Adam Savage in the
shop at M5 Industries
in San Francisco: “This
is my favorite room in
the building; I love the
MythBuster Adam Savage talks
about making his way growing up.
Interview by Paul Spinrad
MAKE projects editor Paul Spinrad caught up with
Adam Savage in San Francisco during production of
MythBusters’ ninth season. Earlier that day, Savage had
found a local source for industrial quantities of citric
acid, which he and co-host Jamie Hyneman needed
to determine whether Alka-Seltzer and water could
produce enough pressure to break out of a jail cell.
Paul Spinrad: How did you get started making
things as a kid?
Adam Savage: As I said in my welcome to this
issue [see page 11], my father was a painter,
which gave me a real advantage. We’d see him
paint a background, and it would have all this
life to it, and he’d look at it and exhale sharply
in a kind of silent whistle. As kids, it was a great
thing for us to see him get excited about. When
I wanted a race car for my teddy bear, he actually
made one for me out of fiberglass. He made a
chicken-wire frame and laid fiberglass over it.
PS: Wow — in the 70s that was cutting edge!
AS: Polyester, man, no epoxy back then. It
smelled really bad. He sanded it, painted it, it was
gorgeous. I loved that car, also knowing that he
made it. My dad also helped me make a suit of
armor out of tin when I was 13 for Halloween. We
cut the pieces up with tinsnips and then fastened
them together with rivets. Pop rivets — what a
great technology! I wore the suit to high school
and passed out from heat exhaustion.
When I wanted to make something, my
dad said OK, here’s the scissors and the >>
Photograph by Cody Pickens
32 Make: Volume 20