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June 2010

June 28, 2010

A Little More Info About the New Hacking Material, Sugru

I don't want to get boring but this is honestly the coolest repairing and creating substance ever.   If you don't believe me, watch The Gadget Inspectors take on the mail-orderable Sugru (not an affiliate link). 


Drop-Dead Gorgeous Cable Ties

Look, I'm not one to complain, but cable ties are brutally ugly.  They're a marginal improvement over messy cables.  Until now. 

Pretty cable ties

Come ON!  That is gorgeous.  Where do I get these things?

More pretty cable ties from lufdesign

Oh baby.

Lufdesign cable tie bosch

Inspiring Chairs Built from Salvage by Grade 7 Students


I was invited to check out a chair-building project assigned to students of Mr. Gotlib's Grade 7 science class at Claude Watson School for the Arts in North York.  I loved what these kids came up with. 

Their inventive designs were required to be composed entirely of salvaged materials, be pleasing to the eye, and bear the weight of a human (me). 

I wiggled a little too much on one of the chairs and it collapsed, but that was my fault for being too rambunctious.  "Simmer DOWN, Maggie", as my mum would say.  

Some of the kids found their junk in their own garages, while others found stuff on the side of the road or at re-use centers like Habitat for Humanity ReStores. 

From woven tetra packs to skis, horseshoes and water bottles, you might be impressed with their design and fabrication ideas.  I sure am.

Thanks for inviting me, Mr. Gotlib.

June 21, 2010

Got Protection?

Tons of dads got power tools for Father's Day.  Forbes magazine recently published a list of the Ten Most Dangerous Power Tools.  Chain saws, table saws, circular saws and power drills all made the list.  Coincidentally, sales at national hardware chains have the same tools on their list of favourite Father's Day gifts.

Recent figures cite "a preponderance of males" associated with DIY injuries.  Out of 615 cases in one study, 89.1% were of the male persuasion. 

Lots of the injuries (22%) are to the head, face and neck.  Eyes get hurt most often, usually because the tool user forgot to wear safety glasses.  It's easy to forget because safety glasses have traditionally been butt-ugly Poindexter-ish things that fog up and collect surface scratches to the point of being a visual impediment after a couple of weeks use.

But the very latest safety gear is hot and effective.  You no longer have to sport gear that looks like it belongs in a 1950s science lab. 

Dark Safety Glasses 050

For example, AO Safety makes CSA and ANSI rated safety sunglasses that look good on just about anyone, plus they come with a hard shell case.  They're lightweight, grippy, and have nice wide arms to provide side protection. You also get UV protection and scratch-resistant coating -  I still haven't scratched mine after a month of heavy usage.  About $30.

Another cool new offering is WorkTunes hearing protection.  It's a great set of ear phones that comes with digitally-tuned AM/FM radio and an MP3 input.  I have 2 other sets of earphones with MP3 inputs and/or radio, and WorkTunes provides the best audio quality with good bass response.  If you prefer silence and your own thoughts, you can get excellent protection from a pair of Peltor professional grade ear phones, and they even make 'em in junior size if you have a little helper.  About $50 for WorkTunes, $30 for the basic model, $20 for the Junior set.

Ear Muffs 048

Rubber Storage Pouch is Handy AND Stylish

Available online at RaspberryJamDesign - $35-$35

June 19, 2010

Fiskars Weed Puller

I'm having SUCH a great time with a tool I bought at Canadian Tire a few weeks ago.  It's the Fiskars Weed Puller (extendable handle model). 

It's like owning lawn tweezers.  If you don't believe me, check out my home movie:


June 17, 2010

Byrd Harp Multi Tool

via www.uncrate.com

Most multi-tools are chunky and steroidal-looking. The Byrd Harp Multi Tool has the class of a tuning fork, a slim profile and includes the all-important corkscrew and bottle opener, missing on most multi-tools. About $20.  I'm not saying this is the perfect Father's Day gift, but if I were a dad I'd be lovin' me one of these.

June 16, 2010

Papervore Coffee Table

Come on, this is insane.  What an ice-breaker for dinner parties.  And whose dentist's office doesn't need one of these for their circa 1995 magazine collection? (Shredding coffee table reduces paper clutter - from www.neatorama.com)

June 13, 2010

Ryobi Auto Hammer - Product Review

For some freaky reason Typepad has four times eaten my post about the Ryobi AutoHammer.  Let's just stick with the video for now.  If you have additional questions, let me know.  Thanks.

June 08, 2010

Ryobi Tek4 Audio Plus Headphones - Product Review

If I'm cutting the lawn or doing something repetitive I love working to music.  It's a powerful energizing force that inspires you to create stylin' dance moves on the job.

So I figured out a way to load Sennheiser clip-on earbuds under my hearing protection headphones so that I could work to iPod tunes. 

Sadly, the earbuds pressed uncomfortably against the cartilage in my ears under the pressure of the headphones.  And if someone wanted to talk to me, it was a big hairy ritual to remove both the headphones and the earbuds and then put it all back on again to go back to work.

So I was pretty excited when Ryobi recently introduced Audio Plus headphones with a bevy of helpful features:

  • an iPod/MP3 input
  • electronic noise-suppression
  • a conversation monitor that enhances close range conversations without you having to tear off the headphones to hear what someone is saying 

Ryobi Tek 4 Audio Plus Noise Suppression headphones are lightweight and extremely comfortable.  The padding is supple and the spring steel in the headset is generously shaped so it doesn't give you a compression headache after 15 minutes of wear.

The headphones come with a cable that runs from your MP3 player to an input on one of the ear casings.  The cord, in my opinion, is way longer than it needs to be unless you carry your MP3 player in your boot.  I'm only mentioning this because I'm the kind of girl who tangles stray cables in my work leading to disastrous tool malfunctions.  So you might want to customize your cable length by winding up the excess cord and throwing an elastic band around it.

Sound quality is decent and the noise cancellation in these headphones is fantastic. The electronic circuitry suppresses damaging impulse and background noise before it gets anywhere near your eardrums. 

And when someone needs to talk to you, you don't have to rip off the headphones.  You just activate the conversation monitor (a small knob on the right side of the headphones, adjustable to a high degree of sensitivity). 

And here's a cool feature; Once you've enabled the conversation monitor, the noise suppression still functions, so if someone shoots off a nail gun or drops an armload of lumber while you're talking, you're not shocked into apoplexy.

Tek 4 headphones run on one Tek4 rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  According to the literature, "One Tek4 battery outlasts up to 6,000 AA Alkaline batteries, for a savings of about $8000" - egad!  Who knew we spend that much on AAs?  Tek4 batteries power 9 other compact Ryobi tools - you can see the whole collection here.  

Ryobi tools are available only at The Home Depot - retail price in Canada is $69


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie