This is a list of the favorite things we own, love and have carefully selected.
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‘Heirloomness’ is the one principle that guides everything on this list. Is this something we want forever? Is this something that our grandkids could want forever? These are hard, bordering impossible, questions. But let’s step away from external forces that drive current desires and trends and consider the objects we acquire on a generational time scale.

  • The design is simple, timeless and long-lasting. We want to love it today and forever.
  • It’s over-engineered to take a beating and age gracefully. We trip, fall, spill and drop things. It’s part of life. Engineer it to account for abuse, misuse and wear.
  • It’s built with quality in mind, using the right tools and materials. There’s a time and place for every material. But, let’s not kid ourselves, a plastic case with a metallic finish will not perform the same as a piece that’s milled out of a solid block of metal.
  • The interface is intuitive to use and works as expected. No manuals please. Who reads those anyways?
  • It’s intuitive to fix if and when it breaks. Even the best designed, accident proofed, over-engineered things eventually break. When they do, we’d like to be able to fix it, with simple tools, and with ease.

Spending a lot of time and effort finding “the ones” made us realize how important this was to us. We started this repository for our reference and we’re hoping you might find it useful too. This is our catalog of the best stuff for us, you and future generations.

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Earmuffs (+headphones)

We own several pairs of earmuffs. Some foldable, skinny, fat, pink, etc. 3M’s Optime 105 is the best. Rated at 105dBA, you can hear your heartbeat without even trying.  

With these and my other earmuffs, I like to take the guts of Sony’s MDR-V6 and build myself the best pair of isolate-everything headmuffs you can get.  The best noise canceling headphones don’t even come close to 105dBA because they leave the midrange open so you can still hear people’s voices (on purpose).  When I put headphones on, I don’t want to hear anything but what’s coming out of my headphones. What? I look like a crazy person wearing these? Sorry, I can’t hear you.

Rear Bike Light

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It’s like they read our minds when they designed Blink Steady. It knows when to turn on and when to turn off, runs on AAA batteries and is machined out of a block of aluminum. This is the ultimate bike light. We’ve ridden into dusk, hit darkness in a tunnel, and have the light switch on immediately then turn off when you’re done riding. Install it, then forget it, love it. 

Skin Cream

My mom gives us bottles of Egyptian Magic whenever we run out. At first we thought she was nuts, but it is now one of the few things we have in our bathroom. Made with few, easy to pronounce ingredients like olive oil, beeswax and honey, and it has NO synthetic preservatives or fragrances. It’s great for dry skin, hair and on scrapes + cuts. Mom knows best.

Kitchen Knife

We don’t have a pile of knives in our kitchen. This is the one knife we use for chopping, peeling, slicing, and dicing foods of all sizes, carrying on the rules I grew up with in my mom’s kitchen.  One knife is enough and take good care of it.

Bike lock

Getting a bike stolen sucks. The Kryptonite Evolution Mini keeps our bikes safe from nasty NYC bike thieves (knock on wood). It is small enough to fit into your pants or pocket while being durable enough to withstand lock cutters. The Kryptonite chain lock and the even more durable NY Fahgettaboutit work well too, but for us they are a bit heavy and cumbersome to carry.

Micrometer

Some of the tolerances we deal with come down to .001mm or .00005” so we reach for our micrometer. The Mitutyo 293-832 does what it’s supposed to do.  It’s easy to read, easy to operate, and never complains. We only need this once in a while, but when we have that moment, we’re glad this is the one we have.

Glue Gun

We’ve burned through several cheap glue guns before realizing we should invest in one that works properly.  There are bigger heavy duty glue guns out there, but this one by 3M hits the spot. It feels right in your hand and it’s easy to control the flow of glue. We use it with a speed control dial (which is also good for other things) to set the temperature of the tip when we use it for long periods of time.

camera

The Canon 5D Mark II is probably the best investment we have ever made. Proper documentation is invaluable. When photographed poorly, even the best work looks like crap. Don’t shortchange yourself or your hard work. Do whatever it takes to get a proper camera. There is plenty of information online about why this one is great, and there are many other great ones.  This is the one we love and keep as an indispensable part of our studio.

Parallel Locking Plier

ViperGrip is a pretty awesome hybrid between a Robogrip and a Vise-Grip. The key difference between this and the Vise-Grip is that the jaws always stay parallel, so you get more surface area chomping down on your part. Instead of adjusting to the part size, in auto-locking mode, you adjust how tightly you want to clamp down regardless of the part size. It’s fast, reliable and replaces a whole bunch of other tools.

Locking Plier

This is not an ordinary locking plier.  This surgical plier is made by König. We found this along with a few other König tools in the trash. It performs in every way you’d expect a vice to work, except better.  It’s incredibly easy to release and adjust. There’s absolutely no slack in this. Nothing wobbles or feels loose. Every part fits perfectly against the rest.  It’s good enough to perform surgery with, so it’s probably good enough for whatever else you want to clamp down on.  Check out their line of incredibly well design tools.