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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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How To Restore A Hand Plane

  There is nothing like being able to tune-up an antique hand plane to put it work like it was meant to but sometimes folks are unsure about how to properly and carefully restore them without ruining their value and character. In this new YouTube video above, I share my minimalistic and pragmatic approach to restoring the hand planes found in second hand stores. I deal with general cleaning, restoring the finish on the wooden handles, sharpening the iron, and basic setup for planing. This 20-minute video is aimed at giving a good introduction without overwhelming you with minutia. Enjoy! Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you would like to see more of this kind of content! For more info on...

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What Joints Should I Use in Furniture? - Ask M&T

  We’ve just posted our first “Ask M&T” video on our YouTube channel. We had a reader ask us, “As a novice woodworker, I struggle to determine the best joints for my projects. What’s the best method of determining the most appropriate joint for any given project?”  The above is our “Ask M&T” answer to that very question.  We’re excited about this new series because it enables us to give time to give full answers to our readers’ questions. Since our number one goal with M&T is to celebrate historic craftsmanship by empowering readers to work efficiently with plane and saw, we thought it would be a good idea to film our answers for you. So consider this a start....

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Ask M&T…

We get a lot of questions through social media and email about all sorts of stuff that we can’t necessarily fully address. Also, we naturally get a lot of repeat questions from readers. In order to help answer these questions as well as encourage others to ask more, we have decided to begin an “Ask M&T” video series. These will be concise answers to direct questions from you all. Ask whatever you want about what we got going on here… We’re pretty transparent folks. “What’s your favorite tool?” “What’s the most essential hand plane to have?” “What power tool do you secretly wish you had?” “Why don’t you guys publish the magazine more frequently?” “Why don’t you make a digital...

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Issue Two Packing Party: Without a Hitch!

   This past Friday and Saturday, Mike and I had the big Issue Two packing party. We are still so stunned at how incredible it turned out. Readers came up to help from all around Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and even Maryland. We had just shy of 20 people wrapping a few thousand copies in brown paper and string and attach the wax-sealed tradecards. Every copy was shipped in a rigid mailer with a few pine shavings for an extra touch.  Check out the full video for the event above! I would definitely say it was a success. All the pre-orders are in the mail and we have a pile ready for future fulfillment. Everyone worked so hard and really seemed...

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What Should You Expect to See From Us in 2017?

  As we’re only days away from the packing party to ship out Issue Two, I can’t help but reflect on the year (11 months actually) since Issue One was released. 2016 has been a wild ride for me. Before M&T launched, I spent my work week alone in my studio regluing chairs and refinishing dining tables. I ran a little blog documenting some of it but, for the most part, I was pretty much in my own little world. This leap-in-the-dark magazine idea was simply the culmination of my many thoughts and observations working on period furniture. I never knew if it would resonate with anyone else. Mortise & Tenon has completely flipped my life upside down. The interest...

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