How the tiny town of Markleeville survived the terrifying Tamarack Wildfire

It was just after 6:00 p.m. on Friday and an orange sun was setting on the tiny Sierra mountain town of Markleeville, Calif.

Walking down the main street of Highway 89 past the historic buildings and the county courthouse, a surreal and unsettling feeling persisted. The streets were packed with cars and people, which is an uncommon sight for this remote town of 200 residents. But this weekend more than 2,100 long-distance cyclists were staying in town or at the surrounding campsites and cabins for the annual Death Ride bicycle race.

Up ahead fine dinners packed the outdoor tables at a local farm-to-table restaurant, chomping away on their oven-fired pizzas and garden salads. Across the street, motorcycles lined up out from the Cut Throat Bar while patrons inside sucked down their IPAs.

And meanwhile, a raging forest fire was bearing down on town, approach fast and just a few miles away.

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SK8 Art: The Completed Illustrated Guide to Skateboard Design

Seven years after publishing my first book “The Handmade Skateboard: How to design and build a custom longboard, cruiser, street deck from scratch” I’ve submitted the final edits and updates to a new revised edition of the book expected to hit bookstores this fall.

You may not know, but in order for a published book to earn “revised” status, the author and publisher have to update a substantial portion of the content. And so that’s just what we did.

The revised version of The Handmade Skateboard includes new techniques and lessons learned from the dozens of skateboard-making workshops I’ve run with students of all ages over the past decade. I’ve pulled together interviews and photos from breakout handmade skateboard makers from around the globe who are pushing the envelope.

But perhaps my favorite addition to the book: Colorized updates to my “complete illustrated guide to skateboard design.” In this section of the book, I break down all the design decisions and parts that you’ll need to sort through when you’re designing and building your own custom skateboard.

Because I love them so much, I compiled a selection of drawings from the book into a poster-sized version that I’m offering for sale for a limited time via the on-demand print service Pixel.com.

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AR Family History Project

My great grandmother on my mom’s side was an early collector of arts and artifacts from native people in North America. In the 1930s she moved to Berkeley, Calif., and began traveling around the West to indigenous communities, where she acquired Navajo blankets, Alaskan Inuit masks, and a wonderful collection of California native baskets.

80 years later, those baskets are still around the family well preserved and I’ve decided to tackle a fun digital project to archive them as 3D objects using a technique I learned a few years ago called Photogrammetry. The process enables you to photograph an object from all angles and assemble those into a 3D model with a textured surface and a high-resolution outer skin that makes it look like a real live object when viewed on an iPhone.

Below is an example, shown in a series of screenshots from my iPhone:

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15,000 Copies Sold: The Economics of a Hobby Book Author

Curious about the economics of book publishing? I wrote about my experience as a small-time author in the niche category of woodworking trade books. Spoiler alert: Don’t quit your day job.

If you are an aspiring book author or have ever wondered how the economics of book publishing works I’d like to share my experience with you. I’ve been lucky enough to have two books published in the popular niche category of woodworking how-to trade books, a small but devoted corner of your local book store.

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Voting in the USA: An illustrated breakdown of the electorate

Did you know that it takes less than 1/4 of the US population to win the presidency?

That’s not typically how we think about it. You often hear pundits and fanatics claim “Half the country voted for…” But that’s not true at all. When you count up all the people in our country — 331 million of them — the winner of the US Presidential Election typically only receives a vote from less than 25 percent of the population.

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