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2017 Schedule of Events

  Below are the events we have scheduled for 2017. If you’d like to take a workshop we’re teaching or chat with us in person, look below to see if you can make it out to any of these events. We hope to see you this year!   Center for Furniture Craftsmanship – March 10th Presentation: “Why I Cut the Cord”  I’ve been invited to present this coming Friday to the Furniture Intensive students at CFC about how pre-industrial methods has informed my furniture making. Read about the school here.   Fine Woodworking Live 2017 – April 21st - 23rd – Southbridge, Mass. Fine Woodworking’s live event. We’ll be there as a vendor. Looks like a great show with top-notch...

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Free Audio: “Cutting the Cord” at WIA 2016

At Woodworking in America this year, I presented a talk called, 'Cutting the Cord: Why I Converted to Hand-Tool-Only Furniture Making'. During the talk, I had my voice recorder on to be able to share it with you readers that couldn’t make it to WIA. That audio can be heard here. Please note that the recording reflects the fact that I had been talking non-stop with visitors for two days straight. Excuse the strained voice. If you are curious to hear what inspired me to put the power tools away, listen to this 27 minute podcast. And pass it around. I’d like to give more folks a chance to hear a case for hand tools in the 21st century shop....

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Why I Cut the Cord

As WIA is approaching fast, I’ve been working to get all my ducks in a row for the event. There is the usual booth prep kind of stuff: inventory merchandise, gather tools, get cash for the cash box, etc. but this time around I’ve also decided to give a presentation at “Shop Talk” in the Marketplace about my hand tool working journey. So I’m working on those notes too. Its title ‘Cutting the Cord: Why I Converted to Hand-Tool-Only Furniture Making’ highlights the empowering liberation I’ve felt by severing my dependence on woodworking machinery. Rather than working by an “A.S.A.P.” mentality, I now roll up my sleeves and embrace the humble handplane. I’ve decided to invest myself in this hand...

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The Bench Bites Back

It seems that one of the hurdles folks have to installing a toothed planing stop in their workbench is fear of the teeth marring the plane iron. They worry that as the plane works the stock thinner and thinner all the sudden out of the blue, “BAM!”, your edge is toast. I’ve been using a toothed planing stop regularly for a few years now and never once had an incident like that. I’ve found that woodworking demands so much attention anyway that working the height of the stop into your consciousness is not a big deal. As long as you’re awake and paying attention, you will have no issues. This morning, I was barely awake and hardly able to pay...

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First Impressions

The 2016 Lie-Nielsen Open House was the first show I’ve attended as a vendor. Consequently, the experience was entirely new and exciting and even a bit surreal for me. Joshua and I arrived early Friday so we could get our fairly elaborate display set up before the tent filled in with other demonstrators. We’d worked out the most efficient method of setup back at the studio, but here I found myself distracted by everyone else trickling in with their wares. Whoa, look at those planes! How much for that saw?  I just spotted Peter Follansbee (the legend)! Tom Lie-Nielsen  shook my hand. I may never wash it again.     Focus, Mike. We have work to do. I don’t want to...

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The Weekend at Tom’s

Mike and I had a wonderful weekend at Lie-Nielsen. He and I have had many conversations since about how much we appreciated the culture of creativity there. I am always blown away at how, even though it’s been a year since the last one, we can pick up right where we left off. These folks are down-to-earth awesome people. Tom’s business model is groundbreaking in its generosity to other vendors. Think about it: The guy invites all his competition (i.e. friends) to come and sell their goods without charging them a fee, he buys them dinner, and then genuinely thanks them for coming to the party. What a class act. In most markets you expect fierce competition, belittling other makers,...

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Miscellany Monday

For me, the beginning of the work week is always about picking up the pieces from the week before, returning phone calls, and planning the week’s work. Today has been another miscellany Monday with the main order of business being unpacking from the Lie-Nielsen Open House. We decided to leave the van loaded when we got back late Saturday night so when I opened the van door the first time this morning, the glorious aroma of pine was almost intoxicating. Between the two knockdown benches and “barn” backdrop there was a lot of pine in there. The smell of pine is one of the reasons I love working wood. I warned Mike that today would be very broken up with...

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See you at Lie-Nielsen Tomorrow!

Mike and I did the final packing of the van today for the Lie-Nielsen Open House tomorrow and Saturday. Early tomorrow morning we’ll be heading down to Warren to setup in time for all the visitors. Last week, we worked pretty hard building an easily transportable but respectable display for shows. We wanted the look of a preindustrial cabinetmaker’s shop but relatively lightweight and easily assembled. After we built a 9’ knockdown Nicholson bench, we ripped 1.5” off the top of a partially rotten 8x8 hewn timber frame sill I had left over from my house project. With these “posts”  screwed to the back apron, we could attach horizontal sash sawn wide pine boards for “sheathing”. Topped off with “braces”...

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Yesterday at the Showcase

Spent yesterday at the Northeastern Woodworkers Showcase and, wow, what a blast. My presentations went well (with folks standing in back and out in the doorway) and the Mortise & Tenon booth was super busy all day long. I’ve had a great time chumming along with the other presenters, Garrett Hack, Jeff Miller, and Phil Lowe and a whole cadre of amazing other folks. As you can imagine, going out for beers with these guys is amazing. We’ve had some lively discussions/debates about authenticity of details in reproduction work versus a high level of refinement and premium stock choice. Our diverse furniture making objectives opened up a series of discussions related to craft work and the business of it. I’ve got some great stories to...

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Meet Me in Saratoga Springs This Weekend

As I’ve been putting together preparations for my presentations this weekend at the Northeastern Woodworker’s Association Annual Showcase, I’m rehearsing the building blocks of furniture conservation theory and practice. I’ve found that teaching a basic introduction to a topic is the real proving ground to see if you have a good grasp on it. This weekend, I have a one hour time slot to present the overarching framework of a profession that presumably none of the listeners are involved in. With this in mind, I always make it a point to try to teach in a way that not only intrigues the listeners but also equips them to learn more on their own. Questions of the “right” thing to do,...

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