The rear shackle on my truck snapped. Fixing it was supposed to be simple. It was anything but.

It was summer of 2020. I had a huge backlog of work to do on my 2002 Chevy Silverado project truck. But the weather was gorgeous, and I had all summer to do it. “If I just buckle down, I’ll be able to get most of this done,” I thought to myself…

Then I saw it.

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As you might have seen on my Patreon lately, I recently got a couple of new additions for the workshop: the Eastwood mini lathe and mini mill. (So far, so fun.)

I’m working on a couple of “newbie versus” videos for them, similar to my MIG welder series. Those videos aren’t ready yet, so instead I wanted to share a quick tip about machining, and really any kind of DIY project where your hands might get dirty.

This is something I learned back when i first started working at a machine shop about 15 years ago. I forgot all…

So I’ve had this giant log in my garage since 2014.

The goal was to use it as a base for an anvil for blacksmithing. At the time, I wanted to learn smithing to open up some capabilities in the workshop, like making tools and heavier-duty metal hardware. Think chisels, not swords.

But first, I needed an anvil. Lucky for me, I knew a guy who was really into trains: My friend’s Dad, Pat. A chunk of old railroad track can work as an anvil in a pinch, though it’s not as easy to find as it used to…

There might be some beautiful wood hiding there.

I spent the first five years of living in my current house with a gremlin on my shoulder. In this case, that gremlin was our deck. It was wobbly, weathered, and covered with deck mold. I was advised that it was too far gone, that it had to go.

I knew the “smart” thing to do was to just replace the deck. The cost to repair it and the work involved would surely “not be worth it,” and a complete replacement is doable by handyfolk, as demonstrated in this great deck-building series by Sarah at Ugly Duckling DIY.


A project like this is more about the adventure than the final destination. Don’t forget that when you’re covered in blood and rust at 1 a.m. and need to work in the morning.

And so we again return to Project Old Grey, a journey to fix up my dad’s old 2002 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

Last time, I started working on fixing the grinding rear brakes and nonfunctional parking brake. I took everything apart so I could get to the parking brake components underneath. Rust complicated things greatly, completely dissolving one piece and making it virtually impossible to replace…

In “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” Robert Pirsig writes about the effect that one stuck screw can have on a mechanic’s psyche:

It’s normal at this point for the fear-anger syndrome to take over and make you want to hammer on that side plate with a chisel, to pound it off with a sledge if necessary. You think about it, and the more you think about it the more you’re inclined to take the whole machine to a high bridge and drop it off. It’s just outrageous that a tiny little slot of a screw can defeat…

In this video, I race against time to make two stands for a wedding: One to hold an outdoor arbor in an indoor venue, the other using handy conduit connectors to hold a hanging neon sign.

The arbor holder literally could have been a 2x4 with holes in it, but it was fun combining shapes to make this fancier version instead.

The sign stand, meanwhile, looks simple, and it is. It uses cheap 3/4" electrical conduit, simple Maker Pipe conduit connectors, and easy Montana Gold spray paint. …

After a lifetime of waiting, Andy has scored his first pickup truck — and, big surprise, it needs some work.

Ever since I have known about trucks, I have wanted a truck. That includes the little toddler version of myself who first laid eyes on his dad’s farm truck at the time, forever hoping, upgraded truck after upgraded truck, that maybe this would be the one he’d drive someday.

Well, finally, that day has come! Through a stroke of bad luck for my pops, I now own his latest old truck, a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4x4 with a 5.3 V8 and about 180,000 miles on the odometer.

It is rusty. It has bad brakes and a bunch of…

Do you really need to spend thousands of dollars on a computer-controlled plasma-cutting table to make intricate cuts in incredibly hard steel?

Well, if you’re in a hurry, then yeah, you should probably buy one of those tables (or find someone else who already has one).

But if you’ve got some time, such as, let’s say, a year or so, then good news: Such metalwork is totally doable on your own with simple tools.

For proof, consider this: A copy of Jimmy DiResta’s portable bandsaw stand, which I made primarily with a jigsaw.

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DiResta is a prolific maker and…

Warning: This post is about preventing one of the worst accidents a parent could imagine.

It’s a sunny Saturday morning. You have lots to do. Mowing the lawn is first on the list. If you’re fast enough, maybe you can beat the coming rain, get the grass cut and move on to your other to-dos. Lucky for you, your significant other volunteered to take the kids grocery shopping so you can focus on the task at hand.

Because you’re in such a hurry, you have deactivated your riding lawnmower’s backup-safety mode. Normally, the blades stop spinning when you go…

Andrew Reuter

DIYer, Project Lab. Web-editor-type, Lee Enterprises. Dad/husband. @djnf, @theexponentnews, @uwplatteville alum. Seeking best obtainable version of the truth.

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