I made DIY face masks from my old Apple employee t-shirts

“Free t-shirts flowed like sparkling water from the tap for employees at Apple Inc.,” says former employee who saved dozens of  Apple employee t-shirts.

by Matt Berger

The first few weeks as an employee at Apple Inc. were some of the most exciting and eye-opening in my career. Each day brought new experiences with “surprise and delight” at every turn.

No object better symbolizes that feeling as much as the stack of free employee t-shirts I saved from my five years there.

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Stay Inside. Build a Handmade Skateboard

Download the free woodworking plans and put your kids to work when they’re stuck at home

The Global Pandemic is finally starting to disrupt daily life. School is closed through Spring Break, and the six San Francisco Bay Area counties announced a Shelter in Place order that goes into effect at midnight tonight. Which means for the next 20 days the Weekndr Family is stuck at home. We stocked up on food, toilet paper, and the basic essentials: hardwood lumber.

That’s right, we’re getting through this global pandemic scare by eating and building handmade skateboards in the garage!

If you’re looking for a fun activity to put YOUR kids to work, and get them out in the driveway for some exercise*, download a free set of my plans for building a 1960s style pinstripe skateboard, inspired by the original Hobie Super Surfer skateboard.

REQUIRED TOOLS and MATERIALS:
Back when Hobie built his first handmade skateboard in the 1950s, they used any old piece of lumber they could find, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have access to the same hardwood lumber I use in this project.

  • One or multiple pieces of of hardwood (or cut from a sheet of plywood)
  • 3 clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Handheld Jigsaw
  • Palm Sander
  • Rasp and File
  • Drill-Driver
  • Skateboard Trucks and Wheels

*P.S. If someone gives you trouble for skateboarding during the Shelter in Place order, let them know it falls into section 10, “Essential Activities,” as long as you stay 6-feet away from everyone.

SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME!

Lifehack: Easily attach a key to a stubborn keychain

Key Chain Lifehack by Matt Berger

Have you ever struggled to attach a key to a super-tight key chain or key ring? I’ve broken a few nails trying. But struggle no more!

I discovered a super simple #Lifehack that makes it easy to attach any style key to a key ring or key chain using a drywall screw: poke the screw tip into the crack and twist, then watch it open wide!

This method works great with over-sized keys and keyfobs, overcoming the toughest metal key rings you can find.

Make a PodBox Single-Purpose Podcast Player

The single-purpose “PodBox” Podcast Player

Build a Rasberry Pi speaker box that plays the latest episode of your favorite podcast

I’ve worked in the technology industry for more than two decades, and back when I got into it everyone was talking about “convergence.” It was a decade before the iPhone, but companies were hard at work looking to discover the perfect combination of features and functionality in a single hardware device.

After some fits and stops, here we are 20 years later and the quest for convergence has been conquered. Today, everything fits into a “phone.” The iPhone and Android unleashed a massive universe of apps that transformed a hunk of glass and metal into anything and everything you want it to be. Point it at the sky to identify the aircraft flying overhead with augmented reality (FlightRadar24). Hail a taxi cab on the fly at your exact location and pay the driver without your wallet(Uber/Lift). Take a photo (Camera) and share it with friends, family, and strangers (facebook, instagram, twitter). Unlock your front door before you arrive home (August locks), or spy on your babysitter (Nest). Deposit a check into your savings account with a photo (Wells Fargo), and order and pay for your Latte before you arrive at Starbucks.

Our phones have become so converged we can’t leave home without them!

The future is singular! 

With all this access to everything on demand in a single device, I predict that humans will eventually reject this all-you-can-eat buffet of information and evolve toward a more singular and focused future. 

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How to Install Laminate Flooring in Four Easy Steps, Sort Of

This laminate flooring was on sale for $0.99 per square foot at Home Depot last month.

Before we moved in to our new rental house we had to tear out all of the carpets. They were at least 30 years old and showed it both in fashion and cleanliness. Most of the house was covered in a rust orange berber, while our bedroom featured a mint green shag. Decades of cigarette smoke added a bit of a smokey hue to both.

To our great fortune, most of the house had oak wood floors hiding beneath the carpet. We absolutely love hardwood floors, and these are some of the best of them. The bedroom, meanwhile, had a plywood subfloor that needed to be covered fast. The quick solution was to install laminate flooring. Hence this inspiration for this post:

HOW TO INSTALL LAMINATE FLOORING IN FOUR EASY STEPS

Notice there's no vapor barrier...

STEP ONE: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. So I forgot to do this before I left Home Depot with a pallet full of on-sale-now laminate flooring. What I would have learned had I read the instructions is that this brand required a vapor barrier. You’ll read more about that in step three…

STEP TWO: REMOVE THE EXISTING FLOOR COVERING. Removing the carpets was a cinch. Pulling out the nails and tack strips that held down the carpet padding, on the other hand, was a bitch. I worked a full day on my hands and knees with a pair of pliers and a pry bar pinching and yanking every protruding sharp metal object I could find. Every now and then we still come across a stray staple or tack.

STEP THREE: INSTALL FLOORING WITH VAPOR BARRIER. The name-brand Pergo flooring has a built in vapor barrier, which kicks into action when the flooring strips are clipped together. Unfortunately, I priced out Pergo to the tune of $850.

The imitation sale-priced material I purchased doesn’t feature a built-in vapor barrier, and required laying down a few rolls of plastic sheeting underneath during the installation process. I didn’t read this part of the instructions before making the 10 min. drive home from Home Depot and then leaving everything in the car for 3 hours while I ate lunch and sat on the couch for a siesta. So by the time I got to installing the flooring, I was in no mood to return to Home Depot.

This is California, I thought. It never rains in California, so who needs a vapor barrier?

We’ll see. (P.S. worst case the strips of flooring will expand from moisture and warp, twist, or bow. To prevent that, leave about a 1/2 inch of space between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion. You can cover it later with baseboard trim.)

Cross cutting the laminate flooring.

STEP FOUR: CUT AND FIT LAMINATE FLOORING. The key to installing any type of flooring that comes in standard size units is to create a random pattern. You don’t want your floor looking like a checkerboard (unless you do) or a doctor’s office (I hope you don’t). WIth laminate flooring, this means cross cutting the end pieces at random lengths. I did that with a borrowed miter saw from my neighbor up the road.

Ninety-nine percent of the floor install moves along swiftly. I started from one end and made my way across the room. Once aligned, the pieces just click together with a nice tight seam.

Then comes the hard part; installing the final perimeter of the floor. You need a tablesaw to do this because it involves ripping the flooring into thinner strips, and fitting them around existing obstructions like door jambs. I still haven’t finished that part yet…

How to Make Replacement Scrabble Tiles

diy scrabble tile

Make Your Own Scrabble Tiles

Lose a Scrabble tile? Don’t fret. Here’s a simple tutorial on how to make your own replacement tiles from scrap wood with basic hand tools. (If you’d rather order the real deal from Hasbro and wait from them to be mailed, click here.)

For the love of Scrabble
We purchased the deluxe edition of Scrabble many years ago when we became Scrabble addicts mostly because the rotating tabletop makes it easy to play on the coffee table without knocking over drinks or messing up the tiles between plays.

Unfortunately, the kids have learned to love Scrabble as well (and we let them to encourage interaction with words and letters). But over the years we’ve lost 10 tiles to the vacuum or cleaning frenzies. To enjoy a Scrabble tourney this Thanksgiving, I was inspired to embark on a new Weekndr Project: How to Make Replacement Scrabble Tiles. Turns out it’s easy. You’ll need a piece of hardwood, a handsaw, sand paper (150 grit), and a hand plane.

Let’s get started

Step One: Find a long stick of hardwood that is close to the width and thickness of a Scrabble tile . Maple is ideal but I used white oak. Mill it to thickness and width using an actual Scrabble tile as your template.

Step Two: Since I don’t have a woodshop at home I used a simple bench hook (sometimes called a shooting board) on my kitchen countertop to support the wood piece while I milled it to exact width and thickness with a hand plane. Use a sander in a pinch or if you have a wood shop, use your thickness planer/bandsaw/tablesaw.

make a scrabble tile planning

Step Three: Begin slicing off tiles one at a time with a handsaw (use a bandsaw or tablesaw if you have a shop).

how to make scrabble tile

Step Four: Between each cut, sand the tile smooth, and sand the freshly-sawn face of the stick in preparation for the next cut. Finally, write a letter on your new tile. If you’re ambitious, you can apply a stain or finish at this point. I’m relying on the oil from our fingers to finish the tiles after a few rounds of play.

sand the scrabble tiles and write on the letters