March 2015

March 2015
Date:24 February 2015 Tags:, , ,

Cleaning up

There’s a scene you see often in movies of a certain type. It’s almost a kind of metamorphosis, possibly a metaphor, definitely a metasomething-or-other: the brooding male central character, his face cocooned in trail dirt, mud and, quite likely, even gore, submits himself to the embrace of clean, hot water, lather and the kiss of a freshly stropped cut-throat razor, to emerge almost miraculously glowing and fresh.

It was evident most recently at a PM preview evening of the WWII tank epic Fury, in which the Brad Pitt character Wardaddy transforms from brusque leader to almost civilised human being. He cleaned up good, as they say.

I felt a little bit of that magic myself a few days later in KZN at Nivea’s launch of its new male grooming range. As part of the experience, they laid on a gent wielding a gleaming, razor-sharp – obviously – blade around my ears. I didn’t emerge looking like Brad Pitt, but no matter. I think I got a bigger thrill than my colleagues who bungy jumped off the top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban the day before. The luxurious barber shave is a tradition worth preserving, I reckon – and though this was my first, it won’t be my last.

Speaking of traditions: the number, range and quality of the entries for our DIY Home Workshop Challenge demonstrated as plainly as daylight what a formidable talent pool we have in PM readers. You can’t help but be awed.

It isn’t just the breadth of skills; design and execution of some entries were extraordinary, too. Don’t be surprised to see them featured in future issues of Popular Mechanics.

One aspect I found particularly intriguing is the extent to which computer-aided design and fabrication has taken hold. Come to think of it, that’s worth considering as the basis for a competition of its own. Watch this space…

In the end, though, the choice of winner came down to a project that resonates with so many aspects of PM’s fine tradition of DIY. Preparing for it needed a bit of thought and a modicum of equipment. It involved the entire family. It required some hands-on time, but nothing too complicated. It produced a useful and, dare we say it, aesthetically pleasing (in a retro sort of way!) outcome. And best of all, it resulted in a feel-good conclusion that underscores the aptness of our choice for Workshop Challenge No 2. Check it out in our Skills section.