Cool Hand Tools

My brother Pat wrote me:

Check out “Alone in the Wilderness” featuring Dick Proenneke living alone in Alaska. It’s on our PBS affiliates a lot here (in Florida). He is a true pioneer, a 1960’s “maker” at work, building everything by hand, using tools he made.   He has no electricity. Shoots it all on his Brownie camera. Awesome techniques he demonstrates!

I especially like how he builds handles for his tools. Proenneke says that building a cabin in the wilderness was just “something he had to do” and by doing it test himself.   The YouTube video below covers ten minutes of the show and shows him building a cabin just before winter sets in.

According to an article about him in Wikipedia,

Proenneke remained at Twin Lakes for the next 16 months, when he left to go home for a time to visit relatives and secure more supplies. He returned to the lakes in the following spring and remained there for most of the next 30 years, going to the lower 48 only occasionally to be with his family.

He passed away in 2003.  The complete set of his videos are available.

Ever dream of living alone in the wilderness?  I have, especially after reading “Call of the Wild” but I would not be able to do it.  Now I can vicariously through Dick Proenneke, and idly sit by and watch him do it all.  Incredible.


DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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