It’s a car camping weekend to celebrate a buddy’s birthday, so as my Read Headed Lady Friend and I gather our camping supplies, it’s time to fabricate a custom, truck mounted stand for that essential piece of equipment – the disco ball. Here’s how to knock this together from scrap, welding leftovers, a cannibalized clip light, flashlight, battery operated motor and some c-clamps.
Happy birthday, Mantequilla!
My prize for winning the GMC DIY Challenge was a trip to Boston to meet the cast of This Old House. The is where DIY, home improvement, instructional, entertainment media first started, so it was an honor to meet the cast and crew, old and new. This is a reasonable facsimile of how the visit unfolded.
This Old House is original source of home improvement, DIY, informational media, so it deserves the original cocktail – the Old Fashioned. But TOH is still on the cutting edge, so here’s a contemporary version of the classic cocktail in their honor.
Jalapeño Old Fashioned:
to an old fashioned glass, add
1 sugar cube
3 drops of sassafras & sorghum bitters
a few drops of water
muddle to break up the cube
2 shots of rye (or bourbon)
1 slice of fresh jalapeño
rub rim with 1 orange rind and add to glass
swirl and serve
When Thanksgiving comes around, I bring my homemade cranberry sauce. But it’s not just a condiment, it’s the key ingredient in my holiday cocktail of choice – the Cranberry Sauce Margarita.
It’s sweet, it’s bitter and every year, everyone at dinner on Thursday asks me for the recipe by the end of Black Friday.
Cranberry sauce margarita:
To a shaker 1/2 full of ice, add
1 oz tequila
1 oz cranberry sause
1/2 oz Cointreau
juice of 1/2 lime
shake until frosty and strain into a glass of ice
garnish with sage leaves and whole cranberries
You’ve seen my bar where I mix a cocktail after every build – It’s pretty cool, but you can’t sit at it. So it’s time to build a live-edge, cedar L- shaped bar, that converts to a long, straight bar, if that’s what you need. And this time, there’s a special guest in my shop, From the CW’s Save Our Shelter, Master Craftsman Rob North is in town and he’ll help be get the job done. When we’re finished with that, of course it’s time for a cocktail. In honor of Rob’s service as a US Marine, let’s make a 1775 Rum Punch.
1775 Rum Punch:
In an old fashioned glass
Add 5 ice cubes
2 shots of dark rum
2 shots of lime juice (fresh is best, but I was out)
2 shots of honey simple syrup
swirl to mix
add 1 dash of bitters
If you drink more than two, you might wake up in boot camp
I got those cedar slabs from Hanna and Chris at Seraphim Craft Works
There was nowhere to sit on the porch of my 101 year old craftsman style house, so I built a bench out of reclaimed wood and threaded pipe. Of course, if you’re going to relax on your porch bench, you need a cocktail, and the perfect relax-on-your-stoop drink is the Gin and Tonic.
I make mine with a little something extra.
Gin and Tonic:
To a highball full of ice, add
2 oz of your favorite Gin
Top off with your favorite Tonic
Rub a slice of cucumber around the glass and set on the rim
Add 10 or 12 bruised whole peppercorns
Enjoy on a hot summer afternoon
I acquired two mannequins from a store that was going out of business. They’re only torsos, so to get them up off the floor I’m building stands for them out of 1/2-inch galvanized pipe nipples and connectors.
They also get a couple of special hats for their nonexistent heads. Perfect for my in-house cocktail lounge, “The Lair.”
I needed a place to do my benchpress, and lying on the floor just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I got out my welder, some leftover steel and a saw to cut it and created this adjustable weightlifting bench that lets me set the back to use at various levels of incline. Of course, that means a cocktail with fitness in mind.
High protein for muscle recovery.
The Royal Fizz:
1 jigger of gin
1 jigger of honey simple syrup
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 raw egg
shake vigorously with ice until very cold and egg is emulsified
strain into highball glass
top off glass with seltzer water
Check out the Evolution Tools Rage 3 steel cutting miter saw
The original intractable made of wood
I need a big worktable so I can easily cut down and work with sheet goods like plywood and long pieces of steel stock. My brother, Nico Rosso, already build one for his shop, so while he was in town we knocked one together with 2x4s and a piece of chipboard.
Nico is an author of romantic suspense, and his new novel in the Black Ops: Automatik series is available now. Check it out!
You know I have a cool, upcycled bar for whiskey and spirits, but I didn’t have a place to show off my wine. What I did have was a discarded motorcycle ramp. With the help of my welder, some angle iron and my tool review for the Evolution Tools Rage3 metal cutting miter saw, I’m going to up cycle it into a wine rack.
And since it’s all about vino today, our cocktail segment will actually be a wine segment: How to Pick a Bottle.
Check out the Evolution Tools Rage 3
It’s the Fourth of July, so that means it’s time for some grilling. (It’s time even if it’s not the 4th.) But since we’re makers, we’re not doing the standard backyard BBQ – we’re making this a Maker-Cue. This time, that means we’re cooking the entire menu with a blow torch – Burgers – Hotdogs – Brats – Steak – Corn – Veggies – Dessert – we’ll get it all done with an accelerated flame.
Bernzomatic sent me an assortment of their torches to see what I’d do with them, and this is my first project. Obviously, there will be a flamed Independence Day cocktail too. An “American Mule” is a refreshing summer sipper.
In a copper mug filled with crushed ice, add:
1 shot of bourbon
the juice of 1/2 lime
top off with ginger beer
garnish with a sprig of mint
and a sugared lime slice
scorch the lime with a micro torch
drink while it’s still smoking
Check out the Bernzomatic BZ4500 Heat Shrink Torch
And here’s the ST2200T-Trigger-Start 3-in-1 Micro Torch
My neighbors installed a new fence that prevents by gate from opening all the way, making my driveway too narrow. Time for some problem solving. The solution – weld new hinges onto the reverse side of the gate and cut the old ones away.
Of course there has to be a cocktail to go along with this, so obviously I chose the “Gates to Hell.”
1 shot of tequila
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lime
shake with ice
strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass
top with 1 bar spoon full of cherry brandy
I’m a maker. Are you? If you are, or if you’d like to be, or if you just like to watch things come together, follow along and watch me renovate and rehab my 100+ year old craftsman style house, upcycling where I can, building what I need, testing and reviewing new tools and helping other people become makers too.
And then, when the tools are down, we’ll have a cocktail or a glass of wine. Remember, if you want to do it, but you’re not sure how to do it, do it with me.
I needed a new kitchen island, so I made one. It’s all angle iron, sheet steel and plywood, but it’s a nice bit of industrial design and has become the center piece of my kitchen.
It even has a trash chute and it rolls away when I don’t need it.
I got my hands on two new Swiza knives at the National Hardware Show, and brought in my brother (and self proclaimed knife nerd) Nico Rosso, to share this unboxing and review of these reimagined Swiss knives with you.
The knives came from the good people at Felco. Check’em out.
Check out Swiza too.
And Nico is an author of romantic suspense. His new novel in the Black Ops: Automatik series is coming out. Check him out at NicoRosso.com
I was at the Torrance Habitat for Humanity ReStore to lead a DIY workshop on how to epicycle anything into quirky, funky or even traditional looking lighting, and everything I made was a find from that store. When you come across a cool, interesting, funky or mysterious item you want to upcycle, one option that applies to anything you find is to turn it into a lamp.
As a bonus, lamps are actually useful and there’s usually space for one more. All you need are a few simple skills and materials, and a little imagination.
The master bedroom of #1915house has exterior walls to the east, south and west. That means constant sun exposure all day, and the room can be a hot box at night. I have no air conditioning, and more than one fan pointed at my bed. With Spring and Summer coming on, it’s timely that I review this Dyson AM09 Hot+Cool fan heater.
I also want to get the fan up off the floor or tabletop, so here’s how to build a simple stand for this or many other things like lamps, art or plants.
You can also read the review instead of watching it.
I built these simple end-tables in about 10 minutes a few weeks ago, and after living with them as nightstands for a little while it became clear they needed more storage, so here’s my solution – a second tier, welded to the pipe nipple base.
I have the ability to add a complication to any project.
I stepped away from rehabbing my own house and visited my brother, Nico Rosso, to help him cut down a tree killed by the California drought. We’re not hipster lumbersexuals, so we may or may not be qualified to use a chainsaw.
Nico is an author of romantic suspense, and his new novel Countdown to Zero Hour just dropped. Check him out at nicorosso.com
There are holes in the walls of my master bedroom that provide access to the attic. Here’s how to create access panels to fill in those holes and make them blend with the walls so they’re not unsightly, but still allow you to get in there when you need to.
With apologies from the LAPD.
The tile on my back porch was both badly laid and the wrong material, leading to a slip and fall hazard (on which I slipped and fell). Time to tear it out.
This is both the right way and the wrong way to do that.
The back way is the best way to get into my house, but if you’re carrying something long or heavy, you have to make an awkward left turn to avoid the railing on the porch. But not anymore. Here’s how to cut it out of the way, and weld in a solution at the same time. Now my porch doubles as a loading dock.
And stay tuned after the blackout to play “Spot the Droppings!”
I got this old, white desk, and it’s time to trick it out to match the rest of my black and red bedroom set – Or possibly ruin it. This is the last of my fresh ink/low dust projects, so this time you get the new tattoo reveal.
Thank you to Sara Lou for my excellent new tat. Look her up on Instagram @saraloutattoo
For the second of my fresh ink/low dust projects, I got a couple of sad and lonely chairs from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and today they’re getting married and moving into the master bedroom of my 101 year old craftsman style house.
Take a trip to the location near you and do some match making and up-cycling of your own.
I needed some end tables to use as nightstands, and I also needed a project that wouldn’t kick up too much dust the day after a new tattoo. So here’s how to make some easy tables with simple tools (skip the welder if you want).
Also, I broke a promise to myself shooting this, so I hope you appreciate it.
It’s finally time to tear out the worn, old wall-to-wall carpet, now that the walls are repaired and painted in the master bedroom of my 100 year old craftsman style house.
There’s an original hardwood floor under there. Let’s see how it looks.
Some candid shots of me and my staff at the DoItWithJustin holiday party.
Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!
Someone put paneling all over the walls of my 100 year old craftsman style house, and it’s time to take it down. But wait ’til you see what I discover hidden behind the pressboard.
You can’t have an adventure if everything goes according to plan.
Ever watch a sheetrocking video? Me too.
I don’t feel I have anything to add to the existing canon but this… 16 sheets.
Here’s how I removed the oversized vanity from my undersized master bath in #1915House. Those screws should come out easy enough, but no plan survives first contact with the enemy. That’s where I call on the Craftsman Mach Series 3/8″ Ratchet.
I also discover a secret behind the paint.
My vanity was way too big – The sink in the master bathroom takes up too much space, so I’m building a pedestal sink out of welded steel and a sink I got at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $14.99. It’ll also be a better match for the interior design of my 100 year old craftsman style house.
I also accidentally give a tool review for the Evolution Tools Rage 2 chop saw.
And to see the step-by-step of installing a faucet, look back at my video How to Install a Faucet at Ted’s House.
There’s almost no furniture in my new house, because I haven’t built it yet – but I do have a place to sit and watch TV. So it’s time to get the TV off the floor.
I got an old combo light stand from a movie set and welded up a bracket to support a flatscreen wall mount.
(I tried to get this done in time to watch Ronda Rousey beat Holly Holm, but neither happened)
I finally moved into my 100 year old craftsman style house, and it needs some fixing up. Tour the house and see what I’ll demo, make, build or paint from room to room. Subscribe and watch all the projects develop.
Where will I install the secret door? What about the aluminum bull? Bordello couch?
I got a DIY Dare from my friends at MYFixitUpLife to find something out on a hike and make a serving tray for Thanksgiving out of it. So I found this oak log cutoff and that’s exactly what I did.
I used a Craftsman 3.0 amp Random Orbit Sander in the process, and I review it here for you too.
The boards are falling off this gate, but the hardware doesn’t fit anymore because of the weathering of the wood. Now what? Another opportunity for some problem solving – and for some Halloween-ing.
How to problem solve? Follow the 7 Principals of Problem Solving.
And thanks to my brother Nico Rosso for his help. Look him up at http://nicorosso.com
Everyone’s taking about #BackToTheFutureDay. I want to build something, but I’m not a high tech guy. So, of course – scimitar.
And while I’m making it I try out an Olfa Utility Knife. You can find one at Home Depot.
A weekend of building and making at the Craftsman MAKEcation means you’ve got a lot of stuff to bring home. They shipped it to me. Let’s see what’s in this really big box.
Thank you Craftsman for an excellent MAKEcation weekend.
This is what a coat rack of hammers looks like.
And thanks to my brother Nico Rosso for his camera work. Look him up.
You can hang art on any wall. You just need the right tools. Obviously, you’re not going to drive a nail into a block wall and put in a picture hangar. So what do you do?
And why is a cinder block not a brick anyway?
Made an excursion to Queens for the amazing Maker Faire on my weekend with the Craftsman Tools MAKEcation in Brooklyn. Among the many many things to see, here are a mechanical horse, power tool drag racing, a life sized Rube Goldberg mouse trap and maybe the rise of the machines.
The horse is by Adrian Landon.
I still don’t know what a clown’s favorite number is.
Welcome to the insanity that was my shop in the frenzy of projects that lead up to moving day. In the midst of packing all my tools and materials (and my house) I was also making crates for art, welding casters onto my bar, making bins for storage and to organize my new shop, and other projects I can’t even remember.
Thanks to my brother, Nico Rosso for running the camera (and editorializing with it). Find him at @Nico_Rosso
On the road as the Itinerant DIYer, I’m at Ted Lyde’s house replacing a faucet. But what do you do when your tools don’t fit or the old hardware is so rusted you can’t remove it? This is the problem solving you can’t learn just from reading the instructions.
Ted is the host of the podcast Learning Not To Swear with Ted Lyde, which is also all about problem solving – in your relationships, your family, your career, in life in general. Click on the link and jump to him interviewing me.
How to problem solve? Follow the 7 Principals of Problem Solving.
You never know when a sea monster might creep into your workshop, or your dreams.
This one wants you to subscribe to my channel.
Found this vintage Craftsman drill at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Let’s plug it in and see if it electrocutes me.
The ReStore is an excellent resource for useful, upcyclable or unusual building materials, furniture, tools and random finds – and it all goes to a good cause.
I can’t stop making things – so here’s how to turn an oak branch (or anything else) into a lamp. Also, here’s how to make any space your shop.
Note: wearing eye protection only counts if you put them on your face.
Between addresses for the time being, I can’t get to my gym.
New training program involves a run, a riverbed and a rock.
Moving out? Spackle job to do? Tools packed? Time for the last useful act of your Blockbuster card.
Do I look tired to you?
Getting a new house, and it’s a fixer-upper, so I’ll have plenty of material to share with you. But…
Hope I don’t have to sleep in this thing.
Me and Nico Down by the Steel Yard – my brother and me, digging through the off-cut section at the steel yard in Santa Maria, California. Because that’s what you do on vacation.
BTW, I did finally lift that angle iron. The clang you hear is me dropping it.
Make this for the 4th of July, and then display it in the office for the rest of the year.
Any sufficiently heavy piece of steel can be substituted for the weight plate, and the pipe nipples are easy to come by. (YouTube took forever to approve this, perhaps due to the number of times I say “nipple.”)
When you’ve got a leak behind your wall, you’ve got to cut away the sheetrock, expose the pipe and replace the leaking section. It’s actually not that hard to do. Here’s how.
Plus, you get to use a blowtorch.
Check out the BernzOmatic plumbing torch kit here: http://www.lowes.com/pd_323765-13877-…
Jumping on the bandwagon. Inspired by the great tradition of mowing videos by Matthias Wandel, Jimmy DiResta and David Picciuto. This is a California drought edition.
Thanks to BernzOmatic for the lawn and garden torch: http://www.lowes.com/pd_246067-13877-JT850_0__?productId=50126417
Matthias Wandel: https://youtu.be/QL14Usumt-g
Jimmy DiResta: https://youtu.be/R-JdQbQHAIU
David Picciuto: https://youtu.be/1be5EFUGnEo
(If you play all three of their videos at once, it sounds like the audio track for a beatnik Mad Max.)
That’s right, I’m teasing this very site. Look for DIY/Home Improvement/Maker videos and articles. You do it yourself, I do it myself – so why not do it with me?
Are you going to see San Andreas? Are you ready for the big one? This video is about how to turn a (clean) trash can into an emergency water tank. Good to have on hand for earthquake prep or in case of other emergencies where you might lose access to clean water.
I am not a prepper.
My 38-second review of the Craftsman 40v Max* 13-inch string trimmer.
Chatting with Mark and Theresa of MyFixitUpLife.com at the National Hardware Show in Vegas. We talk about paint, decks and magic air. When I say decks are easy to build, watch Mark’s face absolutely freeze until I get to my point. Also, I flex my left bicep at 3:49, but only because I’m told to.
(And Mark and I are dressed identically – again – down to the boots.)
Frank Sinatra stood on this table. Seriously.
Doug fir 2×12 floor joists rescued by E & K Vintage Wood from Franks torn down Malibu house.
Plumbing repair in about 30 seconds.
My brother and me in Mom’s basement with a 10 foot length of 4-inch pipe.