Popular Mechanics used to release an annual book containing all their shop tips and tricks, appropriately called “Popular Mechanics Shop Notes.” I own several original volumes from the ’30s and ’40s which make for entertaining bedtime reading. Now the folks at Lee Valley Tools have reprinted every volume between 1905 and 1930 at a low cost — $7.50 each or $32.50 for 5-year increments.
You can find used original copies at around the same price or more, depending on condition and year. There’s even one copy fully scanned on Google Books, from 1921. Topics vary from year to year and decade to decade, but each book contains at least a few items that’ll solve a problem or spur a solution — a highly recommended bit of reading.
Popular Mechanics Shop Notes [Lee Valley]
Popular Mechanics is my comfort magazine; I look forward to reading it every month. For a limited time you can now get it a 12 month subscription for just $5. Sadly, I just renewed my subscription before I found this deal. Magazines such as Esquire, House Beautiful, and CosmoGIRL! are among the other titles available for $5.
It’s hard to believe that there was a time in this country when children were encouraged to do risky (and interesting) things. But it’s true! Boys and Girls were given simple items and allowed to experiment with the way the world works by making and doing things that could possibly poke an eye out. Nothing exemplifies this better than The Boy Mechanic, a collection of simple projects that graced the pages of Popular Mechanics during the end of 19th and first half of the 20th century.
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There are hundreds of ways to build bookcases — from 1x12s stacked on cinder blocks to complex, hardwood masterpieces — but this design from Popular Mechanics strikes me as a good compromise. It’s simple, and you can built it with inexpensive wood, a few hand tools, and a circular saw.
If you — like me! — are addicted to books and need a place to store them more than you need a work of furniture art, this design is for you. Best of all: these aren’t just plans. The article includes step-by-step instructions complete with diagrams like the one you see above.
How To Build A Bookcase [Popular Mechanics]