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Make Dumb Stuff

posted by Matt Pierce on July 28, 2012

This is a dumb little project. Not that I don't like it, but it's a trivial little thing that's not really worthy of a DIY, but there's a lesson here still – MAKE DUMB STUFF. It's perfect  practice to grow and make better, less dumb stuff. I've made so many prototypes of things that have turned HORRIBLY wrong, but I've learned plenty with each one. This project was done in seven minutes and made purely so I don't have to dig into the bottom of my tall center console in the Land Cruiser. After finishing it, I thought of several ways to make it better, and even how to use those better ideas on other projects. The dumb little thing really got me thinking.

If you want some insight into how I create things, it's usually best surmised by this Plato quote – "Necessity, who is the mother of invention."

Sure, I think of new things plenty, but more often the real motivator for making something is to fill a need or solve a problem. It's sometimes stifling, especially when I'm trying to pull ideas together for a Design*Sponge post or something, because my immediate tendency is to only make things I need. The good part though – Is as I'm working on things, my mind fills with other ideas that branch off of the task at hand. Try it. Look around you, and find something that needs fixed. Tackle that problem and in doing so, see what else opens up.



Toni on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Hi Matt.

I would like to start doing some things with leather, but I have no idea where to start, not even what tools I need to start … I recommend some introductory manual or book?

Your project bag for lunch (I do I’ll take every day to work;) I looked like a good project to start … you think?

I love your page and stuff things you do!

Best wishes.

PS: sorry for my English!

MMP on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Hi Chris, that’s a Juki LU-562

Chris on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

I’m curious. What kind of sewing machine is that?

Alan on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Dumb stuff is the best! The other night, I spent way too long making a tiny sleeve for my leather sewing needles. It turned out to be more satisfying than the big project that I was working on.

Sean Curran on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Hey Matt, Iv’e started doing quite a bit of leather work, thanks to a lot of influence from you, and been really enjoying it. I purchase most of my leather and hardware from Tandy, because we have a local one. The leather supply is great, but the hardware is leaving a lot to be desired to me. The buckles, clasps, and buttons are just not quite what I want. Do you have any suggestions on where I could find more?

MMP on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Thanks Ryan. Yes, that’s a different machine. I have a kick press to drive tubular rivets, but you can just conventional copper rivets that don’t require more than some nippers and a ball peen hammer.

Ryan Alven on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

I always look forward to new posts here. So nice.

A question…what did you use to attach the rivet? The picture looks like it is a separate attachment for the sewing machine? Or is it a completely different machine all together?

Thanks and looking forward to the next post!

Chris on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Excellent work, what about a nice leather steering wheel cover?

Toni on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Thanks Matt!

MMP on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Yeah, the passport cover is an even easier project to start with. That or the lunchbox post use the same hand-sewing principles though. If you want a great book to learn hand-stitch, look up the books by Al Stohlman. Good luck!

MMP on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Thanks Tony, and great blog btw!

tony on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

ah, what a satisfying post to start the day with. i treasure these kinds of problem-solving opportunities.

MMP on November 14 2014 at 10:22AM

Hi Sean, that’s a constant hunt for me too… I don’t know of a super great hardware resource actually… I wish I did. I end up getting my stuff in large quantities from the factories, but that’s not a good help for small quantities. Some good things can be had at Oregon Leather Co, and you might see if there’s a saddle/tack shop in your area. Best of luck!

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