Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here.
Last fall, I was fortunate to spend some time with Charpentiers Sans Frontières in Romania, hand hewing a roof system from local ash and oak. I found that there are some corners of this nation where one can still experience a cultural landscape mostly unaltered from what much of Europe must have looked like for centuries. Hillsides patchworked with subsistence farming, folks scythe-mowing hay in the high pastures, the knell of the woodcutter’s axe in the woods, the sounds of horses and working animals. I can’t imagine a richer setting to explore the intricacies of scribed and hewn joinery, and I am excited to share this story in Issue Four.
There is something captivating to so many woodworkers about the primary processing of materials with the old tools: taking up the froe, drawknife, fore plane, or hewing hatchet. Many and various are the roots of this fascination - it can come from a preservation or conservation perspective, or from social or environmental ideology. Sometimes it grows from a focus on cultural heritage, and sometimes from an interest in techniques - the development and use of materials and tools. As often as not it's simply a primal connection, a love for the feel of expending human energy. Many of us just want to richly experience the visceral textures found in the building of our environment, a practice so basic to human culture for millennia. No matter where these inclinations arise, the call is hard to resist.
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