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How and Why: A Do-It-Yourself Guide
By Matte Resist, 175 pgs.

By Mark Twistworthy
Friday, June 03 2011

How and Why: A Do-It-Yourself Guide is an inspirational, easy-to-read book to help lead you towards a DIY lifestyle. Unlike other books and zines I’ve seen claiming the thing, the instructions in How and Why are written in such a style which are not at all intimidating and really lead you to believe that just about anyone could accomplish any of the projects included within if you were so inclined. DIY guides I’ve seen in the past typically cover topics like creating records/zines/envelopes, screen-printing and woodcuts, fashion, and other standard fare. While those are all totally viable and worthwhile things, this guide takes the realm of DIY guides to the next level and makes those other guides seem like kid’s stuff.

Included inside you’ll find the guide broken down into six different sections. First is a section all about bicycles, including building trailers and sidecars, making conversions to fixed gear and/or single speed, tips for biking in snowy/wintery conditions, and other projects. Next up is the home and garage section, which really hits a homerun explaining how to buy a house, get a loan, and some of the common pitfalls involved. Also included here are some home organizational type projects, like building shelving and using salvaged materials for various things. Gardening is next, and this section includes a staggering amount of useful tips. There’s complete information on every aspect of gardening, including position, soil, composting, pest control, seed, using rain barrels for irrigation, building a greenhouse, and tons more. The next section focuses around education, from a DIY parenting point of view. Included is information on homeschooling laws, curriculum, and various other techniques to provide the best experience for a child. For the musically inclined, the following section lightens things up a bit and includes how to build a cigar box guitar, how to build a banjo out of a kitchen table, a kalimba piano out of old bike spokes, and a few other instruments. The final section, “Everything Else,” contains all the other projects that do not fit in the other sections. Every page of the book is jam packed with information, photos, and charts and measurements to help assist with all of the projects.

I’ve really just scratched the surface with what this book has to offer. It is truly encouraging and offers an impassioned view towards the topics being discussed. Absolutely recommended. –Mark Twistworthy (Microcosm Publishing, microcosmpublishing.com)

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