Cord Wrapping Method of the Gods

Oh how total is the pain and suffering of coiling a long extension cord for storage, only to have it twist and snag and tangle upon uncoiling for later use. I have a 100′ long power cord that I often dread using for this reason.

Please, then, understand my utter joy and excitement upon learning this superior method as taught by Dirt Farmer Jay.

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Thanks, Dirt Farmer Jay!

Practice Locks for Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder

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Have you heard about Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder? It’s a three-day festival coming this September 18-20, 2015 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, where you will “learn about exciting new DIY technologies, make cool stuff, immerse yourself in an alternate reality adventure, hang out with nerd superstars*, and be surprised by cool special events you’ll never forget.”

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I’ll be one of the event’s special guests, there to present nifty stuff and teach interesting skills. I’m currently planning a few workshops on locks — how they work, how to open them in unconventional ways, and how to make your own associated tools.

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These are just a few example locks I’ll be bringing to help people learn and practice their new skills. These represent a variety of common wafer locks, pin tumbler locks, warded locks, and combination locks that you may encounter in the course of daily life/secret operations/ninja-ing around.

Hope to see you there!

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*My first time being called a “nerd superstar”. And I kinda like it.

Dieselpunk bicycle fender

My daughter loves her new bike. My daughter loves wearing skirts over bicycle shorts. My daughter’s skirts touch the rear wheel and get dirty. I built a rear fender for her bike.

I used aluminum flashing, overlapping three sheets.

I attempted to spot weld them together, but this was too powerful. Mostly, I melted holes through the flashing.

This turned out to be a good way to “drill” holes.

Which I then bored out with an awl and used pop rivets to fasten.


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Custom Car Door Pull Strap

Sunny Los Angeles is hell on plastic car parts. Sure, nothing rusts, which is nice, but my fifteen year old VW Passat is crumbling, bit by bit. The latest piece to go was the interior front passenger door pull handle.

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Rather than hit the salvage yard or eBay for a proper part, I decided to replace it with a leather strap. I cut a scrap down to size, punched holes in the ends and screwed them in. I had lost one of the stock handle screws, and oddly enough the first proper sized screw I came across in my workshop was the quick-release wheel screw assembly from an old French bicycle. So, that’s why you’ll see a little aluminum cam handle peeking out.

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The longer I keep this car, the more it will look like a pirate ship.

Dangerous power adapter

From the this-is-a-terrible-idea-but-I’m-going-to-do-it-anyway department:

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I’m in Zürich this week visiting the Disney Research lab and I forgot to bring plug adapters for my Macbook. No problem, this is why I carry thick vague copper wire in my bag and check a multitool in my luggage.

Please don’t try this at home. Or in a hotel.

Cool Tools Interview

Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly at the super excellent Cool Tools site recently interviewed me for their terrific Cool Tools Show podcast. We talked about some tool-like I recommend, including a coffee roaster, and gym rings. Stay tuned for the bonus, unexpected tool question at the end.

As Mark said,

Over at Cool Tools we interviewed my good friend John Edgar Park, who is one of the most interesting people I know. When he is not combing the streets for street sweeper blades to turn into picklocks, or practicing impossible yoga positions, or roasting his own coffee, he’s doing secret things at the research wing of Disney Imagineering. Kevin Kelly and I asked him to tell us about some of his favorite tools, which you can learn about in this episode of the Cool Tools Show, and by reading the show notes (Why not subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode?)

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