Blog — Apprenticeship Program RSS





A Year's Reflections

The shortest day of the year seems designed to invite thoughtful reflection. Maybe it’s the long evening hours of darkness, or the cold outside that draws everyone closer to the blazing woodstove. Maybe it’s the dwindling pages remaining on the year's calendar, falling away like autumn leaves (there’s a mixed seasonal metaphor for you). Maybe it’s the cookies in the oven. Yeah, definitely, the cookies have something to do with it. Here at M&T, we have a lot to reflect on and be thankful for. Every passing year brings new and interesting work for us, new ideas, new acquaintances and friendships, and new (often old) tools to mess around with. This year has been especially unique, with the launch of...

Continue reading



Sourcing Antique Hand Tools

  Last week’s opening of registration for the second term of our Apprenticeship program vastly exceeded our expectations. What took two days last time took only four hours this go around. We could not believe our eyes to see the list filling that quick. We are excited about this term. These look like some enthusiastic people. But… if you weren’t quick enough on the draw, we have good news: We decided to add a few more slots to enable additional folks to sign up. There are a handful of open spaces as I write this, and with the frenzy now died down, you’ve got a window to get in. But seriously, do not delay. It’s open now, but I have...

Continue reading



AH! Move quick! The Apprenticeship is Filling Up!!!

Whaaat in the world, y’all!?? We woke up this morning to find that we’ve been getting messages all night from people desperate to sign up for the Apprenticeship winter term. And then the minute it opened at 8:00 a.m. somehow several people signed up. We hadn’t even sent the email campaign announcing it. And as soon as we sent the email out, people have been lining up like crazy. So, I don’t know what time you’ll be reading this blog post, but at this rate… I don’t know if there will be any openings left by tonight. If there are slots available as you read this, sign up now! – Joshua  

Continue reading



Apprenticeship Winter Term Opens Friday

This morning, our students in the Apprenticeship program turned in the last of their assignments – they’ve posted pictures of their shellac and milk paint projects and shared their essays of reflection on the past eight weeks of dedicated craft work. We’ve watched these folks go from green and a little nervous on day one to steady growth in confidence and skill over two months. They’ve taken these challenges head on, working through freehand sharpening, stock prep with hand tools, mortise-and-tenon joinery, dovetails (through and half-blind), rabbets, dadoes, green woodworking, and shellac and milk paint finishing. It has been an exhilarating term. Mike and I spent countless days this year creating an online hand-tool woodworking educational program that offered personal...

Continue reading



The Apprenticeship Program, Term One: Awesome.

The first term of the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship Program is wrapping up this week. We designed this eight-week course to offer students the opportunity to build structured handcraft practice into their lives, and to start to develop a pre-industrial way of thinking about woodworking. And it’s been an amazing ride. Joshua and I intended this course to be more relational than most online learning tends to be – we wanted to give regular feedback to our students and give them the chance to interact with one another. Handcraft has always carried a community aspect to it, and even in our compartmentalized lives today (and through a limited digital medium) our goal was to keep personal engagement at the center of...

Continue reading



Make an Omelet from a Tree

It’s Greenwood Week in the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship Program, and our students from around the world have been felling trees with axes, riving, hewing, and carving their woodworking projects! In our Apprenticeship Forums, there’s been a lot of discussion about different greenwood projects that we can do. One of my favorites is making balsam whisks. I use balsam fir for these because it’s the most prevalent conifer in our woods, and because it’s super easy to find nice, symmetrical whorls. Five or six branchlets is ideal, and hunting for just the right whorl is half the fun. After finding a few good whorls, I bring them home, peel them, and bind them to dry a bit. This step helps...

Continue reading



The First Day of School

After months and months of planning and content creating, Mike and I held our breath as the first day of the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship Program opened this morning. The email went out notifying apprentices of the Week One Launch, and we let out a sigh of relief when they started in on the videos. Several apprentices began wading into the reading material weeks ago. Photo courtesy: Guy E.  This is a great group of folks. We have people from all over the US as well as Canada, UK, Norway, and a few in Australia. Over the past month, they’ve all been sharing stories of how they got into hand-tool woodworking (including one guy’s dramatic story about a tornado nearly...

Continue reading



Video: “Craft as a Committed Practice”

Many of you have offered personal anecdotes and insightful replies to the previous videos in which we discuss the ways people can learn woodworking these days. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We’ve enjoyed discussing your comments. In this final video, Mike and I talk about the necessity of committing to a daily practice and the struggles to do this in our own lives. No one starts out with the ideal setup. Instead, we get started with make-do situations and discover what we actually need only once we’ve begun to develop the foundational skills. This past year, Mike and I have been discussing the importance of a structured, committed practice coupled with the guidance of a mentor. We’ve been developing...

Continue reading