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fathersday The Craziest Thing Your Dad Ever Made (or Attempted to Make)

Last year we did a Father’s Day post to collect “Tips My Dad Says,” words o’ wisdom from dear ole dad, granddad, or the other father figures in our lives. We’ll be revisiting that post (one of the most popular from last year), and the downloadble “Tips My Dad Says” card, in a few days. In the meantime, for this year’s Dad’s Day celebration, we’d love to hear your stories about the most ambitious, craziest, most magnificent thing the patriarchs in your life ever made (or tried to make). Please tell us a story in the comments below.

My dad was/is a maker (a general contractor by trade), and he is constantly making stuff for around the house: shelving, stools, racks, benches, fencing. But his work is entirely practical. His father, on the other hand, my “gramps,” was a maker mad-man. He was a hardware mash-up artist. He’d go to St. Vincent’s thrift store in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, come back with a box of appliances and junk and he’d invent something with what he’d found. Half of the appliances in my grandmother’s kitchen were one-of-a-kind gramps creations. The one I remember was a pita bread oven he’d made by using door hinges to attach two electric griddles to one another, one on top of the other. In their non-retirement home in Framingham, MA, he basically had a bat cave below it, a workshop he’d chiseled out of the bedrock beneath their house. He was also a police officer, and Santa Claus at Christmas. He was like something out of a Disney film, a magical presence in my life. I wonder how much of my maker ethos I get from him.

Oh, and the craziest thing he ever made? He built a still in his bat cave workshop in Massachusetts to distill Arak, Arab hooch. He was so proud of that thing, built from scratch, and using his own grapes grown in his backyard.

I can only image what gramps would think of the maker movement and how lit up he would be at a Maker Faire. He was a dyed in the wool tinkerer and would have loved to see a growing culture of tinkerers.

dadsday The Craziest Thing Your Dad Ever Made (or Attempted to Make)

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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