Make a Knife out of an old File

During an otherwise normal conversation today, Gordon said “Of all the times I’ve been on fire, most of them have been on purpose.” Oddly, this didn’t come up because he was on fire at some point today. He did, however, burn himself making this knife, which inspired the comment. You can still try this at home, just don’t ever put very hot metal on your skin.

This Popular Mechanics project recycles (dare I say, upcycles? Sorry, Gordon) an old file to make a knife. So if you’re tired of scratching things and decide you want to cut things instead, this is a great project for you. Continue reading

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Built-in Library for (most of) Our Books

We have a serious book problem at our house. We both came into our marriage with large collections and an obsession with books. We stop at every bookstore and library sale we pass. Add to that an inability to get rid of any (I have so many college textbooks and anthologies that I just can’t bear to part with. What if I NEED them later?) and we quickly filled several bookcases and still had more in boxes.

Gordon decided that for my birthday last year, he would build a bookcase into an entire wall in our front room. He said it was boring once it was four feet tall, so he got distracted. But with my birthday this year fast approaching, he figured he’d better finish it so I couldn’t accuse him of stretching it out just to avoid picking a gift this year. It took late nights, many trips to Lowe’s, and the whole house smelling like stain for awhile, but our little library is now my favorite part of the house. Continue reading

Powder Horn

After Gordon finished building his black powder rifle, he decided he wouldn’t be able to look actual mountain men and reenactors in the eye unless he also had a powder horn. So naturally, he made one.

We have a local leather store that also sells cow horns. Making a functional powder horn is pretty straightforward. If you want a pretty/fancy/impressive powder horn, you will need to put some more work into it.  Continue reading

DIY Black Powder Rifle Kit

As far as I know, Gordon has never participated in a Civil War reenactment. He does spend time at mountain man rendezvous (rendezvouses?) though, so I wasn’t really surprised when he wanted to build a black powder rifle.

I bought him this DIY .50 caliber Kentucky rifle kit for Christmas last year. I think he was a little disappointed at first because it seemed too easy—like the lego kit version of a gun. But once he started the process he realized he had a lot to do to really finish it well. Continue reading

Lantern Lamp Repair

I’m sure you’ve heard that back in the day, things were built to last. Not like our plastic-filled, easily breakable, planned-obsolescence modern trash. And that’s probably true about a lot of things. Take cast iron pans, for example. My great-grandchildren will still be using mine.

Sometimes, though, modern innovations have made things much, much better. Take this lantern lamp, for example. The good old fashioned plug on it might last for decades, but it might also burn your house to the ground. Continue reading