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What’s Next?

Once the rafters went up, we breathed a sigh of relief. Joshua and I have been so fixated on the House by Hand project that we’ve neglected a number of our professional responsibilities. Emails have gone long unanswered. The shop hasn’t been swept in ages. It’s been weeks since I’ve written a Friday blog post. But after a successful frame raising last Saturday and subsequent progress this week between rain showers, we were able to sit down, exhale, and look at what’s next for M&T. And let me tell you, there’s a lot. Issue Fifteen is right around the corner. Authors’ manuscripts have already started trickling in, and our own articles are in the works. We have book ideas coming...

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Just Like They Did in 1810

Windsor chairs were designed by turners, for turners. Spring-pole, treadle, and great-wheel lathes were all common in early 19th-century America, along with a few water-driven mills and lathes powered by horses, oxen, and even dogs. Of the human-powered options, great-wheel lathes had power, speed, and continuous rotation, but the apprentice turning the wheel was an expensive power source – these lathes were best reserved for large-diameter turnings. Treadle lathes had speed and continuous rotation, but lacked power until 19th-century improvements came about. Spring-pole lathes had both power and speed – they were a good choice for turning chair parts. And they are easy to make – my lathe is cobbled together from junk boards, bungee cords, and decking screws, just...

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Raising the Old Jordan House

  Oh my goodness. Where do I even begin? Saturday was the big raising day in which we had 20 or 30 people lined up to help assemble and lift our house timbers into place. As I mentioned last week, Mike, Julia, and I had been obsessively monitoring the weather forecast developments the whole week before and we all were starting to feel nervous as we saw loads of rain encroaching on the day. Ironically, the end of last week in which the final prep work happened was swelteringly hot – so much so that we were starting to take precautions for heat stroke. And then on Friday evening, as soon as the work ended, the rain clouds rolled in,...

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