For years I have kept a virtual file of solutions for various practical problems, in the spirit of Terry Frohm, who referred to the constructs he created for a field Marine Laboratory, using available tools and materials. I want to collect such solutions in an accessible manner, on this blog. Terry spoke of "Making Do" when describing the circulating seawater system, or the freshwater supply, or to any of his inspired creations, solutions to practical problems. At least that is what it meant to me. I hope that Terry will forgive me for borrowing his term as the title of this blog.
This blog is about ingenious solutions, making do with the available. Levi-Strauss's used the term "Bricoleur." His reference of often confused with "Jack of All Trades," but it meant a more complete kind of what we refer to today, I think, as a "Maker." He wrote that the rules of the game for the Bricoleur are always to make do with tools and materials that are at hand.
Terry Frohm, principle technician at the CRRF Chuuk marine laboratory, used the term "Making Do" to refer to appurtenances and contrivances he innovated for the laboratory, without expensive and specialized equipment or hardware.
I recognized Levi-Strauss's meaning in Micronesian fishermen's use of the available to solve their own problems: Marshallese fishermen used a piece of broken glass or a sharp piece of Aluminum beer can to clean a catch of fish on the beach; their spears were fashioned of discarded water tank bands, and their slings from airplane inner tubes. Goggles were carved from available wood---using possibly a kitchen knife sharpened on a piece of pumice that had drifted onto the beach, their glass from a
relict World War II airplane.
This Blog cannot adequately honor the resourcefulness of those men, but I have borrowed the words of Terry Frohm, to describe the purpose of this proposed collection of solutions and innovations. But I hope it can serve as more than a collection. Rather, by example, a reminder that solutions are often at arm's reach, and not in catalogs.