Bare Necessities for the Everyman

posted in: Uncategorized | 51

June 17th, 2011


It’s that wedding season again, and I’ve found myself as the best man in two weddings. Always a best man, never a groom. But that’s not the reason for this post… there really isn’t a deep reason for this post. And I’m not selling anything. I’m just showing a little project I’ve been working on.

My brother is getting married in August and I wanted to make him something particularly special and unique. So I came up with an idea for a kit. This kit is now known as the ‘bare necessities for the everyman’. (If you can think of a more creative name, I’ll happily consider it)


The idea is that each kit I make is based on the interests of the specific person, but the items being useful for damn near any one. For my brother, he really wants to try a good scotch. And that hatchet was actually my father’s hatchet and now that my brother just had a son, it seems fitting he pass it down. The knife is an old stiletto (knives are important for life of course). It gets me thinking though, about the bare necessities and how we define ourselves based on what we need (and what we think we need).


My no-shampoo for 150 days post received a bit of attention recently (thanks to reddit!). As you can tell, I’m developing this theme of questioning needs and wants. It’s not just for minimalists. Consumerism is a drug, so it doesn’t hurt to detox once in a while.


Of course, giving a gift like this serves very little practical purpose. I’m not even sure I’d want one. But it’s a fun gift to make, and it will be a fun gift to give. He isn’t getting married until late August, so I am banking on him not reading my blog.


My girlfriend was inspired by this, so we made one for her uncle. He has been a bit down since his father just passed, so we wanted to cheer him up. Since he loves literature (former English teacher for forever), music (harmonica), and good whiskey (Makers Mark), we made him the second Bare Necessities for the Everyman kit below.






51 Responses

  1. Love the Hamlet touch. It’s a good book for men to learn from.

    Love the name. Man-Box could work too.

    • Christian, agreed. Hamlet is the right spot, but I could only ever appreciate the cliff notes.


  2. I had so much fun making this and even more fun giving it to my uncle. I think he really enjoyed it, and it was perfect timing. Thanks for showing me this creative idea. I think you could make big bucks on this idea. Let’s start taking orders. I get to be the jig saw girl and the stainer. Oh and I like to pick out the items for the boxes too. Ooooh so much fun. We need a name for our duo. 🙂

    I like the name idea. But I am going to think of a few more. Especially if we make some boxes for the ladies.

    Great idea. You are always thinking and so creative.

    • Well Meg, I don’t know about the big bucks, but it sure is nice having you as my jigsaw cutter and stainer. I could outsource this entire program and sit back to collect the huge piles of money.

      As for the box for the ladies, well, you may have to spearhead that one. 🙂

  3. These are fantastic!

    Not to give your trade secrets away, but is it a bit of jigsaw, then router on the timber to round it off?

    Do you have a supply of old briefcases?

    • No trade secrets here! 🙂 I’ll share it all!

      Jigsaw for most cuts, a skil saw to cut it down to size. I do use a dremel when necessary, but it’s do-able with a jigsaw.

      I went to a swap meet and found that second case, but the first one I found on ebay. Gotta love it, though now I will keep hunting around the local thrift stores.

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  5. Todd | Channelingmyself

    Hey David,

    Pretty cool idea for a gift. I’ve always wanted to try a good scotch as well, got any recommendations?

    • Todd, I wish I knew more about a good scotch. The one I got for my brother was based on if it would fit in the case and if it was highly priced. For me, high price equals good. I know that is terrible logic, but after some research I did get a good one.

      I’ll have to let you know once we tap into it!

  6. Mark <3 Hamlet + Maker's Mark

    It's like the most beautiful Father's day gift for up-and-coming literature-teaching werewolf I've ever seen.

    I think these could be customized as gifts for the grumpy werewolf or something.

    I'm inspired by this whiskey slurping werewolf in 'The Last Werewolf of Duncan Glen.' He's 200 and would like nothing more than an axe, Maker's Mark and Hamlet.

    Good on you DW!

    • Thanks Mark! I think you may have nailed it on the literature loving whiskey slurping werewolf. I may have to trademark that name 🙂

  7. Dude this is such a great idea. What an awesome gift to give to close relatives and family. You’re an extremely talented and creative guy.

    • Matt, you are generous with your kindness! Thanks my brother. Maybe we can make one for your pops or something.

  8. This has got me thinking if that’s what your making for my wedding present? If that is what your making, I hope Jess and I can both enjoy it, I’d hate for her to feel left out.

    • You better hope you’d be so lucky to enjoy such a manly and unique gift! 🙂

      That said, the idea of this gift as a wedding gift is a farewell to single man life. Though I can customize one for you and Jess. Perhaps I should include Egyptian cotton 1000 thread count sheets in yours…

    • It’s a best man gift! No girls allowed! 🙂

  9. Annie Andre

    Ok, you need to go to and open up a store. You can take custom orders and sell these easily. I’m not kidding so GO NOW…

    p.s. is there anything you don’t do. sheesh, you are making the rest of us mere mortals look bad…

    • yeah he better stop showing us all up…. 🙂

    • And I definitely agree with Meg and Annie – you could sell these for sure. Go to Etsy. Talk about a location independent opportunity or income or at least the ability to work on your own terms. Not so sure lugging the saws around on the back of the bike is so practical so it might not be the kind of travel supportive work you are looking for…BUT you could make money on these.

      • Liane, I really appreciate that. I like sharing the outcomes of these creative bursts of energy and enthusiasm, but it means even more when others get into it too. I may have to plug into the selling community, but I also really just like making unique and personal gifts that carry meaning. I could see doing this as a fun side hustle though 🙂

    • Etsy wouldn’t be a bad place to toss a few of these up… I’d also heavily encourage others to make their own! That said, I’d also happily take custom orders 🙂

      It’s fun to pursue passions, right?

  10. rob white

    I love you humor and creativity. It has me thinking about what I would put in my own kit! I would do better with a nice pint of Guiness though…

    • Rob, agreed! I would happily put a few pints of Guinness in mine! Delicious dark beers make the world go ’round!

  11. These are pretty freakin awesome!

    I honed in on the comment that consumerism is a drug. I am questioning the same things you are with this. I am preparing to have a yard sale where I just unload a bunch of the stuff i own into my front yard and sell it off. Whatever isnt gone by the end of the day I will put a free sign on it…it would be gone by morning. I am working on a post about practical ways to become Almost Minimalist…
    regardless of that, the things in this box someone would actually use and it shows thought about the person as opposed to buying them silver candle sticks or something…got I hate those typical wedding gifts…

    • Liane, I like the idea of an ‘almost minimalist’ post. It seems most people are closer to the ‘almost’ category of damn near anything anyways.

      Regarding the silly wedding gifts though, yes, I hate buying that sort of thing, let alone receiving bad gifts. It’s shocking to me that people actually want that junk too….

  12. Hey David,

    Really creative gifts – I love it! And the underlying theme of the gifts is such a wonderful reminder. Something I loose sight of all the time: how little we actually need.

    My cousins live in Arizona and had to evac their house because of the wildfires out there. There were told they had 30 minutes to pack and get out. It made me think, what would I pack from my house if I only had 30 minutes – what do we really need in life – what are the bare essentials. (That bottle of Maker’s Mark is definitely up there!)


  13. Chris, you are a man after my own heart. You can replace passports, computers, and all that other junk that fills a house. But good whiskey shouldn’t be wasted. 🙂

  14. It’s such a unique and interesting gift to make. As someone who is getting married soon, I can tell you that this would stand out among the gifts. Although, I’d probably want the second one more than the first one simply because I’m a big reader. Plus, I’m more of a whiskey drinker than scotch drinker. You really created something unique. Good job.

    • Thanks Steve! Maybe this is something you can make for your best man’s gift…

      I like the idea of customized, personality specific gifts. It makes me want to create more!

  15. Ben Joriain

    Love this brother, “Of course, giving a gift like this serves very little practical purpose. I’m not even sure I’d want one. But it’s a fun gift to make, and it will be a fun gift to give.”

    Well said.

    Brando would love getting a kit such as this. There is something nice about having a case for things. I’m inspired to create for the day, thanks my brother!

    • Be, I appreciate that you enjoyed that bit. It’s confirmation on why we get along so well.

      Let’s connect and make one for Brando in August!

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  20. I think you should ditch the hyper-masculine machismo nonsense. Plenty of women or othergendered people love whiskey, knives, etc.

  21. Des, you’re right! I suppose I saw the masculine angle and ran with it. My gf has all these creative ideas for men and women with these, so i should adjust my perspective. Appreciate the eye opener!

  22. Is there anything under the wood to help with a snug fit for the items inside?

    • Yes, it’s usually a tight cut for a snug fit. If the lid is too deep, I’ll add a simple clasp or binding for the item to stay put.

  23. Wesley Sol

    How can I pay for several of these axe kits to be made?

    Email me….

  24. Michael

    Amazing gift, brilliant and heart-felt. Just wondering how long would these kits take to make roughly? My wedding is coming up in two weeks.

  25. Hi there. Do you sell these? Interested if you do. Thx so much!

  26. Mike Williamson

    Hey bud…I too am very interested in these boxes. I have read anything showing you listing a price or if you even sell/take orders but I would gladly pay you to have more boxes made. The idea of different cases makes it that much more appealing to me. I’m in search of groomsman gifts and I’ve looked everywhere for boxes like this but can never find a price or way to actually purchase it. Please email me if you can or would be interest in making more. I need 6 boxes.

  27. R u making these still.. Would love to have one made for a Christmas gift..

  28. Hello,
    I love the cigar box with the whisky you have on etsy. I would like to gift a box but instead of two whisky bottles with the stones I was thinking one whisky bottle the stones and a place for a cigar. You know as a place to put your personal favorites. Let me know if it’s possible in time for xmas.

  29. Very good idea! Gonna make one, or two. Maybe more. 🙂

  30. Hi there, I just messaged you through Etsy but I would love to buy one of these for my best man ! I really like the one you did for her uncle. Can’t wait to discuss further !

  31. Joshua Carlson

    Good evening, if these are still available I would love to order possibly 3 as Xmas gifts for the family. Please let me know when available.

  32. Joshua Carlson

    Good evening, if these are still available I would love to order possibly 3 as Xmas gifts for the family. Please let me know when available. Thank you so much.

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