Issue Five: Hand in Hand with Jonathan Fisher


We are announcing one Issue Five article each weekday until pre-orders open on August 1st. If you don’t already have a subscription and just wanted to order a copy of Issue Five by itself, you may do so on August 1st.

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Hand in Hand with Jonathan Fisher
By: Joshua A. Klein

 My greatest mentor died almost 200 years ago. When I began researching in 2013 what is very likely the most complete surviving record of a pre-industrial American furniture maker, I had no idea how profoundly it would affect my own life’s work.

Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847) was a rural furniture maker whose surviving tools, furniture, and journals give us an unparalleled look into pre-industrial craft practice. I’ve spent the past 5 years lying on my back under the furniture examining his tool marks to unearth everything this man did and what made him tick.

And because this research has profoundly affected my perspective on historic craftsmanship, I am compelled to pass what I discovered on to other woodworkers. There are so many lessons to learn from those that have gone before us and when such a rare and clear window into their work emerges, we would do well to take heed.

This article, a distillation of my new book, Hands Employed Aright: The Furniture Making of Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847), emphasizes the practical value of researching old furniture and tools. Being able to take these traditional practices (many of which violate modern woodworking dogma) into shop is eye-opening and sometimes even revolutionary.

- Joshua

 The next Issue Five article announcement comes tomorrow…