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10 local gifts for do-it-yourself dads

Posted by Melissa Massello  June 12, 2013 09:27 PM

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Photo: North Bennet St. School

Man made takes on a whole new meaning these days, with even dapper city-dwelling dudes now excited to learn everything from urban beekeeping and making their own honey to building a tiny house from reclaimed materials for under $20K.

If your dad (or husband) is among that throng of postmodern men dominating the DIY movement, the traditional "weekend warrior" type of guy who likes to spend his free time tackling new skills and projects, then these Father's Day gifts are for you — er, him.

Custom-Made Gifts from
Topping the list of maker movement must-haves is a personalized gift from this Cambridge-based e-commerce site, which connects customers who appreciate artisan skills with the people who can make the things outside their skill set. With a new infusion of cash from investors just this week, expect CustomMade to become a household name soon — even though it probably already is in your house.

Tiny House Books
Did you miss sending Dad to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. workshop last weekend? Don't fret. The community published a beautiful, inspiring coffee table book last year called — wait for it — The Small House Book, or you can pick him up a copy of local tiny house builder Derek "Deek" Diedricksen's zine-manual hybrid, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here (Better yet: get him both.)

This Old House "Build It or Buy It" Shop
The WGBH crew, who've empowered at least two generations of New England men to try fixing that leak under the sink without calling a plumber, has teamed up with Boston-based home goods site to create an online shop where Dad can decide whether to DIY or buy things like a grilling station — providing both the project plans and readymade alternatives all in one place.

Hyper Local Craft Brew Fest
If home brewing is Dad's steez, get him tickets to this two-day festival where he can meet and talk shop with local craft beer producers like Slumbrew and Pretty Things — or he can submit his own for bragging rights at Friday's night's first Hyper-Local Home-Brew Showcase.

Tool Training
Forget asking for directions: no modern guy wants to admit that he doesn't know how to use every single tool in his shed. Help Dad build what he wants to build (without ending up at the Brigham) by gifting him some Tool Training at Artisan's Asylum, where he can finally learn how to use his bandsaw/router/planer/welder properly in a small group session. Is he already an expert, just stuck living in an urban abode that didn't come with a workshop? Gift him a membership to the community maker space, available in monthly or day pack options.

Urban Beekeeping
If Dad is more a country boy trapped in a city boy's lifestyle, hook him up with the experts at Best Bees Company in the South End, who provide seasonal classes, free beekeeping consultations, and soup-to-nuts installation and maintenance of urban beekeeping right in your yard — even in "densely populated, urban areas."

A History of Craftsmanship
Boston's oldest and most respected makerspace, the North Bennet St. School has been teaching traditional craftsmanship to city folk for more than 125 years right in the heart of the North End. Though they're not cheap, the intensive classes range from single-day workshops covering specific fundamentals to full-time programs in crafts like furniture design and carpentry.

Relish Urban Agriculture
The newest makerspace in a sea of makerspaces known as Somerville, relish is a "center for urban agriculture" in partnership with the Union Square farmer's market. Relish hosts both adult and kids' classes and workshops every Saturday during the farmer's market (plus some additional events on weeknights), including trendy topics like Backyard Chickens 101, container gardening, and canning. A perfectly postmodern Daddy-daughter/son bonding day.

Cook What You've Hooked
Boston's come a long way from the days of catching boots and grocery carts with Dad off the piers in Revere (anybody? just me?), and this Go Fish! class from the BCAE proves this ain't your grandfather's Harbor. The two-day course (July 8th & 9th) pairs gills-to-fins fish lovers with Chef Jason Bond of Bondir restaurant and Captain Paul from Reel Pursuits Charters in Charlestown to first catch then "cook what you've hooked," including learning to skin, bone, and fillet your fish.

A Modern Mr. Wizard
Is Dad way into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and passionate about teaching his sons/daughters about it, too? Gift him with the ultimate Saturday where the folks at Einstein's Workshop in Burlington will bring their popular classes for kids and adults right to your own backyard. Invite the neighborhood!

~ Melissa

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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