Thing Creation: Small Things

Sometimes creativity isn’t a concerted effort, or a time-consuming project. Sometimes you just have an idea, and a few minutes later you have a new thing, freshly created.

One day not too long ago, I decided I wanted a pi poster, but didn’t feel like spending money on it. So instead I opened up Microsoft Word, pasted in a million digits of pi that I downloaded from the internet, and shrunk the text size down to 1.5 point. Only about a quarter of the digits fit on one page, so this is what I ended up with:

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Thing Creation: Dresser Transformation

After moving to the other side of my town about a year ago, I no longer had a dresser. In search of something unique, I stopped by a used furniture store and an old lightweight dresser caught my eye. It had pastel colors and stickers all over it, but that’s not what I was interested in. What I saw was the potential. Also, it was on sale.

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Thing Creation: CNC Power

I work at a company that manufactures display cabinets, so I have access to a nearly endless supply of scrap wood, as well as two CNC machines and whatever tools I could want. So when I need a new piece of simple furniture, I can ask one of the project managers to modify a digital drawing they already have, then run it on the CNC, and in minutes I have a pile of parts ready to assemble.

The first thing I made was a giant bookshelf. Since I have several hundred books that I’ve already read, and hundreds more that I haven’t read, I wanted a bookshelf that could hold up to 400 books. But at the time I had a very small room, so it couldn’t be more than 26 inches wide. Here is what I came up with:

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Thing Creation: Christmas

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I can share the gifts I created for friends and family. I had a lot of fun making these.

For one of my little sisters, I cast a 2×2 pewter Lego brick and added four translucent colored pieces to make a pendant. The pieces aren’t glued on so she can customize it however she wants using the magic of Lego.

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Thing Creation: Rock Clock

What do you do when an attempt to fix your childhood watch results in breaking parts of it? For me, the obvious answer was turning it into a little desk clock by encasing it in rocks from a local river, where I recently went gold panning with a friend. We didn’t find any gold, but my friend collected a large handful of interesting rocks for me.

The guts of the watch were still good, so to start with I cut a strip of cardboard and turned it into an open cylinder. In one side I mounted the watch, and in the other I stuck a lid from an old film container that happened to be precisely the same size. Then I started gluing on the rocks. It took a while, and I had to do it in stages over the course of several hours to let the glue set before I added more rocks. Just for fun I also added a pewter trout that I got as a souvenir somewhere (I don’t remember where).

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Thing Creation: Duduk Box

I bought my fifth instrument recently, a beautiful Armenian duduk made of apricot wood. It didn’t come with a case, though, so I decided to make my own using the resources at my disposal.

In the wood milling room at work I dug a few pieces out of the scrap box. I think I ended up with maple, red oak, ash, and possibly mahogany. It’s a bit of a patchwork box, which reflects its recycled nature. I measured a few times, and chopped the wood down to size. Assembly was a simple matter of glue and staples.

After making the basic box and finding a nice chunk of wood for the lid, I went to the hardware store to pick up brass hinges and a clasp. After treating the wood with tung oil, I installed the brass, and then used an old leather wristband as a stop for the lid–if it swings back too far, it’ll strain the hinges and make the box fall over.

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