Dan: Hornlet Speakers
My wife and I are huge Andrew Bird fans, and had the privledge of seeing him perform live at the Guggenheim museum in New York, in which the ground floor was engulfed in several different sized “horn” speakers. They are made by a company in Chicago, and I ended up buying a pair of the smaller, “Hornlet” speakers for my wife as an anniversary gift.Buy Now$2400
Dan: Baron Fig Confidant Notebook
I always keep a notebook on my desk, for sketching ideas, brainstorming, or simply as a scratch pad. I also keep all of my notebooks, as sort of a diary of what I was working on at the time. I have tried a variety of notebooks (Moleskine, Field Notes, etc.), but have currently landed on Baron Fig. It nails most of the details I care about, namely that it lies flat and has a subtle dot grid.
Dan: Stablio Point 88 Pen
Staying with the stationary theme, I have been using these felt pens since college. They are not too commonly found in the US, but I think they are super ubiquitous in Europe. I was first introduced to them (by Tom, in fact), while studying abroad in Germany my junior year of college. I am by no means a pen connoisseur, but I’ve yet to find a pen I like as much.
Dan: Custom Dining and Buffet Table
When my wife and I moved from our tiny New York apartment to a house in Texas, we had a need for some new furniture, and decided to commission our good friend Dawson to build a custom dining table for us. We collaborated on the design, and he constructed it. The top is oak, native to Texas. We later had him build a buffet table with a leftover slab of wood, from the same tree.
Dan: ‘Rework’ by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
When Studio Neat was first getting started, Tom and I had no idea what we were doing, business wise. It was easy to feel anxiety about all the business-type things we “should” be doing, but reading Rework was like a breath of fresh air. It was okay to stay small, it was okay to keep things simple. I still refer back to Rework, and consider it something of a guiding light.Buy Now$13
Dan: Insulated Klean Kanteen with Valve Cap
Water is probably my favorite beverage (Dan said boringly). This insulated Klean Kanteen does an amazing job of keeping liquids cold for an insane amount of time. I’ve left it in a hot car in Texas for hours and come back to not-yet-fully-melted-ice. The valve cap does not come standard, but I consider it essential, especially when toting it along to the gym.
Dan: Instrmnt Watch
This is a recent addition, as I received it as a gift from my wife this past Christmas. To me, it is a nearly perfect articulation of “as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Sure, in the quest for minimalism, you could omit the numerals, or tick marks entirely, but at the cost of clarity, I would argue. The Apple Watch didn’t quite stick for me, but I predict I will be wearing this for years to come.
Tom: Starret Dial Caliper
Sometimes it feels like I measure things for a living. At my desk I’m always measuring thickness of materials, diameters, tolerances, etc. When we’r working with precision metal parts or injection molded plastic parts, thousands of an inch can make a big difference, so a standard ruler doesn’t cut it. The Starret dial caliper I use is accurate to 1/1000th of an inch and we often need it. For a long time I used a digital caliper, but I found myself not trusting the reading all the time, so I switched to the good ‘ole analog.
Tom: Alessi Diabolix Bottle Opener (in Anthracite)
I’m not sure why I love my Diabolix bottle opener so much. It was one of the first ‘designy’ objects I ever bought while studying abroad in Germany during undergrad, so maybe that has to do with it. I think mostly however I just like the way it smiles at me from the drawer every time I go to use it.
Tom: 3D Printer (Makerbot Replicator 2)
We’ve had a 3D printer here at Studio Neat for several years now. We don’t have a particularly fancy one, a second gen Makerbot, but it does the job. What’s surprised me over the years is how incredibly integral to our design process it has become. It used to be that we’d evaluate much of our formal design decisions on-screen in 3D, then, order a print from Shapeways.com, wait a week, and finally see the results in ‘real life.’ Now, we can run through ten formal iterations in a day. Game changer.
Tom: Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 Micro Four Thirds Lens
My wife and I recently had our first child and in prep for that we decided to update our camera setup. We settled on an Olympus E-M10, which we’ve been happy with, but what we’ve fell in love with is our 25mm Panasonic lens. It cost more than the camera body, but boy is it worth it. The f/1.4 aperture makes all the difference in the world for two reasons: really shallow depth of field when you want it, and shooting at night without a flash. So good.
Tom: Huskey micro screw driver model HD-74501 (discontinued)
This is the best little screw driver I’ve ever used. It stays at my desk next to my caliper and pens. But sadly it has been discontinued and replaced by Huskey. I don’t know why, but it hurts my heart. It feels great, it stores the bits great, it looks great. Well, it looks OK, but great for a tool!Shop Now$5.50
Tom: My Weird Thumb Trackball Mouse
Yes, I am one of those people. At least this thing isn’t a full blown trackball. Here’s what’s awesome about a wireless thumb-style trackball mouse. 1. Way less/no RSI pain. 2. You can use it anywhere. By your side standing up, in your lap, on a desk, anywhere. It’s great for planes, outdoors, cars, etc. It is also quite accurate. Not great for gaming, but otherwise better than traditional mice.Buy Now$28