Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spring-load Your Pliers

Another Handyman Tip from the Past. Use a small scrap piece of
flexible tubing to upgrade your pliers. In addition to having them
spring open, you also get a new comfortable grip.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hacksaw Tips

Here are a few tips that I'm not sure I would have thought of:

  • If you're cutting thin metal tubing, run a wooden dowel through it before cutting to prevent any crumpling or bending.

  • If you're cutting a thin metal sheet, sandwich it between two scrap pieces of wood and clap it in a vise before cutting.

  • If you're in a tight space, try reversing the blade.

  • And my favorite, perhaps because it just seems so obvious now, cut wider slots by mounting multiple blades in the saw.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Handy Book for a Handyman

Elle just brought this book home today and I couldn't resist claiming it for myself. One of the perks when the wife is a dealer of items vintage. Honestly though, she knows me too well not to have expected me to call dibs, and is probably exactly why she picked it up in the first place.

There are so many things that make this cover awesome, from the pipe in the man's mouth to the fact that he's even got a band saw in his workshop. But my favorite is that both people (it's the 60s, so let's assume husband and wife) are just so darned happy looking. I imagine the wife looking on with joy as her husband drills a hole, probably making shelves or cupboards for the kitchen (okay, I don't know why he'd be drilling what looks like a large hole, but just roll with it for now). He has a confident smile, knowing that he's providing a, dare I say it (how can I resist), Better Home for his wife. Yes, by drilling a hole. Just let it go.

Anyway ... I just really dig the artwork.

This is the 1966 edition. Hopefully I'll have time to post any cool tips and ideas I come across while going through it. Sometimes it's like rediscovering lost or forgotten lore.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Design Sponge


Another mention of Austin Modern, this one at Design Sponge.

That credenza they have pictured, I know it. I moved it. It's heavy.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Knives and MultiTools: Leatherman Squirt E4

No, this is not a vintage knife. But stick with me, and I'll try and justify my posting this. Actually, I will probably follow this post with several more showing the other knives and tools I find useful.

Weekends I can almost always be found at Elle's shop, either moving something heavy (sometimes really heavy, in which case I have usually tricked a friend to come and help me), making deliveries, or pitching in to help with the odd repair or two.

Repairs can run the gamut from simply tightening some screws to rewiring lighting to the less frequent, thankfully, complete refinishing or rebuild. So, and maybe this just serves as a convenient excuse, I always have some kind of knife or multitool in my pocket or on my belt.

Right now, I want to focus on the Leatherman Squirt E4. I've had this one the longest (without losing it) and while it lacks some of the functionality of the larger multitools, I carried it almost exclusively for the first year or so that Elle opened shop. At the time, AFAIK, it was only available at Radio Shack. It wasn't even listed as an option on Leatherman's website.

So, why is it so great? Well, aside from the knife, it's got several things going for it. Spring-loaded wire strippers: not essential, but completely rewire a 12 bulb chandelier, and then tell me that you don't appreciate not having to use a knife blade to strip all the wire ends. Along with the wire strippers, you've got a wire cutter of course, and the tips can perform as needle nose plier tips. A true philips screw driver: not one of those flat screw driver tips that has been shaped into a blunt point, but a real philips head driver. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you try both types, I think you'll see why I consider it important. 2 screw drivers: one head small enough for eyeglass screws, and small enough to serve as an awl if needed, and one regular sized one that incorporates a bottle opener. A wood and metal file: useful when you have to adjust a drawer runner that's sticking just a bit, or maybe clean off a little rust or corrosion on battery terminals in the odd vintage radio.

The E4 really impresses me more than the other 2 available models (the P4 and S4). "P" is for pliers, "S" is for scissors, and I think the "E" is for electric, or electrician, or electronic, or something like that.

If I'm headed to the shop, and I know Elle needs a couple of lamps rewired, I still make sure this little guy is on my key ring. I've only stopped carrying it all the time because I've started carrying a larger Swiss Army Knife. And hey! I'll probably bore you with the details on it in my next post. You'll just have to wait ... I know it'll be difficult.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Austin Modern

Not strictly about any particular vintage item, but I can't help but post any time Elle's store gets any Press (a brief blurb in Austin Statesman's Design Notebook).

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zombies, Billy Connolly, and Carrie-Anne Moss

OK. Not kidding. Everyone should watch this movie: Fido. Now. Really.

Honestly, it's worth watching twice. Once, because it's really funny. And then again, because the sets are chock-a-block with vintage goodies. The prop masters must have raided every vintage supplier in the town (and several neighboring towns too I imagine).

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