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@ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017


Wylie Dufresne. And the boys have enough Nerf guns to at least wound a squirrel. culminating in a beautiful story about a man who lives a selfsufficient life in Montana. President & Chief Executive Officer Steven R. when cars had barely been invented. and I hope the pros outweigh the cons. “The Art of Staying Alive. Richard Romanski.”) In our special 16-page package that begins on page 55. Our motivation here is not that we’re worried about the meteor hitting or being sold to Russia. Inc. taps his maple trees for sap that he boils into syrup. Popular Mechanics has always taught self-sufficiency—in a 1903 issue. Joseph Truini • Imaging: Digital Imaging Specialist Steve Fusco • PopularMechanics. Andy keeps bees. Maurer. If the meteor hits or the grid goes down or America gets sold to Russia. Smith. it would be roundings he would otherwise. Integrated Marketing Jason Graham • Executive Director. Swartz • Chairman William R. Mediacentric. Digital Advertising Sales Deirdre Daly-Markowski • Advertising Sales Offices: NEW YORK: Integrated Account Director Sara Schiano • Integrated Account Manager Loren Black • East Coast Digital Sales Managers Brett Fickler. This is all on less than an acre. Joe Pappalardo. And if you don’t. Marketing & Publishing Director Michael Clinton • President. we were already telling readers how to make one themselves. we give you all kinds of practical advice on the subject. I’m nowhere near self-sufficient yet. David Owen. Francine Maroukian. Sarpy • Administration: Advertising Services Director Regina Wall • Advertising Services & Accolade Manager Rebecca Taroon • Executive Assistant to the Publisher Amanda Bessim • Production/Operations Director Chuck Lodato • Operations Account Manager Jeanmarie O’Connell • Premedia Account Manager Lauren Rosato • Circulation: Consumer Marketing Director William Carter • Research Manager Peter Davis • Hearst Men’s Group: Senior Vice President & Publishing Director Jack Essig • Associate Publisher & Group Marketing Director Jill Meenaghan • General Manager Samantha Irwin • Executive Assistant to the Group Publishing Director & Business Coordinator Mary Jane Boscia 4 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . He makes wine in his basement. Jr. Integrated Marketing William Upton • Senior Digital Marketing Manager Christopher Rodriguez • Associate Director. built a smoker out of a barrel. Donald Trump pretty much won the election by preaching the wisdom of not relying on nobody for nothing. This of course has its risks as a foreign policy. • Hearst Magazines Division: President David Carey • President. Mia S. Inc. that kind of thing. Mark F. Chief Revenue Officer Cameron Connors • Associate Publisher Adam C. Roy Berendsohn • Automotive Editor Ezra Dyer • Technology Editor Alexander George • Senior Associate Editors Kevin Dupzyk. you can burn it in your woodstove when the grid goes down. Michael B. Bennack. Auto Aftermarket Marc Gorden • Assistant Yvonne Villareal • DETROIT: Integrated Sales Director Mark Fikany • Midwest Account Manager Bryce Vredevoogd • Assistant Toni Starrs • DALLAS: Patty Rudolph PR 4. a way to charge your phone. Miller Publisher. (The headline read. Strategic Partnerships & Events Scott Lehmann • Director. Daniel Dubno. South Africa • SVP/International Editorial Director Kim St. and I think he’s getting into brewing beer. counterleaving your homestead. Of course. Hearst III • Executive Vice Chairman Frank A. Chief Financial Officer Debi Chirichella • Publishing Consultants Gilbert C. Imperato • Integration Associate Michelle Nelson • SAN FRANCISCO: Steve Thompson.” in which writer Smith Henderson concludes that his father lives independently not because he wants to withdraw from the world but because it inspires him to engage If the meteor hits or the grid goes down or and interact with his sureven more than America gets sold to Russia. James Schadewald. written by his son. I hope you enjoy the story—and the rest of the issue. Integrated Marketing Drew Amer • Senior Manager. plenty of Swiss chard out in the garden. and the Enjoyments in Its Possession are Tenfold. Rubinstein • Deputy Managing Editor Aimee E. Dub • Executive Director. makes strawberry jam each summer. Kendall Hamilton. it would be nice to know that you could get on without leaving your homestead—a clean water supply. William G.From the Editor THE NEW SELF-SUFFICIENCY LO O O OTTA TA L K A B O U T self-sufficiency these days. intuitive lesson for these times. Bartol • Articles Editor Jacqueline Detwiler • Senior Editors Matt Allyn. grows corn. RYAN D’AGOSTINO Editor in Chief @rhdagostino Editor in Chief Ryan D’Agostino • Design Director Michael Wilson • Executive Editor Peter Martin • Managing Editor Helene F. Group Marketing Jana Nesbitt Gale • Art Directors Elena Martorano. But as an individual policy? I love it. Integrated Marketing Amanda Kaye • Integrated Marketing Coordinator Sara Blad • Digital Marketing Director Kelley Gudahl • Digital Marketing Manager A’ngelique Tyree • Creative Solutions: Executive Creative Director. “ ‘Home-Made’ Automobiles the Raging Fad—Not Hard to Build. raises chickens for eggs. Clair Bodden • Published by Hearst Communications. Nick Wicks Moreau. • CHICAGO: Midwest Director Justin Harris • Integrated Midwest Manager. but we do compost. there’s my friend Andy up the street—we could always hide out at his place. Digital Media Troy Young • Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles • Senior Vice President. com: Site Director Andrew Moseman • Deputy Editor Eric Limer • DIY Editor Timothy Dahl • Web Video Editor Ryan Mazer • Assistant Editor Jay Bennett • Mobile Editions: Mobile Editions Editor Tom Losinski • Popular Mechanics Interactive: Producer Jeff Zinn • Popular Mechanics International Editions: Russia. All Parts Can be Bought Separately. It’s articulated best in that father-son story. Matt Goulet • Associate Editor Lara Sorokanich • Editorial Assistant James Lynch • Assistant to the Editor in Chief Katie Macdonald • Editorial Intern Katie Miller • Copy Chief Robin Tribble • Copy Editor Maude Campbell • Research Director David Cohen • Research Editor Henry Robertson • Art: Art Director Alexis SINCE 1902 Cook • Associate Art Director Zachary Gilyard • Photography: Director of Photography Allyson Torrisi • Assistant Photo Editor Ida Garland • Contributing Editors: Tom Chiarella. C O M . Klein • LOS ANGELES: Integrated California Sales Director Anthony P. nice to know that you could get on without It’s a good.0 Media • Hearst Direct Media: Sales Manager Brad Gettelfinger • Account Manager John Stankewitz • Marketing Solutions: Executive Director.

Jablonsky found rough plans online and adapted them to meet the safety standards of production cribs. LETTERS A COWBOY HAT FOR BETSY I was born in the 1950s and grew up watching TV shows about cowboys. browse. Elwood Adams Hardware (Worcester. and your contact info to editor@popularmechanics. Washington) McLendon’s has hardware of every kind imaginable and replacement parts for almost all of it. Massachusetts) It’s the oldest operating hardware store in the country. Sometimes our customers just want to come in.” —Joe Petkiewicz. —Tyler Deck. choices. and you could be featured right here in the magazine. Ambler. opened in 1782—America’s original “If we don’t have it. I always wanted to be like Maggie Schmidt. the civil engineer built a few more years of use into his design. Missouri. gender norms. Borrowing a drill press from a neighbor and BE IN POPULAR MECHANICS! sourcing local red oak from a small mill near his hometown of Columbia. With the removal of a few wooden pegs he could take out the crib’s crossbeams. Got a great project you’ve been working on. Virginia Editor’s Note: Betsy (and other aspiring cowboys) can find Schmidt’s SunBody Reata hat ($59) at sunbody. send Massachusetts Deck’s Hardware (Ambler. and convert the crib into a small bed when his infant grew into a toddler. I can still wear the hat. he used the news to exercise the fine woodworking skills he’d picked up in high school shop class but hadn’t used since. Jablonsky finished just two weeks before they brought their new daughter home. featured in your November issue (The Life). Pennsylvania McLendon Hardware (Renton. If your submission is published. Need a drip pan for a 30-year-old air conditioner? That’s aisle 27. Washington @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 5 . and take in the sights and smells. Now I am past the age of pursuing childhood dreams. Keep them coming. He was going to build a crib. and circumstances never worked in my favor. Renton. Pennsylvania) My brother and I are thirdgeneration owners of Deck’s. CO W B OY S : M AT T K I E DA I S C H AMERICA’S BEST HARDWARE STORES THE PEOPLE’S CHOICES Our first annual list of the greatest hardware emporiums in the country (November) spurred some of you to write in with your own nominees. —Sam Nash.The Reader Page PROJECT OF THE MONTH W A HOMEMADE CRIB THAT TURNS INTO A BED hen Rob Jablonsky learned his wife was pregnant with their first child. but doggone it. lower the mattress. you don’t need it. Cherry or a solid tip you’ve picked up in the workshop? Tell us about it. For projects. Can you tell me where to find the one Schmidt wears? Betsy Shanley Vienna. A replacement tire for the push mower your granddaddy bought when he got back from World War II? Aisle 13. we’ll give you $100 for a project or $50 for your tip. which has been serving our neighborhood just outside of Philadelphia since 1908. but life. a description.

about the most useful tools and nonelectric machines used by the Amish. For details and to enter for a chance to win. She’ll speak with Lehman’s. complete with free popcorn and WHERE ELSE TO FIND US INSTAGRAM @popularmechanics TWITTER @PopMech SNAPCHAT PopMech And get our attention with #PopularMechanics 6 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . @offermanwoodshop: “#tbt to a lovely afternoon spent making redwood planter boxes with the students of Augustus F Hawkins high school and @popularmechanics” Subscribe and download both for free on iTunes. on the How Your World Works podcast. C O M FACEBOOK /PopularMechanics . an Ohio-based farm store. Plus. host Jacqueline Detwiler brings you even more tips for living off the grid. • For rules. Y O U C O U L D W I N A M O V I E S C R E E N I NG! • Grand prize: Screening of The Lego Batman Movie for 50 people at a theater near you. because now you can read his story and watch the video exclusively at popularmechanics. He even jumped out of an airplane while reporting. technology editor Alex George teaches you how to build the ultimate entertainment system to take along when you abscond from society. Here’s what to listen for on our Popular Mechanics podcasts this month: On The Most Useful Podcast Ever. see page 94. • 25 runner-up winners: A pair of Fandango movie tickets to see the film in theaters February 10. visit popularmechanics. Be glad he survived.EVE RYWHE RE What We’re Up To Beyond These Pages ONLINE! I N STA G R A M ! T H E P O D C A ST S! Assistant online editor Jay Bennett takes you behind the scenes of the Air Force’s Special Operations Command training facilities. host Kevin Dupzyk sits down with a lead game producer and a game director from Fox’s NFL broadcasts just in time for the playoffs.

(Look for a story on him in the April issue. a musician who makes his own guitars out of old suitcases and other found objects. The open bar featured Blue Moon and our signature Gold Rush cocktail (bourbon. Pop-up shops showcased some of our favorite brands.) .Presents The ultimate winter weekend clubhouse In December. The evening closed with a performance from Jeff Conley. New York. The event took place at Kinfolk 94—an event space and bar partially formed by a huge geodesic dome of laminated plywood. and The Cannibal Beer and Butcher provided homemade cured meats. and honey). Guests learned how to cut and varnish their own wood coasters with DIY editor Timothy Dahl. including Kit and Ace technical clothing and Camp Chef outdoor cooking gear. and sew their own leather wallets with Slightly Alabama’s Dana Glaeser. more than 300 Popular Mechanics readers experienced the ultimate winter clubhouse at the Popular Mechanics Lodge in Brooklyn. lemon juice.

The Super Bowl of stock car racing. the weather will still be rough for a while. out today. No episodes of 24: Legacy after. Celebrate Louisiana-style with a local drink. (See page 60. ($130) 8 FRIDAY If your heat’s been running since November. Author and comic-book creator Neil Gaiman reimagines Viking myths in Norse Myth­ ology. stay for 24: Legacy after the game. 2 3 4 Mardi Gras. 12 13 The 59th Annual Grammy Awards. To make it. After almost five hours looping the planet. the day John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. Two boot upgrades if your pair hasn’t fared well this winter: Forsake Duck Boot An all-weather duck boot you can keep on in the office. Or our annual argument for woodworking as an expression of affection. two Soviets had successfully made orbit.) SATURDAY 4 Calcium chloride ice melt works down to −25 degrees F. The Slam Dunk Contest is tonight on TNT. 21 How to get the most out of your month. THURSDAY 2/9 MONDAY 2/20 TUESDAY 2/28 A (BRIEF) BOOT ROUNDUP THIS MONTH IN MECHANICAL HISTORY HOW TO DRINK LIKE A NEW ORLEANIAN On this day 55 years ago. 20 14 15 Keep an eye on the Chicago Auto Show this week. muddle a sugar cube with three dashes of bitters. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . in a spacecraft called Friendship 7. page 85. Whatever any groundhog tells you.000 miles per hour. It’s the NBA All-Star weekend. the Sazerac is the first American cocktail and the official cocktail of New Orleans. In a separate glass. roll a small amount of absinthe around a chilled rocks glass to coat. Make a weather station instead. he returned home to a hero’s welcome. is on today. Do it every three months.Calendar FEBRUARY SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY 29 30 31 1 5 6 7 8 Super Bowl Sunday. Pour into the rocks glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Plus. Automakers tend to roll out new trucks and SUVs here. ($140) North Face ThermoBall Versa Boot Clean black on the outside. 9 22 28 16 23 17 18 Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star as a gunslinger and a sorcerer in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. this time. Valentine’s Day. 24 1 25 Tired of the winter gloom? Bring some greenery indoors with a hydroponic station. C O M . Add one and a half ounces Sazerac rye. Discard the extra. while rock salt only works down to 15. Game’s tomorrow. now is a good time to change your furnace filter. 26 27 The Mobile World Congress starts today with new smartphone releases expected throughout the week. Equip yourself with some proper snow boots. reaching speeds over 17. Puffy insulation on the inside. the Daytona 500. Save the headphone jack! 2 3 Groundhog Day. President’s Day. THURSDAY The weather is not getting better anytime soon. John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. Punxsutawney Phil has a 39 percent accuracy rate. Save money by mixing them. Come for the football. Glenn orbited Earth three times. Invented in 1838. a sore spot for NASA. Before Glenn.


Washington. Get your free quote from GEICO today. Why enjoy just one chicken wing when there’s a whole plate in front of you? The same goes for car insurance. geico. GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States according to the 2014 A. 24/7. 2015. D. Helping people since 1936 24/7 licensed agents 97% customer satisfaction 2nd-largest auto insurer The choice is yours.The other guy. Best market share report. This winning combination has helped GEICO to become the 2nd-largest private passenger auto insurer in the nation. Customer satisfaction based on an independent study conducted by Alan Newman Research. © 2016 GEICO . subsidiary. a Berkshire Hathaway Inc.M.C. from a company that’s made it their business to help people since 1936. Make the smart choice. 20076. coverages. and it’s | 1-800-947-AUTO | Local Office Some discounts. payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Why go with a company that offers just a low price when GEICO could save you hundreds and give you so much more? You could enjoy satisfying professional service. published April 2015. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company.

@ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 11 .AQUAVIT | CARDIOLOGY | A TELESCOPE PRESERVATION How to Fix Congress Literally. Just in time for Donald Trump’s big day. When the Capitol Dome was in need of repair. its stewards recruited some of the country’s best makers to fix it.

Since the dome’s last complete restoration. If they couldn’t repair an original piece. THE MAKERS Lock-NStitch Bullseye Glass Historical Arts and Casting Allen Architectural Metals F. was staged on the steps of the United States Capitol as its dome was still a work in progress. P RE V I OU S P R OJ E C T S Jay Leno recently implemented its system to fix the engine block on his 1913 Christie fire engine. they melted it down and reused the iron. Thomas American Iron Works L O C AT I O N Turlock. and candlesticks by the designer. it sold its handmade glass out of its Portland offices— a VW microbus. . employing immigrants from Morocco. and slow leaks degraded the cast iron. By Inauguration Day they will be complete. When the company was getting off the ground. then metal “locks” lay perpendicular to the repair to complete the “stitch.” In 1866. Restored and cast more than 100 pieces of cast iron including ornamentation like rosettes and scrolls. Implemented the Lock-N-Stitch technology to repair the dome’s thousands of cracks. Here are a few of the companies that worked behind a veil of more than one million pounds of scaffolding to ensure it goes on. and endures at the start of the 115th. Installed chemicalresistant coating in clean rooms for tech companies like Hewlett Packard and Motorola. under the direction of the Architect of the Capitol.” Used traditional processes to replace unstable or badly damaged cupola windows with handmade glass that replicated the wavy surface texture of the originals. C O M Re-created the cast bronze and gold candelabra as well as the bronze fountain spire at City Hall Park in Manhattan. and pedestrian bridges at the Food and Drug Administration Building in Maryland.” he said. Armenia.D. capped with a bronze statue called Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace. Jamaica. Oregon Hyattsville. Syria. and Haiti. the federal agency in charge of the maintenance and restoration of the Capitol complex. less than a year after Lincoln had been assassinated. snow.D. But the work goes on. Installed the more than two miles of metal scaffolding that surrounded the dome during restoration. During restoration work at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Donald Trump will recite the oath of office in front of the dome that rose above Lincoln. “If people see the Capitol going on. urns. Historical Arts added decorative pieces to the Mormon temples in Philadelphia and Payson. causing more than 1. Built the steel staircases. in 1861. decades of abuse by rain. Allen employees transported the ornamental doors to their shop in Alabama in the bed of a pickup truck.000 feet of cracking to spiderweb across it. at the dawn of Reconstruction. Bullseye developed a new type of fusible glass that solved a common problem in art and architecture involving complex glasswork: When joined. Long before work began on the chambers of Congress. Thomas was founded by Dan Thomas as “Dan’s Quality Painting”—he painted residential homes. Alabama Central Point. “it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on. different types of glass often shatter or crack as they cool. above our 39th Congress.A braham Lincoln’s first inauguration. a team of companies and craftsmen from around the country began repairs. California Portland. F. Maryland FOU N D E D 1990 1974 1973 1995 1979 1948 WO RK O N D O ME Designed a watertight system to fill cracks: Threadedmetal pins pull the two pieces of cast iron together. and the American people will gather on the steps of a proud symbol of American government restored to its original glory. The company’s workforce for the dome restoration was highly diverse. handrails. Oregon West Jordan. Utah Talladega. Removed the many coats of lead paint on the dome and contained the site to avoid spreading hazardous lead throughout the Capitol. Lincoln insisted that the construction of the dome continue through the Civil War. Worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to cast reproduction vases. the dome was completed: nine million pounds of cast iron covered in Dome White paint. C O MPAN Y AD D I T I O NAL C RE D E N TI AL S 12 In 2013 the Architect of the Capitol nominated Lock-N-Stitch for a construction innovation award for its repair technology. and gutters. A few years later. Utah. So in January 2014. from 1959 to 1960. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S .


As wireless technology improves. reads the electrical activity and feeds it to a website.1 2 R E A L -T I M E CARDIAC CARE 1. The condition is currently treated with a lifetime course of continuous blood thinners. and they can be recorded from anywhere in the body. When you develop A-fib. but we’re using them in a way they weren’t intended to be used. Tell you whether you’ve been mobile or not. I didn’t invent peanut butter. A second device uploads the data via cell network. we need a very large study. 4 CARDIOLOGY The Connected Heart A clinical trial heralds the wireless future of personalized medicine. They alerted Dr. Ultimately. these devices will not just see the rhythm of the heart. and the other piece was that we had to have technology that could provide long-term cardiac monitoring with remote transmission. Dr. the doctor gets a notification. with minimal risks. 2. in the future the patient with atrial fibrillation might take blood thinners on their own in response to data from this chip inside their body. so small it’s actually injected underneath the skin with a special tool. 5. PM: My favorite candy. Dr. and via the website alerts me with a text. just like a diabetic checks their blood sugar and treats themselves. but I invented Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Maybe they could see things like blood pressure or glucose levels. Patient condition reports are available online. I L LU S T R AT I O N BY G R A H A M M U R D O C H . When that happened. We see problems before the patients see problems. PM: What led to this new approach? RP: One piece of the puzzle was the development of drugs that could rapidly thin the blood. If A-fib is detected. a cardiology professor at Northwestern University. C O M 3 Popular Mechanics: So how does this device work? Rod Passman: Your heart sends out electrical signals. The concept of waiting until you’ve fallen off the cliff to come to the doctor or to recognize a disease after it’s gotten out of control could be obsolete. My vision is. what’s next? RP: The device will communicate directly with a patient’s phone. RP: It’s a lot closer now than ever. Passman with a text message if they detected signs of A-fib. the heart rate becomes very erratic. One can envision it as a long-term health-management tool. But to show that this is safe. 14 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Passman’s novel integration of the two into an on-demand system stands to transform the way we treat the sick. so we’re planning a 6. he’d initiate a course of next-generation blood thinners that would act just long enough to normalize patients’ rhythms.000-patient trial. The device and drug are already out there. The patient is given fast-acting blood thinners until the heart is back to normal. PM: One day. Without inventing a new device or discovering a new drug. This implantable cardiac monitor. B Y K I R A P E I K O F F About five million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation. which are effective at preventing blood clots but raise the chances of serious bleeding. we reduced time on the blood thinner by 94 percent. recently conducted a study with a radically different approach: Cardiac monitors the size of a paper clip were inserted under the skin to measure the electrical output of patients’ hearts in real time. Think of the efficiency—we could monitor thousands of patients from their homes. Rod Passman. The potential usefulness of these devices is really quite remarkable. If we were able to monitor you and let you know quickly. will we all end up wearing one to monitor us before something goes wrong? Is this basically a Fitbit on steroids? RP (laughing): A Fitbit is a toy compared with this. PM: Sounds like a new paradigm that’s still far away. PM: What did the study show? RP: In a small group of 59 patients. 5 3. we could potentially thin your blood early and prevent a blood clot from forming—providing the benefits of a blood thinner. a quivering heartbeat that can lead to blood clots and increase the risk of a stroke by 500 percent. I would say I didn’t invent chocolate. The device sees the irregularity. PM: Has this remote monitoring approach been used before to guide clinical decisions? RP: My study is the first example of using these devices for patient man- agement rather than diagnosis. 4. The cardiac monitor tracks heart signals.


so much that it demanded a familiar and hard-to-find drink: “We started making aquavit on request from the local fraternal order of the Sons of Norway. “When the yeast has eaten all the sugar. The wheat is mashed with hot water and fermented at a temperature that allows the yeast to digest the sugar.” The result. which is now tended by his parents. The aquavit process is a straightforward double distillation. “And we continue making it not only because we sell out. The traditional way of drinking aquavit is straight and ice cold in small glasses—and never without first toasting your tablemates by saying. As the vapor rises. too. cool water is run into the fermenter’s exterior stainless-steel jacket. THE SPIRITS Skadi aquavit Predominantly caraway.S. Along with the Homestead Act of 1862. resulting in a drink that is savory and yet fresh. And why it should be in your glass. a botanical related to parsley and cilantro. 16 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . $33 Montgomery’s barrel-finished aquavit is rested in oak barrels previously used to age rye. A BY FRANCI N E MAROU KIAN Viking boat may not have b een able to make it to Montana. with fennel. cut with filtered water.” Additionally. “Skoal. and a hint of citrus. grown on his grandfather’s farm. $30 Barrelfinished Skadi aquavit Muted caraway and dill plus caramel and toffee notes. This smooths the flavor and adds spice. is about 25 percent alcohol by volume. almost minty—a counterbalance to the salty preservation methods (fermentation.” Montgomery says. “we substitute it for vodka in our Bloody Marys and other craft cocktails. helped Scandinavians migrate to the agricultural frontier of Montana. but because aquavit has significant ties to the culture and climate of the region. The second fractional distillation.” says Ryan Montgomery. dill. “The first distillation is a stripping run. called low wines.” Montgomery says. It’s finished with aromatics like lemon. what you essentially have is beer. Today their Nordic heritage remains embedded in the folkways of the Northern Great Plains. and cardamom. A slight spice from the rye barrel. cofounder of Montgomery Distillery in Missoula. “We return the spirit to the pot still and give it a last run to create vapor infusion. but that doesn’t mean the Scandinavians couldn’t.” Montgomery says. not a flavor-determining run. smoking. done in a 21-plate copper column still. Montgomery says. C O M P H OTO G R A P H BY M O R G A N L E V Y . “Making aquavit is our chance to introduce something with great history that is still new to most Americans. and bottled at 80 proof. If the temperature gets too hot. curing) necessitated by Nordic winters.” Montana’s nutrient-rich volcanic earth and abundant snowmelt provide the exceptional grain and water quality that aquavit relies on. which gave settlers 160 acres of land for a small fee and a commitment to live there for five years. cuts the spirit to a specific proof and creates a very clean canvas—basically like vodka—for the addition of the botanicals. it passes through a cheesecloth bag of aromatics suspended on a metal grate before being recondensed as flavored aquavit. Montgomery uses a 100 percent nonGMO hard red winter wheat strain called War Horse. Aquavit is a traditional spirit distilled from potato or grain mash that has the predominant flavor of caraway (the taste you think of when you think of rye bread). the extension of the transcontinental railroad across the U. fennel.” It tastes good with a little curaçao in a daiquiri. It is just about getting the alcohol out of the beer as fast as we can.AQUAVIT Drink Like a Scandinavian How a spirit from 16th-century Norway made its way to Montana.

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—Kevin Dupzyk . in which case you need to attach an eyepiece (10). In the case of our eyes. where it converges to the focal plane in front of the eyepiece. when light reaches the focal point. Alternatively. the equipment involved is the pupil. Its tripod (16) is stabilized with an accessory tray (15) and topped with a headpiece that provides a mounting location for the base (13). Thanks to the primary and secondary mirrors. CHINA TIME TO DISASSEMBLE: 6 HOURS. the telescope moves left and right. This standard equipment is remarkable but limiting: Our pupils are small. and the retina.) Putting a star diagonal (9)—an elbow. the telescope moves up and down. now converging toward the secondary mirror (18) at the front. So as FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . a slightly curved sheet of glass that bends the light’s path just enough to funnel it toward the primary mirror (6). basically—between the tube and the eyepiece will make viewing a little more comfortable. the Evolution’s focal length is five times its optical tube length of 16 inches. Lenses and mirrors guide light through a long tube rather than a tiny eyeball. light from that object enters the telescope through the corrector (1). The base contains the azimuth motor (11) and attaches to the fork arm (14). and presented—converged into focus—for viewing. over the horizon. GATHERING LIGHT Once it’s aimed at an object of interest. (If it’s out of focus. So it would not be inaccurate to say that a telescope is an enlarged and elongated version of our eyes. If you’re old-school. The big front opening replaces the pupil. which sits at the back of the telescope. the cornea and lens. pinpricks of light. The purpose of all this redirection? By using a series of mirrors. C O M it reaches the focal plane at the back of the telescope. you rotate the telescope into the vicinity of the star. The result: a tool that peers across the city. it’s both inverted and reversed—which might bother a peeping tom. the telescope is able to collect and focus more light rays in a shorter tube—in fact. you can also use it the oldfashioned way. The distance between the retina and the lens is minuscule. The eyepiece contains another set of lenses—typically. you find your chosen star yourself: Using the hand control (12) or phone app. which houses the altitude motor (17). and wonder. the NexStar Evolution HD has 18 its own databank of astronomically interesting objects it can automatically point to after a quick orientation process. This mirror sends the light into a jet-black baffle tube (8) that funnels it unencumbered to the rear of the telescope. The diagonal also contains a mirror to flip the image. NOTES: AIMING THE TELESCOPE The telescope is mounted on a complicated system of supports that keep it stable but allow it to find and track a star or other celestial body. the focus knob [7] moves the primary mirror to finetune. Then the telescope’s optical tube (5) attaches to the top of the fork arm with a dovetail (4) and thumbscrews (2) so that when the azimuth motor rotates the base. 25 MINUTES. into the heavens. three or four—that provides magnification and again corrects optical artifacts to create a pristine image. VIEWING THE IMAGE This telescope is designed to be used with a digital camera for astrophotography. the light that’s been carefully collected by the mirrors goes through a pair of sub-aperture correctors that reduce distortion that wouldn’t show up to the naked eye but would trouble any photographer with a high-quality camera. whose subject is a black sky. The light reflects. shaped. Of course. You can aim the telescope in two ways. respectively. and when the altitude motor pivots its mount. but is essentially unnoticeable to an astronomer. 58 SECONDS NUMBER OF PARTS: 588 This is how vision works: Light is gathered through a hole. then look through the StarPointer Pro finderscope (3)—which is essentially a lower-powered scope with a larger field of view—to align the main tube.T H I N G S C O M E A PA R T A P H O T O G R A P H B Y TODD MCLELLAN D I S A S S E M B LY R E P O R T TELESCOPE MODEL: CELESTRON NEXSTAR EVOLUTION 8 HD PRODUCED: NANTONG.

1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 18 17 9 16 10 11 15 14 13 12 @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 19 .

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grind size. over three weeks we tested every grinder. and pour-over contraption we could find. We consulted baristas across the country.000 pounds of coffee beans last year.CIRCULAR SAWS | ULTRA-SHORT-THROW PROJECTORS | FURNITURE Birch Coffee owners Jeremy Lyman (left) and Paul Schlader roasted more than 150. Birch Coffee co-owner and certified Q Grader—the coffee equivalent of a P H OTO G R A P H BY S T E P H A N I E D I A N I sommelier. choose a finer grind to create more surface area. For example. We’re excited to show you the results. Mix hot water with grounds. And we really drank a lot of coffee. brew time. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 21 . and water temperature all shape how your coffee tastes and feels. With the help of Schlader and his crew at Birch. Maybe even a little jittery. But there’s science in that process—science that can be tweaked and perfected. says Paul Schlader. which lets more water into the bean to release more flavor. and within minutes you’re warmed and awake. Changing your beans. The Home Coffee Revolution An influx of new equipment—high-tech and low—will help you brew better joe. IT’S EASY TO take your coffee for granted. brewer. filter.

or build your own deck. The Baratza Encore ($130). The whirling blade operates like a blender. As moisture and oils leave the beans. Goldsworthy also urges you to stop storing beans in your freezer. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Unlike the average kitchen and a wide range of flavors. store your coffee in a dark.Coffee ➽ Preparing the Beans Crafting a better pot of coffee begins before you start brewing. unroasted beans online. . They have consistent size. says Todd Goldsworthy. It also produces a wildly variable grind. With an inner lid and valve that forces air out of the canister. Brewers Cup champion. a timer senses the weight change from the water and automatically starts once you begin dousing the grounds. Which means you can’t just trust your instincts. But you also don’t need to fix up that old truck yourself. the 2014 and 2016 U. Five preset roasts will help you get your bearings before you start to truly customize. above left. Roast You don’t need to roast your own coffee. but heats up the grounds and burns off flavors. They won’t last longer but will absorb unpleasant flavors. coffee.S. which can be even worse. is a workhorse with 40 grind settings and an ideal choice for your first big grinder upgrade. the Bonavita Auto Tare ($60) mea- Grınd sures to a more precise tenth of a gram. C O M The hand-cranked Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill ($50) offers an affordable and portable option if you don’t mind using a little muscle in the morning. The mix of too-fine and oversize particles leads to inconsistent steeping—since the bigger the grounds are. which makes them especially forgiving if roasted too long or too little. the Breville Smart Grinder Pro ($200) offers 60 settings for enthusiasts seeking the perfect grind for every brew method and type of bean. with minimal exposure to air.) For your first batches. metal coils on the ceiling of the countertop unit reheat and virtually Store eliminate the smoke. AirScape containers (starting at $24) create a nearly oxygen-free environment. You can buy green. Roasting at home puts you in the driver’s seat to make the perfect bean for your household. You need a scale. Burr grinders crush beans between rotating plates for uniform. For brewing a pour-over on the scale. Unlike other home roasters. but you’ll never find a blade grinder in a barista’s kitchen. the smoke-suppressed Behmor 1600 Plus ($370) can be used indoors. 22 There are two types of grinders. To keep beans fresh longer. uncooked grains. The grind adjusts in seconds from fine to French press coarse. you need to be consistent in your dosage and how long you let the coffee brew. For a little more money. try beans from Central America. temperature-stable environment (like your cupboard). (We like Roastmasters. blade and burr. the more quickly water passes through them—and weak THE BEST HAND GRINDER Weıgh To brew a consistently delicious cup. quality.

THESE GRAVIT Y BREW ERS B A C FOR THE LAB TECH FOR THE AESTHETICALLY INCLINED FOR THE CASUAL BARISTA A / BEHMOR BRAZEN PLUS With the Behmor Brazen Plus. the Chemex is pretty enough just to put on your countertop.You’re Ready to Make Coffee DRIP COFFEE REINVENTED operate using—you guessed it!—gravity. ($190) P H OTO G R A P H S BY J A R R E N V I N K . Set it between 202 and 207 for a brighter. in case you’re feeling lazy. And it’s available with an automatic pour-over. A 1500-watt heater holds the brewing water at that ideal flavor-extraction temperature of 195 to 205 degrees. although these brewers are finely tuned to deliver water at the perfect temperature: hot enough to release maximum flavor. You can also replace the kettle and basket with a pour-over brewer to make it an automatic. It’s like your old Mr. set the temperature between 197 and 200 to dial back the coffee extraction. delivering hot water to grounds and slowly straining out the coffee. 205-degree Fahrenheit water onto the grounds to mimic the slow dispersal of a barista’s kettle. which unevenly funnels water through the grounds. A showerhead evenly pulses 197. If you like sweeter flavors. The insulated pitcher keeps the coffee hot. but not so hot as to extract bitterness from the bean. while a hot plate keeps your next cup of coffee warm. ($350) C / BONAVITA BV1900TS 8-CUP Instead of the typical cone-shaped filter. more acidic cup. brew temperature and an automatic start. the Bonavita uses a flatbottomed filter basket to extract coffee more evenly from the beans. you can program a pre-soak. ($200) B / CHEMEX OTTOMATIC Even if you never use it.

fast. ($30) C / YAMA SIPHON This hand-blown coffee chemistry set heats water in the lower globe until the building vapor pressure sends boiling water to the upper globe where it cools slightly and mixes with grounds. ($67) D / KITCHENAID PRECISION PRESS French presses don’t have to make a bitter cup. ($150) . This insulated. and perfect for travel. producing coffee with a heavier body than drip brewers produce. With a twist of the lid. and a timer to tell you when your coffee is ready. Just don’t leave grounds in the water too long. typically for three to five minutes before filtering out the coffee. Cut the heat after a minute and your coffee descends back down through a filter. simple. then press out your coffee through the filter. ready to be enjoyed. the contact time between the coffee and water tends to release the bitter flavors of the bean. Just mix grounds and hot water in the chamber for a minute. if you’re the kind of person who packs your own coffeemaker when you leave town for the weekend. the stainlesssteel Duo separates the liquid from the grounds. double-walled brewer has a built-in scale to measure your grounds and water. Submerging the grounds extracts flavorful oils and acids from the beans over time. After more than five minutes. so your extra coffee doesn’t keep brewing between cups. C A D B FOR THE COFFEE HACKER FOR THE TRAVELER FOR THE BREAKING BAD FAN FOR THE FRENCH-PRESS DEVOTEE A / FELLOW PRODUCTS DUO This combination brewer and carafe creates the full-bodied coffee of a French press without the over-extraction and resulting bitterness. the immersion process immerses (or steeps) grounds. ($100) B / AEROBIE AEROPRESS It’s cheap. Just pour all the coffee after it’s brewed so it doesn’t steep longer on the grounds.Coffee ➽ THE NEW IMMERSION BREWERS NOT SURPRISINGLY.

The Easiest Way to Make Better Coffee I think of brewers like cars.5-liter removable water tank can make ten cups of coffee. in a pinch. The OXX Coffeeboxx ($230) is built to travel and simple to use: Fill the tank with water. Faster pours make a bright. The unrestricted flow can create a wider range of cup profiles. flavor escapes in as little as three minutes. METAL FILTERS Your choice of filter carries an outsize impact on what you end up sipping. Buy whole. giving your coffee more body. Blue Bottle Coffee created Perfectly Ground (starting at $18 for a five-pack) ground coffee packaged in an oxygen-free environment.D. who holds a Ph. Starbucks Lavazza Peet’s An Insert That Heats—and Cools— Your Coffee Maxwell House Folgers Keurig Green Mountain ACCESSIBILITY PAPER VS. It’s up to you. which reduces the barista’s impact. A Kalita or Chemex is like a Toyota Camry: not flashy. That might mean less body. select a size serving. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 25 . Paper filters. THE COFFEE QUALITY MATRIX Blue Bottle Stumptown QUALITY Paying more for a bag of beans won’t automatically produce better coffee. They have a weird taste. The Coffeeboxx has a rubberized handle. which is a real thing. Fresh means within three weeks of roasting. In the ensuing hours. Just avoid brown paper filters. metal filters allow more oils and fine particles into your cup. but it also means more distinct flavors. Unless It’s This One Oxygen is the biggest enemy of freshness. however. It has aggressive channels and a large drip hole. prop up a grand piano with. a three-foot retractable power cord to make it mobile. it re-releases the energy to keep the coffee hot and drinkable. But for when you require pre-ground. So where’s the smart money go? Here. but what good is scalding coffee that’s too hot to drink? The Stanley QuickSip insert ($15) slides into your mug or bottle and absorbs excess heat—as much as 47 degrees. Because of their holes. Slow your pour and the body increases while the flavor tones down. but will always get you from A to B. fresh beans. we chart eight popular brands on quality (flavor minus bitterness) and accessibility (availability minus cost). keep those tiny bits of grounds and oils out of your mug.Shop Notes: Coffee How I Brew By Ben Jones. Its 2.S. When beans are ground. says Shawn Steiman of Coffea Consulting (which is not a typo). in coffee science. light-bodied coffee. 2016 U. which lets water flow through very quickly. These all have a restricted flow rate.500-pound load. AeroPress Champion The Coffee-Brewing Tank for Any Worksite Tip! Never Buy Pre-Ground Coffee. Hario’s V60 ($25) is more like a Porsche or 427 AC Cobra. insert a K-cup pod. and its watertight design prevents spills on rough rides. P H OTO G R A P H S BY J A R R E N V I N K Double-walled stainless travel mugs keep your coffee piping hot for hours. and a chassis rated to withstand a 1. and then wait for it to brew. That makes it the only coffeemaker you can sit on or.

DISLIKES: None. C O M P H OTO G R A P H S BY J A R R E N V I N K .TOOL TEST THE PROVING GROUND FOR EVERY THING YOU NEED Circular Saws Because everybody’s elbow could use a little more rest. ripped. $119 26 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . and cut compound miters with each. we gathered the lightest new circular saws on the market. BY RICHARD ROMANSKI DeWalt DWE575 WEIGHT: 10.4 lb AMPERAGE: 15 LIKES: Professional-grade with unstoppable power and a heavy-duty rubber cord that’s robustly mounted to the motor. Then we crosscut. so you don’t have to worry about snags leading to a loose connection. beveled. All control points and grip surfaces are well engineered and comfortable.

AMPERAGE: 15 LIKES: A lot of saw and a lot of performance for the money. deep rips. After melting the ice. Would be nice if the shoe were a little longer.A C B Spray Deicers Makita HS7600 WEIGHT Craftsman 320. Since it’s more of a mist. $89 $100 C / CRC Ice-Off ESTIMATED SPRAY RANGE: 6 ft Medium-dense spray pattern. Melts ice aggressively and keeps on melting. DISLIKES: Relatively low amperage does cost the Makita some performance during long. The Skilsaw is smoothrunning with professional power and dead-on accuracy. it leaves behind a residue of classic Rain-X to help keep glass clean. DISLIKES: Could use a sturdier shoe.4 lb AMPERAGE: 12 LIKES: Still a consumer saw at an accessible price. and the reasonably powerful propellant means you can spray under windy conditions. Plus.5 LIKES: A compact and spunky saw that’s easy to handle. $50 $100 Unless you’d prefer to spend your morning scraping the windshield. Ridgid R3204 WEIGHT Skilsaw SPT67WM 8. $2. but its midrange power is much closer to the professional end of the scale. $3 B / Prestone Windshield De-Icer ESTIMATED SPRAY RANGE: 8 ft The densely focused stream and aggressive propellant make this a good choice for tall or broad windshields. but it also had the least intense odor. DISLIKES: None. which makes it easy to handle.0 lb AMPERAGE: 10. It has outstanding balance and visibility to the cut line.46123 9. There’s even a somewhateffective scraper built into the can for particularly tough ice. the blade wrench likes to come loose from its holder. and moving the spindle-lock button higher would make it easier to reach. The price makes it a good fit for anyone who wants to move up in accuracy and power without spending a lot. For a framing saw. The high methanol content melts ice readily. the Ridgid is extremely compact. A / Rain-X Windshield De-Icer ESTIMATED SPRAY RANGE: 2 ft The least aggressive ice melter we tested. WEIGHT 7.50 . the Rain-X would be tough to apply in any real wind. DISLIKES: The blade bevel support obscures the view of the cut line on the shoe.8 lb WEIGHT $12 10.6 lb AMPERAGE: 12 LIKES: This feisty little saw was the only tool in our test with a 6 1/2-inch blade.

with a built-in speaker that sounds as good as any. the image starts to soften when you project larger than 60 inches. The bulb isn’t strong enough for the picture to be seen in anything but a dark room. and you can place the projector nearly anywhere. but it made for a slightly grainy picture. with a lag so small you won’t really notice it. you can connect a UE Boom or other Bluetooth speaker for better sound. Good color. C O M C D Ultra-Short-Throw Projectors Set one up as little as 12 inches from the wall for a picture that fills the room. $249 $999 C / LG PH450U D / CASIO XJ-UT310WN MAX IMAGE SIZE: 80 in. We really liked the wireless aspect: Plug the hub into a source—your cable box or computer— or connect via Wi-Fi and stream from your phone or tablet.TOOL TEST A THE PROVING GROUND FOR EVERY THING YOU NEED A / ASUS ZenBeam E1 B / Sony LSPX-P1 B MAX IMAGE SIZE: 120 in. good color. Focus is controlled with an easy slide lever. DISLIKES: Wireless connection works only with Android or Windows machines. DISLIKES: The combination laser/LED light source is supposed to hold its brightness over time better than a traditional bulb. DISLIKES: At 720p.800 28 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . DISLIKES: Doesn’t project in HD. PORTABLE BATTERY: No LIKES: At 3100 lumens.5 hours LIKES: Although the built-in speaker is tinny. and passable built-in sound. The keystone correction sometimes inexplicably and annoyingly readjusts the image. Adjustments are intuitive. P H OTO G R A P H BY J A R R E N V I N K . PORTABLE BATTERY: Yes. 5 hours LIKES: Despite weighing less than two pounds and having a footprint the size of a smartphone. $1. the Casio provided the brightest picture of our test. MAX IMAGE SIZE: 80 in. The speakers can also get quite loud. PORTABLE BATTERY: Yes. PORTABLE BATTERY: Yes. and the room doesn’t have to be completely dark to see the picture. 2. $650 MAX IMAGE SIZE: 110 in. and the metal shell looks more elegant than the plastic on many other projectors. Just in time for the Super Bowl. the E1 is bright enough to use even in some ambient light. 2 hours LIKES: Beautiful design.

and on many models the grill can be turned by hand. Now tapping the reception indicator switches from bars to dBm. Phones measure reception in decibel-milliwatts (dBm) on a scale from.SHOP NOTES E A S Y WAYS TO D O H A R D T H I N G S Better Measure of Cell Reception If the cruel vicissitudes of cellular service have you suspecting the five bars at the top of your screen are not what they seem. It’s just the right height. lest your burgers taste like Rust-Oleum. He purchased a plastic bin with a clamping lid. Germain estimates he traps 80 percent of the sawdust. Arizona. Know Your Drill Bits M FRO E— H T ES — HIV ARC 68!) (19 Kettle Grill Makes Perfect Turntable for Spray Painting When you’ve got something to spray paint from all sides. and could easily capture more by adding some weather stripping. cut a hole in the lid to accommodate the saw’s motor. Afterward he simply removes it and dumps the dust. accurate holes in wood AUGER Efficiently removes wood shavings from deep bores SPADE HOLESAW COUNMASONRY TERSINK Makes fast Bores Often Creates a and rough large used with pilot hole holes in holes. Four bars on one phone may be equivalent in dBm to two bars on another. Luckily. Rubber Tub Captures Sawdust THERE ARE PLENTY of ready-made and DIY solutions for sawdust collection from a contractor’s saw. Hold the power button until “Slide to power off” appears. aluminum @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 29 . then hold the home button until Field Test quits. I L LU S T R AT I O N BY M O R N I N G B R E AT H TWIST General purpose for wood. you can view dBm reception through the “About Phone” menu. minus 140 (no service) to minus 40. and plastic BRAD POINT Pointed tip creates clean. ➼ ON AN IPHONE. then screwed it to the enclosure. The bars are replaced with a dBm reading. consider a kettle grill for your work surface. most handsets allow you to display reception in dBm instead. ➼ ON MOST ANDROID PHONES. roughly. but none as simple and cheap as that devised by reader Wayne Germain of San Tan Valley. But there’s no standard. When it’s time to saw. Just be sure to cover the grill with newspaper or drop cloths. a hamframing centering for a screw mer drill. call *3001#123 45#* to go into Field Test mode. lumber bit guides and space fluting entry to fasten it off-loads into the flush debris surface GLASS AND TILE Carbide tip allows it to cut without causing cracks STEP Pyramid shape creates holes of many diameters in thin steel. metal. he clamps the bin in place. prepare to be vindicated.

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” I get a kick out of that. “Oh. Eventually. what was a liability will become a money-saving source of pride. and your bookshelves may crumble under anything more than a few paperbacks. But there’s nothing like building something and putting it to work in your life and in the lives of people around you. that sort of thing. simple bookcases and shelves. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 31 . Guests at our home sometimes say. But you’ll get better. B Y R O Y B E R E N D S O H N B U I L D I N G Y O U R O W N F U R N I T U R E is a lot like growing your own vegetables or working on your car.. Then you probably hear it a lot. When someone compliments a nice piece of furniture. with dovetailed corners and a finish of countless layers of tung oil.Getting Started In. I built it with hand tools and intended it to be a good fake of an antique. and you’re the guy who made it? That’s a feeling you don’t get many times in life. Why not? On any given day. On the one hand. Unless you’re a full-time furniture maker. Your first couple chairs might be a little wobbly. it’s hard to say which answer will have the upper hand. depending on how much time you have to spare. But there’s a mahogany blanket chest from years ago. you might ask. I’ve built very little that qualifies as fine furniture. FURNITURE BUILDING It’s going to be tough. you might ask yourself.. what a lovely old chest. Why bother? On the other. Most of what I’ve built is utilitarian— sawhorses.

including a Shaker cabinet. One good way to learn is to find a piece of furniture you like and try to copy it. Essential Tools 32 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Buildsomething. a bookshelf. THE BEST BOOK ON FURNITURE BUILDING If you buy only one book on the subject. and more plans than you’ll ever be able to work through. Nothing is vetted. Otherwise. but most of the projects we’ve seen look solid. and a simple bench (below). a farmhouse table (right). C O M MITER SAW ¾" WOOD CHISEL KREG POCKETHOLE JIG MARKING KNIFE I L LU S T R AT I O N S BY S T E V E S A N F O R D .com offers a collection of user-generated designs for everything from workbenches to a TIE-fighter bookshelf. And they’ll definitely inspire you.Getting Started In FURNITURE BUILDING Find Something to Build While you may eventually become skilled enough to design your own furniture. you should always work from a model. a kid’s storage bench. when you’re starting out. There are tool tips and techniques. here are a few good places to look: At popularmechanics. make it Andy Rae’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet furniture you’ll find projects to hone your skills.

but on larger projects you need to check diagonal matthiaswandel BOB CLAGETT Learn to make: floating desk. if it’s not already. obviously. otherwise you’re liable to cut a piece too short by the width of the saw blade. ALWAYS CHECK FOR SQUARE Pressing a square into the corner of an assembly is a good way to check. The two measures from corner to corner should be the same. A FEW PEOPLE TO INSPIRE YOU SQUARE CLAMPS ALEX HARRIS Learn to make: pedestal table. youtube. WORK FROM A RELIABLE FACE Lumber doesn’t always come square from the factory. to create a reference face. and sled. Always cut on that side of the line. so you’ll need to check it with your square tool and cut it square. CUT PARTS EXACTLY THE SAME Ensure that multiple parts are the same dimension by clamping and cutting all pieces at one time. and foldable shop stool. Measure all dimensions from that edge or teenwoodworker MATTHIAS WANDEL Learn to make: workbench on wheels. and bookcase. daybed. youtube. place a small X on the scrap iliketomakestuff CIRCULAR SAW TAPE MEASURE CORDLESS DRILL STRAIGHTEDGE . like a miter saw with a stop block. end table. GUIDE YOUR CUTS Use a rip fence (a bar that runs parallel to the saw blade) or a square to direct your saw to ensure a completely straight cut. or by using a fixed power tool.Basic Tips DESIGNATE THE SCRAP SIDE After you measure and mark your cut line. youtube. EXTEND YOUR MITER SAW You can greatly enlarge the capacity of your saw by building a base—essentially a platform with a gap in its center for the saw. This enables you to more reliably and safely cut long pieces and to attach stop blocks. burl table.

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the most important thing to be sure of is that the wiring is truly dead. Even then. If you can’t plainly see that the wiring is not connected to anything. but both look sloppy. Not yours—the concrete’s. Get a masonry bit and a rebar-cutting bit.. The handle helps offset some of the back force on your wrist. and ceilings in an old house. If you see a pipe exiting the floor at any point. Which is why you filled them up with fire-blocking foam. SOUTH CAROLINA HARRY M. M . A light touch and a firm grip on the drill is really all it takes. surprisingly. D E T W I L E R . Even if you’d switched to rotary mode. but before I get into that. assume that that’s what you’re hitting and drill elsewhere. First. When you hit steel. Almost. It’s a good idea to remove it for several reasons. CALIFORNIA Old. What did I do wrong? DAVID D. and poke the pilot drill bit into the mark. Or maybe you found a cast-iron drainpipe. The other issue I didn’t mention is age. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . which are nailed into the framing. 36 We’re remodeling our old house and have found a lot of disconnected old wiring in the walls. C O M Email your home and yard questions to askroy@popularmechanics. Concrete hardens as it ages.ASK ROY POPULAR MECHANICS’ SENIOR HOME EDITOR S O LV E S YO U R M O S T P R E S S I N G P R O B L E M S . You’re going to need that handle for extra support since you’re working overhead. Removing it is relatively easy. meant to pulverize. then lever downward to remove them. I L LU S T R AT I O N S BY T. and drill through the rebar before backing the bit out and switching back to the masonry bit and hammer mode. These blades orbit a central pilot drill and the entire assembly is housed in a clear plastic dome that looks. including the circle of drywall. Also. the hammer drill was probably in percussion mode. Both the old wiring and its holes serve as a conduit for rodents. you’ll first need to pry out the knobs. you’ll need an electrician to evaluate it. If it’s knob-and-tube type wiring (easily recognized by the white porcelain fittings to which the wire is mounted). double-check all wiring with a non-contact voltage detector before you start messing with it. It consists of two adjustable knife-like cutters affixed to a bar. Lay out the center of each speaker hole. floors. which requires more exertion. Klein’s Model 53731 cuts holes from two to seven inches in diameter and should cost you less than $30. but a masonry bit’s tip and flute geometry are completely different—thicker and blunter.. Your best bet is to invest in an inexpensive adjustable hole cutter from Klein Tools. That percussive action broke the bit when you hit steel. the holes form a ready path for hot combustion gases in the event of a fire. The bit may not have broken. STAN C. Chuck the drive end of the cutter into a cordless drill and you’re in business. Don’t forget to clamp on the drill’s auxiliary handle. back out the masonry bit and install the rebar cutter. like something you’d place over a cake. and you can simply pull them through. Those holes can also lead to cold drafts. For modern stapled-up wiring. a small tool that looks like a forked screwdriver with a bend in its shaft. Instead of getting all over you. Take your time and let the drill do the work with as little muscle as possible on your part. FORT MILL. This loosens the and watch for Roy’s answer in an upcoming column. SANTA ANA. switch to the next heavier rental drill. most of the dust and debris falls down into the plastic dome. IDAHO The most obvious possibility is that you hit a piece of rebar.. determine whether you can move the hole to another location or drill a shallower hole. Ease into the cut. or reinforcing steel. Switch the drill off hammer mode and into drilling mode. called a rotary hammer. disconnected wiring is a common sight when you open the walls. but it wouldn’t have made any real progress through the steel. More important. Let’s assume an electrician checks the old wiring and finds that it’s kaput and safe to handle. BOISE. it wouldn’t have helped. You might think that a bit strong enough to drill through concrete could also handle steel. BY R OY B E R E N D S O H N I broke two bits drilling holes in my garage floor with a rented hammer drill. use a fire-blocking foam to seal any holes where it traveled through the framing. Is it better to remove it or leave it alone? Is there a good way to make speaker holes in my ceiling? I’ve tried a cordless jigsaw and a drywall jab saw. stone. or asphalt. Next. which simultaneously pounds and drills through concrete. grip the staples with the tip of a pair of diagonal pliers. If neither is practical. You can also use a tack puller.

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Marvin Jennings.000 911.3 seconds ENGINE Horizontally opposed four-cylinder the $90. Previously. its flat six to be the essential expression of its manufacturer’s illus­ trious history. Porsche hasn’t built a four­cylinder since the 1990s­era 968. The new 718 has lost two cylinders to make a flat four. now exclusive to SPECS BASE PRICE $69. J. Porsche would dial down the horsepower on the Boxster and Cayman to keep them from overshadowing the 911. Not anymore. Like many of the Porsche­ loyal (see Seinfeld. C O M the entry­level flyweight to the big­ boy 911. Sure. Local chapter director Marty Barrett is representative. ideally while reducing emissions and fuel consumption. with a Macan or two thrown in.450 (Boxster S) ZERO TO 60 4. In this sense. and Boxsters.WITH EZRA DYER The New Heathen Porsche IS THE NEW 718 BOXSTER S WORTHY OF ITS STUTTGART BADGE? WE BROUGHT ONE TO A PORSCHE-ONLY TRACK DAY TO FIND OUT. These are the people . But all sang the same beautiful song. the legendary 959. they see the rear­engine 911 and. So I asked the Porsche Club congregants: The flat six is gone. Gathered here are members of the Porsche Club of America. towing his Porsche behind his Porsche (911 GT3 and Cayenne. more impor­ tantly. It’s the setup that has powered every 911. the 718 Boxster is emblem­ atic of the challenges facing every car company: Keep upping the power. Like the preceding six­cylinder Boxster and Cayman. respectively). Caymans. T he car I’ve brought to Carolina Motor­ sports Park deserves the skepticism it’s get­ ting. and. and some of the greatest race cars in the history of motor sport. the 718 is 38 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . The grass parking area next to the track is crowded with more tasty 911s. Shall we weep? The PCA crowd is pretty hard­ core. both had the iconic flat six. gained a sophisticated turbocharger. Another member. in the S model I’ve brought. Smaller engines and turbos—that’s how you do it. owns three 911s and brought his 1969 racer.).

the 385-hp zenith of the six-cylinder era. Embrace these new 718s. and its distinctly 911like acceleration comes from that special turbocharger. I warmed to the flat four the first time I passed a dawdler on the rural two-lanes leading to the track. whether in ten years or 20 or 30. A naturally aspirated flat six sings with a hard-edged rasp. McQueen. Porsche needs to convert to the fourcylinder philosophy. P H OTO G R A P H S BY P E T E R TAY LO R disappointment. where you’re actually driving most of the time. Porsche has a new engine. I would’ve thought it was a six. “It pulls all the way to the redline with no turbo lag. “Not the same sound. L. But for now. but you felt like you could do your taxes on the straightaways. Eventually. But driving one is like your favorite band’s new album. S. despite a two-cylinder deficiency. but not both. powerful boost. his voice tinged with .” Jennings says.k. Boxsters have always had great grip and midengine balance. the noise disappears in the slipstream. With the top down. kicks out 350 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. So we head into the pits to recruit a midengine acolyte. who drives a Boxster RS 60 on the street and a Cayman on the track.a. an unfiltered crackle that’s increasingly rare as even the mighty 911 moves to an all-turbocharged lineup. Not being a Porsche traditionalist myself. We’re chasing a Cayman GT4.By adjusting the tilt of the blades. This is a revelation: a Boxster with torque. our 718 stays on its tail without seeming to exert itself—the car ahead of us has 35 more horses when it’s near the redline. FAMOUS PORSCHE ENTHUSIASTS Seinfeld. but allows that his definition of a Porsche begins and ends with the 911.that’s a lot of torque!” These are words that have never before been spoken from behind the wheel of a Boxster. but the 718 is stronger low down in the rev range. the four-cylinder Boxster will seem like it’s been around forever.” he says. Land Rover LR2 (a. “If you didn’t tell me this was a four. however. people. torquey acceleration. Discovery Sport). It’s the whumpa-whumpa-whumpa drumbeat of a flat four. BMW 328i. Lohan. These cars are faster and still get decent mileage. I want to know what Jennings thinks.” While I’m sure a GT4 sets quicker lap times. you hear its belligerent woofle. Ford Mustang. so I climb into the passenger seat and we head out onto the track. It takes a few listens before you dig the new material. The 718 S. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 39 OTH ER C ARS THAT WENT FO U R. though. Most turbos are like a one-speed transmission— quick response or big. “Wow. it has.CYLI N D ER : Volvo XC90.. I find one in Bill Ainsley. Porsche Le Mans Prototype Racers (RS Spyder to 919 Hybrid). We’re barely past turn one when he dips into the throttle and declares. Such is the price of progress. So did James Dean’s 550 Spyder. one that renews the relevance of its most attainable sports car. You’ve got to like the sound of that. The original 718 from the late 1950s had a flat four. the technological noose will draw tight. and the homogeneity of electrics will render moot all the age-old barroom debates on cylinder count and turbos. But the 718’s can change the angle of the turbo’s vanes. in a way. J. But at speed. You can’t really argue with that. adjusting boost so smoothly that it mimics a naturally aspirated engine’s torque curve.. Because at some point. a sound like the Red Baron swooping down to strafe a trench. Jennings professes respect for the 718. the Porsche turbocharger can vary its boost for smooth. Which.

Maine. “When you pick it up. It can churn jobs quickly. DEALER • Join an online forum for your make and. off to the dealer. Prosser says. Dealers and mechanics consult with each other. and you avoid the pitch for a new car. go independent. It’s cheaper.” Independents who focus on a particular manufacturer will be similarly outfitted.” he says. whereas an independent shop will prioritize emergencies. Why? Because dealers’ stiff rates and by-the-book approach can drive customers straight to a local independent specialist. DEALER MECHANIC Some problems are so complex and discouraging—in this case. like dealerships. DEALER MECHANIC The dealership is bigger and. • On your first visit. and we’re the first to know about a new way to do things. so you might end up with a referral to the best expert for that particular problem. And yet. owner of Alan Auto Volvo Service in Portland.” So who do you go to? We asked Prosser and Profenno some questions to help us decide. that same improvisation can make a dealership’s accountability appealing. “Good mechanics know when they are out of their league and will give you alternatives. Mechanic Showdown WHO SHOULD WORK ON YOUR CAR? Car owners might not love dealer service departments. but. “You’re not going to get that with an independent. less in demand. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . and compare its price against NAPA AutoCare’s repair estimator. maybe the Bluetooth works better. PROBLEM When you sell your car. such as balancing the tires. DEALER MECHANIC Modern vehicles require expensive diagnostic equipment that dealerships already have. service manager at Herb Chambers Volvo. can attest.” Prosser says. while you wait for parts.” Prosser says.” After that period ends. “We install software updates on every car.” Profenno says. But the good ones. Prosser takes a holesaw and 30 minutes to do the same fix. ideally. a dealership in Norwood.” says Mike Profenno. “When a dealer changes out a common EVAP hose in the rear of a post-2001 V70. because it’s usually more expensive.” • Check if candidate shops are Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Better Business Bureau certified. “Generalservice shops don’t cut it. you worry that buyers will balk at non-dealer service records. Alan Prosser. “Volvo always sends us the software updates. sensors. C O M • Approach strangers who also have an old Volvo or Bronco or Amphicar. “After the flat-rate system. “We independents haven’t sold out our imaginations. a synchronized dance between motors.” he says. “go to the dealer. they need to remove the exhaust system and rear suspension. but independent mechanics do. But check if your manufacturer has an exceptional warranty policy. “There are handicaps when you don’t have manufacturer support. “We keep at least five loaners available for customers. “Here. rushed jobs are perhaps the greatest contributor to crappy work in our industry. have loaner vehicles and plan service around their availability.” Prosser says. dealerinstalled Volvo parts have a lifetime warranty. usually around 50.000 miles. MECHANIC “If your car is new and under warranty. HOW TO FIND A MECHANIC 40 PROBLEM You’re on a tight schedule. like a BMW E36 power convertible top that stopped working.” Profenno says. “That’s six to eight hours of labor.” Instead of deliberately protracting the job to rack up the bill. and bodywork—that an independent will know to walk away. Massachusetts.WITH EZRA DYER Dealer vs. give the shop a small job.” PROBLEM Your late-model car has an electronics gremlin. specific model and ask for shop recommendations. .” If you can’t find a specialist in area. PROBLEM Your unusual car has an esoteric mechanical issue. You’re paying them to learn about your car. so we set it up so we can take our time.


but you can at least begin creeping out of the way if the light turns green while you’re mid-stow. The RF acts like a grand-touring coupe with the roof raised. You’re constantly shifting gears to keep the flat four singing. The latest electric Soul has roughly half the horsepower and less than half the battery capacity of the similarly priced Chevy Bolt—EPA-rated range is 93 miles to the Bolt’s 238. even with the top up. For 2017. And that’s okay. sort of like a miniature Porsche 911 Targa. the 93 miles of range is probably sufficient. camshafts. All of this clever engineering has a practical goal.Base price: $32. Then it’s still 200 horsepower. 1 2 3 2016 KIA SOUL EV+ 2017 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF 2017 SUBARU BRZ The Soul EV isn’t much different now than it was in 2014 when it first arrived. and sub-$200 lease deals are the norm. overpowered ambitions. tach flirting with 7. 2017: rugged yet voluptuous. which means it’s been superseded by the second generation of EVs. nobody’s keeping score. Leave the regenerative braking on all the time and your brake pads will probably last until the Singularity renders us all servants to the omniscient digital etherbrain.0-liter boxer four from 200 horsepower all the way up to.390 Included accessory for first 1. But even against the updated Nissan Leaf. the better to use the stability-control system’s new Track setting. even with the top down. free-revving. Hey. if the price is right. the trunk capacity is the same as the soft-top model. Its 210 lb-ft of torque makes it quick around town. which might sound slow. you might conclude that an iPhone 4 still works just fine. Well. and an open-air corner-carver with it retracted. Subaru gave the BRZ a new intake manifold. namely making the Miata a more pleasant machine with which to dispatch long-distance drives. the RF is fascinating to behold as the entire rear deck pops up and swallows the roof. not a killer quartermile time. Which means that the Soul is likely to be a bargain.000 Launch Edition Miatas: 42-mm Tourneau watch Base price: $36. We’ve seen Kia offer $3. But to what end? More expensive. Whatever the motive. Performance package features: Brembo brakes and Sachs performance shocks.000 cash on top of the $7. C O M VOLVO V60 CROSS COUNTRY T5 PLATINUM Volvo. The last hardtop Miata was almost identical to the ragtop: same silhouette. because the stubby shifter is delightful. the Soul emits a spaceship noise to warn pedestrians. and rear-wheel-drive. Inexplicably. the buttresses behind the seats remain. the 2016 EV Plus has all the goodness of an electric car. a considerable overhaul that brings the 2. When the roof panels descend. Kia can’t compete on specs. It’s eerily smooth and quiet. Like the Targa. and valves. If you dig the Targa look.000 rpm. just with better soundproofing and metal instead of cloth.315 Virtual-engine-sound system: Below 12 mph. Huge trunk.. Welcome to the car as an electronic device. Your two-year-old vehicle is as outdated as an iPhone 4. The new RF (retractable fastback) goes for a completely different roofline.800 1 2 3 Base price: $26. the BRZ has never been about the numbers. Subaru could have turbocharged the BRZ and given it 300 horsepower.500 federal EV credit. REVIEWS 42 GENESIS G80 Posh and quick. And perhaps it still might. Like the Miata. You can open and close at up to 6 mph. Unless you get the automatic transmission.. Still. a Maybach dressed as a pugnacious Korean wagon. And if you can plug in every night. When the top is down. with less accessible limits? Perhaps Subaru remembers the Japaneseperformance-car battles of the ’90s. It’s lightweight. when the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and Toyota Supra imploded under the weight of their own overcomplicated. Yes. then it’s a best-ofboth-worlds scenario.205 horsepower. . exhaust manifolds. tires howling. they slide behind the front seats and apparently into a wormhole. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . this BRZ reminds you that when you’re on the Tail of the Dragon. MERCEDES-AMG SL63 Heaters work until 90 mph. this is a car that delivers an experience. The soft-top is always loud. cylinder heads.

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And possibly save it. I assure you. the manufacturer. there’s the matter of performance. A 2017 Mercedes C300 costs $2. “Imagine that in phone terms. so think of your non-all-wheel-drive car as a bargain superleggera. The rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system in a 2017 Toyota Sequoia costs $1. remember that each extra inch of diameter means a corresponding reduction in tire sidewall height. But I might try to talk you out of allwheel drive. it’s hard to go wrong with the no-cost choices. all while undermining your car’s resale value. THE HEATED STEERING WHEEL The greatest option ever. You may want the 20-inch wheels. unlike swift tech companies. Your car will look right. When closed. One former Apple engineer told me that. When it comes to color. And for what? So you can drive up the side of the mountain in a snowstorm? You can do that anyway with the right set of winter tires. And you may wish to swaddle yourself with the Sakhir Orange leather seats ($950). adaptive cruise—these things will make your life easier. which have the added benefit of helping you steer and stop. auto manufacturers can take up to five years to develop and finally deploy a new system in a car that should be on the road for a decade. Aesthetics and ride quality are. your vehicle will include paint regardless of whether you pay extra. For all this. making your car lighter almost always costs money (a set of titanium Ferrari lug nuts can easily run more than $1. Besides. Other decisions aren’t. and it’s unlikely that the next owner will have a qualm with Alpine White. Ready to sign up? As a man whose overhead map lights fill up like miniature aquariums every time it rains. Bluetooth Apple Music sounds legit on a Bose. Maybe more.920. a low-pressure zone will attempt to vacuum your otic ganglion out through your ears. and save $1. Buy two 32-GB iPad Air 2s.” he said. subjective. I f I can convince just one person to avoid the sunroof. solar gain will make your interior into a sweat lodge. I’ve learned that there are options you should always buy. Yes. hang them off the back of the seats. If you have several to choose from— 44 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Which is why I use the Waze app.122. you know what else saves weight? Skipping the sunroof. This applies a thousandfold to DVD players. lest my car’s useless navigation system—part of a $4. Oh. any navigation system is a waste.000 package when I bought it—attempts to use its outdated maps to take me west via the Oregon Trail.750 Competition Package. And for wheels.000. we’ll charge you $1. riding on 30-profile tires that will do precious little to shield those beautiful wheels from even the shortest of curbs. and at some point. from 18 inches to 22 inches—go with the middle ground.000). I L LU S T R AT I O N BY DA N I LO AG U TO L I . the primary draw of the $4.WITH EZRA DYER The Guide to Car Options A PRIMER ON SELF-RESTRAINT. Let’s start with fundamentals: color and wheels. OPTIONS YOU DO WANT ELECTRONIC SAFETY Lane-keeping assist. or Burmester. C O M the Jaguar F-Pace’s wheels are available in four sizes. and others you should always decline. When open. Finally. KEYLESS START Not for the starting. Go awry with extras and you’ll saddle yourself with years of heartbreak and regret. but for the automatic unlocking. it’s tempting to pay $700 extra for the Austin Yellow Metallic on your new BMW M4. Because the sunroof is nonsense. Bang. “Would you buy a new phone that was designed five years ago and then keep it for ten years after that?” No. Choose wisely and your car will have everything you need for the lowest possible price. then my career has had some value. Speaking of which. THE BIG STEREO Digital source material is finally respectable enough to make a booming system worth it. you wouldn’t. and you won’t get body-slammed at every highway expansion joint. will cut a hole in your car’s roof and install a glass panel. of course. But you’ll wind up rocking a color scheme reminiscent of bad pea soup. I’ll never talk anybody out of buying the most powerful engine. this thing is definitely going to leak. Let me give you the sales pitch: We. BMW will be delighted. automatic braking.000 more with all-wheel drive and loses three miles per gallon on the highway. Like the sunroof. Bowers.

We had been into Volkswagens since high school. I felt bad about the labor and money that Dan had put into it until he said that he was happy to sell it to me. working in the garage of the first house I bought. You’re tired and know you’ve experienced some adrenaline.700 pounds. Every time he and his wife see me. That I wanted to rescue it from some 19-yearold wrapping it around a telephone pole. reading about them in European car magazines. That it would never be worth less than what I was paying for it. they say.1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTi OWNER: Christopher Dick SELLER: Dan Sather. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 45 . He had spent 20 years and $20. I love cars because I love driving. She understands what cars mean to people. barely road-legal tires. with low-profile. It’s 150 horsepower for 1. got married. But watching him work. I explained to my wife that it was an investment.000 D A N WA S L I V I N G with me. The roll cage and racing suspension make it extremely rigid. It was the kind of project I could never justify doing myself. That ’80s cars don’t have the failure rates like the ’60s or ’70s. He moved out. friend since high school L O C AT I O N : Minneapolis PURCHASE PRICE: $8. I don’t really care about going to a parking lot and having guys tell you how beautiful it is. and put the Rabbit up for sale.000 turning a rusted-out Volkswagen into this brand-new car from 1983. “It’s still in the family!” He’s happy knowing it’s still around. You know how you feel when you get off a roller coaster? That’s what it’s like when I drive it to work. and the Rabbit has brought me friends who are the same way. had kids. thinking about P H OTO G R A P H S BY J M U C K L E YEARS OWNED: Two how to make enough money to buy one. She grew up with a dad who made her push-start his Porsche 356 in a Chicago alleyway every spring. I was jealous.

752 pounds
96-hp 1400-cc V-twin

A Cruiser for a Superhero



here’s an evolution to riding that I always thought lay back and do a sudoku puzzle, listen to some music on the sound
went something like this: street bike to dual-sport, system, and make some sandwiches, all while taking in the scenery.
sport bike to sport cruiser, touring cruiser to some Wrong. The first day of the two-day trip was the worst weather—a
sort of silly trike, then perhaps you go back to a sport hard rain with thick fog. The MGX-21, equipped with multiple drivwhen you’re in heaven. It’s like the reverse ascent of ing modes—veloce (fast), turismo (touring), pioggia (rain), and venti
man. Your riding position starts upright then eventually turns to cappuccino—handled the roads well, but with a basically nonexistent
windshield, no lower fairing to protect my legs, and
the same slouch when you’re watching Dancing With
I figured I
nothing but pegs protecting my feet, the elements
the Stars in your comfy chair. But I’ve never been a
really beat me up. In strong winds the bat-wing hancruiser kind of guy. I can’t see myself trading in my
could lay
dlebar fairing and semi-enclosed carbon-fiber front
sport cruiser for a tugboat blaring Fleetwood Mac
back and do a
wheel tossed me around like a kitten in a dryer. Ever
from its stereo, no matter what stage of life I’m in.
sudoku puzzle, had rain seep into a full-face helmet before? How
I’ve been riding a lot lately, having clocked more
than 4,000 miles in two weeks, and, believe me, my
listen to some about having the water go through your rain gear and
straight up your leg to form a puddle in your crotch?
shoulders and hips and butt are feeling a new kind of
twinge. Suddenly the sloth-like cruisers that I cursed music, and make It’s a sick, sick form of torture.
Then the weather cleared up. The next day the
along the Blue Ridge Parkway a month ago looked
Guzzi cornered through some beautiful stretches of
like Swedish masseuses, so I thought a cruiser would
provide a comfortable break. When you first see it, the Moto Guzzi the White Mountain National Forest with ease. The 96-hp, 1400-cc
MGX-21 Flying Fortress ($21,990) looks like something custom- V-twin has 89 lb-ft of massive torque that’s ballsy and responsive.
made for Batman. It’s black—blacker than black actually, with a Even though the bike weighs 752 pounds and can be hard work
matte-black exhaust, rims, and a bat-like front fairing. The only color maneuvering around the parking lot, once you get it up to speed, it
on this eight-foot-four-inch-long bike is the brilliant red on the head- scribes an arc like a compass. Solid and confident, the torque pulls
ers and Brembo brakes. Its gas tank and enormous tapered hard cases you onto the straights with a heady surge of acceleration. It’s a joy to
drive, just check the weather first. I always used to wonder why guys
are, no surprise, carbon fiber.
I couldn’t wait to get the Fortress on the road. I decided to take it for had more than one bike. It seemed like a way to show people that you
a 650-mile ride to the Kancamagus Highway, stop for lunch in North had too much money. But now I realize it was just a way to be able to
Conway, New Hampshire, and head back. On a cruiser, I figured I could ride whenever you want. No matter how many clouds are in the sky.


FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . C O M



Chicago Doctor Invents Affordable Hearing Aid
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Three great rituals—working on motorcycles. Alabama. and getting haircuts—happen in one old building in Florence. Photographs by C A RY N O R T O N @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 49 . making coffee.

The coffee shop. Or Austin’s brother Garrett. runs Turbo. They’re doing for your neighbors. warehouse-looking building on Tennessee Street. You. It’s still 68 degrees at dusk. and every clean neck gets a final heavy drag of a steamed towel. But mostly they work. Alabama. the owner. refreshed. It works here because it works anywhere: good people doing good work that makes you feel good when you walk in and better when you leave. C O M conversation. Or Daniel. the dust of dry farm fields catching the last stretches of the southern sun. it’s called. but not much. Austin.A O M A J O R H I G H W AY will take you to Florence. freshly shorn—the guys are wizards with scissors and a razor—get your coffee. You pass an old. Always someone else. it says out front. But nope. When you leave. averaging fifteen over. They craft cup after perfect cup of coffee. You fly down a sparse two-lane to get there. Turbo Coffee. The barbershop. You sit. Or Sanford. You go in. What do you get for it? An escape from the drudgery of the everyday. It’s great. the Mission. They hang out in front of the coffee shop before they start cutting in the morning. here you are in Florence. same building: a genuine barber pole. It doesn’t cost much—maybe a little more than a barbershop where the guy’s half asleep. the guys are there. . You could use a trim. your doctor. A free coffee next door. It’s an every-three-or-fourweeks gift to yourself. Next door. This is their modern-day version of the old downtown gathering spot—the village hall. In those three or four weeks between your visits. there’s someone else waiting. They find breaks during the day to take their vintage motorcycles for a spin around town or futz with the engines in the garage. the students at nearby University of North Alabama the same thing they did for you. takes care of you. Austin’s other brother. Greasy Hands. Reese. Alabama. Friendly 50 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . It looks transplanted from some hipper neighborhood in a hipper city—Brooklyn. the general store. Maybe Austin Shirey. A clean cut. Those are the guys. so you keep the windows down.

Criquet shirt ($95). Levi’s jeans (his own). On Austin Shirey: Todd Snyder shirt ($158). so they’ll soak up every last minute beforehand hanging out front of Turbo. From left. Levi’s jeans (his own). A / THE SHOP Shirey and his brothers did a lot of the work on the shop themselves. Shirey keeps two vintage Hondas and a BMW he and Reese have been working on. on Garrett Shirey: Wilson & Willy’s shirt ($155). Levi’s jeans (his own).B PAGE 49: THE WARM-UP The guys don’t start cutting hair until 10 in the morning. B / BIKES FOR BENCHES In the garage that separates Greasy Hands from Turbo Coffee. Red Wing boots (his own). On Daniel Crisler: Schott jacket (his own). On Sanford Rodriguez: Shinola sweatshirt ($150). Converse sneakers ($75). @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 51 . pulling down the ’50sera drop ceiling to expose the raw beams underneath and painting the space.

Billy Reid jacket ($395). 52 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Wolverine boots ($400). Levi’s Made & Crafted jeans ($198).C / THE RIDE The University of North Alabama is just down the road out of town from Greasy Hands. perfect for an afternoon ride. D / UPSTAIRS The raw motor-oilsoaked floor of the space above the shop used to function as a showroom for an auto dealer. On Austin Shirey: Tailgate Clothing T-shirt ($32). On Rodriguez: Billy Reid jacket ($295). C O M . On Reese Shirey: Apolis jacket ($278).

C D @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 53 .


When I first went up high on this property for my look around. —Tom Chiarella @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 55 . a barn. You have to take a weekend and rewire the barn. I thought: It’s a compound. You’ll learn how to make repairs on refrigeration units. which stands on a hill. two cabins. When all of this stuff starts to fall together for you. You gotta get a generator. each and every inventory of all the corners of your land and yourself. shed roofs. But I feel I can make it out here. I don’t own any livestock. look to the horizon. From your promontory. in your house. in a little house on a broad creek. in your head and on your shelves. you’ll be able to stand at the highest point on your property and know what each building carries for you. rain gear. even in your apartment situation—just get up high—and look down at your life as a kind of map. beans. the distance makes your attachment to your possessions dispassionate. You gotta get a freezer.limb to the highest point on your land. I don’t grow any food. I used up all my firewood last year and haven’t replaced it. and watch for whatever trouble you might have to survive. On the far end of an empty country road. You’ll see that you have built survival into the place and into yourself. sharpening a chainsaw and an axe. You have to learn. You have to find a way to store water. at a great remove. but is it a place where you could survive? I live in Indiana. You have to master the small-scale solar install. Even though my best tool for survival is the epic snarling of my nasty-loyal yard dog. This is the world you created. You need flares. Self-sufficiency takes trade-offs and lessons years in the making. and forgotten tractors. the right kind at the right time of year. A house. to really master. kindling. Only then can you lift your eyes above your own stuff. this was all we needed. rigging a pulley system. I paused in the loft of my barn. How’d you do? Can what you’ve made provide beyond the next grocery run? Sure it’s a place you can live. and a garage. the edges are clear. Surely. But the list of structures turned out to be only the shell. You have to buy a goat. The perspective is military.

it can press eight quarts of soft fruits. $1. the internet.000 Shop Like the Amish! Lehman’s opened in 1955 as a hardware store in Kidron.Learn to grow and preserve your own food. Lehman’s has expanded to sell products through. Cast-Iron Cor n Sheller → Use this to remove the kernels from dried corn so they can be fed to livestock. $200 P H OTO G R A P H BY DY L A N G R I F F I N . such as grapes. $299 56 Ov en/Sun Food-Dry ing R ack → These solid oak and fberglass drying screens separate fruit and vegetable slices so they (the slices) can be dried. uncharacteristically. Use with the corn sheller to make cornmeal. C O M Sta rter Fruit Pr ess → Not only will it instantly turn any kitchen table into a tableau of American farmhouse charm. There’s no takeout in the middle of the woods. Di a m a nt Gr a in Mill → A cast-iron flywheel turns iron and steel burrs to grind grains into flour or cereal. into juice. Ohio. Today. Here are a few to pick up for your off-grid kitchen. selling equipment to northeast Ohio’s Amish community. You can use the cobs as frewood (frecorn?). $90 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S .

→ Try planting pear (rose family). Corn. then try to arrange the rest of the plants in a descending order from north to south. I could justify each of them.500—they’re incredibly efficient: A propane fridge requires a bit more than a pound of propane a day under normal operation. where it won’t block the sun from other vegetables. and pawpaw (custard apple family) trees together. plant asparagus. Here’s how to do it at home. F) Beds → Rule-of-thumb plants to keep together and apart: vegetables in the cabbage family (cabbage. create a functional support system. This ensures that no tall plants are blocking the sun from shorter crops. Try to rotate your vegetables each year. and anise hyssop can be used for tea. I have half a mind to throw it on top of our fire pit and sear some steaks when the weather improves. The crops. Then plant pole beans and squash in the same bed. making it more like a sauté pan.75-inch skillet. are complementary. slightly sloped sides. the cast iron holds a consistent temperature. broccoli. Unlike traditional cast-iron pans. cornelian cherry (dogwood family). because I know the pan can take the heat. —Wylie Dufresne You Need Rather than a compressor. as American Indians did. but won’t spread disease to each other. E) Thr ee Sisters → Plant corn on the eastern and western edges of the garden. I L LU S T R AT I O N BY J O N AT H A N C A R L S O N D) Bet w een-bush pl a nts → In between the bushes. Best of all. it comes in 12 colors. and yarrow.A If You Bring Only One Pan B C D F E The Grow-Forever Garden Connor Stedman. but won’t do well with strawberries. this one has shallow. comfrey brings up nutrients from deep soil and is medicinal for burns. brussels sprouts) like leafy greens and beets. which makes it a piece of equipment everyone in the family can get behind. which allows for uniform cooking. A) Tr ees → Place trees on the northern side of your garden. which grows when the berries aren’t ripe. Wild senna adds nitrogen to the soil and attracts beneficial insects. Peas don’t get along with garlic. an agroforestry specialist and ecologist at garden design firm AppleSeed Permaculture. I’m going to pack just one: my Le Creuset enameled cast-iron 11. using reactions between ammonia and hydrogen gas to A Propane remove heat from the interior. All three produce edible fruit. The problem with being a cook and also a gearhead who believes in having the right tool for the job is that somehow I’ve ended up with 47 pots and pans. Once the thing heats up (this takes a while—it’s a Btu hog). but when I start homesteading. and Nanking cherry. and even roast whole chickens. tomatoes. uses a farming practice called permaculture that exploits natural relationships between plants to create a long-lasting garden that will grow without fertilizer. I’ve used it to make pancakes. a tiny propane flame drives the refrigeration cycle. C) Bushes → Try highbush blueberries. and potatoes shouldn’t be planted together because they don’t make sense geometrically. And Fridge though they can be expensive—a 21-cubic-foot model might run as much as $2. and can use even less if your kids don’t stand in front of it looking for snacks with the door open. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 57 . gooseberries. B) Understory → Directly underneath the trees. which is medicinal for colds. known as the three sisters. fry eggs.

My next would come twenty-five years later. C O M Casing Pitless adapter Water to house (below frost line) Static level of H2O Bedrock Pump (generally installed 10 to 15 feet from the bottom of the well) Water source I L LU S T R AT I O N BY J O N AT H A N C A R L S O N . If memory serves. At the time. Though I was too young to grasp the implications. It was lit by smoky kerosene lanterns. the late-nineties price was $8 per foot. my parents hauled totes of water to the cabin in the backseat of their rust-bitten Volkswagen Beetle. but I remember clearly the day the rig arrived to set its bit. that pump was my first experience with water that hadn’t come from a municipal authority. At first. and we bathed in a metal washtub filled with water heated atop an old wood-fired cookstove. we’d 58 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . and like all drillers. The cabin featured neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. Modern homesteader BEN HEWITT faced the greatest obstacle to living far from utility lines: How do you get water? hen I was one. my father rigged up a hand pump and managed to pull water from a stream nearly a half-mile distant and at least a hundred vertical feet below the cabin site. you’re on your own. When they tired of this. For whiskey.500 to our names. we chose to drill a well. after my wife. Penny. Penny and I had $1. my family moved from a large farmhouse in northwestern Vermont into a small cabin my parents had built at the edge of a nearby hardwood forest. and I closed on forty remote acres of our own. ours charged by the foot. Seeking a more permanent solution than my father’s stream-fed hand pump. He was understandably proud.We can teach you how to procure water for your family. Cap The How and Where of Wells Ground level Forget Wi-Fi. It has been another two decades since then. If we didn’t strike water by 150 feet or so (we needed a small reserve to pay for the steel casing that would line the well from surface to bedrock).

that’s for sure. I threw a couple of T-bones on the grill and got my sons to move the picnic table from the backside of the house to the front. or how much water there is to be found. it now costs approximately $12 per foot to drill. as did our coach. Penny got the You Need A Sand-Point Well Despite the modern technology. If you have a reasonably high water table and sandy-gravel soil. Penny and I drilled yet another rural well. I don’t know what I’d expected. Nor had drilling costs magically defied the one-way rule of inflation: In rural Vermont. resides in the middle path. one nearby property owner had drilled six hundred feet without hitting water. Worse yet. the rig looked prehistoric. For starters.” he said to Penny and me. per Environmental Protection Agency statistics. modern side tables. it stood forty feet in the air. thirsty beasts capable of drinking thirty gallons a day apiece. Can I say with certainty that divination produced our desired result? I cannot. My confidence increased when my L-rods crossed mere minutes after I started off on my walk around the property. jettisons 4. That’s all I need to know. Otherwise. Three weeks later. a Brooklyn-based blogger. But it’s the best well in town. It felt almost as if I could not have stopped them from crossing if I’d tried. though I couldn’t help considering that they’d both seen me go first. We’d have plenty to spare. “It’s coming in too damn fast. Sleeves installed over the short end of the L allowed the rods to rotate freely in our hands. we ate steak. Last summer. My rods had crossed entirely unbidden by human force. We’ve got water. So we hired a dowser. you’ll want to be conscious of what you buy—items in nonrecyclable packaging are no-nos. before handing us each a pair of foot-long copper L-rods fashioned out of wire. high-flow hydraulics— it looked prehistoric. Keep pounding until the point penetrates about ten feet past the water table. That night. you’ll want to recycle or compost absolutely anything you can. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 59 . The drill carriage was mounted on a lift. It’d be another day before the casing was fully installed. What’s the closest anyone’s gotten to creating no trash at all? Astonishingly close. one can choose to believe or choose not to. Still.have to pull the plug. barely sufficient for our needs. my career as freelance writer and small-scale farmer has ensured that I cannot. I want your energy in it. Lauren Singer.000. like a dinosaur ready to chew up my yard. The sand-point method can save you thousands compared to having a well drilled professionally.” the rig operator told me. a four-hundred-foot well would cost us $6. including a small herd of cattle. it punched into a vein that shot past at approximately fifty gallons per minute. we keep livestock. I wanted to look out on our good fortune while I ate my steak. Styrofoam blocks might make for stylish lightweight headgear. Besides.4 pounds of trash a day. and delivered only three or four gallons a minute. At 165 feet. the bit struck a vein of water that produced thirty gallons per minute. They absolutely had. Better yet. but that leaves little wiggle room for times of heavy use or variations in flow. she drinks her iced coffee through a reusable straw and makes her own toothpaste. according to the well maps provided by the state. the average American family of four uses four hundred gallons of water a day. A flagged stake was planted.500 before we installed a pump. same result. like a dinosaur ready to chew up my yard. though it certainly takes an effort that most folks aren’t prepared to expend. including the casing and well cap. on the other hand. the rig arrived.” That evening. ostensibly in response to the presence of potable water. At a hundred feet. Alas. Obviously. “I’m going to have you find the water. If the four hundred gallons a day statistic is correct. think of a way to reuse it. a sort of water psychic who locates ideal drilling locations by watching the movement of copper rods. but it works. Great Unknowns of Self-Sufficiency! A sand-point is basically a spear tip with a metal screen behind it. The average American. Of course. came to around $1. by leveling jacks that hoisted the rig’s front wheels off the ground. The dowser arrived on a late-summer morning. When raised. and used PC towers serve as sleek. Again we faced the obstacle that all property owners do when they drill for water: There is no way to know with certainty how deep the water lies. I’m not sure exactly how fast it’s flowing. and the six-inch steel casing is $17 a foot. “Truth is. I wish I could report that this time around money was not an issue. And it’s cheap. digital display. Despite the modern technology—diesel engine. The agony. Hadn’t they? In matters of faith. to serve a house we are building on a hundred acres in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom. has managed to fit several years’ worth of waste into a single mason jar. the total bill. assuming a hundred feet of casing. According to the EPA. we’d shelled out $250 for the dowser’s time. and another week before a friend and I dropped in the pump and ran water to the house. Besides. At those rates. a mere third of a gallon per minute is all that’s necessary to supply the average family of four. Singer is one of several young bloggers dedicated to sharing strategies to cut down on waste. I’ve found. It’s slow and grueling. exactly—flowing robes? a flower crown?—but I was nonetheless pleased that he arrived in a commonplace Toyota Tacoma and wore the utilitarian garb of a rural working person. This despite numerous studies clearly demonstrating that the practice is no better than a coin toss. Compounding the problem was the fact that many of the neighboring wells ran to four hundred feet. pound that sucker into the ground using either a slide hammer or a drop weight and pulley on a tripod. Still.

especially when you’re growing food. It doesn’t look like it. a fat. 2 1 3 3) Cup a nemometer a nd w ind va ne → The anemometer will give you wind speed. Two dozen black socks washed in the EasyGo took two full days to dry on a shower-curtain rod. use a clothesline. such as the EasyGo Washer mobile hand-powered washing machine. Record temperature for a few years to get the average first freeze. These register electrical resistance and are very accurate. Stuff it with clothes. 2) Ther mometer.a nd h ygrometer → This will give you dew point.. High dew points at low temperatures can protect your plants from frost damage. 4 With Ginger Zee Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight chief meteorologist Ginger Zee grew up on a four-acre farm that ran on geothermal power and a small woodstove.. it’s the little things that are the most difficult. and start sloshing. Enjoy the therapeutic slushing. Without a spin cycle. Give it a full turn. the highest temperature at which water vapor will become liquid. Or mostly done. will last longer than a liquid barometer. → Shell out for a thermistor thermometer. Two minutes in soapy water. even with the window open.When you’re living far from civilization. By measuring both snowfall and the water equivalent of snow (use your rain gauge. then back again. Mark the location with a bright flag. 5 You Need A Manual Washing Machine Even if you rarely use it. below). and you’re done. 5) A neroid ba rometer → An aneroid barometer. Strong winds at night can prevent frost from sitting on—and damaging—crops. I L LU S T R AT I O N S : J O N AT H A N C A R L S O N . two minutes in a fresh water rinse.. Depending on what side of a storm you’re on. air pressure will drop or rise as it approaches. then a full rotation. add two glugs of camping soap. paint it white. and place it on even.. How to Predict Weather in Your Backyard 4) Four-inch r ain gauge → Recording total rainfall over time will help you predict your property’s threshold for how much rain is too much (for example: at what point your basement will flood). TO O L S : DY L A N G R I F F I N . open ground next to a vertical meter stick. 1) Snow boa r d → Cut a sixteen-inch square out of plywood. a hard yank in the opposite direction. you’ll be able to tell how much water your crops are getting in the winter. If climate permits. You’ll need the following tools. she says. Or plan your underwear schedule accordingly. . but a toddler could muscle the handle. while the vane will show wind direction. which uses a vacuum box to measure pressure. It’s important to record and understand your homesite’s microclimate. your clothes will be fairly soggy. crankable egg. which is subject to evaporation. is easily worth $55 just so you don’t have to dunk your drawers in the sink during a power outage.

heavier version of a standard claw hammer coming. Get one with a deep socket—the metal cup at the top of the blade into which the handle fits. Ca nt hook → If you’re gonna be lighting fires. P H OTO G R A P H / I L LU S T R AT I O N BY T E E K AY N A M E Long-h a ndle No. you’re gonna be moving logs. Use this to scare off potential mischief-makers. It’s all in a day’s work for old No. or clear a tree that fell across your quarter-mile-long driveway. put out a brush fire. and chop through nails and small screws. or to dispatch rabbits digging up your vegetable patch and eat ’em for dinner. make fence posts. This will make it nearly indestructible. chop through ice and snow. Fr a ming h a mmer → Nails will cower when they see this bigger. The unbreakable solidsteel model from Estwing is a good bet.The Ultimate Off-the-Grid Toolbox 12-gauge shotgun → Off-grid means on your own. these pliers can make electrical repairs. Linesm a n pliers → Also called side cutters for the blades on its jaws. cut fence wire. Your back will last twice as long if you use one of these grabbers to do it. Ch a insaw → Use it to cut firewood. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 61 . 2 roundpoint shov el → Dig a ditch. 2.

Cost varies based on whether there is road or trail access to tower location and how far the tower is from your home. inverter. switchgear. a distribution panel.How to Make Your Own Power Set up one of these systems. Gener ator → Location: Level ground near the house → Equipment: Generator.000. The Sol a r → Location: South. for up to a year. charge controller. and interconnection to a battery. → Cost: $400. turbine disconnect. panel. R I G H T: P H OTO G R A P H BY DY L A N G R I F F I N .to 100-foot tower.000 to $36. and switchgear. A 100-gallon or larger liquefied petroleum gas tank.600. available at acredesigns. *Costs do not reflect tax or other incentives or locally required permits. Ecocapsule Shortcut Shack Acr e Designs → Best for: Design enthusiasts → Comparable to: A four-star resort → Coolest feature: It combines all your utilities into a single appliance. storing it in battery banks that can operate for up to a week without sunlight. electronics. switchgear. and the shape maximizes collected rainwater. A 2.000 to $30. A premade. which includes an electrical panel. and then bellow like Zeus every time you turn on the coffeemaker. inverter.000 to $500. a 7. available at 62 ZeroHouse → Best for: People who wish the Jetsons were real → Comparable to: A motel in Japan → Coolest feature: High-efficiency solar panels produce all of the zeroHouse’s electrical power. → Output: 7. valves and pressure gauges. It powers itself through solar cells that cover the roof and a retractable 750-watt wind turbine. breakers. and a whole-home waterfiltration system and emergency shutoff.5-kw → Cost: About $10. set atop an 80.700-gallon cistern collects rainwater from the roof. available at ecocapsule.5-kw → Cost*: Anywhere from $8. the ZeroBox. plumbing.000. Lowoutput or variable-output systems may require a battery bank. C O M Ecoca psule → Best for: People who don’t shower much → Comparable to: Wrapping your comforter around yourself like a burrito → Coolest feature: This pod can survive anywhere. which built-in filters make safe for consumption. Don’t want to build your own cabin in the woods? You don’t have to.5-kw → Cost*: $36. → Output: 7. turbine.5-kw → Cost*: $25. an energy recovery ventilator. and electronics. off-grid-compatible house can function wherever you decide to call home. whether there is road or trail access. Micro Hy dro → Location: A water source with a vertical drop and a steady flow measured in gallons per minute → Equipment: An intake gate called a FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Propane. high ground → Equipment: A wind turbine.000. and how the turbine will be sheltered. breakers. → Cost: Approximately $87.000 on average. inverter. → Output: 7. but it can vary based on distance to the Sm a ll Wind Tur bine → Location: Breezy area. and batteries. depending on the length of your penstock. and batteries.000.000 to $40.000. while a digester unit under the house processes organic waste into dry compost. depending on whether it’s a rooftop or a ground array.2-kilowatt inverter. → Cost: Approximately $350. without connection to anything. → Output: 7.or west-facing rooftop or unwooded area → Equipment: At least 24 solar panels.

FYI: Most Android phones will need Google Chromecast to play video. Stand it up on a Joby GorillaPod ($30). which requires extra power to run. On a laptop with a CD drive. connect two 20-watt Goal Zero solar panels ($200 apiece) to each other. download an app called HandBrake (free) to turn those disks into video files and save them to your laptop. Set up your home theater → The AAXA P300 ($400) can display an image up to 120 inches. → The. or Amazon. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 63 .legally complicated way: Travel back to the early 2000s and find DVDs. but a full battery will only run for about an hour. Google. Three to five hours of sun will fill this battery with enough power to charge a projector and your phone or tablet. but a 128gig Google Pixel ($749) or iPad Air ($499) will also work. 2 Sync movies onto a big smartphone or a tablet → A 256-gig iPhone 7 Plus ($969) is ideal. 1 “Procure” movies → The legal way: Buy movie files from iTunes. Connect your phone to the projector using an HDMI cable ($5) and an adapter ($50). Press play. and plug them into a Sherpa 100 battery ($300) with an optional inverter ($50) that can run powerhungry devices that have two..Now that you have the basics taken care of.or three-prong plugs. A library works. P H OTO G R A P H / I L LU S T R AT I O N BY T E E K AY N A M E 3 Create power 4 → During the day.. what is there to do out here? The Ultimate Off-Grid Entertainment System Because a man can only play so much candlelit Pictionary. The Sherpa with the optional inverter will get through about ten ninety-minute movies before everything runs out of juice.

a sort of thought experiment about what it would be like to abandon modern convenience entirely in the service of raising a self-sufficient brood. “I had no idea what it was. Rangers were repopulatentertain themselves ing the lake for some sort of scientific purpose. “I played football. his single mom sometimes slaughtered a goat. which is true. sounds where you’re convinced it can’t productive day in the have come from the animal you’re wilderness looking at. It was like bayahhhooooyaaaahhhh [Ross makes an incredible noise that is a cross between a holler. were based on his life.” Matt Ross also appeared in American Psycho and Face/Off. which was released nationwide in July. inspired him to write and direct Captain Fantastic. frivolous technology executive Gavin Belson. “Just going to a movie took an hour and a half to get there. at all. But for all the challenges. neither of which. California. “One time.” Ross himself is less wealthy. Ross’s experiences living off the grid.” river or lake Another time. and that was really hard. Ross has a degree of creativity that came in large part from his early freedom. that such a life can go dangerously off-track. Now. but he still had to do “intense chores.” he says. hauling bows and arrows. The borderline-illegal parenting is a little scary.” he says. I remember hiking and hearing this otherworldly sound. He lives with his wife and two children in a duplex in Berkeley. but what Ross remembers → Go for a hike is that it was raining fish. Ross’s own childhood may have been less militant than the one depicted in Captain Fantastic. and → Set the kids up to a plane swept down and dropped live fish so that they can fish into it. but I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do. The film. track animals.” track and hunt A Family Itinerary . make fire. and they are making the Matt Ross’s recomstrangest sound. jumping fences. Without access to TV or video games. It’s an outgrowth of the way he himself was raised: in a series of communal societies deep in the woods of northern California and Oregon. where he learned to hunt. starring Viggo Mortensen. 64 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . and then I come up a ridge and see hundreds of deer. Matt Ross plays smug. “You have a pretty rich fantasy life when you → Teach the kids to live like that. he woke up at dawn and walked to a lake. → Swim in a mountain a moo. and a bay].How to Entertain Your Kids in the Woods With Matt Ross n HBO’s Silicon Valley (returning in April). When local hunters hadn’t delivered venison for a while. and it was literally called The General Store.” He remembers chopping wood into kindling in the rain for “something like six hours. We were thirty or forty minutes away from the general store. “At one point we lived seven miles from a cement road. at the very least. he and his brother used to wander through uninhabited woodland for hours at a time. won Ross a best director award at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.” he says. or. It was one of those mendations for a fun. Ross says. and often worries about how much time his kids spend in contact with nature. and we weren’t. more sensible. C O M All of this sounds like kids don’t much appreciate growing up far from civilization. build shelter.” He also felt a sense of isolation that he tried to show in the film. and pretending to hunt. a film about a man who devotes his life to raising a family of six in the Washington wilderness. presumably. and read stars. is an extreme exaggeration of Ross’s childhood. a man given to such statements as “I don’t know about you people. but that was the only connection I had to the town. I felt like I wanted to be around kids my own age. along with the questions about his own children. Ross often has to explain to his own kids that being bored means you’re simply not trying hard enough to entertain yourself. but the movie.

A horse or cow (or any other reasonably robust creature—pet alligator. when the beach on Cape Cod is a much better idea? Think of the lobsters! My Side of the Mountain By Jean Craighead George → A twelve-year-old boy lives off the land in a hollowedout tree while his family is surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing. Solar’s initial startup costs may be higher ($25.” @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 65 .” Could you power any thing with a horse? Absolutely—they don’t call it horsepower for nothing. and access to a few books. either to buy (about $3. stationery. a wheelbarrow. to foresee the heat and thirst of July now in January. and so did not have to work to get them. it does contain some practical advice. but decent horses aren’t free. nor milk. Though most of the guidance in Walden..000 or more).” By Mark Sundeen → A new nonfiction collection about modern pioneers trying to find the “simple life” in a complicated world. Pl a n a hea d → “While yet it is cold January. Gathering and Cooking in the Wild By Dave Canterbury → Because you can only eat so many carrots. nor fresh meat. and in this country. nor coffee. impressively. lamplight. you have the indelicate issue of the horse’s substantial “exhaust. of course. which may be used immediately or stored in rechargeable batteries. maybe don’t choose the Alaskan backcountry.000) or to feed (close to $4. Problem is. as I find by my own experience. a few implements. Bonus: Will help you avoid giving everyone botulism! Great Unknowns of Self-Sufficiency! P H OTO G R A P H BY P H I L I P F R I E D M A N The Unsettlers: In Sea rch of the G ood Life in Today’s A merica Pack w isely → “At the present day. and can all be obtained at a trifling cost. Ba ll Blue Book Guide to Preserving → The gold standard for preserving fruits and veggies for midwinter consumption. Read it on your Apple watch. → Why do novels about homesteading always take place in the woods. nor butter. And then. the gambit is inefficient from both energy production and economic standpoints. The Bushcr a ft Field Guide to Tr a pping. caffeinated goat. and for the studious. for one. and snow and ice are thick and solid. Solar power. is philosophical in nature. etc.” Get up ea r ly → “I would advise you to do all your work if possible while the dew is on. a knife.You Need Books Walden the SelfSufficiency CliffsNotes Henry David Thoreau was tired of life’s meaningless distractions 150 years before smartphones. is a better bet.000 a year for twenty-five to thirty years). an axe.” Don’t get a hea d of yourself → “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. a spade. Into the Wild The Outermost House By Jon Krakauer By Henry Beston → What many people learn from this true story of survival gone wrong in the Alaskan backcountry: If it’s your first time surviving on your own. etc.” Br ing a ch a ir → “None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin. his memoir about living alone in a cabin in the woods.) can be suitably motivated to walk on a treadmill attached to a generator in order to yield electricity. rank next to necessaries. even pathetically wise. the prudent landlord comes from the village to get ice to cool his summer drink.” R educe your r eli a nce on luxur ies → “I did not use tea. malingering teenager.


page 67 . Montana.By Smith Henderson Photographs by Morgan Levy The author and his father on an impromptu bow hunt near Lolo Creek.

got home from work. The character at the center lade of burning embers the size of fists onto the cedar-shake roof of of my novel bears no resemblance to my father. After Ron. C O M . haze a Montana day. There’s always a garden. The bedrooms and a patio. Eventually. ing no one knew that. But that mornfew years ago. coped and notched at a log-home outfit in the nearby Bitterroot ValI visit my father in Montana a couple times a year. A deck off the upstairs master blaze. Fourth of July Creek. was close. and deadfall as it made its way toward them. but it could keep the flames from running question can be traced back to my family of pioneers. its complicated antagonist. there’d been a lightning strike somewhere above the stretch of residences on Lolo Creek where Ron and his neighbors lived. People often ask placent about wildfire. He would usually run out and throw a couple more up before bed. of course. For me. The large flagThe Henderson homesite looks different now. however. the In a few hours most of it would be on fire. all around. and the timbered story. he felt calm here. Another small mountainside beyond. The pasture that ran up to the two-lane highway was drives a novelist is a central query. The would come out to watch him put a log on the structure before suphillsides were scarred with dark stands of dead timber per. Right: A compound bow like the Mathews MQ32 uses a system of cams and pulleys to make shooting easier and more accurate. tion. cowboys. A book is made out of to another part of the yard. underand bunkhouse. The vaulted living room housed a fifteentrouble than it was before. and make a mountain valley smell like a campsite. the house was a grand achievement. Ron had assembled it himself some thirty years people. an isoBut Ron had grown up in these woods. but the sun was bright and warm. Ron fifty-mile-per-hour winds. Jan. It’s set back from the highfoot Christmas tree every year. my dad.” he said. who had previously shared with his wife and their five kids—my brothers live down the road. wanted to pack up and be ready to skedaddle. ranchers. we all drove up to his property on a beautiful fall day. as Ron’s wife. a nagging queslikewise getting a good soak from large sprinklers on rebar tripods. and loggers. I and sisters and me. “We’ll wait until the ash is me if the book is based on my famfalling. buying and hauling the logs with his truck and having them have to ask such a question. He’d been watering constantly for the your experiences and your people. which would come to be known officially as the West Fork II bedroom looked out over the property—the old barn fire. ley. up to the front door. The most recent time I visited. In the end. driven by forty. It was an upgrade from the cramped two-bedroom cabin that he mostly to spend time with him and see my kids. of miles. but he was not alarmed. For two days it had fed on the fuel of dry grass. the “Schoolhouse. They were the kind of As for the house. that question was whether it’s better to A moat of wet grass might not stop a forest fire from sending a fusilbe free or good for society.Ron Henderson could smell smoke as he walked out to his pickup on a Monday morning in the summer of 2013. living alone in the wilderness. Blowups as far away as Canada or Idaho can waft hundreds Above: “Doing firewood” at the Lolo Creek homestead.” had started downstream. the water heated but it’s even better suited to withstand all manner of by a large stone fireplace. This time. but the his log home. I published a novel. There’s a windmill that 68 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . two would combine into an inferno that would burn ten thousand acres. There were three ground-floor way. but what past few days. stone floor was warmed by a grid of hot-water pipes. which has. There’s no such thing as a western Montana summer without the smell of a forest fire. Ron didn’t worry about the smoke. ily in Montana—a simple question Ron eyed the tobacco tinge in the sky as he moved the sprinklers with a complicated answer. the chicken coop. And though he wasn’t comlated survivalist. fire. of whom you’d before.

Mostly they watched the thick column of smoke. He does more actual work in a weekend than a roomful of TV writers do in a month. I would find myself with the San Andreas Fault (the likely epicenter) to my north and east. He looked at the sky toward the house. and he delights in telling me how he and my stepbrother used his tractor to hold it up and situate it. “this is where I’m headed if the world is ending. Why? Because in the event of an earthquake. He fires up the chainsaw. The woods have game. I joke that I want to make notes of the moment and sit down on the log while he works. He looked at the pines in the @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 69 . a sound like the high whine of a jet engine. overtake the sky. he saws the rounds and uses a powerful splitter to portion them as easy as pulling apart an orange. I ask him about the generator nearby. We talk about the fire. e asks me to help him chop a little firewood. and millions of panicked Los Angelenos to my south and west. BLACK AND OMINOUS AS A THUNDERHEAD. You sort of wonder. The fire was inhaling the wind. a half-dozen freezedried meals and a large hunting knife.” I say. I hope that’s cool. and everyone who lives here is a fine shot. how you came to be this person. Adam. My dad could hear the fire’s approach. a Jetboil MiniMo camp stove.” he says. In a citywide Los Angeles emergency I expect to be utterly screwed. The column of smoke had blotted the sun by the time they got to the house. black and ominous as a thunderhead. that he had to go. There’s a root cellar and generator. I have a Marmot Limelight tent. a Coleman lamp. It is self-sufficiency in the extreme. when you’re me. a writer in Los Angeles who reads and daydreams for a living. can pump water from a well in the event of a power outage.” I say. I think: It always seemed like he worked so hard. The fire had crested the ridge across Lolo Creek. It was warm.” “That’s the plan. My father and I have a cup of coffee and talk about the family.splitting maul. As he saws into the log. “Just a heads-up. stove that he installed as well. It was like driving into hell. The man loves making a shelter. and a first-aid kit in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that will almost certainly not have a full tank of gas when I need one. on the day of the fire. Now. He needed to corner the thing with a huge beam to account for the winter snow load. Prepared I am not. Pretty soon he’s showing me the addition on the outbuilding. We stack the wood under the new wood shelter my dad built after the fire and fill the new furnace—a shed-size freestanding wood- THEY SPED UP THE CANYON. “You’re not a carpenter. Los Angeles couldn’t be culturally or logistically farther from western Montana. but it’s fun to be out with him today. “Yeah. My dad jumped out of his loader and told his boss. I jokingly complain about it—the way I did as a kid. You could live here alone forever. Sometimes I think that I simply sought an easier life than my dad has. throwing the cut wood into the back of his pickup and then unloading it and stacking it at the cabin. but growing dark. OVERTAKE THE SKY. There’s a creek nearby.” bout 1 p. Jan said she was racing home. my father had finished loading the trucks at his job and was sorting and decking the processed logs when his phone rang. I keep a gallon of water in the fridge because warm tap water freaks me out. It was a much-reviled chore. We used to have to “do firewood” every weekend. I have a pair of good boots. an instinct that has led to tree stands and lean-tos and even a log house that will one day stand in the path of a forest fire.” he says. and Ron is your father. WATCHING THE THICK COLUMN OF SMOKE. He used to suffer my complaints while he swung the IT WAS LIKE DRIVING INTO HELL . eh?” he says. “I should probably get it hooked up. mentally ticking off the other more urgent things to do around the property. a concrete base and hip roof that extends off the left side and wraps around the back. I ask how hard it was to get that beam in place. stocked with trout. where he’d been watching a plume of slowly burgeoning smoke. “Measure twice and cut once. growing. looking for panic in the faces of the people driving the other way.m. Both men loaded into my dad’s pickup and sped up the canyon.

though. Adam began to hitch up the fifth wheel to it. Mariners plying the Great Lakes use a ZIP code assigned to a ship that cruises the Detroit River. he tells me how he once applied for a mountain-goat license and rode horseback up the south fork of Lolo Creek to Snowslide meadows to hunt for one. “They’re a pretty sturdy animal. They pressed on. You know where to e go out for a hike with his bow. He felt no fear. They had a way out. but you may also encounter them in such seemingly civilized states as California. and he got a second shot off. The goat piled right up. It’s like the challenge of dogfighting in an airplane. The first time I went hunting with him on opening day. They had the truck. Nearly everything you do for fun out here meets an ulterior need. I ask him about a story my grandmother told me. and everybody in the family eats elk steak and elk burgers. It’s the same all over the state. known in the family as “the goat-hunting story. It’s crazy—a test at the very edge of your skills—but it’s fun to try. C O M . He and his friend Joey glassed a few on the cliffs and decided they could manage an afternoon hunt. the pines near the house. One route in Alabama is served entirely by boat. Bow hunting is my father’s passion. hen my father gets his annual elk. and then silently aiming a Mathews MQ32 compound bow with Ron Henderson built this woodshed. But calling in an enormous beast with a bugle while slathered in stinging elk urine. heart is well-nigh impossible.” he says. Jan and her granddaughter were already hurrying important papers. The fire was here. but he wasn’t really thinking about it. but my father couldn’t see what it was from where he stood on the roof. Finally in a high. guns. by Great Unknowns of Self-Sufficiency! 70 Is there anywhere the post office won’t deliver? Not really. He only had iron sights and Joey offered his aught-six with a scope. taking turns climbing and passing the rifles up. installed the freestanding woodstove next to seventy pounds of draw weight to hit an elk in the it. and rangefinder. the GPS. they found four goats munching beargrass. It wasn’t long before they realized that the “benchy-looking spots” were in fact pretty steep and the steep spots were cliffs. steep draw with little runnels of snowmelt. who dwell in the depths of the Grand Canyon. “Oh. And members of the Havasupai Native American tribe. Every one of those people was looking to get an elk for the garage freezer. but the animal took off as though unharmed. and chopped all this wood himself. You hike where you saw huckleberries last year and bring a bucket in case the bears haven’t found them. Such arrangements are common in Alaska. They go the literal extra mile whenever possible. pictures.270 Remington pump. though if you live in one of nearly 400 out-of-the-way ZIP codes. Jan was running stuff to the trailer and then she was leaving. binoculars. we watched all the cars heading up the highway in the predawn to join us. He’s a crack shot. He passed. My father expects to get an elk every year and always does. he puts the meat in the freezer. and North Carolina. I want to see the whole getup—the camo. I must’ve been in the eighth grade. The whole scene was surreal. My dad had never shot with a scope before. Maryland. “When was this?” I ask. way of explaining why it took two shots. my dad took aim with his . or writing a novel.pasture.” As he drives. Something exploded on the neighbor’s property. with his rifle. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S .300 Winchester Magnum from a couple hundred yards is one thing. Hitting a bull elk with his . you may have to pitch in by collecting your mail from a local post office. and clothing out to her Jeep. as they edged above the tree line. get their bills and birthday cards via mule train. It was just a matter of doing what you could before the fire arrived.” he says. Virginia. passing vessels lower a bucket to receive mail. or surfing a forty-foot wave. The first shot hit the goat right behind the shoulder. It’s hard to fault the good ole USPS. After confirming one of the older goats was indeed a billy. The pump was quick to chamber another cartridge.

which involves using a kind of blowtorch to heat up the sufficiency easier. You manage the fear of creative work by engaging with the next closest thing. But that’s the thing: @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 71 . and the other with his laptop. a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. situating the tripods on the spine quence of ability. And if my father’s lucky enough to get his bull. My father is changing the oil on his Nowadays. elk cattle call. flying at 305 feet per lights up his face. But step by step. The man loves building a shelter. all kinds of modern devices make selflogging truck. (Say that five times fast. The phrase “adjacent possible” appeared most aptly in a 2010 essay by Steven Johnson in The Wall Street Journal called “The Genius of the Tinkerer” wherein he writes: The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future. it looks downright impossible. he said. I wasn’t sure that the lecture was right for him. your children. During the lecture. Here’s an example: It’s winter. we kids are digging It becomes a kind of game. one independence. you never have to look at the terrifying whole. rations from the pantry. For the longest time. the more you look for purpose and efficiencies. you can the leftovers and put them the apocalypse or whatever—but that he is excited about what opporin the root cellar. I’ve always got a project. igloo. Take the old man’s compound bow: engine in the freezing temperatures. Abumrad explained that one can navigate the emotionally treacherous waters of creativity by identifying the “adjacent possible. And it or jam everything you can’t give away. work to build a log house or put in a root cellar or install a shed-size external woodstove or hunt with a bow or go after a mountain goat. He loses I had much of my father in me—just look at the pair of the barn and the coop and even the tractor. a handmade knife. up the ladder. hovering on the edges of the present state of things. He is always tinkering—playing with a step just beyond the Clockwise from top: The author and his father trade their bows for rifles. To me. Even if you is not that my father is afraid of what the future holds—prepping for make a pot of stew.” Instead of allowing all their options to paralyze them. Still. chainsaw winch can drag the field-dressed thing So what’s the adjacent possible when the house you built stands in out of some pretty nasty scrub up to the logging road the path of a wildfire? When your fort isn’t a fort.I’m exactly like him. When you harvest your garden. ing the memories of your family. flange outward when they hit their mark— and the blowtorch and he’s running a blue flame over and inside the vastly improving his chances on the entire endeavor. one with a compound bow because he makes it rain. Out in the yard. The more you actually live on your tunities it will provide for him to be even more engaged with life. you pickle possible. it is not only mushroom. I recently took my ten-year-old son to a lecture by one of the hosts of his favorite podcasts. It was an exploration of the creative process—“gut churn. it also explains my father’s orientation to the world. and your hard work? The most vital thing isn’t doing everything the What does the tinkerer do then? hard way—just being smart about doing it all yourHe fetches the aluminum ladder and leans it against the house. It looks like a lot of lighter. He self. and of course Its complex sighting system adjusts for range. a rangefinder. getting more out of less. land.) He listens to it every night. and a high-speed place where he already is. It’s the sense that freedom is a function of actual dashes out to the pasture and drags the two enormous sprinklers. and the arrows. successful creators look for the “adjacent possible” and see choices as doors that open into rooms with more doors. He finishes up. Not only does this describe the act of writing at its most exhilarating. GPS. here in Montana. My son loves Abumrad’s Radiolab. an igloo out of a huge pile of snow. hunting tools. the comes to help us with the igloo. and actual independence is a conseand then the other. his the thing’s still standing. By breaking it up this way. Come April. Interesting for me. I didn’t think of the roof. soloCam reduces the draw weight of the bowstring So we’re sitting inside pretty satisfied when that tinkering grin when aiming. and then the next and then the next. but a lot for a kid. Then he climbs down and turns on the spigot. but happening right in front of me. but a house containwhere he has his pickup or ATV. Jad Abumrad. melting it just a touch so it’ll freeze hard as stone.” in Abumrad’s phrasing. including binoculars. and before we know it he’s got the propane tank second. But the house survives us walking in the pasture.

In the future. in some cases. allowing a laser to measure chemical composition and the vessel to remain sealed for the duration of the test. a gas sample is run through a mass spectrometer. C O M I L LU S T R AT I O N BY S I N E L A B . Then. Here’s how it works. have been testing samples in a fourteen-ton steel tank called the Glenn Extreme Environments Rig (GEER). a NASA outpost near Cleveland. it can help scientists find the absolute limits of man-made objects before they face them in space. you might get to land on an alien planet with an environment seemingly designed to melt. where NASA plans to send a probe by 2020. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . In order to make sure the expensive machinery survives the mission. so researchers can find out what it might do to potential probe materials. after months or. With eight gas streams and the ability to mimic the extreme temperatures and pressures of Venus. Your service life begins with a violent explosion skyward. Inside the Glenn Extreme Environments Rig. if you’re lucky. 72 6 TESTING Once the machine is up to Venus’ conditions. corrode. and. One particularly lethal planet is Venus.HOW IT 3 NASA’s Venus Machine THE MIXER This machine blends the gases. years. also adding any necessary water and pumping the blend into the sealed vessel. compress. followed by a hypersonic struggle to escape Earth’s gravity. scientists at the Glenn Research Center. so that there are no nicks or rough spots to give corrosion a foothold. Ohio. In addition. the internal walls are polished to a mirror finish. which is nearly tough enough to resist the Venusian atmosphere on its own. 4 5 THE VESSEL The vessel is constructed of low-carbon 304-type stainless steel. or irradiate you out of existence. H E AT A N D P R E S S U R E INCREASE The atmosphere of Venus is primarily composed of “supercritical” carbon dioxide—it’s under so much pressure that it doesn’t behave like a liquid or a gas but somewhere in-between. where the test materials await. B Y J O E PA P PA L A R D O Imagine what it’s like to be a spacecraft. a window will be added to the container. the reward of reaching the minus455-degree-Fahrenheit vacuum of space. the heat and pressure increase to this level. you can visit anyplace in the cosmos. Once the gas mix is inside the vessel.

and smells like rotten eggs 7 VENTING Using the ingredients for this hellish brew isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. explosive.) 2 PIPING To make sure the corrosive gases don’t damage the GEER itself. a fan on the building’s roof draws in air to dilute the exhaust. a majority of the tubing is treated with a nonreactive protective coating called Sulfinert. RECIPE FOR VENUS 96. the tube walls.5% NITROGEN GAS 35. which can dissolve glass Raise to 1.000 PPM less than 1% SULFUR DIOXIDE 180 PPM poisonous CARBONYL SULFIDE 51 PPM poisonous and also flammable WATER 30 PPM CARBON MONOXIDE 12 PPM poisonous HYDROGEN SULFIDE 2 PPM poisonous.0025 PPM a main component of hydrofluoric acid.5% CARBON DIOXIDE 965. flammable.5 PPM a main component of hydrochloric acid. Still. (See Recipe for Venus. which can re-create an alien atmosphere to the parts per million. or sticking to. which breaks down food in your stomach HYDROGEN FLUORIDE 0. when GEER vents after the end of an experiment.000 PARTS PER MILLION 3. the amount of gases used at the facility over the course of a year doesn’t even violate the EPA’s daily allowable limit. Good luck.340 psi at 878 degrees Fahrenheit.1 START H E RE ▼ G A S C A B I N E T S Each of four cabinets contains two independent gas cylinders to create a mix of up to eight gases. Since the concentrations GEER uses are so low. It reduces corrosion and prevents the gases from adsorbing on. HYDROGEN CHLORIDE 0. right. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 73 .



So we looked at nature documentaries and movies. “We’re not allowed to photograph them anymore because of animal rights.” The animals were based on real-world examples. The computer rigs that we created were based on their skeleton and their musculature. the creative team even embraced the imperfections that stem from old-fashioned live-action filming.” To up the realism. and unabashed fandom. “We wanted it to feel like we went out and photographed each thing. PM-C SUITABLE FOR THE CURIOUS May contain spoilers. we’ve highlighted the greatest visual effects in film. Every one of our scenes had a real-life piece of reference. but making one that feels like it was conventionally photographed. The animals move the way a real animal moves. we want to encourage them to do more—because we’re watching and appreciating every minute of it. We want to recognize those people whose work is often judged more by what isn’t noticed than what is. ingenious set designs.” 76 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . “If someone got too close to the camera. That’s why. we want more. there are Oscars for effects. we have a 360-degree view of the world. they shot only Mowgli and stuffed animal stand-ins (left).” That meant the crew created a “virtual cinematography. And the men and women responsible for those moments deserve more. The audience starts to absorb the story as we wish to tell it.THE BIAS ISN’T INTENTIONAL but it’s there: Nearly every category at the Oscars recognizes the achievements of actors or directors. “We shot and cut as if everything was in front of us. but it has enough information to know where our camera is and what lens we were going to use. LEAST FAKE FAKE WORLD THE JUNGLE BOOK For director Jon Favreau’s adaptation of the Disney classic The Jungle Book. “It wasn’t photo-real. instead of being limited to a blue screen and looking at one angle. cinema secrets. My primary interest was not making a fantastic new world. Just as important. bigger explosions. for the third year in a row. When we replicated it on stage. you’re going to get mud all over it.” In motion-capture. Sure.” Legato says. C O M P H OTO G R A P H / I L LU S T R AT I O N BY T E E K AY N A M E .” Legato says. production. it would shake. but as fans of innovative new camera technology. visual-effects supervisor Robert Legato says the crew had a mantra: “Do not embellish nature. and just the right amount of CGI. and even makeup. If you put a camera in a spot in the middle of a stampede. They don’t get mired in the technique of it.

a film shot entirely from the first-person POV. breaking the cameras’ outputs. it looks terrible. It’s a very lanky.” The challenge was training the actors to focus on the camera. Naishuller settled on a lightweight 3D-printed plastic helmet with magnetic stabilization (above). “So we bought these ridiculous. GoPro provided its best equipment at the time— GoPro HERO3s—with then-unreleased software that allowed Naishuller to control the aperture and outer focus. 1980s skiing glasses with yellow reflective lenses” to obscure the actor’s eyes. which had to get very close to the cameras to look real. having directed and starred in a similar music video in 2013. or at least the rigging of it. Instead of having actors hold the cameras in their mouths. @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 77 . thirteen different operators served as “Henry.” Naishuller says. slender character. Two GoPros were mounted at mouth height. Most of those casualties were due to kicks to the head. “If you put the camera on top of your head like in extreme sports.” The crew went through about a dozen GoPro HERO3s. was basic.▶HARDCORE HENRY Writer-director Ilya Naishuller had experience with first-person filming before Hardcore Henry. rather than the eyes of the person in the rig. “It’s basic human instinct to look at the eyes when we talk. But not a single one was lost to drool. But that was less than five minutes—and the technology. Including Naishuller. and added red arrows pointing to the cameras.” For Henry. Sometimes they got too close. “I shot a lot of it with a GoPro in my mouth surrounded by tissues and hoping not to slobber too much.

So he shot Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk at 120. “Lee really liked 3D.” says his editor Tim Squyres. but director Ang Lee wanted a smooth. 24 images flash on the screen—just enough to make us see motion. “But 24 fps causes strobing [a jumpy image] and motion blur [a smeared image caused by movement]. you can always play it safe and wait thirty minutes after eating before entering the theater.” So Lee increased his frame rate and incorporated a two-camera 3D rig. In 3D.MOST FRAMES PER SECOND B I L LY LY N N ’ S L O N G H A L F T I M E W A L K Director Ang Lee (above. It’s what we consider the film look. C O M . If you have a queasy stomach. 78 Most movies are shot at 24 frames per second (fps): Each second. “Both cameras have synchronized shutters running at 120. Some viewers will initially be shocked by Billy Lynn’s startlingly live look but Lee thinks that his shooting style will soon be common. right) rigged up two cameras at a 90-degree angle to each other with a beam splitter between them to create a smooth 3D picture. This led to a few surprises. FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S .” says Squyres. immersive experience. strobing is annoying. The biggest challenge was getting the actors to focus on the splitter instead of one of the camera lenses. Anything higher than 24 makes some people feel sick. In 2D we’re used to it.” Squyres says. “You can’t really get away with makeup.

water well. The city agreed to close down its main thoroughfare from 10 p. so that the scene would look more real.” The idea required the kind of permissions that Las Vegas rarely gives. “We had to go through all the implications of shutting down the Strip: how much does it cost. you could have been anywhere else. .m. nearly all of the chase scene was created using practical effects.” Powell says.▶JASON BOURNE In five movies. but the one down the Las Vegas Strip at the end of Jason Bourne is what director Paul Greengrass considers the best. “We had something like two hundred extras and roughly fifty-five stunt drivers. gun. If it’s already going to be torn down. axe. and highly inappropriate compass. for only two weeks. Although the corpse can’t move and only barely speaks.” All they needed was a spectacular ending. MOST USEFUL CORPSE SWISS ARMY MAN Makeup-effects producer Jason Hamer created a life-size mold of Daniel Radcliffe to use as the corpse buddy to a character trapped in the wilderness in Swiss Army Man. Jet Ski. “It was pointless going to Las Vegas if you weren’t going to be using the Strip—if you go around the back roads.” Powell says. but they still look like cars. When stunt coordinator Gary Powell first met with second-unit director Simon Crane to scout locations. Other than enhancing some background buildings and removing camera rigs and a car-tossing plow from the front of the SWAT van. We lucked out that everyone was really accommodating. it is no big deal to drive a car through the front door. he serves many roles: companion. what hotels are going to play ball with us.m.” Powell says. When that SWAT van plows through cars.” Powell says of the actual Strip shoot. until 6 a. it’s plowing through actual cars—but with a little bit of movie help: A ramp was added to the SWAT vehicle to throw the cars higher in the air. one thing became clear. The speeds we were doing—the amount of cars we crashed—has never been done on that scale in Las Vegas. and the cars themselves were slightly doctored. “We took out the engines to make sure when we hit them they were as light as possible. the Jason Bourne franchise has included a lot of car chases (and jump cuts and insanely frenetic fight scenes). There were very few visual effects. “We were both adamant it had to be on the Strip. “It looks great. which presented itself when they found out the Riviera Hotel was already set for demolition.

“Used-up aircraft become some discounted amount of scrap aluminum. The tree even moves a little like Neeson. but that’s what visual-effects supervisor Michael Owens and cinematographer Tom Stern did for director Clint Eastwood’s Sully. with all the walking challenges you might expect: “We wanted him to have difficulty making even one step.” says Félix Bergés. all the ways of modeling. all the joints. But primarily it’s a tree. They had to be moved at night under highway patrol escort. Some of their bigger challenges: 1 . Stern says. FINDING A PLANE ▶ S U L LY 80 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . California. visual-effects supervisor for A Monster Calls.” Which probably explains why most trees remain still. They had to be brought from the airplane junkyard in Victorville. Much of that expression was inspired by Liam Neeson. on a route that was calculated to avoid bridges. Everything is completely rigid—but we had to study all the positions. It’s not easy to re-create a plane crash on a river. We bought two out-of-service A320s. to achieve the muscles. who voices the character. C O M You can buy old airplanes. to Falls Lake at Universal Studios outside Los Angeles.MOST MOBILE TREE A MONSTER CALLS “We wanted a monster that looks like a tree but has a lot of expression.” .

’” Arrival’s creative team approached the complicated shot from two angles: as a philosophical comment and a logistical puzzle.” Stern says.” Owens says. and make it easier for the submarine to move.” he says. we said. maybe there should be a gravity shift there.” The result is a seamless transition and an elegant leap from Earth’s gravity to the walls of the spacecraft. which ran from six to thirty feet deep. AND MOST ACCURATE SPACESHIP ALSO: ARRIVAL ▶ARRIVAL When Amy Adams’s character Louise first visits the aliens who land on Earth in Arrival. “It runs up and down at five knots twice a day. “Because of the complexity of the shot.. where we would have the people landing. locking it to the faces of the actor. plane would pitch and rotate down the river. TWO LOCATIONS The crew planned to film the crash and rescue in the Hudson River. “With effects shots. Water simulations were run to mimic what the force of a commercial airplane hitting the Hudson would look like. “it looks absolutely phony until it’s perfect.” Vermette says. run by an operator—“and the second camera was motioncontrolled with a rig called the Technodolly. Even a fictional spaceship should be accurate. “So. “If you can kind of boil space-time. Or you can boil the water around it. seamlessly integrating two sets to give the impression that the characters were physically hopping from Earth’s gravity at the base of the ship to the vessel’s. “That’s a tremendous amount of force.” Wolfram says. “The scissor lift just wasn’t tall enough. Although he began consulting on Arrival after the craft was designed. wouldn’t allow the fifty-ton plane to be as submerged as it needed to be. To make it work.” 4 ..” says Vermette. “We first shot the actors fak- 2. visual-effects supervisor Louis Morin drew inspiration from Gravity. The first camera was wild”— that is.” he says. and the plane were done completely with a computer.” he says.. you don’t have something with the same structure you thought you were going to. but when it came time to duplicate the actual crash. “The current is quite intense and it goes both directions. It helps to picture the spacecraft as a submarine: “You can push it through the water. and the motion-control would do all the camera moves as if they were flying in the air. with Owens balancing Eastwood’s desire for realism with the demands to make the landing look as dynamic as possible. the ing the jumping element. BRACING FOR IMPACT Owens used real background shots to mimic the path of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson. ‘Well.” @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 81 .” To avoid injury to the cast and crew—or drowning Tom Hanks—they shot some rescue scenes in the Hudson and then moved to an oversize water tank at Universal’s lot. changing level as it goes. “The characters need to jump and walk up—it’s a leap of faith. but we weren’t able to do that because it was fix-mounted in the tank.” Owens says. which stems from the walls.” Morin says. but Mother Nature intervened. which shifts partway up the vessel. The shift was dreamed up after production designer Patrice Vermette and director Denis Villeneuve had to abandon an initial idea in which Louise and her team simply rose up to the top of the ship with a scissor lift.” says Owens. “In real life. “There were many shots where I CG-ed extra water. scientist Stephen Wolfram came up with a theory for how the ship would travel: It could “spin to create gravitational waves. all the background. she learns something incredible about their spaceship: It has its own internal gravity. “Then the camera would move to the second set. and then we reverse-engineered the camera. We stitched all those shots together. WATER The studio tank. CG took over. changing the viewer’s perspective from horizontal to vertical.” then “swim through space propelled by those waves. 3. all the water.

and aggressive use of a cigarette lighter (right).” “A British Villain. you don’t have to do all that work. Throughout.” THE CREDITS “The writers had done it that way before I even got involved in the project.MOST CREATIVE PLACEHOLDER TO MAKE IT INTO A MOVIE DEADPOOL The opening credits of Deadpool show the superhero in a hyper-realistic slow-motion CGI depiction of a combination car crash.” and “A CGI Character. Blur. But if the characters are frozen in space. With an animated human. sarcastic credits identify the cast as “God’s Perfect Idiot. We had started previz [a digital video tool that roughs out a scene] before we even had a budget or the movie was cast. you can really sculpt in a lot of detail that you may not be able to do with a character that has to behave and move through space. You have a face that has to have a really complex set of controls underneath. On the flip side. gun battle.” T H E L O W -T EC H AWA R D S LEAST CONVINCING TRANSFORMATIONS ACTOR TRANSFORMED TO L A R G E LY B Y 82 John Krasinski Denzel Washington Ben Affleck Joseph Gordon-Levitt Chris Hemsworth A special-forces soldier in 13 Hours A vengeful cowboy in The Magnificent Seven An autistic accountant in The Accountant A traitor and/or hero in Snowden A nerdy secretary in Ghostbusters muscle and a beard mutton chops glasses and a pocket protector glasses and a Rubik’s Cube glasses and a slightly looser shirt FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . a director at my production company. The hair has to be simulated.” Director Tim Miller explains how the scene was created: THE FROZEN INTRO “When CG isn’t moving. put in placeholders—just a tongue-in-cheek thing to amuse him and me. and we all loved it. It took a team of ten to twelve people working on this for two to three months to get it done. Franck Balson.” “A Hot Chick. you have cloth on his body that moves with it properly. C O M . you don’t have the benefit of motion to hide any irregularities or lack of detail.

It has to receive UV light the same way a plant does.” “There are eight people in each of the pod trees. One of the things people don’t think about when designing sci-fi sleep chambers is that the skin is a living.▶ P A S S E N G E R S Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas has no idea how a spaceship would work. Each one has a male and a female element that are snapped together to make the larger shapes. One hull is for storage. At the same time. you don’t want to lose all of your passengers. you have to travel through the central core. breathing organism. but that tends to be a little difficult for actors to feel that sense of loneliness. We could have done green screens.” “If you’re in the rotating spaceship and want to get from one hull to the other. In science fiction. we needed to convey a sense of isolation and loneliness—and horror. “It’s absolutely no good coming up with an attractive exterior if there’s not some logical consideration as to how people are going to be inhabiting the interior. really. The inspiration for them was the grilles of 1930s racing cars. “ @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 83 . So the sets were absolutely enormous. gravity eventually catches up with you again. In this pivot point you’d actually be at zero gravity. Dyas explains a few of the ship’s features: HULLS WALL STRUCTURE SCALE NAVIGATION LIGHTING POD TREES “It’s a tri-hull system. By grouping them. then sent to the woodworking shop and cut as CNC profiles.” “The large mushroom structure above the sleep chambers housed UV lights. Thirty or forty feet high and up to eight hundred feet long. you can be economical about the power it takes to monitor their vitals. and they’re all attached to a central pivot point. where each hull serves a different purpose. where you have to buckle up a seat belt. So that’s exactly what he ensured in designing the ship in Passengers. “My background is in industrial design.” he says. When you pass through the central point. but if there’s a malfunction. one is dedicated to the sleep chambers. The ribs were first created as a CAD drawing. this theoretically creates gravity for you to stand up on the inside edge of the hulls.” he says. The three hulls rotate in a centrifugal arrangement.” “Enormous alloy ribs hold the ship together. so we ended up designing an elevator that you climb into. and this is morbid. Otherwise we’d simply die. But he knows that things need to make sense—and that everything needs to have a purpose. and the third hull is retail.” “With only two or three principal actors.


H O M E HYDROPONICS Winter doesn’t have to mean the end of growing your own produce. BY DAN I E L KLU KO P H OTO G R A P H BY D E VO N J A R V I S @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 85 .

A Fig. and that the nipples extrude beneath it. 1 Place the mixing tray on top of the plastic bin lid. It’s what most greenhouses use because of the low water requirements. (We added a riser because of the eventual height of our grow medium. Secure the fittings by tightening the nuts beneath the tray. B). ebb-and-flow. drip method. B Fig. But hydroponics keep your garden going year-round. If you choose a shorter medium. nutrient-film technique (NFT). You don’t even need natural light. 8 flow fitting ↘ ebb fitting ↘ Fig. This will be where the 3 pump cord leaves the plastic bin. a lot of our gardens close for the winter. C O M I L LU S T R AT I O N BY I N F O M E N . little issues can lead to crop loss.) At Green Spirit Farms. deep-water culture (DWC). align the fittings. don’t worry about using the riser. For home use I recommend an ebb-and-flow system like this one. use a drill and a 1 ¼-inch spade bit or holesaw to create holes for the filling pipe (ebb) and drain (flow) from the ebb-and-flow kit. we use a combination of NFT and ebb-and-flow. 7 Place the lid on the reservoir.] NFT is probably the most popular system for commercial growers. 6 Pass the tubing through one of the holes in the reservoir lid and attach it to the smaller ebb nipple below the mixing tray (Fig. But it’s also prone to clogging. C). then screwing the filter on above it. [Editors’ note: Read about Dan and his dad in “In the Light Fields. Assemble the flow fitting by screwing a riser to the side opposite the nipple. and if you don’t pay attention. Michigan. and it’s the most conservative you can be on your water and nutrients. an indoor vertical-farming company that I run with my father in New Buffalo. It has the larger nipple on the bottom. Attach the ½-inch adapter included with the pump to the pump’s outflow and place it in the reservoir. dark color (light promotes algae growth) • Concrete mixing tray • Ebb-and-flow kit (Botanicare Ebb and Flow Fitting Kit with two extensions) • Oil-free pond pump. Rather than counting on the soil to provide plants with nutrients. Mark the location of the holes in the mixing tray on the lid. and aeroponics. 2 Near one edge of the bin lid. a hydroponic setup gives them everything they need directly through the water. A). and put the tray on top of the lid. all materials are available at your local hardware store or on Amazon. 86 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . Use a box cutter to make two 1 ½-inch cuts in the shape of an X over the hole. For a cleaner hole.) 4 Insert both fittings in the holes in the tray (Fig.” June 2016. Do not attach them to the reservoir lid. Identify the flow fitting from the ebb-and-flow kit (Fig. The system is also relatively inexpensive and easy to build. Make sure that 5 the gaskets are above the tray for a watertight seal. (See page 88. put a piece of scrap wood beneath the tray to drill into. You’ll be eating homegrown arugula in as little as two to four weeks. There’s little maintenance and fewer opportunities to kill your crops. Add the tubing to the pump and pull the power cord through the X cut in the reservoir lid. Remove the mixing tray and drill holes in the lid with your spade bit or holesaw. to be a quarter of the height of the medium you use. This will be the drain for your tray. You want the drain. between 150 to 400 gallons per hour • 2 feet 1/2-inch black vinyl tubing • 1 ¼-inch spade bit or holesaw At two opposing sides of the concrete mixing tray. drill a ¼-inch hole. drain (flow) fitting concrete mixing tray fill (ebb) fitting plastic lid fill tube 20-gallon plastic bin pump SYSTE M M ATERIALS LIST * • 20-plus-gallon sturdy plastic bin with lid. excluding the filter. There are six basic types of systems: wick. C *Unless otherwise noted.W hen summer ends. your reservoir.

F @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 87 . Fill your reservoir with 15 gallons of water and mark the water level with a Sharpie so you don’t have to measure the next time. It’s the most widely used hydroponic medium in the world because it’s completely inert. If you’re not. 1 The most important consideration in hydroponics is consistency. and that’s exactly what you want. Change the water and nutrient solution at least every two weeks. For arugula. The amount of light your plant requires depends on the 4 plant itself and the particular stage of the grow cycle.) Place the growing medium in the mixing tray. For the majority of plants. you can use it as a medium. you can control your variables. There’s nothing in it.5 and 6. any leftover water drains back into the reservoir through the fill tube. But we’ll stick with rock wool.8. D). To increase the EC. products made from the husks of coconuts. which does not have a fruiting phase in which the plant makes seeds before harvest. Once the pump shuts off. Resh’s Hydroponic Food Production. for best results.2 is acceptable. The target EC level for arugula is 0. The industry standard is rock wool. a material very similar to fiberglass that is extremely porous and holds 16 times its weight in water. clay pebbles. Hook your lights to a timer and fix them above your hydroponic system in a way that light hits all parts of the grow tray.8 to 1. water floods through the fill fitting and drains back into the reservoir when it reaches over the drain riser (Fig. could probably be grown together. then soak them in water with a pH of 5. Before any plants go into the system. like J. F). The EC will vary based upon the plant you grow. Keep them moist. I recommend starting with a leafy green like arugula. The basement is often a good place to put your system because of the even temperatures. 5 Look up the produce you want to grow online on Cornell University’s Controlled 6 Environment Agriculture page to find a plant-specific nutrient base. 12 hours a day will be enough for the plant to grow but not flower. like spinach and kale. your seeds need to germinate. Place a seed in the hole of each starter and moisten the cubes. As long as you have an inert material that can hold water and oxygen. Confirm that the risers for the drain fitting reach only a quarter of the way up the medium. E). I recommend a one-part mix that can all be added at once. E Fig. The ideal is 5.2. you should grow only one plant in a system at a time. a foam medium called Oasis. or crumpled coffee filters in plastic plant pots. In order to lower the EC you will add water to the reservoir. This is what the plant will take hold in. and in ten to 12 days—when you see sprouts a few inches tall and roots going to the bottom of your rock-wool starters—place the cubes in their larger rock-wool blocks. and it can be a lot of things. Put it near a window for light. you can adjust them with a kit bought from the hot-tub section of a hardware store. 7 2 Fig. A good reference for light timing (and nearly everything else) is Howard M. add more nutrients to the system. 3 Fig. The pH should remain the same for all plants. you want the EC to gradually rise.R.5 for about an hour. If your levels are off. You’ll need to choose a growing medium. You can also use regular soil. Plug the water pump into an electrical timer. setting your pump to run two to four times per day for 15 minutes will provide adequate water and nutrients. (One easy way to tell if it’s a good place to grow plants: Ask yourself if you’re comfortable in that room. Having a consistent amount of water is important for correct nutrient concentration. D Rinse the rock-wool starter cubes (Fig. and in a few days a sprout should appear. Keep track of the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) of the water daily (Fig.HOME HYDROPONICS P L A N T S A N D O P E R AT I O N M ATERIALS LIST • pH/EC meter • Two programmable electrical timers • Full-spectrum LED or fluorescent light • Plant nutrient • Arugula seeds • Rock-wool starters and cubes A lthough similar plants. but anywhere between 5. Follow the instructions on the nutrient mix to add an appropriate amount to the water. As your plants feed. When the pump is on. your plants won’t be either. Peters’s 16-4-17 Hydro FeED.

NASA experimented with this system on the International Space Station. and tubing with a 3 percent hydrogen-peroxide solution. expect the emitters to clog. replace the rock wool and clean the system’s reservoir. DEEP-WATER CULTURE The medium is the water and the plants rest in it all the time. but it’s used by many professionals as well. Again. pump. As with the drip system. 2 When a harvest is finished. One drawback is that it requires large amounts of water to use. A mister sprays water and nutrients on the roots and gives them great oxygen flow. beware clogged emitters. Avoid tinkering with nutrients until you get a successful first run. to meet the increasing demands of public transportation networks. EBB-ANDFLOW The best system for beginners. If a problem gets to the point that you can see it. An emitter slowly drips nutrient water on the root system all day long. Provides good yields and uses very few mechanical parts. The problem comes when the small emitters clog. but it’s not going to have the best yield. 1 Harvest your crops at the same time you would in traditional gardening. the plant has been dealing with it for a week. Which they are going to do. AEROPONICS The highest yields—if you can do it correctly. You get great yields but it’s a lot harder without experience and you are more liable to get root rot. 3 TH E SIX T YPES OF HYDROPON IC SYSTE MS WICK SYSTEMS We are a global provider of turnkey Ropeway and Automated People Mover systems. Doesn’t take much attention. It can use soil as a grow medium with a wick line into a reservoir of plain water. though. NUTRIENTFILM TECHNIQUE A small film of nutrient is used like a small stream that is always flowing down along the roots and recirculating. Arugula should be ready to harvest after two weeks and should provide another harvest every week for another four or five weeks. You need an air pump and an air stone to make sure that the plants get enough oxygen. DRIP METHOD The most sustainable approach to nutrient conservation. The simplest system. I L LU S T R AT I O N S BY I N F O M E N .HOME HYDROPONICS HARVEST Watch your plants as you would in a traditional garden.

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One caveat: If you live in Alaska—or even northern Minnesota—you might want to use standard batteries during the winter. PROJECT TITLE HANICS FO R A solar-powered night-light may sound counterintuitive. Use a spade bit to . but when the night-light isn’t in use during the day. C ME HARD Difficulty: Time: 1 hour Ages: 8+ Shopping List QTY DESCRIPTION action figure with open-grasp hand 1 26 inches 22-AWG wire 1 1N914 diode 1 small solar panel. part No. Just leave it near a window and open the blinds. A 3 ½ -inch piece should accommodate most action figures.0-volt 70-milliamp with wires* 2 AA rechargeable batteries 1 10-millimeter LED lamp (RadioShack item No. 2760006) 1 AA battery holder (RadioShack item No. The two AA batteries hold enough power to keep the night-light running until the sun comes up. 8 x 1–inch sheet metal screw 1 Solar-Powered Night-Light ¼ x 4 x 24–inch poplar board ½ x 3 x 24–inch poplar board multipurpose adhesive soldering gun or crimp connectors *Available on Amazon. D E S I G N E D BY JA M E S S C H A D E WA L D DIAGRAM Solar panel Instructions Toggle switch Batteries 90 KID ONLY LED lamp 1 FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . then the solar panel starts collecting again and the process begins all over. it captures ambient light. 2700408) 1 toggle switch 20 1-inch 16-gauge finishing nails No. 2.POPULAR ★ S ★ REASONABLE KID EASY OUR BUILDER: Ten-year-old William Kennedy from Pennsylvania. Crosscut the top panel from the 4-inch poplar board. make a 3/16-inch hole for the LED wire and a ½-inch hole for the switch. Using twist-drill bits and a cordless drill. 700-10850-17 Not liking the dark never looked so cool. 3. C O M PARENT ONLY PARENT AND KID 1.

Wrap connections with electrical tape. I LLUS T R AT I O N BY G EO RG E R E T S ECK @ P o p u l a r M e c h a n i c s _ FEBRUARY 2017 91 . If it works. 3. Beneath the box top. 5. Take the remaining 6-inch piece of wire and strip ¼ inch off each end. Diodes are directional. First. Use the schematic below to make the remaining connections. so make sure that the black band on the diode is on the side of the circuit nearer the battery holder. and place the LED in its hand. Crosscut the box ends and sides from the 3-inch poplar to accommodate the top panel. Feed the switch leads down through the box and hold the switch in place by tightening the nut from below. Wiring Schematic Battery holder Diode LED Solar cell 8 Switch AA battery AA battery 9 P H OTO G R A P H S BY R EB ECC A M C A LPI N . Cut two 10-inch pieces of wire. Use wire strippers to remove 3/8 inch of insulation from all four ends. On the other side of the solar cell. Use wood glue and finish nails to fasten the parts. 6 7 9. Mount the action figure on the box by driving the sheet-metal screw through the box and into the figure’s foot. glue the holder to the inside of the box wall. 2 3 4. Drop the leads from the solar panel down into the box and glue the panel in place. 4 5 7. 8. Solder the other side of the diode to the free wire on the switch and the positive wire from the battery. solder the positive wire to the diode. Place two batteries in the holder and test the circuit. Take one end of each wire and solder it to the LED. Use the same bit to make a hole in the foot of the action figure. Poke one end through a hole in a switch terminal and solder. and a nail set to countersink the nailheads. 6. double-check the wiring against the schematic and be sure that you have the batteries in the holder correctly. attach the positive wire from the LED to the other terminal on the switch.NIGHT-LIGHT Instructions CONTINUED make the ¾-inch hole for the leads from the solar panel. Attach the action figure by boring a pilot hole from the inside of the box using a 3/32-inch bit. Twist these wires together and poke them down through the hole in the box cover. solder together the free LED wire and the negative wires from the solar cell and battery pack. If not.

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Offer good while supplies last. Holt. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Original coupon must be presented.Good at our stores or HarborFreight.Good at our stores or HarborFreight.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.000 + ITEMS 20% OFF ANY SINGLE ITEM Limit 1 coupon per customer per day. Offer good while supplies last. StormCat. Original coupon must be presented. Creekstone. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipt. R EMERGENCY PE ON Customer Rating 39 LED TRIANGLE SU UP O WORKLIGHT C ITEM 62158 shown 62417/62574 Batteries included. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt.R PE ON SU UP CO Customer Rating 3 PIECE TITANIUM NITRIDE COATED HIGH SPEED STEEL STEP BIT SET ITEM 91616 shown 69087/60379 SAVE 85% 8 $ 99 • Drill 28 Hole Sizes $ 13 comp at 99 $59. Earthquake. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Limit one coupon per customer per day. And we can sell them for a fraction of the price because we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to you. HOSE CO Customer Rating ITEM 93897 shown SUPER COUPON Customer Rating $ 99 $ We have invested millions of dollars in our own state-of-the-art quality test labs and millions more in our factories.95 LIMIT 4 . Original coupon must be or by calling 800-423-2567. gift card. Customer Rating R PE ON SU UP CO 17 FT. Non-transferable. SAVE 76% 2 $ 99 $ 99 comp at 3 $12. Offer good while supplies last.56 comp at LIMIT 3 . Offer good while supplies last.99 8750 PEAK/7000 RUNNING WATTS 13 HP (420 CC) GAS GENERATORS ITEM 69249/69115/69137 69129/69121/877 shown LIMIT 9 . Predator. Limit one coupon per customer per day. $ 52999 $ 99 599$999 comp at LIMIT 5 . Original coupon must be presented. It’s just that simple! Come visit one of our 700+ Stores Nationwide. Non-transferable. automotive lifts. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Doyle. Diablo. or by calling 800-423-2567.80 LIMIT 6 . Original coupon must be presented. Limit one coupon per customer per day.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Valid through 5/3/17. Maddox. R MOVER'S DOLLY capacity PE ON SU UP Customer Rating ITEM 60497/93888 shown CO • 1000 lb. Nontransferable. Non-transferable. $60 $ 6999 $ or by calling 800-423-2567. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Non-transferable. Offer good while supplies last. Offer good while supplies last. or by calling 800-423-2567. Limit one coupon per customer per day. WOW ITEM 68784 shown 69387/62270/62744 7 FT. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/3/17.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Original coupon must be presented. Union. Badland. R PE ON SU UP CO VALID NOW ON 5. Daytona. storage cabinets. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. trailers. Limit one coupon per customer per day.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Valid through 5/3/17. $ 7 comp at $ 99 $1099 $19. Lynxx. Valid through 5/3/17. Valid through 5/3/17. coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club membership. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased.Good at used with other discoun 800-423-2567. Non-transferable. Valid through 5/3/17. capacity • 23 configurations SAVE $238 21 $ 99 $3999 119 $ 99 99 7 99 $5499 SAVE $ 99 9 $ 99 comp at 89 • 5400 lb. Limit one coupon per customer per day.Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. 4" x 9 FT. Non-transferable. 6" ALL PURPOSE WEATHER RESISTANT TARP Customer Rating How Does Harbor Freight Sell GREAT QUALITY Tools at the LOWEST Prices? 139 comp at $357. Valid through 5/3/17. Admiral. 3/8" x 14 FT. ELECTRIC WINCH WITH WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL ITEM 68530/63086/69671/63085 shown ITEM 68525/69677/63087/63088 CALIFORNIA ONLY SUPER QUIET • 76 dB Noise Level Customer Rating SAVE $469 Wheel kit and battery sold separately.Good at our stores or HarborFreight.85 LIMIT 9 . presented. Jupiter. Valid through 5/3/17. Non-transferable. Bremen. Offer good while supplies last. RATCHETING TIE DOWNS ITEM 63056/63057/60405/63094 63150/61524/62322/90984 shown Customer Rating ITEM 69649 61878/61837 46163 shown $ comp at $60. Offer good while supplies last. Original coupon must be or by calling 800-423-2567. compressors. or by calling 800-423-2567. capacity 5499 $8999 $159. Valid through . saw mills. Viking.97 LIMIT 6 . open box item. so our tools will go toe-to-toe with the top professional brands. Offer good while supplies or by calling 800-423-2567. or by calling 800-423-2567.c t or coupon or prior LIMIT 8 . Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original or by calling 800-423-2567. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Portland. Offer good while supplies last. Limit one coupon per customer per day.99 LIMIT 3 . Valid through 5/3/17. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Quinn.

Original coupon must be presented. Original coupon must day. Valid through 5/3/17.99 LIMIT 4 . mirror. Valid through 3 TON HEAVY DUTY STEEL JACK STANDS R PE ON SU UP CO Customer Rating ITEM 61196 69597 38846 shown 5-1/4" to 17" Customer Rating comp at LIMIT 8 or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Non-transferable. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. R PE ON SU UP CO 99 69 99 $ comp at $ 97 comp at $ SAVE $135 WITH ANY PURCHASE • 3-1/2 Pumps Lifts Most Vehicles • Weighs 34 lbs. Non-transferable. Offer good while supplies last.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. or see store associate.99 LIMIT 7 . Original coupon must be presented. Limit one coupon per customer per day. At Harbor Freight Tools. Limit one coupon per customer per day.5 TON ALUMINUM RACING JACK ITEM 69252/68053 62160/62496/62516 60569 shown SUPER Customer Rating COUPON SUPER COUPON FREE ITEM 61839/62359 shown Includes hook. Limit one coupon per customer per day. R RECIPROCATING SAW PE ON WITH ROTATING HANDLE SU UP O Customer Rating C SAVE 66% ITEM 61884 62370/65570 shown $ 1999 $ 99 29$59 comp at LIMIT 6 . Non-transferable. VALUE LIMIT 3 . Non-transferable. Offer good while supplies last. torque ITEM 61637 shown $ 2199 $29.21 LIMIT 4 . Limit one coupon per customer per presented. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Valid through 5/3/17. Valid through 5/3/ or by calling 800-423-2567. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/3/17.Good at our stores or HarborFreight.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Non-transferable. Limit one coupon per customer per day. 2. within the past 180 days. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Valid through 5/3/17.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Original coupon must be presented. Original coupon must be presented. • Accuracy within ±4% $ 99 $ 9999 $14999 9 $ 99 $49. machined from lightweight aircraft aluminum with a sapphire anodized finish • Industrial quality for professional mechanics and hardcore automotive enthusiasts SAVE $60 $ 99 $8999 $ or by calling 800-423-2567. Non-transferable. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Non-transferable. CAPACITY MOTORCYCLE LIFT R PE ON SU UP CO SAVE 78% 99 12 99 $ SAVE 42% $ 1999 $ 2499 comp at $34. Non-transferable. max.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. 79 $205. magnet or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Offer good while supplies last. Original coupon must be presented. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.99 LIMIT 4 . R PE ON SU UP CO 1/2" INDUSTRIAL QUALITY SUPER HIGH TORQUE IMPACT WRENCH ITEM 62627/68424 shown • 700 ft. go to HarborFreight. No other meaning of "comp at" should be implied. Prices advertised by others may vary by location.99 • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed • Over 30 Million Satisfied Customers • No Hassle Return Policy $ 99 69 99 89 comp at $135 LIMIT 4 . be purchases after 30 dayss last. Original coupon must be presented. 4 DRAWER PE ON HARDWOOD WORKBENCH SU UP Tools sold separately. Offer good while supplies last.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Original coupon must be presented. the "comp at" price means that the same item or a similar functioning item was advertised for sale at or above the "comp at" price by another retailer in the U. Limit one coupon per customer per presented. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Non-transferable. O ITEM 93454 C 69054/63395 62603 shown Customer Rating $ SAVE $255 $ 13999 15999$395 comp at LIMIT 3 . 12" SLIDING COMPOUND DOUBLE-BEVEL MITER SAW WITH LASER GUIDE ITEM 69684 shown 61969/61970 Customer Rating $ R PE ON SU UP CO 18 VOLT CORDLESS 3/8" DRILL/DRIVER WITH KEYLESS CHUCK ITEM 69651/62868 62873/68239 shown 13999 $ 19999 comp at $399 SAVE $259 R 10 FT.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. and video-out or by calling or by calling our stores or HarborF t or coupon or prior LIMIT 5 . Valid through 5/3/17. Limit one coupon per customer per day.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipt.WOW RAPID PUMP® 1. 19 1500 LB. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Valid through 5/3/17. 5 99 8 NITRIDE COATED HIGHBIT SET STEEL DRILL 62281 SAVE 66% Item 239 shown comp at WOW29SUPPIEERCECOUTITPON ANIUM SPEED Customer Rating $ $205.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Valid through 5/3/17. . be purchases after 30 dayss last. 1999 comp at $34. Offer good while supplies last.75 LIMIT 5 .com or by calling 800-423-2567. Valid through 5/3/17. Original coupon must be presented. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Non-transferable.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. PE ON PORTABLE CAR CANOPY SU UP ITEM 63054/60728/69034/62858 shown O C SAVE $106 Includes one 18V NiCd battery and charger.99 LIMIT 5 . Valid through 5/3/17.99 59 R 2. For more information.Good at our stores or or by calling our stores or HarborF t or coupon or prior LIMIT 5 . Valid through R PE ON SU UP CO LIMIT 6 . Offer good while supplie 5/3/17. Original coupon must be presented. or by calling 800-423-2567. Non-transferable. Offer good while supplies last. Offer good while supplies last. Nontransferable. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipt. Original coupon must day.95 LIMIT 8 . x 20 or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Limit one coupon per customer per or by calling 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Offer good while supplies last.5 R PE ON SU UP CO E 125 PSI VERTICAL SAV R $347 AIR COMPRESSO shown DRIVE 1/4" 3/8" 1/2" ITEM 69091/67847 61454/61693/62803 14999 $ 99 Customer Rating $ 179 comp at SAVE 82% TORQUE WRENCHES Customer Rating ITEM 2696/61277 807/61276 62431/239 YOUR CHOICE 9 $ 99 $497 reight.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt.97 reight. Original coupon must be presented. Offer good while supplies last. SAVE 65% $ Customer Rating Customer Rating ª R 60". TAPE MEASURE 4 ITEM 69031/69030 shown LIMIT 1 . Original coupon must be presented. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Valid through 5/3/17. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day. coupon or prior purchase. Coupon good at our stores. Limit one coupon per customer per or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Valid through 5/3/17. Non-transferable. Valid through 5/3/17.Good at our stores or HarborFreight. • 700+ Stores Nationwide • Lifetime Warranty On All Hand Tools comp at • HarborFreight. Limit one coupon per customer per day.4" COLOR LCD DIGITAL PE ON SU UP Customer Rating INSPECTION CAMERA CO Customer Rating 99 79 99 $ SAVE $180 $ 99 comp at $259. 1" x 25 FT. or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original or by calling 800-423-2567.Good at used with other discoun 800-423-2567. Offer good while supplies last. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original • 800-423-2567 $59. Offer good while supplie 5/3/17. AUTOMATIC BATTERY FLOAT CHARGER Customer Rating ITEM 42292 shown 69594/69955 $ comp at SAVE $65 ITEM 69995 shown 60536/61632 • Lift range: $ $34. Original coupon must be presented.Cannot be used with other discount.Good at used with other discoun 800-423-2567. Original coupon must be presented. or by calling 800-423-2567. Valid through 5/3/ or by calling 800-423-2567. • Pit crew quality design. Limit one coupon per customer per day. R 12 VOLT MAGNETIC PE ON TOWING LIGHT KIT SU UP Customer Rating CO 1699 $ SAVE 71% 1 99 19 comp at ITEM 63100 $ SUPER COUPON OW W LON GAL 21 HP.


No-Drill MudFlaps

p. 3 Guide to Self-Sufficiency: Morgan Levy; How It
Works: Sinelab; Special Effects Awards: Jeff Wack;
p. 4 D’Agostino: Ida Garland; p. 5 “Hardware Stores”:
Gene Smirnov; p. 8 groundhog, NBA game, Glenn,
Sazerac, filter: Getty Images; hydroponics: Devon Jarvis;
pp. 21–25 styling: Lynne Chan/Halley Resources;
p. 31 Dean Kaufman; p. 32 bench: Anja Hitzenberger;
p. 39 Seinfeld, McQueen, Lohan: Getty Images;
p. 40 mechanics: Shutterstock; p. 55 book: iStock;
wooden surface: Shutterstock; p. 57 Dufresne: Getty
Images; p. 60 Zee: Getty Images; p. 64 kids: Stephanie
Rauser/Trunk Archives; Ross: Getty Images; p. 79 cars
on street: Vital Vegas; p. 82 Krasinski: Everett Collection;
Affleck: Warner Bros.; pp. 86–87 process images: Ida

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Made in USA

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Ski-maker and designer
at Igneous Skis

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

I N 1998, Parris left a career designing robots for Carnegie Mellon. His
new gig? The ski business. A friend
who ran a ski company hired him as
a designer—Parris has a degree in
architecture—and today he owns
Igneous Skis, handcrafting only 100
pairs each season, each of which sells
for about $1,600. This giant green
thing helps him do it.

“I interview
each customer.
Someone who wants
to cruise with their
kids? An ex-college
racer bumming in
Jackson Hole? I want
to know why
you ski.”






1 / Wintersteiger
belt sander and
stone grinder
A. I use the belt sander to
shape the sidewalls of the ski
and to shape out the band-saw
cut, to bevel it, round it out at
the top a little bit.
B. The other side is a round
stone cylinder. A diamonddressing bit goes back and

forth along the stone to cut
different patterns called
structure. The base of a final
ski has little grooves cut into
it, like tire treads. A structured
base with microfine texture at
the bottom dissipates water,
making the ski go over the
snow faster. I put the final
edges in a crosshatch pattern
with the stone.

FEBRUARY 2017 _ P O P U L A R M E C H A N I C S . C O M

2 / The wood
Maple is one of the harder
woods to work with, but it
has rebound strength, impact
resistance, and a vibration
transfer that gives a precise
feel for the snow. Ash has a
similar impact resistance, but
slightly less rebound quickness. It mellows out the ride.

3 / Handcrafted cores
One of the unique things we
do is build our own cores. Any
one piece of wood might have
some inconsistencies, but
making a core out of a dozen
strips creates a more homogenous material. It’s stronger
and more stable than the wood
was originally.