Making a custom watch strap

My 1967 Omega Constellation has a fresh look. I made a custom strap for it that is sized to my wrist and non-adjustable. I’d seen similar designs before, but didn’t way to pay for something that looked so simple to make. It turned out to be pretty easy using a few specialized tools, hardware, and a thin scrap of leather. 

First, I cut the strip with a box cutter and straightedge.

Next, I used a small leather punch and mallet to make a clean hole for a screw-in button stud.

After measuring the strap on my wrist, I marked a spot for the button hole. I used a specialized tool that creates a slit and properly sized hole, when struck with a mallet.

Then, I cut a small strip of leather to fold over and hold the strap end. I punched two holes in its ends and stitched them with waxed thread. I’m really happy with the result.

       

Make a Light-up Magic Wand

The elementary school variety show producer (yes, producer — we take this seriously!) asked if I could build some lighted magic wand props for one of the acts. “Heck yes!,” I said. I love building props.

Here’s how I built them:

  1. Start with an LED flashlight for the end cap switch, handle, and battery holder. Doing these things from scratch can be a pain. $5 lights worked great, you may be able to go cheaper.
  2. Remove the bulb, solder in leads and wires to extend the length, solder on a nice, fat 10mm LED.
  3. Use three street sweeper blades to form the wand structure, zip tie and tape them to the barrel.
  4. Heat shrink tubing to hold the LED nicely to the sweeper blade tips.
  5. Wrap the wand in masking paper. Glue the paper on, being sure to wrinkle and crease it like gnarled wood.
  6. Stain with wood stain, paint it, dry brush lighter colors at the peaks to increase the read on stage to the audience. Polyurethane the paper.

Here’s a visual guide to my method. UPDATE: The wands survived dress rehearsal and three performances! See bottom of this post for a photo of the young wizards in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mesh strainer repair

Here’s another in my ongoing series: John Repairs Stuff With Sugru.

I bought this colander over twenty years ago, and I am fond of it. The mesh developed a couple of tears in it, so I patched them up. My one regret on this fix is my color choice — out of the corner of my eye it looks like some egg noodles are stuck in there. I may cover them over with a thin layer of red at some point.

Note: Sugru isn’t officially qualified as food safe; please don’t poison yourself and then yell at me.
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Morning Cappuccino

Here’s a look at the morning ritual — grinding beans, dosing the portafilter, tamping, pulling the shot, steaming and pouring milk. Not pictured: drinking this deliciousness.

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Turning a TV set into a bookcase

A friend was moving and thought I may have a use for this broken TV set. Here’s how I turned it into a book shelf.

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I pulled off the back, removed the amplifier and CRT.

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After removing the “gold tone” trim, these retention clips needed to be pulled to free the glass. The bezel is such a gorgeous brown, cream, and patina green. Here Beatrix and I appear on TV.

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I framed it with some 1″ square strips of white oak I had left over from a catapult project, and used some hardware to mount a panel of wood. I pulled that panel from the dumpster at Walt Disney Animation Studios when they were remodeling one of the production pods a few years ago.

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Here’s the finished piece. I left the tuning mechanism in place so you can twist the giant knob on the right and change the number front and center.

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