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Lance Herriott was a ship welder, until he retired. But like many Toolmongers, retirement represented a change in, rather than a departure from, the idea of making a living with one’s hands. In this ~30-minute video, we get a look at this process through the eyes of Herriott’s daughter, Nikole. (We’re sorry, by the way, that we can’t embed the video directly. It’s Vimeo’s limitation, not ours. Don’t worry, though. Just click through the picture above or the link below to play it directly off the Vimeo site.)

While not everyone will necessarily feel the same way she does, I’m betting we all feel a little bit like Lance. What would you like to do when you retire? Have a good weekend, everyone. And remember to do something cool (and tell us about it).

Herriott Grace [Vimeo]


A while back we celebrated heavy machinery dancing to the tune of Anne Troake’s ballet-inspired number. At the time, I silently thought to myself that the only thing better could be dancing with tanks. It seems the Russians, big into that sort of thing themselves, agree with me. So here’s your moment of zen this week — dancing tanks.

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The weekend’s almost here, and if you’re looking to kill the last few hours of the work week, we recommend this short piece by Ryan Bush: it’s a look at the folks who own and operate a small leather goods manufacturing business in Portland, Oregon. From the filmmaker’s description: “It’s wonderful to see a company that thrives in the ‘small batch’ business model, and I hope they continue to make good things for a long time coming. The process of making something as simple as a belt can remind us of the roots of what this country was founded on: creativity, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.”

An Exploration in Craft, Featuring: Tanner Goods [Vimeo]
Tanner Goods [Company Site]


Hey — it’s Friday, and the weekend’s almost here — what better to kick it off early than some old-fashioned tool pr0n in video form? I came across the above video on kottke.org (of all places), where Jason Kottke — one of the earliest pro bloggers around — was more than a little fascinated with the video and others like it. While it was a surprise to him that the drill wasn’t turning, I suspect most Toolmongers will immediately recognize a lathe in action.

Despite the everydayness of these videos, they’re still fascinating as they visually explain something my dad (a machinist) told me for years: drills don’t really drill — they cut. That’s why every little nook and cranny of the drill’s shape matter so much. The angle of the drill’s blades act as incline planes, peeling away metal (or whatever you’re drilling into) in sheets. The flutes direct those sheets out of the hole and dispose of them, and the shape of the flutes also dictate when and how the sheets break into individual chips. All of this comes together in harmony to create a hole where there was none.

Choose the wrong angle, flute, etc. though, and you’ll damage the bit, workpiece, or start a fire. Great stuff.

Happy weekend, all.

Another Slow-Mo Drill [YouTube]