10 Forbidden Practices in the Workshop

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A list of forbidden practices for a small workshop.

0:00 Message from a Kickstarter backer
1:08 No Bare Feet
1:30 No Straight-Edge-Guide for Cuts
2:32 No Fixing Garbage
3:11 No Tripwires
3:37 Do Not Migrate Tools
4:03 No Flat-head Screws
4:50 Do Not Use the Last of Anything
5:30 No Hoarding Materials
6:21 Do Not Lend Tools
7:27 Do Not Switch Horses Mid-Stream

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A pioneer in digital filmmaking, Van Neistat made his first internet video, The Holland Tunnel, in 2000. He went on to collaborate with New York City artist Tom Sachs, directing a series of short films shown at the Guggenheim Museum in Berlin. Van has since directed dozens more films for the Tom Sachs Studio. In 2010 HBO aired The Neistat Brothers, an 8-episode series of short videos made entirely by Van and his brother Casey Neistat. Van Neistat’s directorial debut feature, A SPACE PROGRAM, co-written by Tom Sachs, premiered at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival and opened in theaters nation-wide in spring, 2016. In 2018 Neistat Directed the short film Paradox Bullets, co-written with Tom Sachs, narrated by Werner Herzog, and starring Ed Rushca. Neistat has written and directed commercial projects for Nike, Hurley, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, J. Crew, Twitter, Sleepy Jones and Frances Valentine. His work has been exhibited in museums throughout the world. He lives in Topanga, California.

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Comment (376)

  1. You say no hoarding then go on to say "Do not take it and save it for later" but go on to say " You're going to have enough scraps from previous projects to use your imagination to build something terrific out of the scraps" Don't the statements contradict each other?
    I do get it through, sometimes I laugh at myself when I salvage something Big thinking it will be useful on a future project only to keep having to move after having tripped on it once a week. My wife always says throw it away now rather than storing it then throwing it away in 10 years time, saving small stuff is OK as long as it's bagged and tagged..

  2. Come on, #1 is not possible…hahaha. But in all seriousnes, these days it has become more and more difficult to source all the materials, components so I find myself working on at least 5 projects at the same time to keep some flow while waiting on stuff to come in. Only thing I've done is make a project rack with sections, boxes to keep the materials for a project together. Makes it pretty easy to switch.

  3. All great apart from 8 I disagree. If the end result makes someone happy and saves something from being thrown away then I'd say that's a great use of your time, especially if you're offering it openly to everyone

  4. It's weird. I just watched a leather craft video where this guy cut straight a leather without using ruler and I asked myself "why didn’t he just use a ruler or something straight".

    Then this video answered my question hours later.

  5. "Even people of high character, they don't return it when they need it" Ha! Your slight smile when saying this makes me think your comment was aimed at Casey!

  6. Van, the workbench is like an altar and you are its acolyte. I can't speak for everybody but I grew up with a lot of good memories around the workbench. It's really sad and contradictory to see it become an excuse to hoard and a junk-pile among close family and acquaintances of mine. Like, they still have reverence for it but it's only a shadow. Thanks for this.

  7. My only objection is that ikea hacking is cool. And i sorta think everyone should have a designated hoarding box they hoard stuff in. The rule should just be to keep it in the box.

  8. I've cut thousands of pieces of paper when prototyping, and I always use a ruler—with an antiskid material on, of course, the kind made for that job. Then it doesn't skid and your cuts will be perfect. Also, flathead screws are awesome. If you look into fine woodworking you'll find a lot of flathead screws and learn about clocking. I would never exchange a flathead screw on a repair, if it had an aesthetic quality to it (like old furniture).

  9. Sorry but if you are restoring something to be historically accurate, you should always use flat head screws if that is what was used originally. They are superior aesthetically as well.

  10. I’m a lowly general contractor. Did historic restoration and architectural renovations in SF for decades. I’ve saved/stored many materials over the years. Just finished cottage on the property with many of these items, sinks, fixtures, electrical, wood, siding, etc. very satisfying. Flat head screws have there place. On wooden boats. Where they are countersunk, caulked and bunged. The slotted or flat head is easier to clean out to extract when repairs are needed. Probably one of the only places I’d use them in a new project.

  11. 1:42 I’ve cut laminated signs for five years using a straight razor, each time we were cutting on top of a pre-printed line but we nailed it every time. Never cut a straight line freehand, it only leads to mistakes.

    With peace and love to the spirited man

  12. You had me at the beginning, but you sold me at number 5. I'm almost to the point where I'm team no phillips screws either. Torx or those square Canadian ones.

  13. Your no flat-head screws thing made me laugh. One of my clients repairs and rebuilds antique furniture and early 1900s motorcycles. His rule is No Philips head screws allowed in his shop, because they didn't exist during the time anything he works on was made.

  14. You're conflating flat head screws with slotted screws. Some flat head screws are slotted, others are Phillips. Flat heads also come in torx and Robertson. You don't like slotted screws.

  15. When you say No Flathead screws! in Mommie Dearest style, I think you're talking about straight or slotted screws (Where there is only one straight channel for turning the screw, as compared to an X on a Philips head screw.) Flat head usually refers to the profile of the top of the screw; flat head is flush, compared to a pan head screw that is rounded on the top.

  16. Another rule I use is….Throw old obsolete computer gear away. I kept a massive video card that had a TV tuner built in to it for a computer ATX case. Last year I saw the video card and thought Why did I save that? I have not had an ATX case for a computer for many years and TV went Digital a long time ago.

  17. Ignore the "no flat head screws". If you care about your antique restoration, you'll replace the bad screws with the shape, head, and style it had. And the same material when possible. I buy pounds of 4-40, 6-32, 8-32, & 10-32 of domed, fillister, and countersink brass screws. If the thread is odd on the item being restored, I tap the threads to the closest screw thread I have in stock.
    Otherwise, I agree with the list. But, if you care about antiques, you'll respect the slotted screws. Keep your flathead drivers sharp and clean with an Arkansas stone.
    I even replace off-key style head screws in antiques with slotted screws. Especially if it was made before the 1960s. Phillips heads only acceptable when they cannot be seen. Even then, a self respecting restorer will use slotted screws where they cannot be seen.


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