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Video Introduction to the Trying/Jointer Plane

  Mike and I recorded a new video this morning for our “Setting Up Shop” video series, this time focused on the trying/jointer plane. Although I discuss the history of the terminology, I don’t really care which word you use. Instead, I show the two situations in which these planes shine: flattening board and jointing edges. In practice, these guys don’t get as much use as the fore plane. And that’s good because they’re hefty beasts to wield around. – Joshua  

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Video: The Fore Plane in the Shop

Now that we’ve covered the shop and benches in our video series, we’re moving into tools. This time, Mike discusses the use of the fore plane (as well as his scrub plane). These planes are our workhorses – at least 75% of our planing is handled by these guys. If you don’t have a heavily cambered plane with a wide-open mouth, you’re not going to be able to work with any efficiency. You need one of these planes.  

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Video Tour of My Spring-pole Lathe

  We just published a new video in our “Setting Up Shop” video series. This time, I introduce you to my spring-pole lathe. Besides an overview of the basic function and a few design considerations, I discuss a few additional features I’ve added since my article about the construction in Issue Three. Having been trained to do benchwork, I never envisioned having a lathe in my shop until a few years ago. I’ve had one kicking around outside for several years, but now that I have this guy settled in as a part of the workflow, I can’t imagine my shop without it.  – Joshua

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Video: “Workbenches in the M&T Woodshop”

  The above video is part two of our “Setting Up Shop” series. These are nothing fancy – basically just turn the camera on and blather, but sometimes informal clips like these prove to be some of the most useful resources when you’re just starting out. In this video, I discuss the three types of workbenches in our shop: The 12' English joiner’s bench, the low “Roman” bench, and my 6' travel bench. I cover the overall construction considerations, the dimensions, and workholding. In my opinion, the simpler and stouter a bench is, the better.  – Joshua  

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Freedom Through Hand Tools

We just got a great new video made all about the vision and work of Mortise & Tenon! Thanks to Mathias Reed for this beautiful film. This short film serves as an introduction for visitors to our homepage. If you know someone that may be interested in this, please feel free to pass this video along to them!  

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Eden Makes a Bow and Arrow with Stone Tools

My oldest boy, Eden, loves experimental archaeology. After the occasional primitive technology video binge, he heads outside to living it out in our woods. Ever since Mike and I started making videos for M&T, Eden’s been asking to make his own instructional videos. A month or so ago, we had a spur of the moment inspiration and Eden demonstrated how he’s been making his own bow and arrows with stone tools he shaped himself. This video is no joke. I had no part in this at all except filming. I actually didn’t even know he was getting this involved in this stuff. It’s pretty neat to see an eight-year-old come up with this stuff on his own. I also adore...

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"Tables" Shaping Up

  Today began the second week of the Apprenticeship: Tables video shoot. It’s taking us longer than the Foundations video because I am doing more than showing techniques – I’m actually building a full piece.   The table I’m building is loosely based on one I fell in love with at Old Sturbridge Village. It has the back legs angled beneath the table’s single drop leaf. It also has ‘H’ stretchers between the legs. On the original, the drawer is at the end rail but I decided to put mine at the front. It is a wonderfully quirky table that incorporates so many of the features of period table construction. It’s perfect for this video.   The first five days...

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Next Apprenticeship Video: Tables

  After shipping out orders yesterday morning, Mike and I spent time reviewing the outline and logistics for a video shoot next week. We’ve been discussing this second video in the Apprenticeship series since we released the Foundations video last year. The idea behind this series is to bring you into the shop to learn the skills every pre-industrial cabinetmaker learned. It is designed to teach you the skills and mindset to approach any project without elaborate full-scale plans or expensive (and dangerous) machines. Rather than show you how to build one specific special piece, we decided to approach this series the way you’d learn in a real apprenticeship setting: you learn the form. This teaching model is perfect for...

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The Whetstone Quarry

Roy Underhill's books, I believe, are vastly underrated. It seems that every page contains not only loads of useful information about hand-tool woodworking, but historical context, interesting anecdotes, folklore, and typical Roy hilarity. Really, stuff that you can't find anywhere else. Paging through one of his books (The Woodwright's Companion) recently, I stumbled upon a short chapter about whetstones. The popular opinion of today is that we need a wide array of dead-flat, precisely-graded sharpening stones in order to keep our tools sharp and usable, but this isn't the case historically. Roy mentions that in many old towns in Europe, the stone step of the stairway of a certain house was often discovered incidentally to be a good whetstone, and...

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A Trip to Liberty Tool Company

The thermometer read 1F when I started the car before dawn, and the wind had been rattling the house all night. These minor details didn’t matter one bit, however, as today was the annual Grand Re-Opening of the Liberty Tool Company in Liberty, Maine. Tool pilgrims from all over flock to this place for its reliably well-stocked supply of hand tools, from the common to the esoteric. And every year, after a long winter’s slumber and limited hours, the store re-opens with all-new inventory of picked and reasonably-priced antique goodies. Incredibly, neither Joshua nor I had ever ventured down for this event, but today would change that. Each of us roused our respective eldest boys out of bed (this is...

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