A century ago, knife-maker Wenger (of Swiss Army Knife fame) started a debate that only got louder in 1983 when Tim Leatherman, the eponymous inventor of his multi-tool, started selling pocket toolboxes. The question is how many tools are too many in a multi-tool? Or conversely, how many are too few? Sages wiser than me haven’t divined the truth, so I won’t try.
Author Archives: Jim Nash
- Tools & Workshop >
- How Many Tools Does a Good Multi-Tool Need?
How Many Tools Does a Good Multi-Tool Need?
- Interior Design >
- Sky Factory
There are home settings where windows are impractical or even counterproductive. I’m thinking about an Antarctic dorm, a bomb shelter, or anywhere along the refinery rim of northeastern New Jersey.
But there are many more cases when housing density or architectural constraints leave rooms in gloom. Conventional lighting will brighten a space, but over time the room can give you cabin fever.
To save a dark room and bring in some natural—or at least natural-like, lighting—you can install tubular skylights, but they can’t be used in all situations and the light they shed is localized.
Here’s another option: artificial skylights from Sky Factory that play hours of Ultra HD nature video. Think of them as ‘cultured sky’ to go with your cultured marble.
- Other Rooms >
- New Product: Kohler StereoStik
New Product: Kohler StereoStik
While people of good faith will forever debate whether reading materials should occupy a bathroom, there can be no logical argument about the manifest virtues of listening to music or the spoken word while in the bathroom.
Short of installing a whole-house system with recessed speakers, there are few elegant ways of achieving this modest goal.
Kohler, of all companies, has an answer. It’s the StereoStik ($227), a digital-tuning FM/AM radio and clock/alarm that amplifies music from your MP3 player.
It probably should be StereoStiks, plural, as it’s a two-piece device that bolts onto either side of a 26″ x 36″ x 4 5/8-inch wall-mounted medicine cabinet.
- Doors & Windows >
- Tubular Skylights
It’s amazing that with the growing focus on solar power, tubular skylights are relatively unknown, especially among DIYers.
These dead-simple devices direct natural light through a reflective tube to provide a diffused natural glow in a room. In a development that lashes Thomas Edison’s vengeful ashes into a fury, people are enjoying free light in their homes and businesses. Also amazing is just how much light these skylights transmit. Cloudy days or even starry nights are much brighter than most people realize, until they stand in a room with a tubular skylight.
- Tools & Workshop >
- 6 Home Improvement iPhone Apps To Know
6 Home Improvement iPhone Apps To Know
The number of home improvement iPhone apps on the market leaves smartphone-equipped DIYers with few excuses for putting off projects. Since the variety of digital tools may seem overwhelming, and of course not all apps are created equal, the following six are ones you should know about.
This home design and construction app seems custom-made for tablets. There are in-depth articles, vendor manuals, photos, schematics, animations and no-nonsense instructional videos. It’s easy to imagine using Construction Instruction—a combination textbook, cheat sheet and clipboard—not only to plan and build your own home, but also to examine a contractor’s work on the fly.
Overall, though, Construction Instruction is like walking through an unfamiliar, sheetrocked building. You can see potential, but it’s not ready for a certificate of occupancy. Where there is content, it’s crunchy with useful, often technical info. But there are a lot of blank pages and obvious topical gaps. It’s also too easy to lose track of where you are within the app. All or most of the textual content is displayed on PDF pages, difficult to navigate on small screens. Download this one and hope for frequent updates.
- Painting >
- Chip It! Sherwin-Williams’ New Color Tool
Chip It! Sherwin-Williams’ New Color Tool
Thanks to the Internet, there’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to bringing color to your home. Ah, but the ability to pick complementary colors for the lovely image you’ve just found online; that’s usually hard to come by. But the new Sherwin-Williams color tool, Chip It!, could save the day. The free service loads through your Facebook or Twitter account and sits on your browser’s bookmark menu bar.