Strange Times

This is a strange day for two reasons.

After canceling the packing party because of the COVID-19 scenario, Mike and I (with help from Grace and our families) wrapped thousands of copies of Issue Eight in brown paper, adhered a wax-sealed trade card (done by my wife and me over many evenings), slid them into rigid mailers with a white pine plane shaving, and applied the postage. Considering that the printing of postage alone takes us 8-10 person-hours per issue, this special wrapping process is a monumental undertaking. We love every minute of it, and that’s why we’ve always invited 25 volunteers to help out for two days. But we knew this wrapping would soon be coming to an end as readership has been increasing 15 percent each issue. With a process as complicated as this, it was clear that we would be hitting our capacity not too long from now. During last year we decided that Issue Eight would have to be the final M&T packing party.

With the surprise international virus that prompted the cancelation of the party, we have been feeling the immensity of the shipping task. This has confirmed the unsustainability of the wrapping, and so as we already determined, Issue Eight is the last issue that will come wrapped with a sealed trade card. From now on, starting with Issue Nine, our printer (Royle Printing) will fulfill our subscriptions without the wrapping (but in the same rigid mailer). This, by the way, means great news for you international folks. (Stay tuned for an announcement about that tomorrow.) It would be easy to mourn the passing of the M&T trade card phase, but the reality is that your voracious support has made this business blossom even more than we anticipated – basically, we can’t keep up with y’all.

And today as we completed the last of the wrapping, and it feels a little strange to reflect on the closing of that chapter in our work. Thank you for your continued and unflagging support, folks. Our business is stronger than ever, and we plan to continue our research into pre-industrial craftsmanship and share about it for years to come. We also look forward to hosting more workshops at the M&T headquarters. Which brings me to the second reason this is a strange day…


You knew this was coming, but we have no choice but to cancel this summer’s workshop. The virus has affected most of our lives, and none of us are planning on going anywhere soon. We are greatly disappointed, but look forward to future opportunities to invite you to spend a week in our rural Maine woodshop. (Not sure if this calendar year will work out – we’ll see how things shape up.) We’re living in strange times right now. 

But we’re keeping positive around here because there are always new opportunities around the corner. As I write this my new book, Another Work is Possible, is on a freight truck on its way to Maine so that we can box it up and send it to your mailbox right on the heels of Issue Eight. Stay tuned… there’s a lot of good stuff heading to your mailboxes, readers!

Stay safe, and make the most of the new opportunities presented to you. We hope you find even more time to play with your kids, to work in the shop, and to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Keep your heads up, and keep making shavings, friends.

- Joshua


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