All hail Dave Gingery

All hail Dave Gingery
gingery charcoal furnace.jpg

If you hang around makers long enough, especially older ones, sooner or later somebody will mention Dave Gingery. And then everybody within earshot will either A) genuflect or B) look around in confusion at all the people who are genuflecting. For those in the latter category, here’s an explanation I wrote for Supernaturale awhile back:

Some people are better with tools than others. Like most human attributes, there’s a normal distribution of this talent, with a few exceptionally handy-capped people, a few übermechaniker, and most of the rest of us somewhere in between. The late, great Dave Gingery definitely belongs in the “über” category. His classic 6-book series, available for decades now through Lindsay Technical Books, begins with instruction about how to build a home blast furnace and sand table so you can melt scrap metal and cast your own metal parts from wooden patterns. The remaining six books go on to describe how to use these castings to make your own lathe, metal shaper, milling machine, drill press, and indexing head. The order is important, because each tool requires the use of the previous machines in its construction. While the project seems a bit ambitious for me given my available time, I keep a set of the books around on the off-chance I’ll be solely responsible for rebuilding industrial society in some sort of post-apocalyptic scenario.

Dave and Vince Gingery.jpg

Dave, sadly, left us in 2004. Personally, I think there should be a formal day of remembrance among makers. Meanwhile, Dave’s son Vince is carrying the torch and has published a healthy oeuvre of DIY books himself. The works of both father and son are available through Lindsay Technical Books.

From the pages of MAKE:


Dale Dougherty reviewed Lindsay’s Technical Books way back in MAKE 04. The review includes some classic Gingery quotes.


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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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