I’m using this mahl stick I made when I was a teenager out of my mum’s spare broom handle. I saw pictures of Salvador Dali using one and thought they were cool, so I whittled the broom handle so that it tapered and added the cloth end. I’ve used it lots!


Improving the studio with reclaimed materials (= how not to spend any money)


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Someone recently gave me some floorboards they ripped out of their house and it prompted me to make some new shelves for my studio. It’s quite tricky to reuse tongue and groove floorboards, because they split like mad when you wrench them up, so I wasn’t sure enough of it would be usable. But it was. I spent a very happy Sunday afternoon pulling nails out of them, then used the best bits to make my shelves. I’ve been watching Adam Savage’s Tested Youtube channel, which has lots of ideas for workshop storage. He has this concept of ‘first order retrievability’ which means that any tool should be retrievable easily without having to move something else. Drawers are places where things go to die. This inspired my paintbrush/pencil/tool rack. I also made an organiser cabinet using a Proplex floor protection sheet I had and offcuts of ply and MDF. The Proplex attracts dust by static electricity, which is annoying, and wasn’t as rigid as I’d hoped, meaning I had to reinforce the drawers with cardboard. The cabinet was marginal from this point of view: all the materials were free, but it took a long time to make – probably longer than I should have spent on it. The ply and MDF scraps I used had multiple lives: they came from a previous projects of mine as well as their original uses. I like it when materials can be reused multiple times. All this work inspired my son: he made a battleship out of the wood scraps and burnt himself with the glue gun while doing it, thus initiating himself into the ranks of makers