Category: how to

Variations on a Butter Knife

Monday 01.05.15








I can’t speak for anyone else out there, but, for me, the iterative process of design is where I find true happiness! So, here are a few recent sketches of a butter knife I plan to carve out of wood. Nothing particularly fancy. Totally functional. This is the way I begin: sketch after sketch after sketch. Fast and not at all precious. Almost bordering on messy. Soft HB pencil. (Please don’t ask me what a pencil is.)

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Malolactic Chromatography

Friday 07.11.14










Chromatography is a broad range of testing methods which helps separate or analyze complicated mixtures. Malolactic Chromatography is a specific test used in winemaking which aids in determining the presence of malic acid and lactic acid, and hence gauge the stage of fermentation for a particular wine. It is both complex and simple. If you wish to know more, there is a wealth of information available on the Interwebs. Thanks Jennifer and Andrew of Eminence Road Farm Winery for drawing my attention to the accidental beauty of this test.

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A Little Censorship

Tuesday 02.25.14


I have a librarian friend, whom I will not name. He/she occasionally gives me books that he/she finds in the trash bin or at the various book sales that are held to liquidate unwanted reading material. This image is of the inside cover of a small pamphlet which explains, in clear terms, why premarital “relations” are a bad idea. I think this was in the garbage. Why it was taken off the shelves remains a mystery. I would have thought it would be a welcome addition to the Western literary canon.

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Write You Are

Tuesday 02.04.14




Been taking a leisurely stroll through one of my favorite blogs, Present & Correct. If you decide to pay them a visit (and I think you won’t regret it if you do), you’ll find an expertly textured curation of great visuals…new, old and somewhere in between. Case in point, these handwriting analysis charts. What does your penmanship say about YOU? If you think about it, this chart is nearing obsolescence.

Oh, and don’t forget to visit their shop.

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Exploded View

Wednesday 12.18.13



Sometimes the smallest things grab your attention. When going through the mountain of paper at my mother’s house I came across this tiny folded piece of paper. It was an orphaned set of instructions to a long-ago lost Architector Set #12. The copyright says 1944. I searched online for any reference I could find but came up empty-handed.

Update: I did discover, thanks to Paul (see link in comments), who found a set on ebay, that the Architector Sets were designed by professional architects to encourage young people to pursue that field of study.

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What This Book Can Do For You!

Monday 11.04.13





While the solutions may take on somewhat different forms, the questions of how to make a success of one’s design or invention remain the same. Mr. Murray A. Gleeson published his book of wisdom in 1970.

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Sir Isaac Pitman

Wednesday 02.20.13



I think my mother wrote shorthand. I remember her scrawling, at a breathless pace, what appeared to be unintelligible marks on stenographers paper. It was gibberish then, and it is gibberish now. But stunning in its economy and gesture. These two pages are a perfect example of Pitman Shorthand, popular in the UK, and second only to Gregg Shorthand in the US. Gregg Shorthand is far less compelling, and even a little boring, because of the uniform thickness of the line. For more information on the Pitman method, go here. Images from here.

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