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:
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.
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:
This one is at least eight years old. It’s a staff made of wood chewed on by beavers, and I think I made it sometime before I turned 18.
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.
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).
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.