All posts in the "DIY" category.

DIY 13-roll toilet paper dispenser

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The 13-roll toilet paper holder I made has been upgraded. It’s now a dispenser!

It was fun to figure out how to support the rolls stacked above while dropping a new roll into position. I found a solution involving three pegs and five holes. I worked out an explanation with five steps, a diagram, and letters, and planned to make a placard that I’d attach to the dispenser. Upon trying the new roll switch for the first time, however, I realized it’s much more fun to not have any instructions and to treat it like a puzzle.

DIY taiko doukake (ki-pad)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I like to use hits on the body of the taiko for a nice, woody sound that’s higher-pitch than the rim of the taiko. On my own drums, I just play the body directly, but when borrowing a taiko, I need a way to cover the body. Enter the “doukake”, or “ki-pad” as we call it (“ki” is the kuchishoga term we use for this hit, as opposed to “ka” for the regular rim). It turns out it’s easy to make a doukake from the staves of a discarded taiko barrel.






DIY toilet paper roll holder

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

UPDATE — the “holder” is now a “dispenser”!

DIY 13-roll toilet paper holder from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

Hiro and I just finished a fun woodworking project… a DIY toilet paper roll holder. One can obviously purchase a ready-made holder for just a few dollars, but our toilet paper roll holder has one key feature:

It holds all 12 rolls in a new pack, plus a 13th “buffer” roll!

The initial design had a kink in the middle to provide a shelf for bathroom reading materials, but initial testing proved toilet paper is reluctant to roll through bends. So we went with a long, straight design. It looks a bit like a skyscraper birdhouse. The holder hangs on a wall hook and can be easily removed for refilling. I made the holder from scrap bamboo plywood on hand and we left it unfinished. It works wonderfully and freed up a lot of space under the bathroom sink!

DIY plastic bag drying rack

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

I’ve just finished a fun project to make a drying rack for our plastic bags. We were always struggling to find a place to put them after washing, so I made this suspended rack out of wood and copper wire. I’m surprised how well this is working!


  • Suspended design saves space
  • Accommodates all bag sizes
  • Perfect fit for Nijiya 12lb rice bags, small and large-type re-sealable zipper bags
  • Removable drip-catcher made from cookie sheet already in kitchen


  • reclaimed ash wood with tung oil finish
  • copper wire (9 AWG? from hardware shop)
  • neodymium magnets (3/8″, round from Rockler)
  • recycled cookie sheet
  • 1/16 wire rope with aluminum crimps
  • various 1 and 2-groove pulleys from salvaged scanners and copy machines

DIY wooden knife magnet

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

I recycled the magnets in a batch of old hard drives to make a wooden knife magnet to hold my woodworking chisels. It turned out really well.


  • reclaimed cherry wood, finished with tung oil
  • neodymium magnets from dead computer hard drives mounted with T88 epoxy
  • sturdy threaded inserts for mounting with bolts

The Useless Machine

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Last Christmas I cobbled together a Useless Machine for my sister. The wood was from the old overhead fan blades in On Ensemble’s previous studio and the electronics and motor were from salvaged electronic devices.

(Hopefully I’ll post a video of this year’s gift to my mom — a praxinoscope made from an old record player! — sometime before next Christmas.)

DIY bicycle toe clips

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Part of my blogging strategy is to try and add bits of information to the internet that I could not previously find. When the old, plastic toe-clips on my Shimano 105 pedals broke, and I learned that the bike shop wanted $75 for a replacement set, I decided to make my own. I’ve used them for a few months now and they’re working great.

With the hope someone out there could use the info, here is a quick howto for building replacement toe clips from the lid of any old piece of electronic equipment.

DIY audio: Five Fish preamps for Shoji

Monday, January 11th, 2010

I assembled a set of Five Fish preamps for Shoji and they turned out really well!  The preamps sound fantastic and thanks to the high quality of the kit and the great support offered by Five Fish, the build process was very enjoyable.  Here’s a time-lapse video of the construction!  Photos and a review of the kit follows the break…


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