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We All Need to See it

My wife, Julia, and I have been baking our own sourdough bread for ten years now. Early on in our marriage, we began learning the building blocks of using different flours, kneading methods, and how to accommodate for temperature and humidity changes. For years, our bread was not much more than passable. We loved doing it but the books we read and videos we watched online could only take us so far. We needed someone to show us. Fortunately, when we moved back to Maine eight years ago, some of Julia’s old friends generously taught us the way they make the sourdough in their incredible wood-fired bakery. Spending that day with them revolutionized our baking. They taught us little new...

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Early Influences

               As we think about our woodworking influences during National Mentoring Month, I’ve been pondering my roundabout journey so far. I suspect that my story isn’t terribly uncommon in that the most formative teachers I have had are folks I’ve never met. My grandpa was a strong influence on me in regards to fixing things, pounding nails, getting cars running, and the like. He helped me to see that the materials that you have on hand or can scrounge up from the basement are often enough to get the job done effectively. Because of what I learned from watching him, I have never been afraid to tear into a project, to disassemble a complicated doohickey just to see what’s going...

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Cut the Cord: Build a Table with Hand Tools at Lie-Nielsen

What if you could build furniture efficiently without relying on power tools? Ever wish you could “cut the cord” completely, finally freeing yourself from the dust and scream of machines? This summer I will be teaching a weekend workshop at Lie-Nielsen which lays the foundation of pre-industrial (read: efficient hand-tool-only) woodworking by building a small pine worktable with hand tools. The emphasis of the workshop is the rediscovery of the efficiencies of hand tool woodworking that have been lost since the industrialization of furniture making. Students will be able to examine and handle a few different disassembled 18th and 19th-century pieces to see period tolerances and the difference between “show” surfaces and “non-show” surfaces for themselves. Students will learn to...

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