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Tipping points

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 05:45 pm
On another thread I mentioned having become so frustrated with the price of simple things that I bought a sewing machine and learned to make the things I wanted.

There have also been times that I have wanted something so specific that the only way to get it was to make it. Sure it took a little research and a lot of experimentation but eventually I got the effect I was after.

I'm curious, what things have tipped you over into do-it-yourself-ism?

What process did you use to solve the problem or to achieve the desired result?

Was saving money your primary concern with learning the skill or was it more to get something unique?

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 776 • Replies: 17
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patiodog
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 05:54 pm
Built a ping-pong table. Cost about 40 bucks in materials -- would have been a bit more, but it's missing a foot in length and width, but it plays just fine. Not really a DIY skill, though...
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 05:56 pm
Poverty once 'tipped' me into a practice which i later continued even when i had money enought to dispense with it. I began to hand roll my cigarettes--and i'm good, you couldn't tell it was hand rolled if you didn't see me doing it. Hand rolling tobacco is so significantly less expensive than manufactured cigarettes, that i searched for the "perfect" tobacco. I once bought a tin of Three Castles brand of african-grown Virginia tobacco (Virginia in this case describes a varietal tobacco, and the most expensive tobacco, ounce for ounce, in the world; there is a certain irony in the thought that Africa now grows the most valuable tobacco in the world, which tobacco was developed using African slaves.), and i bought a pouch of Gauloise rolling tobacco. I found that the Three Castles, while producing a sublime smoke, choked me almost breathless by the second cigarette. Gauloise i've bought all my adult life, but it is far to strong to smoke on a continual basis. Well, i didn't want to throw them out because i like to be thrifty (o.k., i'm cheap . . . but my greatgrandma Jenny Monroe was Socts, so i come by it honorably)--so i thought of blending them. And Serendipty incarnate, come to dally on my knee, i had the finest smoke i'd ever had. I could smoke them all day without trashing my lungs, i smoked about half as many cigarettes in a day as i do with commercial cigarettes, and all my symptoms of bodily stress form smoking dramatically decreased.

I can no longer obtain either tobacco where i live, and haven't found them when i've visited Lovey in Canada, even thought the Gauloise i used to buy is made in Quebec, and Three Casteles is an English brand. Crying or Very sad

The big draw back was the one to two hours per day needed to produce the cigarettes. High quality takes time.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 05:57 pm
Most of the things I make are hardly regulation either, patiodog!

What a great use of $40 - I wonder how much a ping pong table costs -- $100, $150?
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boomerang
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
I knew a guy who rolled his own cigaretts once - an amazing trick. And to be able to choose the premium tobaccos too - nice.

I'm entirely too fumble fingered. Back in the "day" I was never asked to roll but I envied those that had the ability.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:03 pm
And upwards. This was the problem.

Used to roll Drum, 'tanta -- mainly as an excuse for having loads of papers around, though. When Pulp Fiction came out, it turned into a great way to meet girls. They'd come up and do that Uma Thurman line -- "Roll me one of those, cowboy?" or whatever it was.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:04 pm
Never was that creative. I was pretty good at finding solutions to cut costs at the places where I worked. Also designed several bookkeeping/accounting systems at places where I worked or did consulting work. I also developed a tracking system for our investments on Lotus 123, because the boilerplate products available on financial institution web sites do not handle institututional products of other companies. c.i.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:25 pm
If you weren't so happily retired I'm sure you could get a job anywhere with those credintials, c.i.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:32 pm
Job? Perish the thought! c.i.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:42 pm
im a nut for Burl maple, or tiger maple. Most furniture so made today is veneered or made in Indonesia and is of inferior quality (with exception of a few high end brands like Stickley or Virginia House)
Anyway, I learned through a few yeaRS of mismeasure, to cut frames n carcasses, do raised panels and beads, and hand cut dovetails. Ive made a number of pieces that we have in the house. One of the hardest things to learn was when is the finish, finished. Ive learned the art of cabinet scraping and freench polish instead of sanding and varnish. Ive also taken up using aniline dyes to bring out the tiger, birdseye or quilting in the wood.
I learned to do it because I wasnt satisfied with the new furniture that I needed and so I made my entire office including the panelling, I also designed and built a series of dark walnut and birdseye map cases for all my,... maps. people come in the office and spend a lot of time looking at the furniture and especially the mapcases and want to know where they can get some. id love to take up professional carpentry after Ive rung out everything I can do in my job. I figure when my legs give out , maybe then. Ill be the only carpenter on a Rascal.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:47 pm
Wow farmerman. Carpentry is something I would LOVE to learn. Honestly, if I could find the time to learn carpentry and welding I would never ever shop for another thing ever. (Okay, groceries but really, nothing else.)
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farmerman
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 06:55 pm
setanta, I gave up smoking cigars just last year.. Before that Ii used to smoke mild cigars called La fleur Dominicana. I never learned to appreciate Cubans and Nics cause they were a very hardraw and a "kick on a stick", waay to harsh.
Well anyway, around here the Amish recently started growing Vector tobacco, a Connecticut variety with low tar and nicotine. Id go to the fieldsand pluck some leaves, age them and roll a cigarro or two. God Damn was that a stupid idea. Like smoking a roll of paper towels. whhooeeyy, The secret to a mild fine draw cigar is the shredding and packing with a wrapper to keep a slow draw. I would , instead have a 3 alarmer and Id be stomping out my"rolled" cigars. waay stupido.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 07:03 pm
boomerang-just do it on a whim and keep tossin out your mistakes. 9A fireplace is a great way to elimanate the experimental pieces. i recently bought some blacksmithing equipment at an auction of a local blacksmith who retired and is moving to a retirement home. I talked with "blacksmithin" on abuzz and he gave me some hints about the best way to avoid becoming extra crispy.
If you just have a curiosity --do it! you can always find a reason to give it up if its not for you. But youll never know if you are a natural carpenter unless you hammer down your fingers and turn your thumb nail black a few times.
I will now shut up.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 07:22 pm
Ummmm ahhhhh. This is so ridiculous that I hesitate to even tell anyone but I can't measure for ****. Precise measurements are important for carpentry. I could never be a carpenter. Plus, clumsy girls and power tools don't mix.

Now I know I mentioned sewing. And most people would think that sewers need to measure but truth be told, my measuring disablity informs my sewing with a cool, casual slouchiness that fits my style quite well.

(God, I can't believe I confessed to being to stupid to measure properly.)
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 07:29 pm
Ah that ceegar story . . .

LOL, Farmerman, very loudly indeed . . .
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Butrflynet
 
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Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 10:56 pm
I knew exactly what I wanted for a window garden in my new apartment kitchen but couldn't find anything remotely like it so I built one on a shoestring budget. Went to a hardware store, bought some 3" wide shelving and 3" wide PVC pipe and had the pipe cut to various lengths in sets of 3. Toted everything home, gave it all several coats of primer then painted each shelf and pipe in 3 different shades of seafoam green. Stacked the pipes and shelves together, planted some seedlings and have just recently moved them out to the balcony where I hope to have some homegrown tomatoes very soon.

Here's the end result... cost about $22 all together.


http://members.aol.com/butrflynet/images/picture%20014.jpg
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SealPoet
 
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Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 04:45 am
we moved into an old, unmaintained, house a year and a half ago. One of the unmaintained bits was the yard. Took down about forty trees (not nice trees, weed trees) on a 2/3 acre lot. At the same time, Mrs. SealPoet is changing careers. She is studying to be a landscape designer.

So the front yard has to be her resume.

Dig, pull roots, pull rocks, dig pull roots, pull rocks....

Feh! (Tipping Point)

bought four 2x4s. Cut some scrap plywood into triangles, fixed two 2x4s to each triangle so that each pair looks like a '>'. Put a hinge at the apex. when they are fully open (which they never are) they look like ><. Stand them up in a pyramid. Take some 1x6, build a rectangular frame, I think it's 2' x 3'. Reinforce the corners, cover the bottom with hardware cloth (heavy screening wit 1/2" spacing). Attach the four corners with chain to the pyramidal frame, and voila... SealPoet's dirt sifter. shovel and shake.

Butrfly... things in the sink, you and me'd get along. Counter covered with gardening detritus, you and Mrs. SealPoet'd get along!
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 08:04 am
If I ever start a commune I'm going to invite all of the people on this thread to come live there!

Butrflynet - that is totally cool. Those are my favorite kind of things to make - those things where you say to yourself "wouldn't it be neat if I had this thing....." Especially when you hit on the use of rather unconventional materials to build your desire.

SealPoet - that's the kind of thing that make the neighbors stop and ask "Where'd ya get that thing?" There is truly nothing better than a great contraption. Having seen pictures of your fabulous house I can only imagine how beautiful it is looking with Ms. Poets efforts.

These posts have reignited the form v. function debate in my head. I'm definately a form person and Mr. B is a function guy all the way. Like Jack Sprat and his Missus we eventually lick the platter clean but our plate gets chipped and cracked whenever we collaborate. Still, that's half the fun!
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