Issue 11 T.O.C. – Joshua A. Klein – “Finding the Groove: The Value of Batch Production Woodworking”

This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Eleven. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is come. 

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Joshua A. Klein – “Finding the Groove: The Value of Batch Production Woodworking” 

What were the key elements of efficient production for a period woodworker? Do we know the critical factors that allowed them to turn a profit and maximize the work of their hands and tools?

While mass production was a recent invention of the Industrial Revolution, batch production has been common practice among makers for centuries. Author Joshua A. Klein begins by referencing historic shops and journals, demonstrating the widespread use and value of making in multiples. Because so much of the time taken to build a piece of furniture is dedicated to planning, layout, and a series of repeated operations (sawing dovetails or shaping cabriole legs, for example), period woodworkers learned the time-saving value of knocking out multiple parts and pieces together. Why make one, when you can make two?


Klein reveals the lessons learned recently from a big batch-production project at the M&T woodshop: making dozens and dozens of dovetailed wooden boxes to house special sets of magazines. These boxes featured multiple types of joinery, necessitating the execution of some operations hundreds of times over. He gives practical advice for maximizing time spent in the shop, as well as the tremendous benefit of sharing labor with others. Working together towards a common craft goal is a uniquely rich way to bond, building friendships as you build furniture. 

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