Fidelity to the Past: An Interview with Zachary Dillinger… Issue Two Table of Contents


When I published The Mortise & Tenon Manifesto in Issue One, my friend Zach Dillinger sent me an email laughing because he said he swore he could’ve written it. To illustrate the point, he attached a draft of the first chapter of his upcoming book With Saw, Plane & Chisel. I read through it and saw an uncanny similarity in his emphasis and creative objective. I chuckled to myself knowing he and I would work well together.

But I’ve always admired the work of Zach Dillinger. Zach has long been a furniture maker and collector (and user) of old tools. His level of understanding of pre-industrial process is not common these days and it’s his emphasis on period authenticity that is exactly the kind of work that begins to uncover lost craft wisdom. Zach has been selected for the Early American Life Directory of Traditional Artisans 3 years in a row for his determination to build furniture only relying on the hand tools available to 18th century makers.

His upcoming book With Saw, Plane & Chisel (published by Popular Woodworking) is like an apprenticeship in a pre-industrial shop. Zach not only walks readers through woodworking techniques and several projects, but he also regularly conveys the mindset of period woodworkers. Mike and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get an article with Zach. In this article, Mike talks with Zach about the idea behind the book and why he thinks this kind of work is relevant to woodworkers today. Having looked through the book myself, I can confidently say I am proud to have Zach’s words here for M&T readers. If you are into what we have going on here, you simply have to hear what this man has to say.

Look out for Issue Two. Zach’s interview is sure to inspire you to pick saw, plane and chisel.