Nathaniel Salzman

Chicago area designer, writer, maker and journalist.


November 16, 2009

Tinkering is in the bloodline

The week of Christmas, 2007, I learned an essential truth about myself. I am born with invention and discovery in my pedigree. I was sitting in my parents’ new house holding a small, silver alarm clock pitted with little dents and patina. Picture the stereotypical alarm clock — round face, stubby little peg feet, big – Read More –

November 10, 2009

Quick thought: Brake Job

Last night I did half of a rear brake job on my MINI. I wanted to do both sides, but decided I’d rather sleep. This was my first time doing rear brakes at all and I don’t yet own a factory service manual for my Cooper S. What makes it worth mentioning is that it – Read More –

October 6, 2009

Ride log: Ingenious contraption

October 4, 2009 — Today I went for the best ride I’ve had all season. It wasn’t a long ride, only about an hour. What made it such a great ride was two things: I met someone interesting, and I rediscovered a great stretch of scenic road.

June 27, 2009

DIY: The $10 Trebuchet

For my birthday this year, my gift to myself was taking the day off of work. With that time all mine, the trick was figuring out what I wanted to do with myself. My car conundrum is not yet resolved, so I wanted to drive a Honda Insight and a VW Jetta TDi. The Honda – Read More –

May 13, 2009

Vespa GT Rear Rack Delete

Even on my commute, I don’t really have need for a topcase or rear trunk. The Vespa GT comes with a rather sturdy rack mount on the rear, which is all good, but I certainly don’t need it. What’s more, that rack mount covers up the glorious sloping rear end on the GT. So I – Read More –

November 30, 2008

DIY: Vespa turn signal buzzer

I have but two simple complaints about my new Vespa Grantourismo. One, that the slightest overfilling of the gas tank sucks fuel into the intake track. And second, that you don’t get any auditory clue when your turn indicators are up and blinking.

August 14, 2008

DIY: Stebel Nautilus Air Horn

If you’ve never heard the Stebel Nautilus horn in person, it’s difficult to describe. “Loud” is insufficient. Sure it is loud – very loud at 148 db. The two-note tone created by the Nautilus could better be described as “piercing” or even “pseudo-deaffoning.” Both are great qualities in a scooter horn. If you’re looking for a great way to get that absent-minded cager’s attention, look no further. You’re likely to startle the cell phone right out of their hand.