To see even more handy tricks, check out the rest of the saga at
Handy Tricks 8: Island Handy Tricks
and Handy Tricks 7: Bike Mods and Projects
and Handy Tricks Six!
and Australian Handy Tricks
and Guatemalan Handy Tricks
and Yet More Handy Tricks
and 40 More Handy Tricks
and Fifty Handy Tricks.
For a bunch of things that didn't work, check out How Not To.
First collection of tricks:
Damon checks out the riggers for his new rowing shell.
0. The boat is carved from pink styrofoam insulation and covered with fiberglass.
1. The boat is up on plywood boat stands made by Vincent Bachet.
2. They are padded with carpet scraps.
3. Damon made the riggers from chunks of aluminum tubing fiberglassed together.
4. The oarlock pins are stainless tube, lashed on with kevlar roving that's then soaked with epoxy.
4a. After some use they slipped. He drilled holes through kevlar and aluminum, sunk screws to pin them in place.
5. The handles of serious oars are not varnished or painted. They are left as bare wood. Apparently that is easier to grip and causes fewer blisters.
Step 1: Check Cloth for water-proof-ness
If no air goes through, there's no porosity and the coating is continuous. It's waterproof.
An Ojibway Indian showed me the same method to find leaks in a birchbark canoe.
Step 2: Nicopress Crimping Stand
He clamps the crimper in a vise so it's less work to use.
First he uses the vice to deform the sleeve and hold the cable and thimble in the right place.
Then he crimps several times from outer to inner. The crimping lengthens the nicopress sleeve so the tail of the cable ends up fully enclosed. That way no "fish hooks" hang out to snag and cut you and your stuff.
Step 3: Light Tent
The plain white background makes the object of interest stand out.
Also it makes your file sizes much smaller. Plain white requires no extra data to represent even if it's a billion pixels. Gravel or grass in the background, on the other hand, makes your photos into cluttery data hogs.
There are couple of light tent instructables.
An upside-down card table with a sheet thrown over the legs would make a good light tent.
Step 4: Vodkavocado
It's also good with honey. Start there. Avocado, water, and honey makes a great drink.
There isn't a wrong way to make it. Except with cocoa. Chocolate goes on the side, along with the leftover food feast.
The name needs work. Maybe outsource that to Serbia. They seem to have a thing for names like this.
Step 5: Thermostatic Controlled Electric Skillet
Here's a superior electric skillet from the dark ages. It has a thermostat.
A thermostat controls temperature. That means your food doesn't burn, even if you forget about it for a while. It doesn't burn, so it doesn't give you gut cancer.
It doesn't burn, so it also doesn't stick to the skillet. So cleanup is easy.
The electrical controller pulls out so you can put the rest of it in the sink or dishwasher.
It cooks faster than a regular skillet due to the thermostat. When you pour your two dozen eggwhites in, the thermostat senses the cold, and turns up the power. So there's none of this burn-wait-wait-burn thing going on.
It's more efficient than a regular skillet/burner combination due to better heat transfer. These heating elements are embedded in the bottom of the pan. A regular stovetop, by comparison, couples heat to the pan poorly and wastes electricity.
Step 6: Surface Mount anti-oops device
Step 7: Star's Travel Sewing Kit/ Floss
combined dental hygiene kit!
Step 8: Solar Music Helmet
Step 9: Water Feed for Stone Polisher
He also has a gallery that shows really amazing art. If you're anywhere near San Jose you must see it.
The final photo is a commercial polisher that feeds water straight down the middle of the shaft.
Step 10: Silent Disco
I had an idea like this, or more likely heard of it somewhere. In that version you'd use a low-watt FM transmitter and the dancers would wear headset radios. It could be a mobile disco, and bystanders would wonder what this crowd of dancers was up to or on.
It didn't occur to me that you could have multiple music selections at once. The mind perceptually synchronizes unrelated sounds and motions, so probably it would look to you like everyone was dancing to the same music you were hearing. One of the TV stations in my hometown got jammed by the college radio station. You'd see a basketball game or whatever, but you'd hear music from the radio station. It always looked like the players were dancing to the music.
Step 11: Shark Repellant
This is a bag of military shark repellant from Britain.
The instructions say "squeeze bag to produce dense black cloud. Stay in centre of cloud."
That doesn't sound like very good snorkeling.
If any shark experts are reading this, please comment with your favorite shark repelling methods!
Step 12: Shopping Cart Dolly 2
Step 13: Shopping Cart Dolly 3
Step 14: Detachable Shipping Container Door Shelf
Step 15: Bulletproof Bike Tire
After a lot of grunting and messing around I got it off. Here's what the innertube looks like.
It's a lot heavier than an innertube full of air, but I never noticed when it was on the bike.
I've heard this is what they do for armored cars and other vehicles that need puncture resistance.
Step 16: Get the Customers to Clean Up
It didn't get me to clean the place, but I didn't trash it as much as I usually do.
Step 17: Ceramic Sharpening Stone
Step 18: Head-Sized Steam Tent
Step 19: Mobile Internet Connection
Step 20: Paint Stick Stain Sampler
When the display gets changed, the color samples can be given away to mix paint.
Seen at Pagano's Hardware, Alameda CA.
Step 21: Inside a Propane Tank
The obsolete kind with a round knob on the valve anyway.
The float linkage raises and lowers a pushrod that goes up into the valve.
Inside the valve on one side it's attached to a magnet. You can see metal filings stuck to the side of the valve there. They move when you move the float.
The tank filling machine must have had a hall sensor to detect the position of that magnet.
Don't cut up propane tanks unless you know how to do it safely!
That means fully purging all fuel and vapors and filling the tank with water first.
You'll look and hurt bad if your face gets burned off!
Step 22: Temple Grip Glasses
He cut the earpieces short, put soft rubber pads on the ends, and uses them to grip his temple bones. He's been wearing them this way for a month or so and likes it a lot.
It's very Agent Smith.
Step 23: Firehose Ball
It is played by the members of the Saxton's River Volunteer Fire Department right on Main St. The winning team gets an award!
Contributed by Cyrus Shaoul
Step 24: Lip Balm Cartridge Belt
Step 25: Tape Stripe Hotrod
Shot by Star
Step 26: Scottish Dream Car - Interior
For instance, they've duct - taped a TV to their dashboard.
Shot by Star
Step 27: Scottish Boat Wheels
Solution: put wheels on your boat. Some of the dinghies here in Edinburgh have the wheels built on permanently, some use a little cart to put their boats in the water.
Shot by Star
Step 28: Artsy ConcreteSteps with Bike Chain
When they fixed up the front stairs they embedded ornaments in the cement.
Good idea well done!
Step 29: Can-Fence Grafitti
Drink 200 cans of "energy drink" and you'll think of a solution for sure!
Seen under I-80, West Oakland, CA
Step 30: Antifreeze in drain trap prevents freezing and broken pipes
The antifreeze keeps the water in the drain trap from freezing and breaking the pipe.
Step 31: Soccer Ball Flower Pot
Spotted in The Mission, San Francisco CA
Step 32: Ultralight Shoes
Some barefooters solved this problem with a magic marker. They just drew sandal straps on their feet and strode boldly in. I tried it recently at a fancy restaurant. That marker is MAGIC! indeed. Next time maybe I'll draw on a shirt too...