Blog — Issue Eight RSS





Incontestable Consequences

“As a couple well-meaning colleagues and concerned friends told me, taking a detour to teach hand-tool woodworking in a high school English class was a bad idea. Regardless of how enthusiastic I felt about it. I’d be adding even more chaos into the classroom, like tossing another flaming chainsaw to someone on a unicycle already juggling 10 of them. Ask a teacher you know, and they’ll tell you that on any given day, they wear a lot of hats. They pivot between being a public speaker, a cheerleader, a counselor, a lion-tamer, an event planner, a hostage negotiator, a psychological puppetmaster, and (thankfully, not often) a triage nurse. I don’t mean to complain – the unpredictability of my career is...

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No Conventional Jobsite

“It was clear from the beginning that this was no conventional jobsite – no roar of a generator or shriek of a Skilsaw drowning out conversation. There was nothing here to be heard but the steady thumping of axes, the whisper of saws, and joyful laughter (with the occasional – and somehow fitting – exception of a jobsite speaker playing the Fugees, courtesy of Loïc). It was a rare moment in which there wasn’t someone sharing knowledge or a story with others. It would be easy to mistake this project for some kind of reenactment of olde-timey ways, but it was nothing of the sort. This week was a demonstration of convivial and sustainable manual work that is just as...

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Watch a Human-powered Bandsaw at Work

Mike just reminded me that back in 2019 we took video footage of Harry Bryan’s human-powered bandsaw in action. Just the other day, we posted an excerpt from his article in Issue Eight, in which he describes this arrangement and how he’s used it in his off-grid boatshop for many years. The above is a compilation of few clips of Harry at work. He swears by the simplicity of clever, human-powered equipment applied in just the right ways, and this saw is a great example of just that. I’ve not had a bandsaw in my shop for several years now, but Harry’s rig looks like a blast to build and use. Maybe someday I’ll have to tinker with such an...

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The Human-powered Bandsaw

“One form of intermediate technology employed in my shop, the human-powered machine, provides an alternative to both the hand tool and the power tool. At this time, my tools in this category include a treadle-powered bandsaw, a hand-cranked drill press, a pedal bench grinder, and treadle metal lathe. The lathe and drill press are more than 100 years old and were manufactured to be human-powered. The 12" bandsaw is of more recent manufacture and came to me with a 1/4-horsepower electric motor. I use all of these tools regularly. However, I will describe the bandsaw in some detail as it is by far the most used. The saw is mounted on a purpose-built stand equipped with wheels. Without an electric...

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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...

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Last Day to Subscribe for Issue Eight!

  Issue Eight is on its way soon! We’re stoked about how this one turned out. Each issue, our printer has been fine-tuning their work to our specifications of premium paper choice, etc, and this one is absolutely gorgeous ­– they nailed it!   Just wait until you see Issue Eight in person! It’s just the kind of reading you need for your socially distanced time off. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 24th is the last day to subscribe to get a wrapped copy of Issue Eight!  Link to order here:  https://www.mortiseandtenonmag.com/collections/magazine/products/magazine-subscription   – Joshua  

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Issue 8 T.O.C. – “Manual Training: What it is and its Place in Education” – Joseph C. Park

Back around the turn of the 20th century, as the Industrial Revolution was reshaping western civilization and driving the working class away from farms and rural areas towards the city, many observers were growing concerned about the future of the traditions, values, and skills that had been employed for centuries. Although technology promised solutions for many of society’s problems, what was the cost in abandoning the lifeways that had allowed generations to thrive? What would happen to the moral character of a population that previously relied on hand skills and now looked to mechanization and infrastructure to meet its needs?   These questions were pondered by many visionaries who were troubled by the trends they saw, and they sought a...

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Issue 8 T.O.C. – “Tool Marks Tell Stories” – Michael Updegraff

How can we put together a well-rounded and detailed understanding of the techniques a cabinetmaker or chairmaker employed to create their wares centuries ago? We have resources such as journals, ledgers, and a few valuable firsthand accounts, but the best information might actually be written with steel on wood, rather than ink on paper.    Join author Michael Updegraff as he explores the fascinating world of tool marks – often intentionally sanded away on modern handmade furniture, but almost universally present on period pieces. From the scientific discipline of traceology (reading macroscopic markings on artifacts to glean new insight) to the experimental archaeology practiced at open-air and living history museums, Updegraff extols the value of learning how an operation was...

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Issue 8 T.O.C. – “Book Recommendation: Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings” – Michael Updegraff

Book Recommendation: Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings – Michael Updegraff   For the book recommendation in Issue Eight of M&T, reviewer Michael Updegraff takes a look at a valuable reference for any hand-tool user. He notes that he recently discovered this book on the shelves of two different woodworkers he greatly admires. If you’re familiar with Aldren Watson, you know that the books he’s written or illustrated are full of detailed, precise, and beautiful drawings. Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings continues in that vein, offering an encyclopedic look at a whole chest-full of tools, how they work, and how to use them efficiently.

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Issue 8 T.O.C. – “Subversive Woodwright: An Interview with Roy Underhill”

Subversive Woodwright: An Interview with Roy Underhill   For 40 years, audiences from around the world have received their first taste of hand-tool woodworking from one source – Roy Underhill, star of “The Woodwright’s Shop,” author of many books, first master housewright at Colonial Williamsburg, and instructor at The Woodwright’s School. For those who have seen him on TV or heard him in person, Underhill is a living legend.   Joshua and Mike had the opportunity to spend a few days visiting Roy at his home in North Carolina (a renovated cotton mill), sitting in on a class at his school, and talking about a wide range of topics. For Issue Eight, we’ll share the conversation, covering Roy’s background, the...

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