DIY bow and arrow for kids

DIY bow and arrow for the kids

The following conversation occurred between me and Dad, then me and Dan. (Dad was a bit too grumpy to interview, as you’ll see). This took place on December 23, 2016 as Dan was constructing the bows for his kids for Christmas. This was before he decided to chop off his thumb. 


What you got, Dad?

Wood. Leave me alone.

Care to elaborate?


What you making?



[Dad grabs my voice recorder and tosses it in the scrap wood pile.]

We’ll catch up later.  Continue reading “DIY bow and arrow for the kids”

when a sawstop fails

When a Sawstop Can’t Save You

My brother is an idiot.

It happened on Saturday. He and his oldest son were in the garage ripping thin strips of wood as spacers for the log they just milled (blog post forthcoming). The wood he was ripping was a bit damp, after being left in the rain a few days before. It was scrap wood, after all. No need to cut the finest.

First mistake.

Dan (my brother) was in Dad’s shop, using Dad’s tablesaw–a Sawstop. The only tablesaw on the market that has the capacity to detect flesh. Within milliseconds of an electrical interruption, a brake cartridge is launched at rocket speeds into the blade–immediately retracting the blade beneath the tablesaw. Countless people have told stories about how the sawstop saved a hand, or a thumb, or a finger. Continue reading “When a Sawstop Can’t Save You”

DIY Box Kart for the Kids

I’ve got a brother, you know… His name’s Dan. Thirty-two years old, manly, university professor, and about as handy as dad.

I hate him.

Or, I would hate him if he weren’t so dern likable.

Well, Dan’s got four kids (three strapping boys and a girl). This year, Dad’s self-proclaimed mission is to make sure his kids overcome the incessant pull of materialism.

“Kids, five years old, are getting iPads and iPhones. Know what I got when I was five? I got a hand-carved horse your granddaddy carved for me. Best Christmas ever.”

So Dad, in vigilante fashion, mandated all his grandkids’ Christmas gifts be hand-crafted. Luckily, Dan was on board (since Dad became the de facto Santa Clause this year). Continue reading “DIY Box Kart for the Kids”

DIY indoor grow lights, the manly way


The following conversation was recorded on Friday, December 9, 2016 while sitting on the dining room table dad build when I was ten or so. Dad was wearing a plaid shirt he’s had since before I was born. It still has a crease over the breast pocket from when he used to smoke. Despite his later jesting, he’s actually made quite a few healthy lifestyle changes since he lost his brother in 2007. He’s been nicotine sober for 8 years now and a rehabilitated carnivore for the last three. (Though he still fancies a fatty steak now and again).  Continue reading “DIY indoor grow lights, the manly way”