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Tool Tales: The Pump Drill

Handle tie detail

A pump drill is an ancient tool traditionally been used to generate friction heat for starting fires, as well as for boring holes. The principle of a pump drill's operation is similar to the button spinner or whirligig, in which rotational momentum is built and maintained by repeated twisting and... Read more »

Cast Iron Skillet Map of the U.S.

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Back in the old days, pioneers traveled with round cast iron skillets. You could make round pancakes, round eggs, and throw some rectangular strips of bacon on the side. But today, thanks to Alisa Toninato of FeLion Studios, you can cook a quiche in the shape of your home state. Read more »

Pop-Pop Steamboat

When you picture a steam engine, you likely imagine a giant cast-iron contraption festooned with knobs, valves, gauges, linkages, and wheels. This steam-powered toy boat has no moving parts and needs only a flame and the surrounding water to zip around and make its distinctively happy sound. My interest in... Read more »

Remove Anything from Metal

I love using old machine parts for my projects; often their workmanship surpasses that of anything new, and you can get them cheap or even free. Find a junkyard full of ancient, rusty industrial equipment, and you can build almost anything — or at least be inspired to, which is... Read more »