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Now Shipping Internationally!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 12:07pm

 

One of the most consistent requests we’ve received since the launch of Mortise & Tenon is the ability to ship internationally. We regularly get requests from all over the globe for t-shirts, DVDs, and especially the brown-paper-wrapped and wax-sealed magazines. It took us a while to get things lined up be able to handle international fulfillment, but we finally feel ready to give it a shot.

So… we are now receiving international orders for anything sold in our store. Were you one of those folks that wrote us looking for a wrapped magazine? Now you can get your own copy. Wish you had the new shirt (or almost discontinued one) and new sticker? It’s yours.

Even though we are excited about this opportunity, we are also cautious about it because we fear headaches and hurdles. In all honesty, if it ends up not working out for us, we may have to permanently close international orders again so our advice is that if you really want these things, you should order sooner than later. Hopefully, there will be no problems and we can keep this opportunity forever but we just want to be upfront that we can’t make any promises. Regardless, we will continue to have our stockists carry the magazine (for a more economical shipping option) and as always, only magazines ordered on our website will be getting the fancy wrapping. It’s not something we can supply to stockists.

We appreciate your patience with us as we embark on this new front in the business. As you may recall, we’re just two guys (with the help of some friends) running this publication. We are very small scale but try our best to keep all our customers happy.

So... here goes, folks! Welcome to our store!

¡Bienvenidos!
Bienvenue!
ようこそ!
Velkommen!
Добро пожаловать! 

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Now Shipping Internationally!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 12:07pm

 

One of the most consistent requests we’ve received since the launch of Mortise & Tenon is the ability to ship internationally. We regularly get requests from all over the globe for t-shirts, DVDs, and especially the brown-paper-wrapped and wax-sealed magazines. It took us a while to get things lined up be able to handle international fulfillment, but we finally feel ready to give it a shot.

So… we are now receiving international orders for anything sold in our store. Were you one of those folks that wrote us looking for a wrapped magazine? Now you can get your own copy. Wish you had the new shirt (or almost discontinued one) and new sticker? It’s yours.

Even though we are excited about this opportunity, we are also cautious about it because we fear headaches and hurdles. In all honesty, if it ends up not working out for us, we may have to permanently close international orders again so our advice is that if you really want these things, you should order sooner than later. Hopefully, there will be no problems and we can keep this opportunity forever but we just want to be upfront that we can’t make any promises. Regardless, we will continue to have our stockists carry the magazine (for a more economical shipping option) and as always, only magazines ordered on our website will be getting the fancy wrapping. It’s not something we can supply to stockists.

We appreciate your patience with us as we embark on this new front in the business. As you may recall, we’re just two guys (with the help of some friends) running this publication. We are very small scale but try our best to keep all our customers happy.

So... here goes, folks! Welcome to our store!

¡Bienvenidos!
Bienvenue!
ようこそ!
Velkommen!
Добро пожаловать! 

 

Categories: Hand Tools

The More I Give…

Paul Sellers - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 11:17am

From Journal  Entry Saturday 4th February 2017 …the More I Receive Through the years I have been engaged in training new-genre woodworkers from all backgrounds and I find myself ever-learning that communication is more about listening than whatever I might say. Mostly it’s something I’ve learnt from working with my wood and especially that using my hand …

Read the full post The More I Give… on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Meet the Author: Robert Wearing

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 8:27am
scan-2_1

Robert Wearing, at his drafting table.

Acclaimed craftsman and woodworking instructor Robert Wearing was formally trained at Loughborough College (now University) in Leicestershire, England. It was there, during the late 1940s, that a physical education teacher said a sentence that Wearing has embraced throughout his long and fulfilling career: “For teacher and pupil, a lesson should be an enjoyable, purposeful activity.”

For Wearing, his childhood lessons in the building of things came from his father, a sailor, and a model construction kit.

Both sides of Robert Wearing’s family came from the south of the United Kingdom’s Lake district. “After WWI my parents married there, but jobs for young officers were hard to find,” Wearing says. “So my father, like the rest of his family went to sea.”

Wearing’s father sailed in Atlantic liners, first to New York and then later to Rio de Janeiro, a six-week voyage. Between trips his father would spend two weeks restocking for the next voyage. The family moved into a house vacated by a family member in the port of Liverpool. This way, when Wearing’s father was on land, he could take the tram home each night to be with the family.

“He was not a craftsman,” Wearing says. “I would call him a useful handyman with tools bought in New York.” Wearing’s father enjoyed building models and mechanical devices with “Meccano,” a model construction system created in their hometown of Liverpool by Frank Hornby. Wearing’s father taught his son how to solder. And while at sea, Wearing’s father would compile lists of parts to convert. “I think I owe a great deal to Meccano, which taught me the basic principles of design,” Wearing says.

Also while at sea, Wearing says his father would design wireless sets, tracing the components on a board and then, once home, build up the circuits. “We had quite a number of sets before manufacturing set up,” Wearing says. “Early ones had headphones. I still remember the first horn-like speaker and its extension to various rooms, including my bedroom when I had a cold.”

Wearing attended a grammar school in Liverpool, learning a variety of subjects, including Latin, German and Spanish, but learned little about woodworking.

When not in school Wearing and his family spent holidays at Windermere in the Lakes. “We wandered the small fells nearby, developing the love of mountain walking,” he says. “When at home there was nothing exciting (to us) to do. I puttered in my little garden shed workshop and began my permanent interest in photography using a Vest Pocket Kodak and processing in the blacked-out bathroom, not popular in my family.”

in_the_war_img689

Wearing, serving in WWII.

Wearing served in WWII and after the war, the British government offered a Further Education and Training grant to ex-service personnel, whose training had been interrupted by the war. “Mine had not been but an exception made in the case of teaching,” Wearing wrote in an essay we published here. “There was an acute shortage, since many teachers had been killed and young men were conscripted before they could go to college.”

Wearing visited his old headmaster to inquire about an occupation. “He brought out a copy of every report written, and after perusing these said, ‘You seemed to excel at woodwork. Have you thought of teaching that? It is pleasant work: no preparation, no marking. How little did he know,’” Wearing says.

Wearing’s headmaster summoned a young man who had recently applied for a similar job. Wearing says the man’s advice was short and succinct: “Go to Loughborough. Don’t even think of anywhere else. They will make a craftsman out of you.”

“I like to think they did,” Wearing says, who studied at Loughborough from 1947 to 1950.  “This was a pivotal point in my life.”

Wearing wrote in a previous essay that the application to Loughborough required making a teapot stand, “a rather elaborately jointed mitered frame, holding a 6” x 6” ceramic title. I made this in a little garden shed workshop with what tools I had and little knowledge and went for the interview. It was accepted and I was in.”

chest2_dsc00897

Wearing’s dovetailed tool box.

Before arriving Wearing says he also had to make a dovetailed tool box — three boxes were fitted under each bench.

In those days Loughborough was mostly students studying engineering, and the rest were education — half woodworking and half physical education.

Wearing studied ancient and medieval history, English literature, education, handicraft and technical drawing. His first project from a supplied drawing was a small book rack made from agba, an African hardwood.

“It was a climate of excellent design and high-quality craftsmanship in the company of highly dedicated and motivated fellow students,” Wearing says. “But then we were not normal schoolboy entrants. We were older, some were married and some had children. We had seen the world and not the nicest parts.”

In the workshop, education was informal, and students were left alone to work on their approved drawings. There was a tutor available for consultation. “Each workshop also had a very competent cabinetmaker, who maintained the equipment,” Wearing wrote in his essay. “He was a mine of information and was always most helpful. That was Mr. Finch, who was always referred to as such. Nowadays he would be a technician of varying quality.”

Wearing’s next project was a small mahogany side table with a drawer. Because of timber rationing in the years surrounding the war, finding wood was difficult. But still, students needed wood. In addition to designing and building their own work, they had been tasked with building furniture, designed by renowned craftsman Edward Barnsley, for the college’s proposed library. So the students went to auction sales. A large Cuban mahogany dining table with extending leaves and massive rails proved quite useful. The legs were cut up for turnings. And the table became a paneled bookcase with sliding glass doors. The bottom of railway wagons, destroyed by bombings and deeply embedded with coal and dust, became a source of oak.

“When I took some pieces to the college sawmill, I was rudely sent away to first plane off the top charred ¼”, by hand,” Wearing wrote in his essay. “The boss later relented and agreed to saw and thickness them as the last job before the saw and blades were sharpened. In fact, it proved to be quite nice material, out of which I made several nice pieces in the garage of my hall of residence including a small circular table, which I still have. Also, a small wall hanging bureau.”

All of Wearing’s tutors were former Loughborough students, except for Cecil Gough who was the former foreman of Gordon Russell of Broadway, Gloucestershire. A man by the last name of Ockenden was the head of the department. He trained at Shoreditch College, which Wearing says rivaled Loughborough in terms of excellence. Barnsley gave several lectures and advised students on their individual designs.

Wearing says all the physical education students studied craftsmanship at a lower level and the crafts students studied some physical education. “We were all ex-service men from WWII and so was our physical education tutor who knew full well that we all thought that we had already done enough physical education for a lifetime,” Wearing says. “His slogan, which I have endeavored to follow was, ‘For teacher and pupil, a lesson should be an enjoyable, purposeful activity.’” Another slogan from this teacher? Coach, Correct, Encourage, Praise. “This works for all subjects,” Wearing says. “Although we were craft students, we enjoyed his periods.”

Wearing writes in his essay that there were few machines in the workshops, although they did have a band saw and lathe. He often wished for a circular saw. Wearing’s final project was an oak sideboard, planed by hand from 1” to ¾”.

Years later Wearing visited his son, David, at school. As he entered the school’s workshop Wearing said, “There has been a Lobro (Loughborough) man here.” His son confirmed this. “Though the man had gone, the atmosphere remained. But for how long?” Wearing says. “I wonder.”

After graduation Wearing taught at an independent school. “There was no local authority telling me what to do and what was forbidden,” he says. “I would have resented this by a person who knew less than I did and was a nonperformer.”

Long before computers were common, Wearing set up a press using a 19th-century treadle machine and moveable type. “I had a lot to learn here,” he says. “We printed programs, fixture cards and internal school stationary with some invention.”

Wearing also began teaching individual students at woodturning. “A Chinese girl excelled at this and sent home to her father a pivoting dressing table mirror in English oak with sycamore inlay stringing,” he says. “It arrived intact at Kuda Lampung in Indonesia. He wrote to the headmaster for confirmation that this was made by his daughter, not her teacher. His letter was passed on to me. I was able to confirm and sent a color photograph of her at work on the mirror.”

While teaching Wearing says he made few pieces for clients, who, he says, generally wanted bespoke furniture for factory-made prices.

scan_1

Wearing excelled as a teacher, and a writer. There’s an ease to which he describes the craft, in words both spoken and written. “Writing is not difficult if you know your stuff and have the opportunity to see your pupils or readers at work,” he says. “My education in English as a boy and as a student was good.”

As for the art of teaching? “The key is conversation,” Wearing says. “Did you ever have a conversation with, say, your math teacher? Children are not good at talking to strange adults, generally because they have nothing to say.” In the workshop, though, Wearing says talking is key. “This is an unnoticed service which the workshop supplies training in conversation skills.”

Wearing found his life purpose after WWII, when his old headmaster suggested teaching craftsmanship. And it’s a vocation he’s enjoyed for more than 50 years. “You must really know your stuff and have a job on the go,” Wearing says. “A head of department told me he never made anything and had no tools but used school tools. Can you imagine a violin teacher who never played for his pleasure and had no violin, but used a school instrument? Or a physical education teacher who had no football boots and could not swim?”

Wearing spent his career not only teaching but also writing about the craft, in magazine articles and books. After owning several cameras, he decided to build one specifically for the technical subjects he was writing about. “This produced 3-1/2” x 2-1/2” color transparencies of good quality,” he says. “Editors liked them so much that they increased my fee. Then disaster struck — digital. Everything had to be digital and I couldn’t make a digital camera.”

Wearing has written a number of books, all now considered classics. They include “Making Woodwork Aids & Devices”, “Hand Tools for Woodworkers: Principles & Techniques” and “The Resourceful Woodworker: Tools, Techniques and Tricks of the Trade”.

In 1988 Wearing published “The Essential Woodworker” with Batsford. For Christopher Schwarz, this book, which he bought on a whim for about $5 in the 1990s, was deeply influential in his study of the craft. “I read the entire book in one siting (it took only a couple hours), but in that short period of time, Wearing assembled all the random puzzle pieces I had collected for years about handwork,” Schwarz wrote in 2010. “He filled in all the missing details about dozens of basic processes, from laying out door joinery to truing up the legs on a table.”

Although it took several years, Schwarz and John Hoffman reprinted the out-of-print book in 2010, and consider it still one of the best books on hand-tool usage written in the post-Charles Hayward era today.

Wearing’s conversation with me was via mail, in handwritten form. He ends his letter with an anecdote:

“I was working one evening when two boys passed the workshop; (it was a boarding school). They saw the lights on and came in. They asked, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I am going to glue up a drawer.’ ‘Can we watch?’ ‘No.’ Their faces fell. ‘But you can help.’ They found and adjusted the cramps, made and fitted the cramping blocks, tested the diagonals and tested for twist, applied the glue and cramped up. Then we left. Next day they came in and asked, ‘How did it go?’ ‘Have a look it’s under the dust sheet over there.’ They tried the drawer, pushed it in and out, tried it upside down, saying ‘That’s fabulous.’ I said ‘No, that is how it should be and you can do the same if you take care and follow my instructions.’”

For teacher and pupil, a lesson should be an enjoyable, purposeful activity.

Indeed.


Filed under: The Essential Woodworker, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Joined chest class

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:47am

This past weekend was the wrap-up to the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ One weekend a month, for five months, with homework is a tall order.

chest-frontMatt’s chest front assembled

In addition to the outlay of cash, these students made the commitment of time – that is really striking to me. I appreciate them signing on for this class, and Bob Van Dyke for making it possible. We had some struggles, mostly related to wood supply; and also had a lot of fun making these chests. When I was a student many years ago, Jennie Alexander used to have us all make the same ladderback chair in the class, there was no deviation. I remember once JA suggested just making the chairs, piling them in a heap, and each student taking one home. That didn’t fly, but it illustrated the general notion of a class project.

carvingRick doing more carving

My workshops are usually nothing like that. I seem to be dumb enough to say to each student, yea – you could add this or that, make this change – why not carve the side frames and panels – so there’s a lot of variation in these projects. And because of the amount of work involved, each student was at a different point in their chest. The way the class worked, I’d cover two topics each weekend,  – layout, joinery/carving, decoration/tills, floors, etc.

Then I’d wander from bench to bench to see where the students were, and what they needed. In between classes, I’d often send them blog posts that served as notes for what we just did, or what was coming up. When it ran smoothly anyway…here’s pictures. Some awful. some ok.

detailmolded edge, peg holes. panel

A pile of chest parts; ready for test-fitting

stack-of-chest

White balance out the window – but framed now, & panels cut to size.

frame

Stock prep. Dwight lays his planes on their sides, I see.

stock-prep

what are these guys doing rooting around in my chest?

thieves

Oh, trying to suss out the till lid scenario.

tills

Tidy bevels on panels.

beveled-panels

Rick’s tool box – dynamite from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

tool-box

Pine lid installed

lid

Back home in daylight again. Started linseed oil. A few moldings left, some drawer pulls & done. then it goes to Fuller Craft Museum for the exhibition about Plymouth CRAFT.

daylight-again

I have two more oak classes at CVSWW – a weekend of carving in May, and later in the fall, a 4-day class in making a carved oak box. Link at the top. Box dates aren’t set yet, but I think it will be late September or early October. I forget…

 


“Craftsmanship is Risk” Sticker Now Available!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:08am

The new sticker just arrived in the mail yesterday. This 4.25” x 2.75” sticker features the same Roman woodworker that is on our new t-shirt (which is still being shipped for free through this Friday, by the way). The sticker is $3 in our store. It seems to be an item folks like throwing into the cart with DVDs or mags that they order. If you’re not looking to order anything else, we’ll still take orders for just a sticker.

 But what does “Craftsmanship is Risk” mean, exactly?

 It’s not news that the term “workmanship of risk” has made David Pye famous in woodworking circles. The term was coined by Pye in the mid 20th century to describe workmanship that depends on the skill of the maker rather than complex jigs which ensure “perfection”. This is seen mostly clearly in tools like hatchets, chisels, and even to some degree hand planes.

This concept has been passed around woodworking circles for years but what is less known is that Pye developed the term as a definition for the word “craftsmanship”. On page 20 of his Nature and Art of Workmanship, he writes,

“If I must ascribe meaning to the word craftsmanship, I shall say as a first approximation that it means simply workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity, and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship ‘The Workmanship of Risk’: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive.”

We think seeing the essence of craft bound up with the “riskiness” of working with unregulated tools is a dead on. There is a lot of skillful workmanship in the world but the one that we at M&T particularly want to celebrate is the one called “craftsmanship”.

This sticker is for those who want to celebrate handcraft and know we are part of a rich tradition of woodworking passed down from our ancestors. This woodworker symbolizes our journey to relearn how to work with our hands by the sweat of our brow.

You can order your sticker here.

 

Categories: Hand Tools

“Craftsmanship is Risk” Sticker Now Available!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:08am

The new sticker just arrived in the mail yesterday. This 4.25” x 2.75” sticker features the same Roman woodworker that is on our new t-shirt (which is still being shipped for free through this Friday, by the way). The sticker is $3 in our store. It seems to be an item folks like throwing into the cart with DVDs or mags that they order. If you’re not looking to order anything else, we’ll still take orders for just a sticker.

 But what does “Craftsmanship is Risk” mean, exactly?

 It’s not news that the term “workmanship of risk” has made David Pye famous in woodworking circles. The term was coined by Pye in the mid 20th century to describe workmanship that depends on the skill of the maker rather than complex jigs which ensure “perfection”. This is seen mostly clearly in tools like hatchets, chisels, and even to some degree hand planes.

This concept has been passed around woodworking circles for years but what is less known is that Pye developed the term as a definition for the word “craftsmanship”. On page 20 of his Nature and Art of Workmanship, he writes,

“If I must ascribe meaning to the word craftsmanship, I shall say as a first approximation that it means simply workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity, and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship ‘The Workmanship of Risk’: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive.”

We think seeing the essence of craft bound up with the “riskiness” of working with unregulated tools is a dead on. There is a lot of skillful workmanship in the world but the one that we at M&T particularly want to celebrate is the one called “craftsmanship”.

This sticker is for those who want to celebrate handcraft and know we are part of a rich tradition of woodworking passed down from our ancestors. This woodworker symbolizes our journey to relearn how to work with our hands by the sweat of our brow.

You can order your sticker here.

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Handsaws 101 with Ron Herman – 360w360 E.221

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 4:00am
Handsaws 101 with Ron Herman – 360w360 E.221

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys talk handsaws 101 with Ron Herman

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Handsaws 101 with Ron Herman – 360w360 E.221 at 360 WoodWorking.

I missed it.....

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 12:35am
Super Bowl LI was a record setter and I slept right through it. I tried to stay awake but the last thing I remember seeing was less than two minutes to go in the first quarter. My team won in spite of me not seeing it and Tom Terrific Brady went nutso on Atlanta in the second half.  He had a lot of help from the rest of the team but he was the general directing the battle. I couldn't watch the highlights at work so I'll be doing that before I hit the rack tonight.

Next year, regardless of who is playing, I'll take the following monday off to watch it.

I had to make a couple of pit stops on the way home tonight. I was in and out real quick and I didn't lose too much time. I had to stop at Shaws to get milk and the liquor store to get a bottle of tequila. That is for a friend of mine and it's supposedly in the top 3 tequilas in the world. I hope that he likes it because I don't know the difference between it or a glass of water.

came in the mail today
Can you guess what they are?

the give away
a pair of chopsticks
Ken Hatch offered to make a pair and I accepted. I was not expecting two sets of them nor to have a fancy pouch for each of them. The maple ones on the left will be my saturday chinese take out eating sticks. The padauk ones on the right will be for looking at only (for now). My wife doesn't eat chinese and I'm sure she would frown on trying eat anything with chopsticks. Maybe when the girls come to visit one of them can use these. Thanx so much for the gift Ken

the tequila
I almost had an involuntary bowel movement when I saw the price of this.  But friends are worth it I think. Of course I'll have to make a box to put this in to give it to him.

too big for the one I just made (box #1)
A quick visual check of box #2 and I saw that one is too small. This sounds a bit like the Goldilocks story. I'll be making a box that will be just right.

my newest molder
Josh wasn't woofing when he said this was a better plane. It was made by Wallace of Montreal and I'm wondering how it got out of Canada without Bob Demers snagging it first. This will mold 1/2" stock and molders in this size are very hard to come by.

one of my absolute favorite profiles
Josh says that it is a fenced 1/2" casing plane. I call it a round over with a shoulder.

of course I had to try it out
This is a piece of 1/2" poplar that will be the test drive board.

wow and wow again
Silky smooth planing action and look at those ribbon like shavings. This type of plane doesn't have a stop or at least it didn't stop for me. Long after I got the profile, I was still taking full length shavings with no feedback telling me I was close to stopping.

done
This profile is clean and smooth from end to end. This would look great on the edge of a bookshelf or a box lid.

bigger siblings
These profiles are similar to the 1/2" one. Both of these are for 3/4" thick stock and neither one makes a shoulder.

box has set up
used this to hog most of the waste off
used the small block plane to flush it
errant chisel work
I was following a grain line when I cleaned this up with a chisel. By the time I realized that it was too late. I'll be gluing a shim in here.

front half pin gap
I would not be gluing a shim in here if I had marked the bottom edge as my reference. I saved the pieces that I cut for adding the filler to box #1 and I'll use one of them here..

zona saw kerf
The thinnest piece I have is too thick for the zona saw kerf
gents saw
This kerf and my carcass saw kerf were both too thin for the shim. I used my violin plane to shave the shim until it fit.

fits now
opposite side is iffy looking
This side closed up some but not completely. I opened it with my carcass saw and glued a shim in there too.

pretty good
I eyeballed this for square and chopped it with a chisel. I checked it and I think it's good enough to use as is.

1x6 by 1/2" pine
I'll use this for making the box for the tequila. This is something that I'll have to whack out before my 'honey-do' project.

two choices for the lid
Both are glued up to make them wider and I don't like using glued up stock for lids. Of the two, I like the right better because it has a lighter color.

sometimes you get lucky
The glue line is almost a 1/4" past the groove. I should be able to saw this on the waste side of the glue line and plane down to it. It looks like this box will have a one piece board for a lid after all.

the honey-do
This is what she wants me to reproduce. It will become a paper towel holder. I have the cardboard backs from two desk calendars to use to make some patterns. I need one for the sides and one for the crest rail. I think I have some poplar I can use to make this. I would like to use cherry but my wife wants it painted the same color as the spice rack. And I'm not painting cherry for any amount of money.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the difference between a twit and a twerp?
answer - none, they are both a silly or foolish person

They Actually Do This Stuff For Fun?

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 5:51pm

 

This past weekend I attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour as it came through Ellsworth, ME. The guys I’ve gone with for years always choose the ‘extreme sports’ night over the ‘culture’ night. Every year, we watch people climb rock faces in snowstorms, kayak off of waterfalls, and trek across barren wilderness just for the thrill of it. It’s wild stuff. I can appreciate it from a distance but it’s hard for me to relate to because I spent most of my childhood in art classes when everyone else was playing football. 

Every year, though, I can’t help but think about what it is that motivates a person to push themselves that hard and take that much risk. Is it nothing more than an adrenaline rush? Maybe they’ve just got to see the unique vantage point of the summit? Or is it simply grasping for bragging rights to be the new record-holder?

I don’t think so.

Almost without exception, these films all spend a bit of time looking at the motivation behind these adventures. These athletes push themselves further, taking on greater and greater challenges, because it brings an incomparable sense of accomplishment. The frostbite, the broken fingers, the near-death falls… none of that is worth enduring if all they’re after is the view from the summit. It’s precisely the hardships of the journey that make the trip worth it. It makes them feel alive. For them, those adventures prove to be the most fulfilling experiences they can imagine. (For more discussion on motivation in work see this excellent TED Talk by Dan Ariely.)

As I’ve reflected on this, I thought about how the rest of us might relate to this in some sense. Even if risking life and limb is out of the question, we all grow when pushing ourselves to accomplish what appears out of reach. Some of you are runners. You pound your feet on the pavement for miles, sweat dripping down your head until your knees get wobbly and you are exhausted. It feels good to push yourself. Some of you go the gym for this exercise. Maybe, for you, a simple walk in the woods pushes you outside your comfort zone. Whatever that is for you, I think we all can relate to the need to challenge ourselves.

For me, the adventure is craft-oriented. Building furniture with hand tools is the right balance of physical exertion and creative action for an art nerd like myself. I’m not much of an athlete and extreme heights give me the willies but when I pick up that saw and begin to break down rough-sawn boards for a project, my heart beats faster. And it not just the physical exertion - The thrill I get from working wood in the way artisans have for thousands of years before me is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It makes me feel alive to work with my hands and it makes them come to life for me. I’ve found that connecting to a community of artisans that spans all generations is way more fulfilling than trying to get creative energy by ‘looking within’ like I did in my art classes.

Even though the labor involved in planing boards is not even remotely comparable to climbing a mountain, I feel a similar sort of accomplishment as I begin to see furniture take shape. The vivid memory of hand planing every component and handsawing every joint is satisfying to me in a way machining wood isn’t. (For more on this topic, see our Apprenticeship ‘Foundations’ video.)

So maybe that’s not your thing. Maybe you don’t work wood for those reasons. Maybe you’re in the business and need to keep an eye on the bottom line. I won’t deny that machines can free craftsmen from the drudgery of production settings. For me though, I work wood because I seek the adventure and fulfillment of the journey. Every time I look at a piece I made, I remember the process because I can still read it on the surface. The tool marks are like my photos from the summit – they forever testify to the ascent.

Why am I so into hand tools? It’s not purist elitism and it’s not for some zen-like meditation.

I love the adventure of hand tools simply because I find it thrilling to work with my hands. This is a journey machines have never been able to take me on. I’ve discussed this approach in the manifesto in Issue One and time has only confirmed my conviction.

 - Joshua

 

Categories: Hand Tools

They Actually Do This Stuff For Fun?

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 5:51pm

 

This past weekend I attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour as it came through Ellsworth, ME. The guys I’ve gone with for years always choose the ‘extreme sports’ night over the ‘culture’ night. Every year, we watch people climb rock faces in snowstorms, kayak off of waterfalls, and trek across barren wilderness just for the thrill of it. It’s wild stuff. I can appreciate it from a distance but it’s hard for me to relate to because I spent most of my childhood in art classes when everyone else was playing football. 

Every year, though, I can’t help but think about what it is that motivates a person to push themselves that hard and take that much risk. Is it nothing more than an adrenaline rush? Maybe they’ve just got to see the unique vantage point of the summit? Or is it simply grasping for bragging rights to be the new record-holder?

I don’t think so.

Almost without exception, these films all spend a bit of time looking at the motivation behind these adventures. These athletes push themselves further, taking on greater and greater challenges, because it brings an incomparable sense of accomplishment. The frostbite, the broken fingers, the near-death falls… none of that is worth enduring if all they’re after is the view from the summit. It’s precisely the hardships of the journey that make the trip worth it. It makes them feel alive. For them, those adventures prove to be the most fulfilling experiences they can imagine. (For more discussion on motivation in work see this excellent TED Talk by Dan Ariely.)

As I’ve reflected on this, I thought about how the rest of us might relate to this in some sense. Even if risking life and limb is out of the question, we all grow when pushing ourselves to accomplish what appears out of reach. Some of you are runners. You pound your feet on the pavement for miles, sweat dripping down your head until your knees get wobbly and you are exhausted. It feels good to push yourself. Some of you go the gym for this exercise. Maybe, for you, a simple walk in the woods pushes you outside your comfort zone. Whatever that is for you, I think we all can relate to the need to challenge ourselves.

For me, the adventure is craft-oriented. Building furniture with hand tools is the right balance of physical exertion and creative action for an art nerd like myself. I’m not much of an athlete and extreme heights give me the willies but when I pick up that saw and begin to break down rough-sawn boards for a project, my heart beats faster. And it not just the physical exertion - The thrill I get from working wood in the way artisans have for thousands of years before me is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It makes me feel alive to work with my hands and it makes them come to life for me. I’ve found that connecting to a community of artisans that spans all generations is way more fulfilling than trying to get creative energy by ‘looking within’ like I did in my art classes.

Even though the labor involved in planing boards is not even remotely comparable to climbing a mountain, I feel a similar sort of accomplishment as I begin to see furniture take shape. The vivid memory of hand planing every component and handsawing every joint is satisfying to me in a way machining wood isn’t. (For more on this topic, see our Apprenticeship ‘Foundations’ video.)

So maybe that’s not your thing. Maybe you don’t work wood for those reasons. Maybe you’re in the business and need to keep an eye on the bottom line. I won’t deny that machines can free craftsmen from the drudgery of production settings. For me though, I work wood because I seek the adventure and fulfillment of the journey. Every time I look at a piece I made, I remember the process because I can still read it on the surface. The tool marks are like my photos from the summit – they forever testify to the ascent.

Why am I so into hand tools? It’s not purist elitism and it’s not for some zen-like meditation.

I love the adventure of hand tools simply because I find it thrilling to work with my hands. This is a journey machines have never been able to take me on. I’ve discussed this approach in the manifesto in Issue One and time has only confirmed my conviction.

 - Joshua

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Photo Gallery from Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition thru Feb. 17, 2017

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 5:03pm

Wood Works Sign
If you are within driving distance of Athens, Georgia, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this delightful woodworking exhibition that is open Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM thru Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in Watkinsville, GA.

CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery from the exhibition

Highland Woodworking is honored to be the presenting sponsor of Wood Works, a first-year exhibition that showcases a wide spectrum of woodworking with over 100 pieces by 35 southeastern artist craftsmen. Retired University of Georgia professor Abraham Tesser is the event’s curator.

CLICK HERE for additional info on the exhibition

A Statement from the Exhibit’s Curator, Abraham Tesser
Wood is a medium that has been appreciated by mankind since the discovery of fire and the first use of tools. We still use wood to make fires and tools, but along the way we have come to appreciate this medium in many different ways. And that is what the show is about: The appreciation of wood. I have tried to present you with a broad swath of wood objects that I hope will compel your interest and delight.

The Southeast has an abundance of talented artists working in wood. But what they love about the medium varies widely across artists. Many artists are attracted to the beauty in wood that is revealed as lumber is sliced from the tree. Often a slab of wood or a thin slice of veneer reveals a palette of colors or an interesting grain pattern; or, reflecting the irregular growth of the tree, an interesting overall shape. Several pieces in the show feature such beautiful lumber; several showcase the rare beauty of exotic veneers. Even tree branches that we are likely to ignore, discard or casually drop on the fire can be fashioned into beautiful, interesting and functional pieces of furniture. Some artists are concerned with preserving the environment and use reclaimed or salvaged wood. Age, weather and usage often give wood (and us!) a special character that enhances the interest value of pieces constructed from it.

Other artists are attracted to wood because of its properties as a medium. Not only is wood warm and beautiful, it is also relatively light, durable and easy to shape, sculpt or turn. What a wonderful material in which to express one’s own vision. And, those artistic visions in wood go from the functional to the whimsical to the purely esthetic. Artists differ in their favored approach to processing wood. There are turners, sculptors, and joiners. They work in solid wood and wood composites. Their work appeals to your brain and to your eye. And, if a piece has soft curves and is finely finished, it appeals to your hand; it is very difficult to resist running your hand over such a piece. (In this venue I hope that you will resist this urge!)

So this is the show. Pieces of wood that have been skillfully, artistically transformed into the objects before you. Have these objects engaged you, captured your interest, piqued your curiosity or perhaps even delighted you? To the extent that they have, our efforts have been successful.

CLICK HERE to see our other write-up of the event with reviews from local media organizations.

The post Photo Gallery from Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition thru Feb. 17, 2017 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Storefront Open this Saturday

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 4:31pm

vegas_img_6959

The Lost Art Press storefront will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, with John, Raney and me dressed as our favorite Pokemon. Later, there will be a magic show.

We’ll also have books – our entire line – plus a bunch of blemished books for 50 percent off retail (cash only on blems). We also have some extra T-shirts (all unworn and maggot-free) that have been returned to us at big savings.

You can also come check out my new basement. During the last couple weeks the dirt-floored cellar has been dug out. Workers have installed a drainage system in case it ever floods (we’ve not seen any water in 18 months). Right now they are pouring a concrete floor so I will have something I’ve never had before: A place to store lumber.

cellar_img_7213 cellar2_img_7210

Because of our tight quarters in our old house, I’ve always been a “just in time” lumber guy. The approach has its advantages, but there have been times I’ve declined to snatch up some incredible lumber. No more. The new basement will be humidity- and temperature-controlled and dedicated to wood.

I’m also in the throes of building some new chair designs. Some are working. Some aren’t. And you can help me chop up the failures and burn them.

As always, we offer you these open days as a place to come visit, hang out and ask any questions. We’re happy to point you to good food and drink and demonstrate anything from our books that is vexing.

During the last few open days, we’ve had people from as far away as Utah, Austin, Atlanta and elsewhere stop in with their spouses. Covington and Cincinnati are great cities with lots of stuff to do, an endless list of good food (especially if you like pork) and culture. And it’s a cheap trip.

The next open house (March 11) will correspond with a massive Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing down the street from us. We’re planning stuff and hope to have some details in the next week or so.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Dresser Turned Wine Cabinet

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 4:26pm

Last year my wife and I bought an old dresser at an antique show in Columbus, Ohio. We had a spot in our dining room we wanted to make into a bar area and the dresser was small enough that it would fit nicely in that spot.

 photo cabinet.jpg

I had to remove the drawers to make room for the wine bottle storage I was going to build so, I cut off the rail and drawer runners that were between the two drawers.

 photo IMG_20170106_164811_784.jpg

The dresser was old and someone in the past tried to repair the case by driving nails through the side of the case into the end grain of the tenon. I took the tenon out and drove the nails back out through the side.

 photo IMG_20170106_173116_056.jpg

After the nails were gone, I glued the case back together to make everything sturdy and square.

 photo 20170106_174530.jpg

The cabinet was going to be painted so, I bought some birch plywood and cut up pieces to make a box that would slide inside the case. I also trimmed the edges of the plywood with oak to match the rest of the case.

 photo IMG_20170107_181424_519.jpg

The old dresser had a bit of detail to the rails that I wanted to match on the box I was building.

 photo 20170107_165751.jpg

I took my No 8 hollow molding plane and planed a shallow recess down the middle and rounded over the sides with my block plane.

 photo IMG_20170108_125824_574.jpg

I had to carefully build the box to fit inside the case. It needed to be loose to slide in, but not too big that it wouldn’t fit. I made the box an 1/8″ smaller than the length and height of the opening of the case so that it would fit. I used simple rabbet joinery to join the sides together and a dado down the middle for the divider.

 photo 20170108_142721.jpg

The moment of truth. After building the box I prayed that it would slide in the case. Thankfully it did.

 photo 20170108_152110.jpg

My wife painted the case with black milk paint. She also sanded and stained the top and drawers with a gel stain. I then applied two coats of Waterlox varnish on the top and drawers.

 photo IMG_20170112_160845_049.jpg

I wanted the left side to hold wine bottles so, I built diagonal grid out of solid oak and used dadoes for joinery so that the other side of the grid would slide through. This too had to be fitted carefully so that it wasn’t too tight to slide in. After everything fitted well, I took it out, stained and applied Waterlox varnish to the grid.

 photo 20170112_172051.jpg

Here’s the final cabinet sitting in the same spot. We removed one shelf as we felt the wine glasses hung a little too low. The cabinet came out well and was dirt cheap to build.


Making Wooden Capos/Cejillas for Classical/Flamenco Guitars

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 4:10pm
The musician that looks upon the capo as a cheater, becomes much more limited in his playing than the capo user.

Anders Sterner, musician


Thought you might be interested in a short post on how I make capos, or cejillas, for classical/flamenco guitars.




First thing I do is roundup some black and white strips of veneer; a piece of nice wood for the core and even pretty wood for the outside laminations.

I plane pieces to proper thickness, align in proper order and glue all pieces together.



Here are two capo templates I came up with, I copied historic original Spanish capo shapes, I draw these onto the block of wood I just created from the veneer, laminates and core. Then I drill holes for the violin pegs and have a violin/viola/cello peg reamer handy.



Here is a photo of a shop made violin peg shaver that I made. I use 1/2 size violins for the capos.



Once the violin pegs fit perfectly in their holes in the capos, I cut them to proper length, drill a hole in the peg shaft between collar and head of peg for the nylon guitar string. I cut the capos to match the template outlines, sand, buff and apply some linseed oil.



I use LaBella brand nylon flamenco guitar strings to attach the friction pegs to the capos. The string will run through a piece of vinyl tubing which will protect the guitar's neck. After the strings and pegs are attached I glue a strip of neoprene to the face of the capo. Once the glue has dried I trim the neoprene...


and have a whole handful of beautiful capos!

Yes, I have left out a few steps of how I make these handy little tools for a guitarist, I can't give away all of my secrets!

Categories: Luthiery

Lay Out a D-shaped Seat

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 1:38pm

One of the classic shapes for the seats of chairs or stools is the D shape. If you make or appreciate Welsh chairs (like I do), it’s a shape you see a lot. Yet many beginning chairmakers fret over making a D-shaped seat of their own dimensions. I admit that when I started making chairs, I was similarly befuddled and preferred to trace the shapes of old seats or work […]

The post Lay Out a D-shaped Seat appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Markneukirchen guitar

Finely Strung - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 10:22am

This charming little guitar came into the workshop recently. The tightly arched back had come away from the linings in a couple of places at the edges of the upper bout and needed re-gluing. I also made a new saddle to replace the existing poorly-fitting piece of plastic and fitted a set of new strings. Otherwise, the guitar was in remarkably good condition for its age.

 
p1060324-edit
 

The label inside the guitar attributes it to Adolf Kessler junior of Markneukirchen, where it was probably made in the last part of the 19th century.

The Musical Instrument Museum in Markneukirchen has an on-line forum where I discovered that Adolf Kessler had founded a mail order business there in 1886, selling guitars and violins. I guess Kessler was a business man who marketed instruments made by some of the many craftsmen working in the town at the time. There’s a short BBC film about Markneukirchen and its 400 year history as a centre of musical instrument manufacture here.

 
p1060332
 

The rosette is made from decorative shapes of mother of pearl set into mastic.

 
p1060336
 

The ribs and back are of plain wood, perhaps maple, with a painted faux grain pattern under the varnish.

 
p1060329
 

The ebonised bridge is neatly carved into fleurs de lys at the ends, although the bass side has sustained some damage.

 
p1060335
 

The headstock carries Stauffer style tuning machines.

 
p1060326
 

Altogether an attractive little instrument – and I’m pleased to think that it is ready to make music again.

Dear Tool Manufacturer…

The English Woodworker - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 9:25am
Dear Tool Manufacturer…

…why can’t you make thick irons laminated?

Why is it that my Grandad doesn’t grind. My Dad doesn’t have a grinder. And up until me buying swanky tools, I never had to grind?

Hard steels and thick irons.

It’s a combination which wasn’t found in my Grandad’s workshop.
And that thick hard steel takes some going to wear through.  So out comes the grinder.

This modern ‘improvement’ to our irons puts a spanner in the works of any old school sharpening routine.

Continue reading at The English Woodworker.

Categories: Hand Tools

How to Glue Up a Table Panel with Panel Clamps + Giveaway!

Wood and Shop - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 8:51am
In this video I show how to glue up boards into a table top panel using panel clamps. I'm also giving away a bunch of awesome gifts, including a matching set of these Damstom Panel Clamps, at the bottom of this blog post. Most of my winners say they've never won anything in their lives, so

February Poll: How Do You Sell Tools You No Longer Use/Need?

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 7:00am

January is the month of resolutions.

February is the month in which you know whether you’ve kept up with what you’ve resolved, need to improve, or have failed miserably.

What are your resolutions for 2017?

I’m confident that a lot of woodworkers have intentions of being cleaner around the shop in the new year. We could sweep more, we could pick up cutoffs and other trip hazards as we create them, we could store the things that we use infrequently, and better organize the things we leave out.

Some of you might be like me, and have tools that you no longer (or never did) use.

Take my first Skilsaw. It runs, but the bushings (I doubt it has bearings) seize on the armature and it howls when it spins. I might be able to send it somewhere to be rebuilt, but how would I justify the cost and effort? I have a TS75, and a newer Skilsaw. Still, I can’t seem to let it go. I bought it at the Keesler Air Force Base Exchange in the 1970s and, if I remember correctly, paid less than $25.

With the exception of the TS75, this is still the best circular saw I’ve ever had. Not for sale. If I could solve the seizing problem, it would still be my go-to all-around circular saw. It would beat the pants off the Skilsaw I bought in 2005.

With the exception of the TS75, this is still the best circular saw I’ve ever had. Not for sale. If I could solve the seizing problem, it would still be my go-to all-around circular saw. It would beat the pants off the Skilsaw I bought in 2005.

Speaking of the BX, I have a Black and Decker one-speed, one-direction (neither reversible nor variable speed had been invented yet, I don’t think) drill that I paid just $8 for, also in the 70s. It still runs as well as it ever did. Well, maybe a little noisier. I’ll probably keep it if it ever dies. It holds some really good memories.

This is one tough drill. It came with a 1/4" chuck, but I exchanged it for a 3/8" chuck from a dead drill. Not for sale.

This is one tough drill. It came with a 1/4″ chuck, but I exchanged it for a 3/8″ chuck from a dead drill. Not for sale.

I have an Osborne Excalibur miter gauge that I’ve never used. Heck, it’s never even been out of the box. I won it in a contest and I already had a nice Incra miter gauge that I’ve always been happy with.

Somebody could have been using this fine miter gauge for all the years it’s been sitting in my office. I’d like to sell it, but I’m not sure where to start.

Somebody could have been using this fine miter gauge for all the years it’s been sitting in my office. I’d like to sell it, but I’m not sure where to start.

I’d like to have a bigger jointer than the 6″ Delta that I have, but what would I ever do with the old Delta? It would be cost-prohibitive to ship, but I could deliver it if I sold it locally.

Sometimes a 6" jointer is all you need, other times, it’s just not enough. Still, no one needs two jointers. Or does he?

Sometimes a 6″ jointer is all you need, other times, it’s just not enough. Still, no one needs two jointers. Or does he?

I’ve also been torn about miter saws. I took the plunge into a Festool Kapex, for a variety of reasons, but I’m still attached to my DeWalt. It’s not a sin to have two miter saws, is it?

There’s nothing wrong with the DeWalt miter saw, and the Norm Abram stand is the cat’s meow. But, does one need two power miter boxes? I doubt it.

There’s nothing wrong with the DeWalt miter saw, and the Norm Abram stand is the cat’s meow. But, does one need two power miter boxes? I doubt it.

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Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post February Poll: How Do You Sell Tools You No Longer Use/Need? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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