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Back together again.

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:31pm
From my post last December, Learning from the Humble:

Now back together, and back in the Middle School orchestra room:

I glued the pieces, those that made sense to look after, back together.  Bushed the C and A pegholes, installed internal crossgrain cleats in the pegbox across the C and A peghole locations.  Added a chunk of curly maple on the treble side, where it was missing and badly splintered.  I didn't spend too much time with color-matching, it was a functional school repair that I probably underbid -- but, as in my previous post, the back and ribs were nicely done.  Worth saving, I thought.

I did add some clear varnish to the bare wood on the body, lots of bare real-estate on that body.  But now that, too, is protected a bit from normal use. 

This viola should serve for several more years, barring too rough of use.  Or dropping.  Can't warranty against dropping.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

The Case of the Missing Hinge: Trouble Installing a Soss Hinge

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:30am

The second article in my two-part series about hinges for Popular Woodworking Magazine was conceived as “5 Fussy Hinges.” Tricky, fussy…choose your adjective. I prefer “less commonly used,” with the disclaimer that one woodworker’s “less common” may be another’s “everyday”; Brendan Gaffney may be able to install knife hinges in his sleep, and I used non-swaged brass butts on an almost daily basis for years, but many woodworkers have never […]

The post The Case of the Missing Hinge: Trouble Installing a Soss Hinge appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Trestle Table Classes for 2018

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:00am


I will be teaching two new classes this year building a trestle table at Little Miami Handworks in Bellbrooke Ohio

The table we will be building is one that I came up with using design elements from several  vintage tables. One cool thing about this design is that the table breaks down for storage or transport (more about that here).


We will build the tables from locally sourced white pine and oak. The length and width of the table will be somewhat variable at around 6′ in length and 32″ to 34″ in width. It is a five-day class, the cost is $750 plus a $200 material fee. The sign-up page for the class can be found here.

— Will Myers

Categories: Hand Tools

Spoon carving workshop Manchester

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 8:56am
Spoon carving course Manchester 2018 Learn spoon carving in Manchester! Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Drill Bits For Hand Drills

The English Woodworker - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 8:35am
Drill Bits For Hand Drills

I’m always whinging about something.
So the thing this blog is good for is that someone always has an answer.
And it shuts me straight up.

When I was moaning about drill bits in the marking knife post, we got plenty of suggestions for bits that you find overcome my problem.

You weren’t wrong.

We got together all the drill bits that we could from your input, and I put them to the test.

Continue reading at The English Woodworker.

Categories: Hand Tools

Shawn Graham does a great job explaining how to set up a...

Giant Cypress - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 7:28am

Shawn Graham does a great job explaining how to set up a chipbreaker, and is nice enough to give a shout out to yours truly. 

It’s for a western plane, but great information, nonetheless. And be sure to check out Shawn’s YouTube channel.

More stuff about chipbreakers here and here.

Wendell Castle 1932 – 2018

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 6:16am

Wendell Castle, the father of the art furniture movement, died Saturday at age 85. I’m privileged to have spent a few days with him while shooting a video, and while our time together was personal, the time wasn’t long enough to call him a friend. Thoughtful, soft-spoken and passionate are three words that come to my mind. I’m willing to admit that I’m not in love with all his furniture – though […]

The post Wendell Castle 1932 – 2018 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Last of the Fancy Lads

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 3:57am


My daughter Maddy reports that she has fewer than 100 sets of stickers remaining, including the much maligned very popular “Fancy Lad Academy” sticker.

Once these stickers are gone, they are gone. We haven’t repeated any designs.

These are quality, 100-percent vinyl stickers from Stickermule.com harvested from completely organic vines. There are two ways to order a set: You can visit Maddy’s etsy store here. They are $6 delivered ($10 for international orders).

For customers in the United States, you can send a $5 bill and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to:

Stick it to the Man
P.O. Box 3284
Columbus, OH 43210

Obligatory disclaimer: This is not a money-making venture for me or Lost Art Press.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. For those of you who send Maddy stickers or photos in your SASEs, she loves them and even bought several large canvases to display them in her apartment.

Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking class........

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:37am
I would like to take a woodworking course every weekend of the year. That is not going to happen but I can still dream. The problem with taking classes in another state is the ancillary costs. I can afford just about any 2-3 course being offered anywhere. The problem is the costs for travel, lodging, rental car, and filling the pie hole. In my case these costs are 3 times the class price.

I'm taking a class in Covington Ky in June. I paid for the class and I just got done making hotel, flight, and car rental reservations.  If I hadn't already paid for this class I would be taking a different one. Issac Blackburn is teaching a saw filing class the same weekend I'm going to be in Covington. Oh well, maybe I'll catch him next year.

ready for paint
I cleaned the interior with degreaser and it's ready for paint. Once it is painted I will finish the sanding of the sole and cheek walls. I still have to go through 400 and 600 grits.

the #4 frog
I cleaned the frog of all the grunge that was on it and lightly sanded it. The frog came out of that with a lot of paint loss on both side walls.

the back of the frog
Most of  the bare spots came when I cleaned it. I sanded it lightly and removed a bit more. I'll have to paint this to cover all the bare metal.

for the plane interior
I'm leaving the japanning as it is on this plane. The wax is to give it some shine and it's a cleaner and wax in one to boot.

leftover cork
I bought this to make a cork board for my wife that she doesn't use. I plan on using this to make some sanding blocks. I did some searching on line for sanding blocks and there are a lot of them to look at. I think I'll come up with another design to add to the soup.

my marble threshold
I am thinking of changing how I secure the sanding belts to the marble. I normally do it this way. At the front I hold it with the dog.

at the back I hold it with a clamp
I do it this way because I have 6 belts to put on and take off and only one piece of marble.  Steve left a comment about this being less than ideal due to the sandpaper rolling as I sand. That tends to sand a slight bevel at the toe and heel.

I'll glue the 80 grit down
This is where the sanding blocks come in. 95% of the sanding during my plane rehabs comes with the 80 grit. The rest of the grits I use are basically just doing scratch removal. The 80 grit removes the most and flattens the sole. So the plan is to glue the 80 grit to the marble and make sanding blocks for the other grits and do them by hand.

#4 frog painted
the inside
I had to clean the inside again. I missed some grudge in the corners behind the frog. I used a wire brush there and on the numbers. I removed the japanning on the tops of them.

not white anymore
I used the brush with almost no paint on it and it did a good job of covering the tops of the lettering and numbers.

had same problem on the toe
painted a few spots on both cheek walls
I painted the cross brace in front of the mouth too. It had paint loss on the top of it side to side. The plan is once this is dry to steel wool the plane and try and blend in what I painted with the japanning. After that I will apply the wax and see what I end up with .

4x4 will give up 3 sanding blocks
I flattened two reference faces and I am going to try and get 3 of them out this.

one down and two to go
I cut this out on the bandsaw and did it so that the sanding block is quarter sawn. I'm hoping that will help the sanding block to stay flat and straight.

bandsaw cuts are all tapered
planed to a parallel thickness - just the Doug Fir blocks
This will get me going and I'll be able to assess how well it will work. I have to attach my method of securing the sandpaper which will be a piece of channel iron and a bolt and nut. I still haven't decided whether or not to use cork on all of the sanding blocks. I think what I'll do is make one with cork and I'll glue the sandpaper to a second one. Then I can compare the two side by side.

gluing the cork
I don't know how well this adhesive will work on this. These 3 blocks here are maple of no set size. I didn't gauge these by how many pieces of sandpaper I could get out of each sheet. Instead I cut out the blocks based on how they felt in my hands.

not glued
The cork has a curl to it after being stowed this way for a couple of years. I clamped up the cork with the sanding blocks to see if I can flatten it a bit. I'll leave this until tomorrow and check it then.

gluing up the cabinet after lunch
23 year old compressor
I bought this when I got out of the Navy in 1995. It's still going strong after all these years. I thought that I would use this every day but that never happened. I was still in my power tool usage period then and Norm was still doing the NYW every sunday. He used a compressor so I thought I would use it too.

nailing the top and bottom
I don't want any nails to show on the sides so I am relying on clamps there. The top and bottom will not be seen in the finished cabinet so I am nailing them. I used hide glue and I will leave this in the clamps until tomorrow.

it's staying here too
A friend of my said that this was overkill using plywood for the top and bottom. Normally I would have used 1/4" for the bottom and two 1x3s for the top. One at the front and one at the rear. But since this is a frameless cabinet I used 1/2" plywood for the top and bottom for strength and to stiffen the cabinet.

tried a sanding block
This is the way I'll use the maple sanding blocks. I tried it on the sole and sides of the #5 and it worked ok. I don't think there will be any problems sanding planes or wood with this.

tried my buffing wheel
The kit has 3 different sized wheels and this is the middle sized one. It comes with 3 colored rouge sticks and says that it will shine a variety of metals. Read the instructions and I couldn't find anything stating what color rouge to use for what metal. All it says is to only use one colored rouge on each wheel. Or maybe it doesn't matter and each stick has a different abrasion/grit?

It made the lever cap a little more shinier but not by much. I must of missed something as to what rouge is used for what. I'll have to go back and look at everything that came with it.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the Hartford Courant is the oldest continually published newspaper in the US?

Hand Craft: An English Exposition Of Slojd, by John, D. Sutcliffe, 1890

Toolemera - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 3:52pm

sloyd sutcliffe
Hand Craft: An English Exposition Of Sloyd

Trade Paperback: 7" x 10" (17.78 x 25.4 cm) ; Black & White on White paper; 82 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1522921899 

Hand Craft: An English Exposition Of Slojd, by John, D. Sutcliffe, 1890, is a scarce and important text for practical use by both the student and teacher of the Slojd (Sloyd) manual arts education system.  
"For some generations there has been cultivated in Sweden, and amongst Scandinavian and kindred peoples, a course of training in personal ingenuity, unknown in most other countries... Such a course or system of training is called Slojd... The nearest equivalent in English to the Swedish word Slojd would seem to be Hand-Craft, or mechanical training for the hand." 
The Toolemera Press re-publishes classic books on early crafts, trades and industries from the shelves of our personal library.

Categories: Hand Tools

Elementary Sloyd And Whittling, by Gustaff Larsson, 1906

Toolemera - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 3:46pm

Elementary Sloyd And Whittling
Trade Paperback: 7" x 10" (17.78 x 25.4 cm) ; Black & White on White paper; 108 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1523260577

Elementary Sloyd And Whittling, by Gustaff Larsson, 1906 was a standard text in the Sloyd, or Slojd system of education. 
"Sloyd is tool work arranged and employed as to stimulate and promote vigorous self-activity for a purpose which the worker recognizes is good. By 'Elementrary Sloyd' is meant bench work in wood, in two dimensions adapted to children from eight to twelve years of age." 
Elementary Sloyd And Whittling remains a primary resource for the modern educator and craftsperson in the application of basic knife work to practical woodwork. 
The Toolemera Press re-publishes classic books on early crafts, trades and industries, from our personal library. 

Categories: Hand Tools

The Teacher's Hand-Book Of Slöjd by Otto Salomon 1892

Toolemera - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 3:36pm

Teachers Hand Book Of Slojd Cover
Trade Paperback: 6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm) ; Black & White on White paper; 230 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1519715548 
The Teacher's Hand-Book Of Slöjd, 1892, by Otto Salomon, was the primary teacher training text for the instructor of Slöjd based education at the Nääs School in Sweden. Slöjd education, developed by Salomon, combines craft, creativity and the teacher's guidance with "...the educative force which lies in rightly directed bodily labour, as a means to developing in the pupils (sic) physical and mental powers which will be a sure and evident gain to them for life." 
The Toolemera Press re-publishes classic books on early crafts, trades and industries, from our personal collection.
Categories: Hand Tools

New-Genre in Woodworking

Paul Sellers - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 1:37pm

An unfolding lifestyle Soon to start yet another video training series so this week I’ve been looking into and prototyping to that end—one of my favourite things to do. I like what’s coming from the chisel edge and the saw teeth. It feels good. Angled hanging pegs, clean lines ti the shoulder lines and repeat […]

Read the full post New-Genre in Woodworking on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Große Zinkensäge - Large Dovetail Saw

Two Lawyers Toolworks - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 9:22am
Eine große Zinkensäge, die man auch als kleine Schultersäge bezeichnen könnte. Blattlänge 305 mm, Blatttiefe 45 mm, Zahnteilung 18 tpi Längs- und Querschnitt Griff: portugiesische Olive A large dovertail saw (or small carcase saw) Bladelength 12", depth under the spine 1-3/4", pitch 18 tpi hybrid  Handle : Portuguese olive  Klaus Kretschmarhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02622505818172828845noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Hand Tools

More on portable woodworking

Oregon Woodworker - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 8:39am
My trip away from the rain here in the pacific northwest is now over and it's time to assess how my evolving portable woodworking setup worked.

I recently made a base for my portable bench, described here, so it could be freestanding.  When we arrived at a nice campground in the desert, I took it out, put the bench on it and ... took it off five minutes later.  The benchtop was only about four inches lower than it is on a picnic table and wasn't nearly as stable.  I had wrongly gotten away from my original concept, which was a compact bench/toobox that would take up little space and could be used on a picnic table.  A picnic table has mass and stability so you get a rock solid work surface.  If you want more of a true portable workbench than this, you should make a Moravian travel bench like OK Guy did.  As for me, there is always a picnic table available when I want to use my portable bench and I'm tall enough for the height to be fine.  An alternative you might consider is making a somewhat taller portable bench that is designed to sit on the seat of the picnic table rather than the top.  That way, you would have more flexibility to choose the height you want.

I made another mistake too.  Unlike in the past, I went way overboard with the tools I took.  It was ridiculous.  Because I was going to be away for some weeks, I somehow thought I needed to bring every tool I might possibly want.  That was silly.  If I wanted a full complement of tools, I should have stayed home.  All these tools were heavy and cumbersome, a major production each day to get them out and put them away.  I didn't use most of them.  In the future, I will go back to a modest tool set.

Those were the misses, but there were some hits too.  I had taken rough lumber to prepare by hand and I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy I was able to achieve using my picnic table bench.  I normally take a hybrid approach to stock preparation in my shop, using my Millers Falls miter box, ripping on my bandsaw, jointing the edges by hand and roughly flattening one side with handplanes before turning to my lunchbox planer.  It took a lot of work and calories but I achieved equivalent results by hand, a real confidence booster.  Fun too.

The big surprise came when I started to cut dovetails.  I sawed with considerably more accuracy than I ever have before and I am not entirely sure why.  It happened consistently enough that I don't think it was a fluke.  There are several possible explanations.  I had my Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw sharpened by Bob Rozaieski recently and this was the first time I used it.  It starts easily and cuts better than it ever has, including when it was new.  The second thing is that I unloaded the saw absolutely as much as I possibly could, to the point that there was almost no weight on the teeth throughout the cut. The final thing was that the height of the bench on the picnic table meant that I could stand upright while sawing and still keep my arm horizontal.  It is an extremely comfortable sawing position.  I think the answer to why things went so well lies in these three factors, though I don't know how to sort them out.

Portable woodworking may seem like a fringe activity that you wouldn't want to try, but it's a lot of fun.  Being outside in a nice natural setting, fresh air, sunshine ... is very pleasant.  Life sometimes takes you away from your workshop, so the choice is to take a break from woodworking or create a portable option.  There are expedient options that would work just fine.  You could make a "bench raiser," out of construction lumber, get yourself a couple of canvas tool rolls and use any available container to carry your tools.

Categories: Hand Tools

The End of Woodworking?

360 WoodWorking - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 6:31am
The End of Woodworking?

I hope when you read the title of this post you did so with a bit of sarcasm. This weekend I was fast-forwarding through commercials while catching up on a show. Flashing past the screen at a 32X rate I noticed a table saw. Whoa! Time to backtrack and play it again. What I discovered was the end of woodworking as we know it.

(If you miss it the first time through, pay attention around the 8 second mark.) There it was.

Continue reading The End of Woodworking? at 360 WoodWorking.

What is this tool?

Mulesaw - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 6:13am
This is not a quiz - since I don't know the answer.

But does anyone out there have any idea about what this tool is?

I got the pictures from Olav who was asked by his cousin about it. So the pictures are courtesy of Olav and his cousin.

Based on the method of hanging the tools, I assume the pictures are from some sort of restaurant, or at least someone who doesn't mind being questioned by Saint Peter on the day of his judgement regarding why he/she thought that it was OK to mount a nice looking socket gouge with a Torx screw through the handle.

I don't know where the pictures were taken, if it is in Denmark or somewhere else.

Mystery tool.

Mystery tool with one blade inverted.

Categories: Hand Tools

plane rehab from hell........

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 2:22am
I have a lot of plane rehabs under my belt. I have gone from just cleaning them and putting them to work. The last 5 I've gone overboard on with it. I did one where I flattened the sole and shined it up going to 600 grit. Decided that I liked that look and all my rehabs get shined up now. Another step I've undertaken is stripping and painting the frogs and the interior of the plane body.

It seems with each plane rehab I am doing, I do something new and extra that I didn't do on the previous one. I am rehabbing two planes now and I plan on going back and re-doing all of my planes. I like the look of the painted and shiny planes a lot. It's funny because a year ago I was ambivalent about this level of rehabbing.

The #6 I'm currently rehabbing is kicking my ass. I have been flattening the sole on it for a couple of weeks. It hasn't been an everyday workout with it, but I thought I would have been done with this a long time ago. My stubborn streak kicked in this AM and I was going to get it done today or bust a gut trying.

I didn't bust a gut but the damn thing took me all day to do. It still isn't 100% done with all the sanding but I had to quit for today. There was one bright note in this day from hell and that is I got the #4 to the same point as the #6.

changed belts
This is the third 80 grit sanding belt that I used on the #6 plane. I just don't seem to be making a dent in this flattening at all. This flattening is the worse one I have done to date and it is straight out of hell. I can get the toe and the heel, but the inbetween just will not sand flat. I don't think I've overly anal about getting the soles flat on any of my rehabs. All I do is mark the sole with a black sharpie and when they all disappear, I'm done. All the blacks marks aren't disappearing on this one.

made a Harbor Freight run
HF didn't have any 80 grit 4x36 sanding belts so I bought some 6x48 ones. I cut one to the length of the marble threshold I use as my runway. HF didn't have any single 6x48's so I had to buy a pkg of 4.

marking the width
My marble is 4 inches wide and the plane is a hair under 3" wide. I thought about cutting the belt in half and getting two strips out of it 3 inches wide but changed my mind. I would rather have some room on either side of the plane as I sand it. I marked this and cut it out with a sheet rock knife.

I think I may go with 6x48 belts for the other grits too. With the 4x35 belts I have to hold one end with a clamp because the marble threshold is shorter than the belt. The 6x48 belt I was able to cut long enough so that the bench dogs pinched it fast on both ends. No clamp in the way as I sand.

new 80 grit belt is working better
I can still see 6 black lines. I worked on this, off and on, all afternoon sanding, and sanding, and more sanding. I slowly removed two, lines, then one more, then another, and the last two took forever to remove.

3 lines gone, 3 more to go
buffing kit
When I left HF I went to Home Depot which is one block away. I was looking for drawer slides and HD had a lot of them. I didn't get one though because I couldn't tell what kind they were. I want a full extension drawer guide rated for a 100lbs. The only thing I could see on the package was that it was a soft close one. BFD, I could care less about that. Full extension is more important to me and the HD guy didn't know the load rating or if it was full extension. It looks like I'll be getting it on the internet.

another hollow
Both sides on the cheek walls have a hollow. I finally got the black marks removed on the sole with 80 grit and found the hollows on the cheeks. It took a while to sand this out but not as long as it took to do the sole. I did hollow areas by hand and not on the runway.

soles sanded up to 400 grit
I will sand the both of these by hand with 400 and the 600 grit. But before I do that I'll paint the #6 and decide if I want to paint the #4. The plane body is good but the frog may need some help.

why I'm doing hand sanding
I had to touch up with sanding by hand from 220 grit up to 320. I did up to 400 on the sanding belt and I had to touch up the hollows on the #6. I sanded the #4 by hand too even though I didn't need to. The hand sanding seemed to remove scratches better than the runway was doing.

Getting these two planes sanded to this point is all I got done today. I made a road trip to get sanding belts and drawer guides, and about 2 hours eating lunch and searching the WWW for springs. The rest of the shop day was devoted to sanding. Boring, mind numbing, repetitious, sanding and I'm glad 99.9% of it is done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the Reuben Award is given annually for the best cartoon?

Ancient cereals corn dolly

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 2:04am
An ancient craft bringing some of my favourite people together to achieve a lifetime's ambition. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

On Talent and Skill

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 6:12pm

Many people equate “skill” and “talent.”  They are sometimes related, but certainly not the same thing.  It is like the modern conflation of “jealousy,” “covetousness, ” and “envy.”  All are related as manifestations of the same base impulse, but they are not the same (envy being the most pernicious).

But back to “skill” and “talent.”

I possess precious little artistic talent, but have acquired fair-to-middling creative skills.  I remember clearly a session in the studio of one of my art classes in college.  I was succeeding in the class by sheer grit and inordinate time working in the studio; the art didn’t flow out of me simply because the talent was not there.  But I was determined to succeed and spent untold hours at work there.  One day I asked Mrs. Barn to come with me and keep me company as I worked, and as we walked there she picked up a branch of some flowering tree or something.  So while I ground away at my “creating” she whipped out a lovely oil painting of the sprig even though she never trained as an artist.  But she has sublime artistic talents while I am saddled with a noteworthy lack of them.

I’m not sure if curiosity is a talent, but I do have a fair bit of that.  Perhaps my greatest creative gift was that I was an indifferent student in school prior to my third stint in college, when I worked and learned with a vengeance.  But middle school and high school?  Nah, I did not pay enough attention to enable them to beat the curiosity out of me and I was able to retain my native impulse to color outside the lines.

Talent is, I believe, a portion of that inventory of nascent gifts imparted at our conception as unique creatures, whereas skills are the abilities honed through repetitive exercises.  That said, the vocabulary of skills we possess allows us to expand our creative and productive capacity to a nearly limitless vista, and to hone those natural talents.

As a craftsman and teacher that is where I try to invest my resources.

I am at a point in my life where my writing is an output that has value in the marketplace, all the more surprising to me in that I went to gubmint schools at a time when the rigors of language arts were, shall we say, not emphasized.  Now I practice writing on a near-daily basis to sharpen my skills of wordsmithing.  This occurs on this blog as often as I can even though many acquaintances urge me to de-emphasize my writing here in exchange for “more followers” via other vehicles that do not require anything more than a few pictures and words on a smart phone.  I have resisted this for several reasons, not the least of which is I do not have a smart phone and have little interest in getting one given that I live in a place with almost no cell service.  Second, if my goal is to increase my ability in crafting words, I’d better spend some time crafting words rather than avoiding it.  An analogy would be encouraging someone to refine their joinery skills at the workbench by giving them a screw gun.

Instead, for the time being I prefer to write short articles for this blog a few times a week as a means of not only connecting with those who read it but also accomplishing the not-so-unintended-consequence of  improving my own writing skill set.  I know I will never become as facile as Chris Schwarz given both his natural talents and honed skills that enable him to have a daily output capacity of probably four thousand words.  I hope for a tenth of than, and dream of a quarter, a pace I actually maintained while writing the 40,000 word first draft manuscript of Virtuoso in six weeks.

For the past few years I have endeavored to write something every day.  A blog essay, even if only a short one, or at last a portion of one (some blogs take a few sessions of verbal noodling).  Or another portion of my ongoing book manuscript, at present The Period Finisher’s Manual (I am targeting the end of the year for its completion).  Some mystery/thriller fiction, currently about a derelict antiques restorer out in the mountains and how he eventually saves the world.  Blowing off steam by recording pithy observations about the state of the world around me.

It is all enjoyable and ruthlessly demanding, but it is how I am building my muscles in formulating and organizing ideas and putting them into words.

Simply put, the regimen makes me more skilled at writing.

The same is true with my physical craft.  As a furniture maker I will not and probably cannot become Jean-Henri Riesener, John Goddard, Alvar Aalto, or James Krenov.  I am unlikely to ever become a truly skilled engraver, or metalsmith, or machinist, or chemical engineer.  But I can become better than I am.

And so can you.

While I cannot endow you with creative genius, I can encourage and direct you in the genesis and more full formation of skills through practice and exercise.  This has become cemented as the goal for my time in The Barn on White Run; that I explore and create, and share those adventures with you that you might be more encouraged to do the same.

In the coming weeks and months I hope this will become manifest on this blog with my mercurial musings about craft and life on the homestead being augmented with more postings about the processes of  doing and not just my noumena.  One iteration of this starting next will be a series of bench exercises I presented at last year’s  banquet address for the Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig.

Another will be the multi-part walk-through of interpreting an early 19th century writing desk, of which I have already written a couple of blogs in the past.

And making instructional videos for distribution with a talented young local film maker.

And making and modifying tools.

And Gragg chairs.

And workbenches.

And, and, and…

All in pursuit of skills, in service to my “talent.”


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