Thursday, November 11, 2010

Megaton on the Way - Happy Veterans' Day!

I've just been accepted to show my work at the 3rd Ward Craft Fair on December 4! My work is definitely cut out for me; I have a massive box of old shells that need to become Blitz lamps, and a batch of cluster bombs and lazy dogs that need to become Beacon lamps and Bomblet jewelry. In addition to a totally new design, I'll be supplementing my line with a new Megaton lamp.
In the first photo I'm disassembling a 100-lb bomb with a vertical bandsaw. The second shows the base of the Megaton during the course of sanding, brushing, and polishing. Half of me hopes it sells right away, and the other half hopes I can keep it forever!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dressing for Halloween

I was over at the magnificent blog Regretsy, and was referred to these brilliant Halloween costumes by misnessamonster. I'm sure Miss Nessa is a bit overwhelmed by the Regretsy traffic, but DAMN do I want one of those Loch Ness Monster costumes. I offered her a free bomblet necklace, to hopefully grease the wheels a bit.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bomblet Jewelry

I've finally finished my pendants made from Lazy Dog bombs. These are original bombs from the Vietnam war that have been stripped, cleaned, and striped with gold leaf. I drilled holes in the fins for the chain to pass through, which adds to the overall grungy look-and-feel. Each pendant comes in a Stockpile-branded envelope, mounted to a card with information about the piece. Check one out in my Etsy Store!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New NEW Look for the Beacon

This weekend, I experimented with a new technique for finishing the metal on the Beacon. I'd been having trouble getting an even finish, because the shape of the fins and shell were not optimal for hand-polishing. Now the Beacon has a beautiful matte/frosted sheen. It isn't as flashy as the original, but it's definitely more refined. As always, the pieces are available in my Esty Store.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Beacon (and Stockpile) is Back!

Stockpile has taken the backseat for the last six weeks as I worked on my personal website ( and took a much-needed family vacation. Now I'm happy to report that the website is done, the family is once again scattered across the continent, and a fat batch of bombshells has arrived in my mailbox. I'm also studying woodworking and metalworking at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, so I can widen my product range beyond lighting. But for now, I've got some more of the popular Beacon lamps available, and some vintage aircraft posters on the way.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Depleted Stock

I only list on Etsy (for now), but my housewares have been selling very well. Now I'm scrambling to pick up more pieces and supplies, and shore up my inventory before my store becomes empty!

I signed up for 3rd Ward, a great shared workspace in Brooklyn. The tools in their workshop will help me cut down my production time significantly, and they teach a great variety of classes that will open me up to new techniques and processes. Using this space, I plan to have five new Blitz lamps, a Megaton, and a new ceiling fixture available for sale in the next few weeks.

I'm also trying to secure a new set of cluster bomblets for the popular Beacon lamp. My original suppliers have run out, and it seems like cluster bomblets are only sporadically available. I may have located an entire crate of untouched pieces in Montana, so with luck I'll have a major stock soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coming Soon - The Bomblet Necklace

Jewelry made from gunshells is popular, but the Bomblet Necklace will blow it away. (Wordplay!) I use a Vietnam War "Lazy Dog" bomb as a base, and then stripe it with gold leaf. Lazy Dogs, also known as flechettes, are solid pieces of steel with guidance fins attached to the base. PIlots would throw thousands over embedded troops, and by the time they hit the ground they would be traveling quickly enough to cause mortal injury. I can't decide if that is sinister or innovative. The photo is of a bomb halfway through the assembly process - the leaf has been applied, but it hasn't been cleaned up or sealed yet. It's also a crappy picture - I don't have the hang of macro-photography yet, but by the time I've put a few on chains I hope I can take a decent snapshot.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Friendly Skies

I've been working on major updates to my graphic design website while I wait for the materials for my next round of merch to come in. Until they arrive and I can post photos of amazing new merchandise, enjoy this awesome photo from Happy Chair is Happy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wooden Artillery

These practice rounds are huge (30" tall) and weigh as much as a planet. To save metal they were made from oak, then capped with steel and brass. This weekend I'll start building tabletops to transform these into super-industrial cocktail tables.

The rounds were stored in their original boxes for almost 70 years, which naturally darkened the wood to a perfect honey-brown. I wanted to save the boxes, which were covered in interesting logos and military requisition info. Unfortunately, the cardboard was brittle with dry-rot, to which I am extremely allergic. I tried keeping them anyway, but my legs broke out in hives and I had to drop them at the curb. It's a shame, but I've got even more pieces on the way and some great new projects on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A New Logo - Version 1

In the rush to design new products, I've sort of ignored Stockpile's graphic branding. It's sad - I've been slapping the header from this blog on my invoice slips. This weekend I spent a few hours with my notebook sketching out logo ideas, and this one is definitely my favorite. Some refinement is in order, but I think it could set a nice tone for the packaging and distributor catalogs.

I haven't made anything with grenades yet, but I have some pretty interesting stuff on the way. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Etsy Store and Sundry News

I started Stockpile with an Etsy store attached to my original account. I'm grateful to everyone who hearted the store and checked out the merchandise, but it was a bit confusing to have Stockpile Designs located at '' The new store is at

To celebrate the new store (and because of a format change going forward) I've reduced the price of the MIG-15 Fagot prints to $6! Grab 'em while they last - it's an essential entry in the history of things with terrible names.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A new look for the Beacon

The second wave of Beacon lamps are here, with different bulbs. Originally I used an extra-long display case bulb with a dimmer, but this time I'm using antique-style Marconi bulbs. Instead of a coiled filament, these have a glowing cage of carbon wire suspended around a glass stalk. I ordered these from Bulb Town, who generously replaced one after it broke in transit...and I broke another one when I knocked it off my workbench. Obviously these are fragile, but they look like something from a very high-budget sci-fi set in 1935. They give off a great light too; very soft and warm, like candlelight.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Print - the MIG-15 Fagot

I'm very happy to announce the addition of prints to my product line! I'm making a series of block-prints based on Army aircraft-identification flashcards, focusing on those craft with amusing or unfortunate names. I started with the MIG-15 Fagot, and the first ten prints are available in my Etsy Store. Some more prints to look forward to:
  • Canuck (Canadian)
  • Super-Mystere (French; sounds like a Euro-knockoff of Scooby Doo)
  • Fishpot (Soviet)
  • Starfighter (American; luckily phased out shortly before opening of Star Wars)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Look at this Flying Fagot

This is a card from a US Army aircraft identification deck, circa 1977. The "MIG-15 Fagot" is my favorite card of them all, and I thought I should provide some background on the name.
Firstly, it's pronounced exactly the way you're thinking. "Fagot" was the MIG-15's NATO designation. Every Soviet jet was given a name that started with F, and our Fagot friend here was named in 1947 for its resemblance to a cigarette. The next two MIGs were named the Fresno and the Farmer. I am not making this up.
This little Fagot is only one of 54 cards in a flashcard deck, and I'm going to make a series of prints featuring enlarged versions of the most interesting illustrations. But first, some common military phrases involving the MIG-15 Fagot:
"Look at all those flying Fagots!"
"There were so many Fagots they blocked out the sun."
"Head for cover - Soviet Fagots are coming your way."
"That flaming Fagot is going down!"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Megaton, and new Beacon Lamps

This is the Megaton, made from the tail section of a 100 lb practice bomb. It was the first lamp I made, and got me interested in re-purposing munitions. I'm planning on making a small batch of these in the future, as soon as I can lock down the supplies. The bomb casing it's made from is fairly rare and very expensive, so I might have to fabricate a reproduction.

In other news, the Beacon Lamp is sold! I'm choosing parts for a new iteration on that first design, and hopefully will have a pair assembled within a week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More on the Blitz

The final version of the Blitz lamp is done, and up for sale at my Etsy store. It's a refinement of the first design. The steel was cleaned with an electrolytic process instead of by hand for a more even finish, the cord is cloth-wrapped with a bakelite plug, and the socket has a chromed finish.
The Blitz also got called out by Etsy user stephanieburciaga, who added it to her "Honoring Military Dads" treasury! As the kid of a military man, it was really nice to have my work get that kind of recognition.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Beacon Lamp

I've added a new piece to my Etsy store. It's called the Beacon Lamp, and I made it from a cluster bomblet (dummy, of course) dating to the Vietnam War. I used the spring-loaded fins as the base, and fitted it with an 11 7/8" incandescent bulb and a dimmer switch. Eventually I'll produce shades for this guy, but I honestly think it looks its best with the raw bulb.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Blitz Lamp

The Blitz lamps are my first product on Etsy. I make them from practice bombs left over from WWII. They've been sitting in a leaky warehouse for 65 years, so when I get them they're basically heavy chunks of rust. The original (which is up for sale) was cleaned entirely by hand, which leaves a cool patina on the bomb, but also leaves a cool patina on my hands, on my sink, inside my lungs, etc. A second set is halfway done, and these were cleaned with electrolysis. This involves running high-amperage current through a container filled with alkaline water, using a setup which looks like the Unabomber's dishwasher. (There are a number of incredibly helpful articles about doing electrolysis at home, but this was my favorite.) The process gets the bomb casings incredibly clean, and releases nothing but hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is a common element with many uses, such as floating the Hindenburg and vaporizing Nagasaki.

The original Blitz is for sale here on my Etsy store, with all-new photos. It's going to be joined tonight by the second wave of electrolyzed Blitzes, plus a new piece made from a Vietnam-War Cluster Bomb!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Big Bang

Stockpile started with a bomb. Specifically, a bomb's tail-section, which I bought on eBay during a late-night browsing session. By the time it arrived, I had nearly forgotten about it, and was concerned that my name had suddenly been added to watch-lists all over the country. It was rusty, and filthy, and those parts which weren't rusty or filthy were covered with stiff, chipped paint. I realized why the military hadn't wanted to keep it, and why the second owner didn't either - it was junk.
The shape of it was beautiful, though: sheet metal bent into aerodynamic curves, with squared-off fins flowing from the back. And I realized - it could make a great lamp. I coated it with paint remover, which made a tarry mess but exposed gleaming steel underneath. The rust came off under an electric sander, revealing gorgeous patina of black pitting and tiny dents. After a few hours of steel wool and polish, it was clean, and the last thing anyone would call it was "junk."
A few months later came Stockpile. I take military junk: surplus that's been gathering rust, bombshells from planes that haven't flown in sixty years, cases for equipment that's been obsolete for a generation. Then I figure out how it could be beautiful, and what it should do once it is. I'll be selling the designs on Etsy and (soon) in local stores in New York City. Works in progress and updates will be posted here, along with design concepts and public sale announcements.