Foot Bag

This is a simple cinch bag made out of polyester fleece (banana for scale) . Its purpose is to wear on your feet while in your sleeping bag while camping.

Do you get cold at night while camping? If so, what part of your body is coldest? Your feet of course.

As odd as it sounds, your feet will actually be warmer in your sleeping bag if you don’t wear socks, as your feet are then able to keep each other warm. Just like wearing mittens instead of gloves.

And this little bag helps keep them even warmer.

Last year, I tried this bag out when camping with my scouts. I had my 40 degree summer sleeping bag, a stocking cap, and this foot bag (monosock?), and I was OK. Not toasty by any means, but I was fine.

I am especially pleased with how small it rolls up to. It has become a permanent part of my camping gear.

While I made the original one last year, I’ve been fine-tuning it because my Boy Scouts want to make some themselves. We’ll all be making them together this week.

Published in: on 2 February, 2014 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wood Necktie

Over ten years ago, I saw my uncle wearing a wooden tie. It had strips of many different types of hardwood glued to a leather backing.

Ever since, I’ve wanted a wood tie of my own.

So now, I have made one.

I went a little different direction than the one that I saw. This is made out of one type (and piece) of wood. The pieces of wood are drilled and then strung together like beads, allowing it some flexibility.

For wearing, it is attached to a bolo tie hardware and string.

Published in: on 20 November, 2013 at 1:47 pm  Comments (3)  

Forge In Use

Here’s a picture of the forge in use. You can’t tell, but there’s a knife blank in there. It is currently annealing, cooling down slowly in a bucket of pearlite.

Published in: on 14 May, 2013 at 10:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Small Fire Brick Forge

By request, here’s a post about the simple fire-brick forge that I made.

First of all, this is not designed to be a blacksmithing forge. I guess you could do some small blacksmithing with it, but I’m really just making it to heat treat knife blades.

The idea is to stack up insulating fire bricks in such a way as to form a small chamber. Inside that chamber, you can heat your steel with a torch, and it will retain its heat better because it’s not losing to the air like it normally would. This allows you to heat an entire knife blank with a simple plumbing torch.

So, first thing was to buy some fire bricks. I went to a wood stove store and bought several of these for three bucks apiece. They’re approximately 8″ x 4″ x 1.5″:

Then, to make things a little slicker, I cut them. This step wasn’t necessary, but it allowed me to make a small forge with only 4 bricks instead of the 7 that I started out with.

To cut them, I mounted up a cut-off wheel into my drill press, and using the tabble, scored a cut around the perimeter of the brick, approximately 0.25″ – 0.5″. Once it was scored, I was able to snap the bricks in half.

Now for the assembly:

Here are all four of the bricks. One is not cut, one is cut along the length, and two along the width.

You end up with an inner chamber just the right size for a medium-sized knife blank, and by moving the bricks around, you can easily make up to 3 openings — 2 on the ends, and one in the top.

Using it is easy — stick the lit torch in one opening, and open up at least one more to get things flowing.

Published in: on 14 May, 2013 at 9:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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With a Spoon

My brother pointed these out to me, so I had to try it myself.

This is a trade point arrowhead that I made from from a flattened out spoon I bought from the dollar store.

This was attempt #3, and the first one that I wasn’t embarassed by.


1. Get spoon.
2. Hammer it flat.
3. Draw out the arrowhead shape.
4. Rough-cut with a hacksaw.
5. Clean up with belt sander, file, and finally sharpening stone.
6. Take pretty picture

Published in: on 4 April, 2013 at 12:25 pm  Comments (4)  

PVC Bow #1

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I finally made a bow following the instructions of The Backyard Bowyer.

It’s made out of PVC pipe, which has been heated shaped so that the PVC flattens out toward the tips, making it more flexible toward the tip, just like in a traditional bow.

It’s a very light bow, but it’s really fun.

The next one I’m going to try to make a recurve.

Published in: on 15 March, 2013 at 5:31 am  Comments (2)  


arduino flashing
OK, so I’m stretching the word “make” past the breaking point, I know.

But yesterday afternoon I received an arduino in the mail. In short order, following the instructions on the web, I had it hooked up to and flashing a LED to my command. So I did the obvious thing and wrote a program to make it send out morse code messages.

I haven’t really done much more than that, but I’m pretty excited about it and the possibilities, so I figured I’d share.

Published in: on 9 February, 2011 at 7:48 am  Comments (4)  

Won’t You Be Mine

Published in: on 8 February, 2011 at 2:11 pm  Comments (2)  

In the Beginning

There were plans.

Even before I really got into woodworking a few years ago, I was fascinated by the kits and plans that were sold for people to make mechanical clocks. They even sell kits so that you can make clocks entirely out of paper!.

And when I got into scrollsawing and saw some of the beautiful wooden clocks designed for scrollsawers, I knew that someday I had to make one. I even went so far as to order the plans for one so that someday I could make it.


Well, I’ve decided that today is that day! The latest edition of ScrollSaw Woodworking & Crafts has full plans for an extremely simple (relatively) mechanical clock. I went out today and made copies of it, because I have no doubt that I will mess things up the first time. In fact, I really should have gone ahead and made two copies of everything so that I can mess up twice. Oh well…

I don’t know how long this will take me. But I’m closer than I’ve ever been to really starting, and now I’m even closer.

Published in: on 10 January, 2011 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spinning Tops

This is a bunch of spinning tops I made this last week out of wood and corian.

I used some of the best and brightest corian colors I have for these tops. I let everybody pick their favorite color out of what we had, and then on Christmas morning they each got a top made out of that color in their stocking.

Published in: on 25 December, 2010 at 10:50 pm  Comments (1)