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Ask M&T: “What is a Fore Plane?”

  Mike and I just posted a new installment of our YouTube series: “Ask M&T”. In this video, we cover one of the most frequent questions we get online or at shows: What is a fore plane? Mike recounts his early struggles with hand tools using a little block plane to remove bulk material and eventually realized he was using the wrong tool for the job. What he needed was the coarse roughing tool called a fore plane. In this video, we explain why we believe this tool is absolutely essential for every hand-tool woodworker.  We then touch on the history of the terms “fore” plane, “jack” plane, and “scrub” plane and explain our preference for the wooden version. There...

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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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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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Just Launched an M&T YouTube Channel!

Hey all! We just opened a channel on YouTube. Our first video (above) is a glimpse into our tiny studio where all the "magic" happens. Make sure you subscribe to our channel to get regular video updates and behind-the-scenes footage. Enjoy and share!  

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