Art of Fixing Things Cover

We are smitten with Lawrence E. Pierce‘s The Art of Fixing Things, principles of machines, and how to repair them: 150 tips and tricks to make things last longer, and save you money.  The title and its very long blurb are not quite accurate however. The book is also a manual about MAKING things, tinkering, and the realities of the creative process. Beyond really smart, practical, concrete tips about restoring a stripped bolt, the virtues of aluminum, and how to keep paint from dripping down the can, Pierce, who has been a farmer, mechanic, handyman and litigation lawyer,  also addresses mindset and process. Take Tip 68, for example:

Tip 68: Practice Breaking Things

When a difficult problem arises, set up a test on a similar part.

Let your destructive instincts run wild with spare parts. Then you will know how far you can go.

And one of our favorites: Tip 84: Know When You Are In Over Your Head. It covers when to re-consider and call for help. It directs you to Tip 97: The Problem You Cannot Solve:

Go for lunch and think about the problem. 

Often the answer is right there, but because of fatigue, frustration or ego you cannot see it. Take a time out to meditate on the problem over lunch. The answer will appear.

Art of Fixing paint can


We’ve bought the book for ourselves and found it so useful, we immediately ordered it for few fixer/tinkerer friends. Ordering from Amazon helps support ‘the improvised life’.

Look inside the book here.


Related posts: the fixer’s collective: improvisational mending + fixing
resources for fixers
kintsugi: the artful repair of damaged things
tin-patched wood floor: kintsugi in action
nina’s tool bucket: essentials for doing-it-yourself


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