I call it a fruit picker, and I first saw one when I was about 7 years old. It was in a wild cactus and fruit garden kept by an old Mexican American who tended several acres of fertile dirt in the middle of what turned into inner-city Richmond, Calif. Over decades he built an oasis of exotic fruits trees – including a two-story tall banana tree — olive groves, cacti, and bees hives. He would pick things, slice them like a ninja with his pocket knife, and then hand them to us to eat, which we did with fascination.
This weekend we were in the back yard trying to pick oranges and limes and decided to put one of these together rather than climb the old rickety ladder.
Here’s how to make one: get a wooden pole from an old broom stick or rake. Then, cut a sharp edge on one side of a tin can and attach it with two screws to the wooden pole.
Using it to remove fresh fruit takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it!
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.
Step Three: Begin slicing off tiles one at a time with a handsaw (use a bandsaw or tablesaw if you have a shop).
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.