8 tsp. wormwood extract (from a health food store)
  • 2 tsp. Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a 2″ piece of fresh ginger root
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/8 cu. dried cherries
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, with its seeds scraped and reserved to add to jar
  • 1/4 cu. raw sugar
1. Put all ingredients, except for sugar, in a large glass jar, closing it tightly.
Aromatic bitters 3
2. Store jar in a cool, dark place for thirteen days, shaking it daily.
Aromatic bitters 4
3. On day thirteen, filter liquid into a clean jar through a sieve, reserving solids.
4. Place filtered solids into a saucepan, along with 1/2 cu. of water. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, in order to extract maximum flavor.
5. Strain simmered liquid through sieve or cheesecloth, and then combine with other jar of liquid.
6. Filter liquid through a coffee filter or Aeropress to remove small particles.


7. Heat sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until it caramelizes and froths.
8. Add burnt sugar to the bitters liquid. Shake jar until burnt sugar dissolves, then let bitters cool.
9. Bottle the bitters using a funnel and or squeeze bottle.
10. Apply bitters directly to your tongue to relieve the fantods, or enjoy a dash or two in most any drink for added flavor harmony.


Mole-Richardson Pliers


I bought a $4 bag of tools at the thrift shop yesterday and was really happy to find these 1950s era electricians pliers among them. They’re from the venerable Hollywood lighting equipment company Mole-Richardson.

I love the grip pattern:


These look like slip joint pliers with a bent head and a groove down the jaws, but Mole calls them “electrician’s”



Burbank Maker’s Map

Here‘s a Google map I put together of my favorite local spots to get supplies, tools, materials, and components for making electromechanical projects.

Update: Sadly, Electronic City recently closed. Leaving it on the map for posterity, but don’t try to go there.

iPhone Case Back Project

iPhone Case Back Project

I’m laser cutting a wood veneer to apply to the back of my slightly cracked iPhone back. The starting point for me is the dimension drawings from Apple. You can get them here.

Rather conveniently, the drawing pdf imports into Rhino (the NURBS modeling/drafting application I use) as curves, so I don’t need to trace and redraw the dimensions.


I’m only using the inner curve from the camera back and the camera keep out guide, which recommends the distance from camera lens and flash hole to avoid vignetting or tinting your photos.



Next step was to apply 3M adhesive to a sheet of wood veneer.


This is the back of my phone — notice the hairline cracks in the glass from dropping it a couple of weeks ago.
Always use a wrench to weigh down your wood veneer sheet.

Always use a wrench to weigh down your wood veneer sheet in the laser cutter bed.

I decided not to etch an image on this first try, so I only vector cut the veneer and adhesive. On an Epilog Zing 16 this is 80% speed, 40% power.

I decided not to etch an image on this first try, so I only vector cut the veneer and adhesive. On an Epilog Zing 16 this is 80% speed, 40% power.

Once it's been cut out, I peeled off the backing.

Once cut out, I peeled off the backing.

I think I'll adjust the camera/flash cutout in a little bit, this is crazy thin at the edge.

I think I’ll adjust the camera/flash cutout in a little bit, this is crazy thin at the edge (due to kerf). This is the adhesive side, not sure what that straight line is all about, it’s not in the wood.

Applied to the phone back.

Applied to the phone back.

Very stylish self portrait of my iPhone with its new wooden back.

Very stylish self portrait of my iPhone with its new wooden back.

Cin Tool Co

Cin Tool Co by JohnEdgarPark
Cin Tool Co, a photo by JohnEdgarPark on Flickr.

I just cleaned up some surface rust and gunk from this nice little clamp I rescued from a rusted out toolbox I bought, then hit it with some oil to protect the surface.

Here’s a look at the other side:

This being the internet and all, there is a webpage for people interested in the history of clamp companies. From this, the site, I present some history, including the fact that my clamp was designed by the grandfather of the author:

Hargrave brand of Cincinnati Tool Co

The Cincinnati Tool Company was founded in 1877. In 1925, it changed its name to the Hargrave Company, which continued until 1955.
The information below was provided through the kindness of John McCutcheon, of Grand Rapids, Michigan
A “circled H” on tools made by Cincinnati Tool Company signifies that it was designed by my grandfather, John M. Hargrave (1889-1975).
Edward Hollister Hargrave worked for Cincinnati Tool Co. in the late 1800’s. By 1911 or 1912, when he died, I think he was running the company.
John Morris Hargrave (his son) had just graduated from M.I.T., with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was called home to take over the company. (I don’t know if he owned the company or not at that time, but I am pretty certain that he did eventually. I believe he sold the company and retired sometime in the 1950’s.)
The company made a complete line of hand tools of all kinds, from bar, cee and wooden jaw clamps to cold chisels, star drills, etc.

Here is a drawing from Hargrave’s Patent No. 1,918,469 which I found on the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents

Patent 1,918,469

Klein Tools Bag

kleinBag by JohnEdgarPark
kleinBag, a photo by JohnEdgarPark on Flickr.

Great unexpected gift from a friend a work who knows my style down to a T.
I’ve already used it to transport Bloody Mary fixings and tools to a brunch party. It’ll make a great weekend bag, too. Plus, I’m sure I’ll use it to haul actual tools around when I’m fixing things on the go. Thanks Charlie.

Klein Tools bag