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Historic Images of Woodworkers

I’ve always loved seeing period depictions of woodworkers at work. To see the way their tools are stored, their posture while working, and even shop conditions brings these makers to life for me. I have for years been downloading images I found online when they were particularly interesting. It’s been helpful but I often lost track of where I got them. When I recently did a Google image search for an old painting, I realized upon clicking on it that it was hosted on Pinterest. I had never signed up for Pinterest because it seemed like there wasn’t much of interest to me. Lots of knitting and home décor stuff. But this time when I clicked to the “board” that...

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Roman Workbench Build-Along

  Inspired by Chris Schwarz’s article in Issue Two “Decoding the Roman Workbench”, Mike and I have decided to build our own Roman (i.e. staked) benches. I’ve been doubly curious about this form because Jonathan Fisher’s bench of this type survives in his house (now a museum) and I’ve really wanted to get some time working at one before finishing off my book on him this winter. The week of February 20th, Mike and I will each be building a bench. I will be basing mine largely on Fisher’s bench, which is a 12.5” wide by 7’ long rough-sawn board with four riven and hatcheted legs. His is a little less than 2” thick but the plank I have set...

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How To Restore A Hand Plane

  There is nothing like being able to tune-up an antique hand plane to put it work like it was meant to but sometimes folks are unsure about how to properly and carefully restore them without ruining their value and character. In this new YouTube video above, I share my minimalistic and pragmatic approach to restoring the hand planes found in second hand stores. I deal with general cleaning, restoring the finish on the wooden handles, sharpening the iron, and basic setup for planing. This 20-minute video is aimed at giving a good introduction without overwhelming you with minutia. Enjoy! Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you would like to see more of this kind of content! For more info on...

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The Courageous Work of Peter Follansbee

  If you haven’t yet seen Peter Follansbee’s latest post about the wrap-up class for the five month long joined chest build, you should check it out here. It’s full of inspiring and beautiful work from all his students. His anecdotes and casual writing tone are simply wonderful – it’s exactly what we worked so hard to preserve in the editing of Issue Two. His article titled “Everybody Who Knows Why is Dead” has generated a great response from readers. People loved hearing the veteran craftsman/scholar reflect on the years of unfounded scholarly opinions. It was a favorite in Issue Two. I’m not sure if you’ve recognized this but Peter’s work and teaching is courageous in this day and age....

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Now Shipping Internationally!

  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...

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“Craftsmanship is Risk” Sticker Now Available!

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...

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They Actually Do This Stuff For Fun?

  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...

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What Joints Should I Use in Furniture? - Ask M&T

  We’ve just posted our first “Ask M&T” video on our YouTube channel. We had a reader ask us, “As a novice woodworker, I struggle to determine the best joints for my projects. What’s the best method of determining the most appropriate joint for any given project?”  The above is our “Ask M&T” answer to that very question.  We’re excited about this new series because it enables us to give time to give full answers to our readers’ questions. Since our number one goal with M&T is to celebrate historic craftsmanship by empowering readers to work efficiently with plane and saw, we thought it would be a good idea to film our answers for you. So consider this a start....

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New Shirts in Stock! “Craftsmanship is Risk”

  We just launched our new “Craftsmanship is Risk” t-shirts in the store. We are offering this design in 3 new colors. Check all the colors out here. As a thank you for your support, we are offering free shipping on these shirts for the first week. Also note that we have now discounted our previous “Artisan” shirt to $18. We don’t have every size in stock but if you want one of these, just know we will not be doing another run. All our designs are a one-time deal. They will only be in our store as long as we have them in stock. FREE SHIPPING ON THE NEW SHIRT UNTIL  SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11th!  It’s not news that the term...

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Axe Maintenance: Touching up an Edge

  Regular readers know my work philosophy is pretty laid back. I don’t sweat tear out on secondary surfaces, I think knots are fine for drawer parts and back boards, etc… That’s why when it comes to axe edge maintenance, some might be surprised at how fastidious I am about keeping it tip top. Some folks don’t feel a need to keep up on their coarser tools but I don’t buy that distinction. When your coarse prep relies on human muscle rather than machines, a keen edge is your best friend. I’ve wasted too much time straining myself working with dull tools. Saving two minutes of sharpening only to grunt through 20 minutes of miserable work is dumb. It’s simply...

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