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.


Monday, June 20, 2016

A Portable Pond Dipper

I needed a long handled dipper to get samples from Lake Temescal, in Oakland.  I have found a few Hydra on the duckweed (Lemna minor) I had scooped up with a ziploc bag a few months before.  But it was a clumsy arrangement at best.  I was looking for a dipper like we use for bathing in the tropics (dipping water from the 55 gallon drums we used to collect rain water, or from a well.  Along the way, it became apparent that long poled dippers are sold by Scientific Supply houses; man!  the costs were unbelievable!

Duct Tape.  A broken Tripod.  Some quart size Salsa containers.  That's all I needed.

Photos still to come.

I cut a leg from the tripod.  Now I have an extensible rod.  Taping the salsa container on, I have a portable pond dipper.  Portable, because of the telescoping rod.  Awesome!  Especially considering "respectable" pond dippers are sold in the scientific supply catalogs for upwards of 60.00.   I have often wondered about this.



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