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Podcast #14 - “Tool Marks Tell Stories”

This episode of our podcast was recorded on the road yesterday as we headed back home from Portland, Maine. Fortified by delicious caffeine after a whole day of weaving rush seats, we reported on a number of research trips we’ve made in the past few weeks. We were given the opportunity to look deeply into an extensive collection of early 19th-century furniture and document their construction, and we share about the experience in this episode. Also, we discuss our visit into the workshop of Peter Lamb. Peter has a massive collection of antique tools and many of them have stories connected to people he’s close to. His philosophy of handcraft, creativity, and social justice is rooted in his relationship to...

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Podcast #13 - The Case for Hand Tools at Fine Woodworking Live

  Ever wonder what ancient tool marks, a Swedish chair shop, Söetsu Yanagi, computer coders, spoon carving, philosophers, and communal singing have in common? This M&T podcast episode ties them all together as we discuss Joshua’s recent talk at Fine Woodworking Live, in which he made a case for sweaty, gritty, hand-tool-only furniture making in the 21st-century. Built on excerpts from the talk itself, we look at this presentation point-by-point. If you spend large amounts of time in front of screens and are dying to discover something tangible, this podcast is for you. Items Mentioned in this Podcast: The Humanure Handbook, Joseph Jenkins Photos from FWW Live: #fwwlive Swedish Chair Shop Video The Unknown Craftsman, Söetsu Yanagi Technology and the Character...

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The Difficult Good

“And yet, in spite of all this toil – perhaps, in a sense, because of it – work is a good thing for man. Even though it bears the mark of a bonum arduum [‘difficult good’], in the terminology of Saint Thomas, this does not take away the fact that, as such, it is a good thing for man. It is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man’s dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it. If one wishes to define more clearly the ethical meaning of work, it is this truth that one must particularly keep in...

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Work Worth Doing

“The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to think about it instead in terms of the work done. To do so would mean taking the attitude of mind we reserve for our unpaid work – our hobbies, our leisure interests, the things we make and do for pleasure – and making that the standard of all our judgments about things and people. We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good?”; of a man, not “what does he make?” but “what is his work worth?”; of goods, not “Can we induce people...

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I Tried to Rein It In

This Saturday, Kyle Barton and Sean Wisniewski of the Modern Woodworkers Association Podcast published a new podcast episode of a conversation I had with them last week. We talked about why I believe pre-industrial woodworking is valuable in the 21st-century, my upcoming presentation at the Fine Woodworking Live event, my book “Hands Employed Aright,” and new things on the horizon for M&T. Listening to recordings of myself talk is always weird. I tried not to step on any toes, and think I was mostly successful reining it in when it comes to my views on hand tools and power tools, advertising, and the industrial consumer economy. But you be the judge.  Link here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/modern-woodworkers-association-podcast-conversations/id502349432&ls=1 - Joshua  

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Nothing to Cull

  We have just finalized the selection of students for our 2019 workshop, and are over-the-moon excited about each of one of them. When we announced our vision for the workshop last month, we hoped that we would get at least six applications so that we could fill every slot. As it turns out, we received over 10 times that many – all of them incredible. It was hard selecting from this heap of letters because it wasn’t like we were sorting the good from the bad. There was nothing to cull. As we started reading through them, we decided to focus on discerning where the candidates were in their lives and the goals they hoped this workshop might help...

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More of That

  This weekend was incredible. We had a full house of close to 30 people in the shop, wrapping and shipping out Issue Six. We had people from all over New England, New York, and even as far as Minnesota. There was, as always, an abundance of incredible food (thank you, Julia and Andrea) and life-changing conversation. Even though I have experienced it with each issue, I was again in awe that most everyone that comes to these things seems to be deeply moved. During the week leading up to the event, Mike and I had several interactions with folks in town explaining what exactly it was we were doing over the weekend. We explained that we spend weeks preparing...

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Last Call for Issue Six Pre-orders!

Today is the last day to get in your pre-order for Issue Six. After tomorrow, Issue Six will no longer have free domestic shipping and come wrapped in brown paper and wax-sealed trade card. If you don’t want to miss this pre-order window, You can subscribe today. or You can order Issue Six by itself.   We are so excited about how this issue has turned out. There is such a rich diversity of content spanning conversations about slöjd, William Morris, George Nakashima, Revolutionary War chairmaking, German tradition painted decoration, making your own woodworking tools, and so much more. Despite the breadth, though, this issue has the strongest cohesiveness yet. There must have been something in the air, because each author seems...

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Podcast #12 – “The Radical Efficiency of Green Woodworking”

In this episode of our podcast, Mike discusses his article “A Tale of Two Trees: The Radical Efficiency of Green Woodworking” in upcoming Issue Six. Mike presents a big picture view of procuring lumber by comparing industrial logging and milling with harvesting your own with hand tools. He makes the startling (and compelling) case that green woodworking is more efficient in the big picture than highly developed industrial processing. We discuss the value of curved branches, the genius of coppicing, and working the material before it dries. Items Mentioned in this Podcast: Issue Six Dawson Moore – Michigan Sloyd  

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Issue Six is Here!

Look at what we’ve got: Issue Six has arrived at our storage facility! This means we’re now getting close to shipment to customers – we’ve got one week, in fact, to get ready for the big packing party. Monday, April 1st, after the weekend-long packing, we will be driving a full truck to the Post Office. (Joel, our awesome Postmaster, here at our tiny Blue Hill Post Office arranges for a special truck to be ready to receive our massive deliveries. Joel’s the best.) Our printer has been dialing in the printing of each issue better and better and this one is the best yet. I won’t get into the technical details, but basically, the premium uncoated paper (70# Finch...

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