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If you're anything like me, you'll go to YouTube looking for obscure turn-of-the-century girl bands and find yourself, five hours later, watching 12-minute-long videos of old men shaving sheep. I'm not talking about a nude sheep fetish, I'm talking about soothing, satisfying videos showing a process -- objects being crafted, art being created, a job being done with mesmerizing precision. If you want to lower your blood pressure a bit, sit back and enjoy some of the most hypnotic and satisfying videos on the 'net.

12
Machine Making a Chess Piece

OK, of all the weird shit I've said here and on my Twitter account, this may be one of the more surreal if taken out of context ... or used exactly in context: I am a sucker for lathes. My dad used to watch a woodworking show when I was a kid only because the host hurt himself every single episode. But once you've seen that happen so many times, you stop noticing the horrific bleeding and screaming and start noticing the beauty of the patterns in a rapidly spinning chunk of wood that is being slowly shaved down into a bedpost or a giant dildo or whatever. This is the same thing, only with metal, and judging from the hit counter, I'm not the only guy who likes watching this shit:

They're making a rook, and because I knew that going in, I had to stick around until the little castle hat part was made. And then I was sad because I realized that I don't own a metal chess set.

Oh, and here's a bonus video for my fellow lathe lovers. Enjoy while this guy takes a wooden stump and grinds it down to a perfectly smooth sphere:

Yeah, that's the shit right there.

11
Turkish Paper Marbling

The above video is an extremely old art form called paper marbling that can be traced back as far as who gives a shit. All I know is that it's as cool as a dick with sideburns. Basically, it's a shallow pan filled with water, and paint is dripped into it. Different chemical solutions can be used to make the paint float or sink, but the end result is a floating painting that's manipulated by pulling the pigment with thin rods to weave patterns. When it's all done, a special paper is laid on top of it to soak up the paint, and you get some wicked cool shit.

This one was found on Vimeo, but I'm actually afraid to look for more examples on YouTube. Because I know for a guaranteed fact that if I start one, I'll be watching these things until someone has to stage an intervention and I have to start taking hostages in response.

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10
Guy Makes a Pewter Chair at the Beach

Pewter is a combination of soft metals that have a very low melting point. Every Dungeons & Dragons player on the face of the Earth has at least one wizard or dragon made out of it.

This guy has taken pewter and too much spare time to a whole new level, though, by going to the beach and digging a mold right there in the sand. He then builds a fire to melt the metal and pours it in:

The whole process is sped up to less than a minute and a half, but it's just mesmerizing. There's almost a zen feeling, watching him create something with his own two hands in such a short span of time, using nothing but a campfire, some sticks, and an unhealthy numbness to impending jock violence. When he pulls that chair out of the earth, there's a weird sort of victory that's hard to put into words. Like when Link finds his boomerang or that one British king dude pulled that knife thing out of a rock or something.


Now I have the Zelda theme stuck in my head.

Oh, and as long as we're on the beach, we might as well get some lunch ...

9
Old Man Digging Up Clams

If you were to go back 20 years and tell me that one day one of my favorite things to watch would be an old man digging up clams on the beach, I would have paused my game of Final Fantasy II, drunkenly stumbled over to you, and said, "Time travel doesn't exist! What are you doing in my house? And why are you dressed like it's still the 1980s?" Then I probably would have had sex with you because I was pretty hot back then.

But at no point during all that would I have believed that this would be one of my favorite videos. Seriously, play that video and listen to how excited that guy is, not only when he finds a clam, but when he finds the air bubble hole that marks where the clam is.

Then he uses his little tube digger thingy to cut a big ol' chunk of beach out, and BAM!

He's just so happy when he spots them, letting out an excited "A-HA!" I want him to be my grandpa so bad. I would get up every Saturday and be like, "Can we go a-clammin' today, pee-paw?" And he'd be like, "Can we? Fuck your grandmother's plans, we're gonna go dig the goddamn shit out of some clams, bitch!" Then he'd open-hand slap me on the neck and cackle wildly, because that's just what clam-digging grandpas do.

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8
White Blood Cell Chasing Bacterium

Oh my God, you're so close, little neutrophil! Keep going, you're almost there!

First off, it's weird to think that these creepy blobs are everywhere in your body, crawling around and stalking any asshole that tries to break in and start some shit. But it's even weirder to think that they have enough sensory perception to target and track a fleeing entity like that at all. Second, I'm not entirely sure that it's possible to stop this video once you've started it. You know at any second, it's going to catch and eat that little piece of shit, and if you turn your head for a moment, you're going to miss it. And when it does catch it, the reward is so sweet. The way it takes just a second to stop and enjoy what it accomplished before squishing off to find more.

7
Soap in a Microwave

Kids, don't do this at home. But if you do, you should film it and put it on YouTube because it is cool as fuck and people will love you for it. I have it on good authority that celebrities even showed up at this guy's house and shook his hand for doing this and then gave him money and became his friend.

Editor's Note: They did not. That is a bold-faced lie that John is using to make more people do this. Don't do this -- we don't know if it will mess up your microwave or cause your parents to violently beat you.

If editors interject their stupid faces in here and tell you that I'm lying, don't believe them. They get paid to lie. As proof, in case you can't watch that video, here's an animated gif I made to show you how safe and cool this is:

But I urge you to watch the video itself because it gets goddamn gigantic.

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6
Gravitram

The Gravitram is a complex sculpture made up of tracks and rails and loops and crazy amounts of transport devices to make little steel balls travel all over the place. It's not quite a Rube Goldberg machine, but it has the same ability to suck you in when those little bastards get set loose and start whipping around those tracks like a madman's roller coaster.

I'd ride it, I don't even care. In fact, I've just now decided to make it my life goal to one day be rich enough to build a version big enough that I can get inside a giant clear ball and just zip around that mofo like a ... mofo. You laugh now, but when you see me screaming in joy in a YouTube video in 10 years, we'll see who's laughing.

Both of us, because it will be hilarious.

5
LEGO Ball Contraption

No, wait, I changed my mind! I want a LEGO version that's a hundred times more badass! I figure the only thing I need for a human-sized version that can contain a me-ball is about a hundred trillion LEGO blocks and the collective wealth of every billionaire in existence. Although I freely admit that I'm not the greatest at finances or math. But I do know what I want, and I want that.

Now understand that an animated gif isn't going to do this thing justice because the whole contraption is enormous, but here's a small clip for those who can't watch videos because you can't be caught fucking around at work because you're a terrible employee:

When you get home tonight, before drowning your shame and depression in a fifth of vodka and grape Kool-Aid, watch that video. If you can turn it off before it makes its complete round, you live in a different dimension than the rest of us, and I will be praying for you. Even if you don't believe in a god, I will sculpt one out of butter in my kitchen and pray to it for you.

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4
Making a Square Vase With a Round Top

There's a reason that title is so specific and not just "making a vase." Everyone has seen a pottery wheel, or at least a video of one, and everyone knows it looks really cool to see someone working clay into a vase or ... something roughly vase-shaped. But to people who aren't versed in the ways of vase creation, we look at that combination of square and round and think, "You clearly worshiped the devil to make that happen."


At the very least, you blew a leprechaun.

I think the reason this is so mesmerizing is because there's a huge part of each of us that sees how easy that looks and thinks, "I could totally do that. I should buy one of those wheels and just make all of my dishes from now on. I'll save millions of dollars!" Right before we end up with a giant lump of clay shooting all over the room while we scream, "Goddammit, FUCK this clay! This is bullshit! Fuck the ground and fuck the bountiful clay that it provides!"

But watching Chad Vasemaster whip through that pecker like it ain't no thang is so damn calming and just straight up hypnotic (if you can't watch the video, the square parts and round parts have to be made separately and attached), especially the part where he trims the base and clay shoots off of it like one of those cheap-ass Fourth of July snake fireworks. Only made out of dirt:


GAH! It's a big ol' shooty dirtsnake!

3
Spiderman Speed Painting

This is a time-lapse digital painting of Spider-Man by Nico Di Mattia, compressed into about five and a half minutes. It's one of my favorite videos because I grew up as an artist, and I specialized in realism. I have an appreciation for light and shadow, and this guy is just insane with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop. I bet when he stops to draw dicks on the bathroom wall, the next person to urinate in that stall ducks for fear that a real one is coming at him.

I won't dare soil the beauty of this video with an animated gif. But if you only watch one video on this list, clear off about five and a half minutes from your schedule and make it this one. Then watch all of the others, because it's an article about videos and you already read this far into it. You have to stop being weird like that.

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2
Extreme Closeup of Cutting Steel

This may be the simplest video in the world. It's just a tool shaving or cutting steel. But just like with almost anything in the entire universe, when you look at it up close through a powerful microscope, your perceptions just shatter. Look at the way that steel just folds and ripples as it comes off of the cutting device.

It looks like a doorstop cutting through cake. I can't stop watching it and I don't know why. Maybe it's because of the material? I mean, tell me that it's just a razor blade cutting through plastic, and suddenly I don't give a crap. In fact, I throw away my entire computer out of sheer protest. But tell me it's cutting steel, and everything changes. Of course, that could be because I'm easily impressed and exceptionally stupid ... which is a pretty safe assumption to make no matter what I do. Regardless, if we had access to this video when I was a kid, it would have been the cheapest baby sitter my mom ever lucked into because I would have just sat there for hours, watching that while drool ran down my face. Much like I do right now.

1
Flow Friction Drilling

Friction drilling is a form of drilling where you apply pressure and high speed to melt a big fucking hole right into metal. You heard me right -- not cutting metal, but melting that shit right in its goddamn face.

You can't tell me that if you had access to that, there wouldn't be a single surface in your entire town that didn't have a big-ass melt hole in it. Stop signs, cars, buildings, dogs. Everything I saw would get its ass friction drilled, and I would never, ever stop giggling until the day I died from friction drilling my own head.

It's just so peaceful, seeing that thing stop on the surface and then ramp up the head until all at once -- WHOMP! Right on through, leaving a melted rim around the top of the hole. The bit still searing red with the hate of a thousand demons. If that were my job, they would have to force me at gunpoint to go home. "Hey, John, do you have that job fini-" "You're goddamn right, I do. And then some. You need any holes melted, you bring that shit this way, baby, because I have plenty of holes left in the melt tank."

And with that, I just realized that I should probably take a break from YouTube for a while. This can't be healthy.



A very special thank you to the many awesome people who found these many awesome videos on our forums. You can follow John on Twitter, as well as give his Facebook fan page a like.

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