Vintage GeekDad Projects

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Practical Householder centre spread, photos by Nathan BarryPractical Householder centre spread, photos by Nathan Barry

Practical Householder centre spread, photos by Nathan Barry

Over the weekend, the family and I visited our local Car Boot Sale. I’m not sure if there is an equivalent of this institution in the US, but they’re somewhere between a Yard/Garage Sale and a Flea Market. Lots of people drive their cars to a field, open up their boots (or trunks I guess) and put all the junk they want to get rid of on a rickety old table and try to sell it on to others. You can pick up tons of books, DVDs, video games, pictures frames, Barbie dolls, soft toys, clothes and, usually, bags of assorted Lego – although we must have arrived too late for that this time as there were none to be found.

The Front CoverThe Front Cover

The Front Cover

My pick of the bunch this time around was this wonderful copy of Practical Householder from December 1969. The colorful looking toys on the cover really grabbed my attention, so I snapped it up for the princely sum of 50 pence. Inside, the musty, yellowed pages are full of adverts for double-glazing, power tools and the latest advancements in adhesives and particle boards. There’s a handy Christmas gift guide and articles about fitting a central heating system to your house and fixing rotten doors, in true ‘Maker’ style.

However, it’s not until you get to the center-spread that the fun really begins. The super-bright picture above leaps out at you with its “Six of the Best – for the kids” headline – didn’t ‘six of the best’ used to refer to a punishment of some kind? The six projects look like great fun to build and play with and are so nice and simple. There’s a Fort, a Tug Boat (that’s actually a wheeled kart), a regular Go-Kart, a tank-like ‘Caterpillar’, a bizarre ‘Swinging kart’ and a huge ‘Play Wheel.’

Caterpillar plansCaterpillar plans

Caterpillar plans

Each one has an intro, a cool exploded diagram with all the sizes marked in inches – which to my metric mind is so odd – and five or six step-by-step photos – most of which feature carefully placed, label-to-camera shots of the glue used to fix everything together. Product placement, eh?

I’ve looked over the Caterpillar one loads of times and I still can’t work out how the track works though. I can’t imagine the health and safety police would let this be published these days.

I reckon it’s time to dig out the power tools again, the only question is which one do I build first? I’ve uploaded scans of all the pages over on flickr in case anyone out wants to have a go too. Be sure to share your photos over on the GeekDad Community if you do.


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