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Launched in 1995, Core77 serves a devoted global audience of design professionals, corporations, students, enthusiasts and fans.

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    I'm in the process of making another dovetailed box, this one to hold some diamond sharpening plates. I do all of my marking with a knife, but I still need to drag a pencil line along the cut to see it. I got tired of sharpening pencils so I picked up a mechanical one some months ago. These are the tools I use to mark, listed from left to right:

    Veritas shop knife - This was an impulse purchase. I just got it and have barely used it, so I'm not sure if it was a good buy or not. I ordered it because the blade can be sharpened, unlike my main marking knife, the DeWalt below.

    DeWalt fixed blade utility knife - Not intended for woodworking but works well enough. I don't like that the blades are disposable, but this thing allows you to really bear down on the cut, like when you're trying to clean out the corners of a chiseled joint.

    SumoGrip 0.7mm mechanical pencil - I grabbed this because it was what my local art supply store had on hand.

    Pentel 0.7mm lead refills (HB) - I go through more of these than I'd like, which leads me to the point of this entry:

    On "clumsy days" I seem to break pencil leads more than I mark with them. This is irritating and wasteful, and breaks my momentum when I have to stop, disassemble the pencil, fish out a new lead from the container, load it and re-assemble the pencil.

    That's why I'm going to pick up one of these:

    Zebra Del Guard Mechanical Pencil, 0.7mm

    This brilliant Japanese design has a clever system of springs and a floating tip that prevents you from accidentally snapping the lead. Check out how it works:

    All of that engineering, and it's cheaper than the SumoGrip! Wish I'd known about this one first.


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    The Technical Designer is responsible for the technical execution of design concepts, ensuring that all ideas meet creative, budgetary, and safety requirements. Working closely with our interdisciplinary teams, they will play an integral role in the development of concept driven designs that meet project and budget goals. We are seeking an individual who is a creative thinker, eager problem solver, and a good multi-tasker. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of success in a creat

    View the full design job here

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    No matter how many we find, there's no way to tire us of the #ProcessPorn genre—with their ASMR-like soundtracks, soothing visuals and satisfying results, a great process video is the mind's equivalent to a warm cup of tea. Indulge in our favorites published on our Instagram from this past year, gathered from the accounts of many amazing makers.

    One of the most popular by far was this spoon carving clip courtesy of Lucus Craft

    And this one with sound? The purest harmony my ears are likely to hear (from Red Rose Productions).

    This video from Carrara Robotics made marble weighing thousands of pounds look like a hot slab of butter.

    Prior to this video below from Cafe Leaks, I had no idea the process of silicone color mixing was quite as magical as this. 

    The best part of this metal inlay video is watching the work that leads up to the grand, ultra-satisfying finale—the once-over of maker JKinlay's orbital sander.

    When ceramic artist Hugh Hope uses the process of wax-resist during the glazing process, it also makes for a mesmerizing visual effect that's especially Instagram worthy.

    This specialized planting machine equipped with a magazine of seedlings is a testament to the ways in which design betters our everyday lives...plus it's freaking cool to watch (filmed by Rose Creek Farms). 

    Kofaktorlab's video demonstrating how this double curvature pattern can help you make plywood ultra pliable isn't only satisfying, it's also easily replicable!

    With this video by Q on Youtube, you have to stay until the fiery grand finale.

    As designers, we may be well familiar with the plywood making process, but that doesn't mean an explainer video isn't any less gratifying. 

    This glassmaking video from Luke Jacomb is so delicious you might just want to eat whatever it is they're making (but seriously, don't put your tongue on hot glass. That's dumb). 

    Though extrusion is often the main method for putting treads on your tires, this year we were also delighted to discover this tire carving machine that cuts through rubber in an ultra smooth way.

    If you weren't doing so this year, go ahead and follow our Instagram and wait for the neverending supply of satisfying #processporn to come your way.

    ***

    More of the best of 2017:

    2017 Best of Furniture Design

    Our Favorite Transportation Stories from 2017

    2017 Best of Transforming Furniture

    The Best of Footwear Design in 2017

    2017 Best of Workshop Furniture and Hacks

    2017 Best of Hand Tools



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    The famously weapons-obsessed YouTuber Joerg Sprave has taken a robot vacuum and rigged it up so that it can fire a Glock. Why? Well, because he's Joerg Sprave. The pointlessness of this object aside, we do have to admit that he solves the technical challenges with some simple and clever engineering:

    You also have to love that he made it a point to retain the robot's cleaning functionality.



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    Spotted on Reddit's Mechanical GIFs page is this crazy-looking set-up:

    Initially I couldn't figure out why they're peck-drilling holes into the end of each; at first I thought perhaps these were to be strung together, but the drill does not appear to go all the way through. But now I'm guessing it's simply to thread in a hook if these are say, Christmas tree ornaments, or perhaps they index these on a pin for some other operation.



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    During World War II, British veteran Christopher Clayton Hutton was given an unusual task by his government: Design secret objects that captured British POWs could use to escape. Hutton, who had studied both magicians and escape artists, devised a series of clever items.

    Perhaps the best-known are his "escape scarves," which were silk scarves worn by airmen that had maps of enemy territory printed on them. Should they be shot down and survive, they could hopefully use the maps to work their way back towards friendly territory. You can actually find these on eBay.

    Hutton designed these buttons, just one of which would be sewn onto an airmen's jacket amidst the regular buttons. The special button had a compass hidden inside. The cap over it was reverse-threaded, so that even if a prison guard were to suspect something was inside and try unscrewing it, he'd only tighten it.

    Downed airmen were expected to try to evade capture by blending in with the local population, but one giveaway was their boots. Thus Hutton designed the boots to hold a knife. The boots were made with a special seam that the airman could slice along, and the tops of the boots would then detach while the bottom resembled ordinary citizen's shoes. There was also a secret compartment in the heel.

    Hutton also designed gear that was designed to be smuggled to POWs in the form of the care packages that the Geneva Convention permitted to be shipped. These razor blades were magnetized so that, if floated in water, one end always pointed north.

    These LP records were perfectly playable. But if you broke them open, inside were maps and/or foreign cash.

    Hutton's department was known as MI9, a/k/a the British Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 9. MI9 had him produce a catalog of these items in 1942 to share with the Americans. Incredibly a copy of this catalog, called "Per Ardua Libertas" ("Through Adversity, Freedom") was found in recent years and sold by the Bonhams auction house. Here are some images from the catalog which show more of Hutton's inventions:

    By the bye, French brand Bonhomme recently released a line of escape scarves, reportedly reprinted from the British Army's original designs.



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    At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $30 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. 3M has a long-standing reputation as a company committed to innovation. We provide the freedom to explore and encourage curiosity and creativity. We gain new insight from diverse thinking, and take risks on new ideas.

    View the full design job here

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    Utah-based builder David Lundell, the guy who made that wizard-themed hidden compartment table that sparked a Harry Potter fan war, is at it again. This time it's a piece he built for a client, who wanted a table in which to secretly store his-and-her pistols:

    Obviously this is not a quick-access-style piece of gun concealing furniture for home defense, but more an interesting way to store these items relatively safely for what I assume is occasional hobby use. If you're looking to see some examples of quick-access stuff, we've covered it here and here.



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    One of the most painful things to watch is a stand-up comic bombing on stage. A close second is a tech demo that goes awry. Why, oh why are on-stage demos the way these items are unveiled?

    CLOi is the name of LG's voice assistant that they're building into refrigerators and laundry machines, since those are two things that all of us have always wanted to talk to. So, without any further ado:



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    Ammunition is an international design group providing services in product design, brand strategy and identity, UX design, graphic design, and packaging. While Ammunition’s strengths are diverse across design disciplines, our real expertise is to redefine markets by using design to create new business territory, and to communicate and connect with customers.

    View the full design job here

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    Using technical fabrics most often used for clothing or accessories when designing footwear is nothing new—we've seen this most recently with companies like Raised By Wolves' Gore-Tex Reebok Classics and the upcoming Nike Air Jordan IV by Levi's collaboration, which will put the classic sneaker silhouette in all-denim. What is relatively new, though, is the idea of using materials specifically designed for footwear to create entirely different objects.

    On that note, this morning, Reebok announced a collaboration with design studio Odd Matter on an athletic seating collection made from their woven performance textile, Flexweave, which, "boasts an open figure-8 construction that interlocks unlimites strands of fibers to create a single surface construction that is as strong as it is light." Here's a look at the first chair to come out of the collection:

    Similar to a yoga ball, this chair engages your body through balance—supported by Flexweave, which was originally designed for use in footwear.

    Reebok's Innovation Collective is on a mission to show the versatility Flexweave's properties have to offer. This was first seen with the debut of a Flexweave suit designed by classic suiting company, Huntsman & Sons last year, and the company is continuing to rollout collaborations with various design studios in the New Year. 

    Their latest announcement with Odd Matter shows how the material would translate to furniture design. Out of context, the final result looks foreign to exercise and more like a fine art sculpture. But, the result truly does speak to Odd Matter's design aesthetic—the studio's body of work is a range of sculpture, furniture and design objects, all with one thing in common—the use of carefully-selected materials.

    This collaboration is intriguing for two main reasons: The first simply being that this chair is made in part with a sneaker material. When you think about it, this isn't such a bad concept. Materials like Reebok's Flexweave are firm and durable enough to provide support for our feet—the body part we put most of our pressure on—yet soft enough to remain comfortable.

    The second intriguing aspect was the structure—or lack thereof— of the collaboration between Reebok and Dutch design duo, Odd Matter. When speaking with Els Woldhek and Georgi Manassiev, the design duo behind Odd Matter, they were honest to admit they had never previously worked with footwear materials before this project—especially not textiles. They were up for the challenge, however, since their work heavily relies on materials research. 

    Working with a performance material was the most familiar part of the design process for Odd Matter. Besides that, the team was left to narrow down the vast uses the material has to offer to focus their energy on just a few key properties. They ultimately came to the decision that strength and flexibility should be their main design focus.

    “The Inspiration for the chair came from the Flexweave material itself. Whilst experimenting and playing with the fabric we were very intrigued by its behavior, structure and strength under tension. From there we wanted to create an object that played with that tension, a bit like the string of a bow, something in which the tension and strength is palpable.” —Els Woldhek of Odd Matter

    Reebok gave Odd Matter free reign to experiment with and interpret Flexweave in whichever way their research lead them, which is a rare collaboration agreement. The duo didn't go into the project with a set idea, so they allowed Flexweave's properties to guide them along the way until they reached a finished design. Larger companies generally like to have a big say in the directions of collaborations, so the fact that Reebok was hands-off in the design process made this a pretty sweet design experience for Odd Matter. Reebok did, however have a say in deadlines, and the studio admitted the short timeline and quick decision making were two of the biggest challenges throughout the process.

    Along with Odd Matter's Flexweave chair, Reebok's Design Collective also announced a pair of gloves designed by Joe Doucet and a training mask designed by London-based design house, Modla:

    Learn more about Reebok's Flexweave initiatives here.


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    It's been a long year. But it wasn't all bad, right? Okay, it was pretty bad, but let's take a moment to celebrate some of the good—if any—to come out of it. Namely, the things you made.

    Core77 is excited to announce the 2018 Core77 Design Awards are now open for entry! Since the awards' inception in 2011, the program has welcomed nearly 10,000 entries from professionals and students in over 49 countries around the world. It stands as an annual opportunity to take a look back and celebrate some of the best design of the year. Submitting your best work from 2017 is a chance to be a part of a global conversation, get recognized by your peers, and pick up an award or two.

    2017 Open Design Award Professional Runner Up - Little Robot Friends by Aesthetec Studio
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    We can all agree that design has become an increasingly ambiguous, amorphous blob of disciplines, so in addition to your traditional heavy-hitters (Consumer Product, Furniture & Lighting, Packaging), the design awards offers a slew of categories that aim to encompass a few of those new outliers (Design for Social Impact, Interaction, Strategy & Research). With 14 categories altogether—there's something for everyone. With distinctions for Professional and Student entries alike, the Core77 Design Awards has awarded over 250 individual design firms including IDEO, frog, Pentagram, and fuseproject, as well as countless students from around the globe.

    Each year, the program hand-picks a jury of international design talent to judge each category. This year's lineup is no exception, including design all-stars like Original Champions of Design co-founder & Director of Design for the Hillary for America campaign Jennifer Kinon, Studio Dror founder Dror Benshetrit, former Stanford d.school K12 Lab Network Director Susie Wise, Shaper CEO Joe Hebenstreit, and plenty more fantastic folks. These professionals are each asked to build their own judging teams that promise a wide swath of experience and perspective, ensuring a diverse point of view for each category.

    2017 Transportation Professional Winner— VOLTA, The smart urban commute

    The best part of this process, however, is the announcement. Not just to finally satiate everyone's anticipation for who the winners are, but to kick off a conversation on the current state and future of design in the years to come. After reviewing, jurors announce their decisions via a video where they describe, in their own words, the process, observations, and discussion that led them to their final choices. It sheds light on a process typically kept behind closed doors, and sparks a meaningful discourse in the weeks that follow.

    What do you get for all this? Well beyond another line on your LinkedIn profile, you'll get your work showcased across the Core77 blog and beyond, adoration by your peers, visibility by esteemed designers in your field, as well as a very swanky trophy designed by none other than New York studio Rich Brilliant Willing. Inspired by the kind of group effort that designers and their clients engage in every day, the trophy doubles as a mold, allowing you to, well, make more. As many as you like.

    Here's another fun update in this year's competition might also inspire your desire to apply! We're excited to announce that the Design Concept category will now be accepting student submissions.

    2017 Design Concept Winner— A Taste of Home Refugee Welcome Box
    If this sounds up your alley, get at it. The 2018 Core77 Design Awards are currently open for entry now. Like right now. Early Bird pricing ends on January 31, Regular Deadline ends March 8, and the Final Deadline to enter is March 29. That's it. Winners will be announced June 12. Here's to 2018.

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    DUSK is a clock that continuously changes shades depending on the time of day—a visual spectacle from dusk till dawn.

    View the full project here

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    The Present /&/ Correct blog has somehow got their hands on, and posted tons of photos of, vintage Soviet control rooms from "Power stations, control towers etc. Posted mainly for aesthetic reasons." Despite some detail differences there is certainly a consistency of aesthetic that is almost disturbing in its order:

    h/t design you trust



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    Holy COW this is creepy. It's been so cold here on the East Coast that North Carolina's Shallotte River Swamp has frozen over, encasing the alligators in ice. 

    But as it turns out, 'gators have a survival mechanism to deal with this:

    So here's what they're doing, according to the Miami Herald:

    The alligators seem to instinctively know when the water is about to freeze, says [George] Howard, who is general manager of [Shallotte River Swamp Park]. They respond by sticking their nose above the surface at just the right moment, allowing the water to freeze around them.
    Alligators then enter "a state of brumation, like hibernating." Alligators can regulate their body temperature in all sorts of weather, park officials said, and can essentially remain frozen in place until the ice melts.

    By the way, for those of you who have trouble telling alligators and crocodiles apart, here's how you can tell the difference:



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    505Design is seeking a highly creative, dedicated, self-motivated (mid-level) Environmental Graphic Designer with 5-7 years relevant experience to join our team in our Charlotte Studio. The designer in this position will work closely with the team in Charlotte and additional studios, collaborating on various Environmental Graphic Design project types that span the globe in all phases from conceptual development through implementation.

    View the full design job here

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    As the systems around us become more complex, the need for talented data visualizers grows more important. By breaking complicated things down into visuals that we can more easily grasp, these people influence both our perception and our understanding. When this is not done properly, our perception of the information being displayed can lead to an incorrect understanding of how things are.

    A great example of this is this map of the 2016 popular vote, where you can see how each county in the country voted:

    It's easy to look at that image and conclude that most of America voted red, and that there is, for instance, no one in the entire state of Oklahoma that voted blue. But this is inaccurate. In all of those red blocks, there may be people who voted blue, and vice versa. Essentially, this map is only useful if you are looking to see which side won a particular county.

    Another image I'd call a bad design is this one by the Times, which shows the 2004 electoral vote:

    By breaking the country into squares that roughly correspond with the shape of the country, they are attempting to project numerical consistency onto a wildly inconsistent shape. This provides cognitive dissonance--we know what the shape of the U.S. is, and that isn't it--and makes the data difficult to parse.

    The best design I've seen so far, and that provides the clearest picture, is this map by cartoonist Randall Munroe, a/k/a XKCD:

    It's a brilliant design for at least a couple of reasons. First off Munroe is going by units of 250,000 votes, regardless of which side won any particular county. Secondly, he's chosen to use stick figures, which instantly humanizes the results, reinforcing that these are people who are voting, not rectilinear municipal entities. We can also see that while Oklahoma appeared to be entirely red in the first map, here we can see that about 1/3rd of its population actually voted blue.

    Right now the U.S. is obviously politically divided, but what I find remarkable is just how evenly it's split; it's damn near fifty-fifty. Even more remarkable is that this is not an American phenomenon, though it may be democratic one; The UK, Australia and Germany are all countries that are dealing with sharp political divisions.

    To what do you attribute this emergence of political divisiveness around the world, and the concurrent re-emergence of tribalism? My theory is that as the world grows more complicated, people react by oversimplifying issues in order to make sense of things, to retain the illusion of cognitive control. Social media enhances and encourages oversimplification. It's easy to say people who voted for the party you don't like are idiots and fools, rather than learning about who these people really are and what factors in their lives caused them to vote a certain way.

    In any case, if you want to read more about data visualization as it pertains to elections, check out this article on Vox and this one in The New York Times.


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    Until recently, I never owned a wooden spokeshave. The reasons were mostly that when I was studying we didn't use them, and most of the woodwork I did didn't call for shaves. However, as I have gotten older, I have gotten more interested in complex furniture shapes and I found that I needed something aside from a rasp to sculpt my work.

    My first shaves were metal, but I never got them to work as well as I thought they should. Then I discovered wooden spokeshaves and I was converted.

    What I like most about wooden shaves is that they are light and nimble. They have the same feel as for example, our bowsaw where the tool is so light it doesn't influence the cut and you really feel that you are moving a blade over the work, not running a machine over some wood.

    The second feature I really like is that I normally set a shave for a fairly fine shaving but if I want a thicker cut all I have to do is loosen the screws at the top by a quarter turn and the shavings just push the blade out and you get a thicker shaving. I don't have to stop and think and that's important.

    Finally with a wooden shave the blade angle is really, really low and cutting end-grain is a snap. In the picture below you can see a chamfer I cut on a piece of construction grade pine, with the shave in the pictures above, using the blade as it came from the factory. Nearly an ideal cut (it took about three or for shavings), and the blade isn't even as sharp as I would get if I actually sharpened it.

    While I could have bought an old shave, I built the shave in the picture from Ron Hock's most excellent spokeshave kit. I kind of like the idea of building my own stuff, it's practical - and this kit is even easier to make than our bowsaw kit. Most important it was a fair amount of fun. You glue on the brass, cut away the waste, and shape your handles to your heart's desire. The actual cutting geometry is already done for you. It took me maybe an hour start to finish. And it works great. I might want to add some relief to the brass to give easier action, but I am waiting until I sharpen it first.

    ___________________

    This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.


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    In the market for a new home for his family some years ago, industrial designer Duncan Jackson purchased what you might call a fixer-upper: Martello Tower Y, a massive Napoleonic-era circular fortification situated on the cost of Suffolk.

    England began building these Martello towers all along their coast in the early 1800s, anticipating that the French fleet would come knocking. Even though they never came Tower Y, like many others, was left standing because it's kind of a hassle to tear down something that's made out of a million bricks.

    Jackson enlisted the services of architecture firm Piercy & Co, renovated the structure and even drilled a four-meter-long diagonal clerestory shaft into the wall. Have a look at what they've done with the place:

    Pretty darn sweet.

    It appears that Jackson didn't stay too long, however; while the renovations were complete by 2010, he sold it in 2014, and the new owner is renting the space out for vacationers. This is basically the 19th-Century version of that nuclear missile silo that was turned into an AirBNB rental.


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