Blog — Issue Four RSS





Working in Circles

I hate working in circles. There once was a time that I came at woodworking as an artist – I wanted to experience, to play, to create unfettered by time or convention. Back then I just wanted to be in the shop, regardless of what I accomplished. I loved making shavings and agonizing over tight-fitting dovetails. During the past few years, though, as I’ve learned to walk in the footsteps of the craftsmen before me, I’ve grown weary of this kind of meandering.  Any good student of historic furniture making will tell you that apprenticeship-trained, full-time cabinetmakers didn’t fool around at their workbenches. As they set out to tackle yet another table build for another customer, they had a construction...

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But to Replicate the Facility

I flew into Bucharest and caught a long ride north with Mihai Bodea, our documentarian, through the broad, flat Moldavian tableland along the Siret River. In addition to breathtaking views of the Carpathian Mountains in the far west, I caught a few glimpses of distinctive Romanian traditions: vineyards; market fairs by the side of the road; lots of small roadside stands selling onions, peppers, grapes, melons, and other produce; and the iconic caruta horse carts the country is famous for. Many people still use horses in daily life as a practical option, part of a widespread living tradition of regional self-sufficiency. This way of life also manifests itself in other ways such as keeping a home milk cow, scything hay, keeping a...

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Beauty & the Handmade Aesthetic

As a theoretical exercise, imagine a machine that processes furniture parts to that hundredth-of-an-inch level of precision. What would happen if we dial that machine back to wider tolerances? It would begin to spit out parts with greater variability across the board, maybe mill out dovetails with slightly uneven angles or generate chair-leg turnings that weren’t exactly identical. Let’s say that we can even program the machine to produce the parts with even more extreme local variations, perhaps leaving coarse milling marks on the underside of a tabletop or generating a drawer on which the sides are of differing thicknesses. These parts might be assembled with some difficulty, forming a piece of furniture that, on paper, matches the typical variations...

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Choosing a Decent Vintage Plane

“When you’re looking to restore an antique plane for use, the good (and bad) news is that half the battle is often getting a good plane. Although you can bring most anything back into service, if you’ve secured a decent example, the restoration will be minimal.… Restorable examples can be obtained at antique stores, flea markets, tool swaps, or tool dealer websites. Be warned that they are usually pulled out of barns and attics, and often have the grime to prove it. In dimly lit antique stores, it can be hard to know which examples are worth investing time in and which are better used for stove fuel. There are a few simple things I look for, the first and...

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Issue Four: Labor & Delivery

Issue Four is now sent out in the world. This past Friday and Saturday, a bunch of our friends drove up from all over Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York to help with the special wrapping and packaging. Leading up to the big event, Mike and I did massive construction clean-up, we set up our shipping materials, and I spent at least a day and half printing postage. There are always a lot of pieces to this event. Because Friday morning started out around 25° F, I woke up at 4:30 to fire up the propane heaters. This much-needed calm before the storm enabled me to get in one last vacuuming and set out all the food. By the time...

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Issue Four Pre-ordering Now Closed

  The Issue Four pre-ordering window is now closed. Phew. (It’s always a relief when the wrapping quantity is a fixed number!) Today, Mike and I are making last minute preparations before our packing party crew arrives tomorrow! You’ll be seeing your copy of Issue Four soon, readers! If you missed your chance to pre-order, you may still order Issue Four but please note that it will no longer come with the brown paper wrapping and wax-sealed trade card. Bummed? We suggest you purchase a yearly subscription (and select “auto-renewing”) so that you never have to miss another pre-order. Thank you for your support again, everyone! We’ve really got our work cut out for us this time around! Good thing...

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Last Day to Pre-order Issue Four

Today is the last day to pre-order M&T Issue Four. Starting tomorrow morning, any order for Issue Four will not get the pre-order free U.S. shipping discount and will not come wrapped in brown paper with a wax-sealed trade card. Also, please note that M&T subscriptions always start with the next-to-be-released issue. This means that after this pre-order window closes tomorrow, all new subscription purchases begin with Issue Five (due out October 2018). If you want the wrapped copy of Issue Four, it’s now or never.  You can purchase a subscription here or a copy of Issue Four alone here.    

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One Week Left to Pre-order Issue Four

Just got this photo from the printer… Issue Four is hot off the presses! Today they’re loaded in cartons and will begin making their way from Wisconsin to our storage facility in Maine. We’ve arranged for them to arrive next week several days before the big packing party on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th where we (with a handful of readers’ help) will wrap them in brown paper, affix the wax-sealed trade cards, and mail them out. Because we’re shipping these out next week, you only have one week left to pre-order. To get a wrapped copy of Issue Four, you can purchase a yearly subscription or order Issue Four individually. After next Wednesday, March 21st, the pre-order...

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Upcoming: Advice for Aspiring Writers

I moved slowly, advancing through the rough landscape in search of my elusive quarry. I could sense that I was close. A turn here, another there, and… Aha, found it! I uncapped my red pen with a satisfying pop and drew a red circle around the end of a sentence. Three words, linked together inseparably but missing that penultimate punctuation: The Oxford Comma. Another copy editing crisis averted. The world of drop caps and compound modifiers hasn’t exactly been my professional stomping grounds in the past, but I find the editing process to be among the most satisfying tasks in the life of M&T. We like to think of this as a team sport, with Megan, Joshua, Jim, and me...

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Issue Four Now Open For Pre-Orders!

The moment has finally come: Issue Four is available for pre-order! You can order a Yearly Subscription (#4 & #5) here. or order Issue Four alone here. As always, all subscription and pre-order copies ordered in our store will be wrapped in brown kraft paper affixed with the official Issue Four wax-sealed trade card (which just arrived from the printer today) and will be packed into mailers accompanied by pine plane shavings.  The pre-order window will be open through March 21st. After that window closes, the trade cards and wrapping will no longer be available. Issue Four ships out March 23rd and 24th. (Stay tuned for packing party details very soon.) This issue is full of incredible authors: Jim Tolpin,...

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