Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Practical Value of Impractical Hobbies

About a week after our discussion about casting an AR lower from discarded aluminum cans three weeks ago, I ran into an article with just about the title of this post on GAT Daily (Guns Ammo and Tactical) Getting Your Hands Dirty: The Practical Value of Impractical Hobbies that has stuck with me.

In a way, it spoke to me.  The author, unnamed from the Loadout Room, talks about knife making, but it can certainly go with casting an AR lower or lots of things I do.  He opens this way:
You take a rusty piece of scrap metal, a hack saw, a file, and you get to work. After hours of cutting, grinding, and sanding spread out of a week’s worth of days, you’re left with a knife that’s probably not quite as good as one you might buy at Walmart for just less than you’d spend on a six-pack of beer. Somehow, you don’t see this is a waste of your time. Instead, you sit back and stare at your accomplishment with a sense of wonder — imagining how much better you’ll be able to do on the next one-armed with the stuff you were able to work out in your head by screwing up on this one.

And you’re proud of how you screwed up less this time than you did the time before.

Then the guy waxes poetic about the joys of shaping the world the old-fashioned way - with your hands.
Here’s to our impractical endeavors. Whether you collect kids toys from the 1960s, tie your own flies for fishing, hunt deer, tinker with cars, or bake cookies, these things are more than an opportunity for us to busy our hands along with our minds, they represent a deeper connection to the world we live in.
Worth a read.


  1. Well said. Creating is one of those things that makes us better - I made a knife out of a piece of waste structural steel I picked up at a construction site. It was rewarding.

  2. Being able to make a knife out of an old file will yield a knife that may be better than the cheap Chinese one from Walmart.

  3. What making and repairing things has taught me is that I'm good at mechanical, ok with electrical,carpentry but bad at making it look good. I mean wow, it often looks like the work of a twelve year works but wow.