Paolo Salvagione, Visual Artist


Cool Tools Show 065: Paolo Salvagione

Our guest this week is Paolo Salvagione, an artist who works at the intersection of engineering, participation, and levity. He has sent his studio visitors out a one second-story window and back into another on a 900-pound steel wheel, and created scent-based sculptures that use smell as a touchstone for memory. He worked, for over a decade, as lead engineer on the 10,000 Year Clock of the Long Now Foundation.

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Show notes:

Greenlee 45000 Kwik Stripper Wire Stripping Tool ($71)
“I feel like anyone who’s worked on electronics projects have kind of run into this drawer full of things that looks like pliers that …. do a really horrible job. … About 2 years ago I was working with a collection of people on a project and I stumbled on the Greenlee 45000 and not only does this thing allow you to kind of quickly adjust what wire gauge, but it also allows you to quickly adjust what amount of stripping you want to do on that wire. It will even let you gang up four or five wires at a time. It’s unbelievably nice.”

FastCap Glu-Bot Glue Bottle ($8) (Titebond wood glue)
“[Glu-Bot] is designed by the wood industry to put down glue in a really nice way on things that you’re gluing up. One of the things that no one talks about when you’re doing adhesives is something called drool, which is when you’re trying to lay down an adhesive, depending on the viscosity you get to that moment where you want to stop but the glue bottle doesn’t and so you end up with little drips on the floor, on your hands, on the part of the wood that you didn’t want the glue … which can be a real bummer. What’s neat about this bottle is that they’ve designed it so that it takes the glue from the bottom instead of the top, which means that you don’t have to worry about the skin or the viscosity difference between the bottom and the top of the whole thing because oxygen slowly usually dries things out.”

De-Roller Paper Anti Curl Device ($240-$270) (video)
“This is one of those things where somebody should make the boy scout badge which is just somebody hitting their forehead with the palm of their hand kind of like Aw, I should have thought of that.” This is amazing. In the arts, I often transport things, works that I’ve purchased get rolled up and there’s always this challenge of like how do I de-roll it and this is a company that makes a device that someone introduced me to and I’m just smitten with it. It’s super simple. It’s a piece of plastic that’s got foam running on both sides and a metal tube and basically you roll it out, you set the object that needs to be de-rolled in it in the opposite direction of roll and then you roll it back and then maybe engage the velcro for a minute or so and then unroll it and the object is flat.”

Marson Ribbed Rivet-nut Kit ($117) (video)
“What it basically is, is it works very much, or it feels very much like you’re using a pop rivet but what you are actually doing is you’re installing threads, and I first ran into this in the bicycle industry where I wanted to add another water bottle cage to my bike and so what it does is it allows you to drill a hole in a tube, and with the thing that looks like a pop rivet gun, you basically insert a nut in a way that it won’t spin and then you can screw on your additional water bottle cage.”