Tile saws will cut through wine bottles, with enough effort. Partly, anyway, and then you can do a controlled hammering in order to break the rest of it.

A dremel with a polishing stone will smooth out the sharp edges, and what you're left with is a vase that can hold flowers for your sweetheart - as well as something that will remind you both of that excellent vacation up to New York State's wine country.

Highly recommended: using a face mask to avoid breathing in glass dust. And sweeping up afterward.


Breaking my body is a delightful and hilarious pastime of mine. Boy howdy, do I have stories.

Oddly enough, a few years ago, Laura pointed out that as I started riding bikes everywhere, my injury rate started going down dramatically.

Except, you know, sometimes strange things happen. A couple of beers, a late-night ride home through quiet streets, and a largely unobserved tumble while taking a tight turn at about 26 mph. It'll leave you with a bruise on your hip if you play your cards right.

But the strange part is what happened two weeks later, while racing at the Trexlertown Velodrome. I pushed myself up to the leaders in a points race, hauled ass around the steeply banked track, and threw all the strength of my legs and arms into a sprint to win points that placed me 3rd in the race.

Legs shaking, I cooled down, dismounted, and walked toward my water bottle; when my hand touched my hip, I felt a distinct bulge sticking out from my hip. It was like somebody embedded a tender lime underneath my skin. It was a visible bump sticking straight out from my left hip. Apparently the sprint just made this older bruise congeal and pop up and swell and do whatever.

I've never had that happen before.

Don't break your body!


Still breaking

Hey everyone. So I post a lot around here about how I'm going to start posting around here. But for real.

Just to touch base on the street cred:
since we last spoke, the following have been broke:

+ My windshield
+ My heart
+ My wrist (almost... dislocated)
+ A bike wheel
+ The economy

Now, I know that there've been a lot of promises here about starting up again. Those too have been broken. But with all of the above to fix, there will be much to write about.

Planned articles for the near and distant future:

- How to Build a Bike Wheel
- How to read spraypainted marks on abandoned buildings
- How to Re-fret a guitar (I'm interested in learning this one too)
- How to make your bike fast without being a rich kid.

At the moment, my project is number three. In response to the broken heart up above, I made an impulsive purchase when I found a cheap 1975 Takamine guitar, an exact copy of a martin dreadnaught. She sounds beautiful, but her frets are worn down to the fretboard. I figure, a re-fret costs upwards of $200. But fretwire costs $15.

So why not, right?

Love and wingnuts,


How to Break your Readership

Just letting you all know that How To Break Stuff is about to make a comeback.
After graduation, I traveled a bit, relaxed, broke a *ton* of things, and got a job. Now that I'm on my feet enough to buy tools but not on my feet enough to not need them, I feel primed and ready to continue HtBS. As usual, feel free to send in questions, either to howtobreakstuff(at)gmail.com, or directly to my personal address... which is somewhere around here.

And just so you know I haven't been slacking off, in the past few months I have:

*Overheated a car
*Perforated rubber vacuum tubing
*Re-soldered an Anti-lock Brake computer (it saved my ass on the highway tonight... it worked!)
*Operated an oxy-propane torch
*Trued a bicycle wheel
*Learned to counter-steer on an old british racing bike
*Drunkenly tripped on a pile of garbage while running down 14th Street in Manhattan at 2 on a Thursday morning.

So don't you worry. Someone dumber and more lucky than you is about to start posting on again. And that someone is me...

Happy Love and Tinkering, friends.


What I've Learned About Ballbearings

Ball bearings are important. Maybe, you've spent an evening drinking wine and thinking, "Gee, I really need to repack my hubs." So you do, but then while you're tapping the bearings out of the old, disgustingly filthy grease, they drop into your cup filled with degreaser but then bounce out and roll around and get lost. So then, you say, "Man, fuck this. Bearings don't really need balls."

Incorrect. Without balls, you've just got metal rubbing against metal. With balls, you've got metal rolling against metal.

If you're like me, you've wondered if there's a golden rule or two for how to get yourself from a crappy bearing interface to an awesome one. If you're occasionally like Evan, you've forsaken research in favor of finding out some functional guidelines:

1. Phil Wood's Waterproof Grease. Jesus, this stuff is:
a: greasey!
b: slippery!
c: tenacious!
2. Slick Honey, another grease, does not taste:
a: like honey.
b: delicious in any way.
3. You should not stick too many or too few balls in a bearing assembly. Too few means that the weight of, say, your bike, is being born on a weak, unstable setup. Too many will overload the interface and provide you with a terrible, terrible bearing assembly. What is too many? Put bearings in your cups until you can not fit one more in. Then, take one out. This is the right number.

What am I getting at, in my wordy manner? That I got a wheel for free because it sucked, and I made it awesome.


If We Had a Katana

A segment wherein we list what would happen:

+ We could cut pizza from several more feet away.
+ We could get stopped at international customs checkpoints.
+ We could make "your mom" jokes with impunity.
+ Except to ninjas.


Safety Workshop, March 7th

On Wednesday, March 7th, at 9pm on the top floor of the Campus Center (whichever conference room is open), I will be giving a small, informal presentation on respirator safety (care, selection, etc) and basic first aid/health-and-safety tips for volunteers going down to New Orleans. If you are interested and want to be notified of the details, email me at howtobreakstuff_at_gmail.com.


The Sketchy Equipment Bake Sale

So, Gavin and I have been taking inventory over at our beloved workspace, the Labs of Albert and Albert... Everything is in order: disassembled lawnmower engines, old car parts, hacksaws, respirators, maps of the Antarctic--the list goes on and on. But there are some new toys that would just make our day and assist in a whole bunch of projects. I, for one, have my eye on a nice entry-level Oxy-MAPP cutting/welding torch. Gavin just wants oodles of fountain pens. Also a saws-all.

And so, to that end, we announce the How to Break Stuff Sketchy Equipment Fund Bake Sale. Next week, weather permitting, we will be selling baked goods, probably outside of the Campus Center, to supplement our tool box. So pitch in. It's a good cause. And will probably lead to more breakage of stuff.


How To Break Stuff: Bicycle Edition part 3

The staff of How To Break Stuff has been hard at work on figuring out new and unique ways to break things like bodies and machines that don't run on blood and oxygen.

After years of research, I've determined that racing an alleycat for track bikes with no breaks in the middle of winter, just a few days after a snowfall, would be a terrific way to break my body, my bike, or both.

It's called Monster Track and it holds a special place in alleycat lore as the biggest, most infamous, most prestigious race there is.

The first section had 160+ riders hauling ass up 1st Avenue in Manhattan. I was lucky enough to be included in a little bit of sweet helmetcam footage, which can be found in better, non-Youtube style here and, of course, here:

However, the research did not pay off, and I managed to break neither body or bike during the race. Data from the afterparty remains to be analyzed.


How to hint that you would like to be kissed

For our readers, from personal experience:
Step 1. Put the crowbar down.

Step 2. Put a bandanna in your hair to hide the motor oil

Step 3. Stop talking about "what a great idea" you just had.

Step 4. Seriously, put the crowbar down.