I love MAKE magazine; I have subscribed to it
since the first issue. One thing I must say is that all
other magazines that have online versions suck.
They may have the articles themselves online, but
nothing like yours. MAKE’s is a pristine digital recreation of the print version, page by page. Good luck
trying to find the article that was on page 89 in the
11th issue of another magazine. You might have luck
searching for the title on their website, but when,
and if, you find the article, the page is riddled with
ads and popups. I don’t remember getting those in
my print edition. —Jon Rutlen
The problem is a matter of control of the tree as
it falls, and the hinge described in the article is the
instrument of that control.
I don’t want to write an entirely new article in this
already long letter, but bear with me for a minute.
Think of a tree as it is coming down with the sharp,
flat-bottomed notch described in the article. As the
top swings down on the hinge, the top of the notch
will almost always hit the bottom before the tree
has swung more than 45° from the vertical.
If an appropriately sized hinge is in place with an
incorrectly angled notch, it will always snap at this
point, allowing the tree to go wherever it wants.
A good grounding in physics is not necessary to
understand that this is an untenable situation. The
butt end — with the rest of the tree along for the
ride — will kick straight back very quickly, roll off or
kick off to one side, tip the tree in one direction or
the other, or any other of numerous terrifying ways
to be eating maple by the end of the process.
—DeAnna Miller, There is an easy fix for this, and that is to create a
subscriber to MAKE and CRAFT hinge that doesn’t break either until the tree hits the
ground, or until a great majority of its momentum is
pointing straight down (which will not happen until
the tree is well past the 45° mark).
The key is to make what is called an “open-faced
notch” by cutting 1/3 of the way through the tree.
This type of notch is a Pac-Man-shaped 90° angle
split evenly along the horizontal — 45° above and
45° below. This will allow the tree to finish falling
with complete control and land where you want it
to land, i.e. not on your house, car, or self. Hopefully this information will prevent some tree-related
injuries among your readers!
Praise for the “Upload” section (MAKE, Volume
12). Dude! This totally rocks! It’s exactly the kind
of thing that I’d been pining for (without being able
actually to articulate the pine). If you ever spin this
section off as its own publication, I will subscribe
to this one, too.
I have been reading Popular Mechanics and
Popular Science since the early 1930s. You are
making me relive my youth, when you had to make
your own everything. (Today, you buy everything.)
I try to instill this in my grandchildren, but on to
the computer they go. I am trying to teach them
to marry a puppet to a computer, and we’re still
working on that. Well, you do a great job. And I, for
one, appreciate it. Keep up the good work.
First of all, I’d like to note that I am an avid fan of
your magazine. The quality and clarity of instruction
is, to my knowledge, completely unparalleled. This
forces me to hold your publication to a higher standard than most, and after reading “Cutting Down a
Tree” in Volume 12, I was compelled to write.
As an employee of the Parks Department of the
State of New York, one of my chief duties is to oversee the takedown of diseased, dead, or otherwise
dangerous trees. It is quite useful to have this skill,
and I was glad to see it in MAKE; however, after a
close reading of the article, I’ve found that the method
described is much more dangerous than it could be,
and is about as outdated as using a handsaw.
Eagle-eyed reader Dave Bell
pointed out a couple of “glaring” math errors in MAKE,
Volume 07, “Home Molecular Genetics.” On page 67,
the directions should have read:
» Air-dry the glob on the toothpick for 10 minutes, then
scrape it into 0.75ml ( 3 droplets) of running buffer
and allow it to dissolve overnight at room temperature.
» Make a 0.02% solution of Methylene Blue in distilled
water; some aquarium supply and pet stores carry
Methylene Blue in 2.3%, so you’ll need to dilute this
at about 115: 1.