“Parts & Recreation” by Jeff Greenwald
“What makes people devote hours to the frustrating task of gluing together pieces so small you have to pick them up with tweezers? And does this obsessive hobby even matter anymore? To find out, a devotee of the art dives into Revell’s world of plastic models.”
Kramer first became fascinated by sharpening when he was in his early twenties, hopping from restaurant to restaurant as a prep cook. In each kitchen, he found chefs who knew almost nothing about knives. (At many restaurants, in fact, the chefs got their knives sharpened by an old-timer who would drop by once a month to tune up knives in his van. For the next week, a lot of band-aids got used.) "These are our main tools," Kramer recalls thinking. "Why don't we know how to take care of them?"
In case you haven't had your fill of pre-industrial craftsmanship in a while, watch some videos of folks at Colonial Williamsburg & Jamestown doing their things: A gunsmith, a silversmith, a cabinet maker, and a glass blower. [more inside]
Francesco Maglia: The Umbrella Maker Of Milan — The Maglia family have been partners with the rain since 1854, when they began producing umbrellas in Milan. Here's our portrait of Francesco Maglia.
Luigi Prina: The Ships That Sail Through The Clouds — Italian architect creates beautiful flying air ships.
The last of the glass eye makers | Losing an eye through illness or accident can devastate a person's life. A "glass" eye can help some people come to terms with it | Audio: Jost Haas is the last glass eye maker left in Britain, and he is close to retirement. He comes from Germany, where glass eye technology was perfected nearly 200 years ago. [more inside]
How Cigars are Made at the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic.
250-year-old birch bark canoe found in barn to be returned to Canada. While we are on the subject, you could do worse than to spend an hour today watching this fascinating 1971 documentary on a Birch Bark Canoe builder. (Not terribly often you come across a video captioned in Cree.) More YouTube Birch Bark Canoe building goodness.
The Automata Blog is packed full of interesting images, videos and information about all kinds of amazing automata, cool machines, mechanical music, orchestrions and kinetic sculptures. This month's focus is the history of vintage Japanese tin toy robots and the toy robot paintings by Steven Skollar.
Tom ("Duff's Device") Duff examines improving computer source code to make it more concisely communicate it author's intent, in Reading from Top to Bottom. [more inside]
Read this excerpt of Richard Sennett's The Craftsman. Listen to him on the Diane Rehm show or peruse this interview with Laurie Taylor. Discuss.