“I worked outside in the open air under the cover of a woodworking shed. The wood I was given was a trunk of greenwood, freshly cut from a tree. Unseasoned wood like this has a naturally high moisture content. I had no choice of wood during the television program, but usually when choosing the best wood for splitting you need to take great care to pick a vertically grown tree with no twists or knots along its surface. This ensures that once the wood is split it will be far less likely to bend or crack. It’s also important to make sure you have more wood than you might need. This ensures you have “spare parts” in the event of...
“The ultimate aim of every wooden icon panel is to carry a little vision of the world full of God’s presence. The final step in preparing the board is setting aside a special space for that revelation. Turning the icon over again, a shallow recess is carved out of the front of the board. This space in Slavonic is called a kovtcheg, and in Greek is called a kivotos, but both words have the same meaning in English: an ark. After marking the ark’s frame on the panel, the center of the board is hollowed out. While different iconographic schools vary on how deeply this is done, in the studio it is usually kept relatively shallow. Given the general flatness...
This is the last call to subscribe for Issue Nine!!! Tomorrow, Friday, August 28th, is the final day to order. After that, the subscription window for Issue Nine closes. If you’re not already subscribed, click here to subscribe to order your copy. (Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to inquire about you subscription status.) If you haven’t seen our Table of Contents blog posts, you can see the full series here. As always, our families thank you for your support of independent publishing! - Joshua
Mortise & Tenon Magazine · 20 – Working Wood Outside We recorded Episode 20 of the Mortise & Tenon Podcast last week and it is now launched! The summer has been about working outside for both of us, so we thought we’d talk about ways we’ve enjoyed doing just that. We have a deep passion to encourage folks to engage the natural world, and working wood is a powerful way to do just that. Whether you are growing veggies in the garden or walking in the woods, you know the power of being outside. Join us in this episode as we recount our experiences in the woods. How can you enjoy this big, beautiful world Items Mentioned in this...
The name of John Hemmings should be held in esteem with the most skillful American makers of the early 19th century. Author Canlin Frost, period furniture maker and restoration craftsman at Poplar Forest (Thomas Jefferson’s private retreat), sheds new light on the life of this remarkably talented artisan.
Every once in a while, a book is written that, while not explicitly focused on woodworking or furniture, manages to perfectly encapsulate the core essence of why we (as woodworkers) do what we do. In her book recommendation for Issue Nine, author and cabinetmaker Nancy Hiller unwraps just such a book.
Issue 9 T.O.C. – “The Scribes of Nature: Dendrochronology & the Deeper Story of Wooden Objects” – Michael Updegraff
Trees capture and store a remarkable amount of information as they grow. From seasonal variations in rainfall to larger climatic trends, growth rings reflect the many variables that influence a tree’s steady climb skyward. Chop that tree down, mill it into boards or hew it square, and use it to raise a barn or build a table, but that information remains – safely stored away, until someone fluent in the language of trees can read it.
“You can never have too many clamps,” the old adage goes. And it seems that this universal truth dates back well over a thousand years. Norse Vikings were a dominant force on both land and sea, and the majestic lines of their hand-hewn ships still inspire awe today. The construction of these vessels required great skill and mastery of tools (especially the axe) and raw materials, but it also necessitated the invention of a “third hand” to secure planks to the hull for riveting. The simple, elegant design of the Viking clamp was the result.
We are living in unique times, with the specter of global pandemic changing the way that many of us view life and casting new light on the everyday things that are often taken for granted. But trying times are nothing new within the march of human history. As woodworkers, we’ve often found solace at the bench.
For the Issue Nine examination, we’ll take a closer look at a well-preserved 19th-century New England classic. The Salem-type rocking chair was the forebear of the widely popular Boston rocker, and shows its Windsor roots proudly. Likely built in an early factory setting, this particular example features many interesting tool marks that shed light on the workflow of the maker, as well as an updated paint job as the Hitchcock-style black paint and bronze stenciling became popular. This chair has endured through many New England winters and still offers the best seat on a shady porch during a summer’s evening.