New M&T Project: The “Foundations” Video


Reading M&T is an opportunity to unplug from the screen time of modern life and to revel in the creative pulse and enduring craftsmanship of woodworkers. But books do have their weaknesses. I find that someone can tell me how to do something ten times and I still struggle but as soon as they show me in person, it clicks. The success of YouTube tells me I’m not alone here.

I regularly talk with two different kinds of readers that express the same desire. There are the folks with little to no woodworking experience asking me how to get started. I also have long-time power tool users that are falling out of love with their dust collectors and router bits. They’re looking for a way of working wood that ties them closer to the craft heritage while challenging their creative mind and hands in a new way. If they’re like me, what these folks need is for someone to show them a straight forward way of working at the outset so that they don’t find themselves bogged down in forum threads debating the nuances of a 30 degree secondary bevel vs 32. They need some no-nonsense advice. They need an apprenticeship of sorts.

Screenshot of foreplane marks

As many of you know, it’s my passion to bring hand tool woodworking out of the history books and museums into the shops of 21st century woodworkers. To catalyze this trend, Mike and I have decided to begin an apprenticeship video series as a complement to the magazine. We believe that coupling the sit-down dig-deep publication with the in-the-shop video instruction will hit the sweet spot to bolster the confidence of those not well versed in the subtleties of hand tool only woodworking.

I have a lot of very specific ideas about a fresh presentation format. This isn’t going to be the conventional stand and talk at the camera model. I’ve been working on developing a style of shooting that is much more like the photography of the magazine: up-close and personal.

Screenshot of tools overview

So after much planning and preparation, Mike and I were finally able to start the shoot for the first installment today. This “Foundations” video will serve as an overview of the basic process of working wood by hand. This is designed to help those with little experience using hand tools and for those that, although familiar with sharpening and using the tools, haven’t been exposed to the completely “hand tool only” process. (It’s very different from the machine the “cut list” approach). We are very excited about this and think complementing the magazine with these videos will be the best way to spread the gospel of hand tools. Today we got the "Tools" chapter shot.

We’ll be at the cameras again first thing in morning to continue documenting this craft. Expect updates as things move along.