I've never been a car buff at all, preferring trucks. Old ones! But I've been following this guy for quite some time and his project "Splinter" car really is fascinating in concept and dramatic in workmanship.
I’ve got a thing for wood, and I’ve got a big thing for cars. Combine the two, and you have one of my favorite car makers, Morgan. For those of you that don’t know, Morgan is a British car manufacturer that still makes their chassis out of wood. I visited the LA Pen Show this past weekend with the rest of the Velvetron crew, and imagine my surprise when I saw a man who makes pens out of discarded wood from the Morgan factory! That right pens, and not just pens, pen accessories and usb drives.
Maybe some of you out there are as obsessed with cars as I am. Don’t have $7,300 to spend on an Aston Martin couch? Well how about getting a piece of automobile paraphernalia that is not only classier, but unlike the couch, is actually made from discarded “car-parts”.
MacMinn Designs produces these fantastic looking pens from genuine English Ash straight from the Morgan factory in Malvern, England. This is essentially discarded wood that they have, that didn’t make it into any cars. The wood is then turned into pens, pencils, USB drives, letter openers, magnifying glasses, and cases by hand right here in LA by MacMinn Designs. The results are simply stunning office accessories that are intimately tied to a great auto manufacturer. They have a great pictorial on their website showing the pen making process.
Another big surprise to me was the price. You’d think that a hand made wood pen from wood sourced from the Morgan factory would be ungodly expensive. At the show, I ran into a few pens that were well north of $1k, and they did not have 1/2 the character of these pens. The standard Morgan pen will run you around $230, and comes with a really nice case. Sure you might be saying, jeez, $230 is sure a lot for just a pen. And yeah, your right, it’s not cheap. But when you compare that to other “nice” pens, I think it’s quite reasonable.
Any idea what happens in an accident? Shattered wood can almost be explosive. On the other hand using 4x4's for bumpers beats plastic IMO.
This wooden tractor, along with some full-size wooden motorbikes and even an all-wood hand plough, were all made by a chap who also showed off his collection of hand planes from round the world. The tractor was just so lifelike that we had to have a bit of a discussion about whether you could build an internal combustion engine with only wooden parts. We decided not, but we'd be happy to be corrected.
Marijuana’s fibrous cousin hemp has a long history with auto makers. in 1941 Henry Ford unveiled a car body made primarily out of organic fibers, hemp included. seventy years later, the world’s first production-ready biocomposite electric car—with hemp as the “bio”—will finally hit the streets. The Kestrel, a three-door hatchback, is made of a “hemp composite as strong as the fiberglass in boats, yet incredibly lightweight,” says Nathan Armstrong, the president of Motive industries, Kestrel’s manufacturer.
Whereas a comparably sized Ford Fusion weighs 3,720 pounds, the Kestrel will be just 2,500 pounds with the battery. this “might be the sweet spot for electric vehicles,” Armstrong says, because the car’s low tonnage means a fuel-efficiency increase of 25 to 30 percent.
To make this resilient, lightweight compound, hemp stalks are combed and rolled into a mat that is infused with a polymer resin. the hemp makes the biocomposite’s flexibility similar to the carbon fiber used in racecars.
Hemp grows fast and it’s cheap, which should keep the Kestrel’s production price around $25,000. A prototype is nearly complete, Armstrong says, and Motive plans to have thousands of its hemp-mobiles on the road by 2012.
That's a terrific name for a car. When I once dated a birder I was surprised to discover this small falcon so abundant on phone wires. The kestrel really works our roads for it's dinner.
The name kestrel, (from french cr?cerelle, derivative from cr?celle i.e. Ratchet) is given to several different members of the falcon genus, Falco. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around 10?20 metres (33?66 ft) over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects. Other falcons are more adapted to active hunting on the wing. In addition, kestrels are notable for usually having much brown in their plumage.
Kestrels require a slight headwind in order to hover, hence a local name of Windhover for Common Kestrel.
Plumage often?but unusually for falcons?differs between male and female, and (as is usual with monogamous raptors) the female is slightly larger than the male. This allows a pair to fill different feeding niches over their home range. Kestrels are bold and have adapted well to human encroachment, nesting in buildings and hunting by major roads.
Kestrels do not build their own nests, but use nests built by other species.
This juvenile American Kestrel is standing on the roof of a parked car in downtown Boston.
Most species termed kestrels appear to form a distinct clade among the falcons, as suggested by comparison of mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Groombridge et al. 2002) and morphology. This seems to have diverged from other Falco around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (Messinian to Zanclean, or about 7?3.5 mya). The most basal "true" kestrels are three species from Africa and its surroundings which lack a malar stripe, and in one case have?like other falcons but unlike other true kestrels?large areas of gray in their wings.
Approximately during the Gelasian (Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene, around 2.5?2 mya), the main lineage of true kestrels emerged; this contains the species characterized by a malar stripe. This too seems to have evolved in Africa and subsequently spread across the Old World until they reached Australia some time during the Middle Pleistocene, less than one million years ago. This group contains several taxa found on Indian Ocean islands.
More enigmatic is a group of 3 predominantly gray species from Africa and Madagascar. These are usually considered kestrels due to their general shape and habits, but are probably distinct from the true kestrels as outlined above.
The American Kestrel is the only New World species termed "kestrel". Actually, the molecular data of Groombridge et al. (2002), as well as morphological peculiarities (like grey wings in males and a black ear-spot) and biogeography, strongly support the view that this species, among the Falco falcons, is not a kestrel at all in the phylogenetic sense but perhaps closer to the hobbies.