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Insights from Foodies

Tonight, my wife asked if I wanted to grill steak for dinner. While I hesitated for a moment (inexplicably) I thought I heard her ask, “Well, I could always boil it.” I laughed before she clarified that she said “broil”, not “boil”. The moment reminded me of our previous observations about how essential variety of texture is in high quality ‘artisanal’ food. Boiled steaks are perfectly and uniformly cooked, there are no char marks from the grill, and the process is a much simpler operation. What more could you ask for? It seems that boiling steak should be an ideal way to cook meat, right? Wrong. Roaring flames leaving grill marks on steak is commonly thought of as tantalizing. On...

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Downloading Now Available

Because we got numerous requests for a download option with our streaming Foundations video, we decided to add it right away. It took us a bit of fumbling through this foreign land of ones and zeroes to get it all set up, but we’re happy to say it’s now launched! If you’ve already purchased the streaming option, you just got an email notifying you of the update. Once you click on the link in the email, you will see the download link that says “TheFoundationsDownload.mp4” right above the streaming video. Click that link and download to your heart’s content. If you haven't purchased the video yet, you can find it here. Contents of the Video Wondering what’s inside? Wondering when a specific...

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Why I Cut the Cord

As WIA is approaching fast, I’ve been working to get all my ducks in a row for the event. There is the usual booth prep kind of stuff: inventory merchandise, gather tools, get cash for the cash box, etc. but this time around I’ve also decided to give a presentation at “Shop Talk” in the Marketplace about my hand tool working journey. So I’m working on those notes too. Its title ‘Cutting the Cord: Why I Converted to Hand-Tool-Only Furniture Making’ highlights the empowering liberation I’ve felt by severing my dependence on woodworking machinery. Rather than working by an “A.S.A.P.” mentality, I now roll up my sleeves and embrace the humble handplane. I’ve decided to invest myself in this hand...

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Facilitating the Discussion

  A quick note:  Because the number one goal of having this blog here is to facilitate conversation and sharing ideas, we’ve changed over the clunky built-in commenting system to a new platform. It’s called “Disqus”. Now, you will be able to comment at the bottom of each post using your Google, Facebook, Disqus or Twitter accounts. But you don’t even need to login if you don’t want to. You can comment without any account.  The point of this switch is to make commenting easier, more helpful and more enjoyable. It’s got one of the most essential features of a commenting system: being able to nest a reply to a specific comment. This I am very excited about because it...

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New: “Foundations” DVDs and Digital Downloading!

Foundations DVDs Good news! We’re ready to take orders for “Foundations” DVDs. You can purchase your copy of the DVD here. These will be shipped out as soon as I get back from Woodworking in America. I’ve heard from many of you that you are waiting on the DVD format of the video. Because the press will be done producing the DVDs this week, I’ve asked them to expedite shipping on a portion of the run so that I can bring them to WIA.  So if you’re going to be there, you’ll be the first to get your copy! Come to see us at our booth #306 right next to Lost Art Press. Digital Downloads At first, we weren’t sure...

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Hand Tool "Foundations" Now Available for Streaming!

After 4 grueling days of beating my head against the computer screen, the Apprentice “Foundations” video is now ready and available for streaming at our e-store. Click here to purchase. As previously mentioned, there was technical hurdle after technical hurdle during this exporting and uploading process. I’m not going to get into it for my blood pressure’s sake but I will say I’ve again learned a lot about the intangible world of ones and zeroes. On Saturday, my son and I spent some therapeutic time outside splitting firewood. After watching snail crawl “progress” bars for days, there was little more satisfying than lifting an axe overhead and swinging it down, making a firm connection with physical matter. The axe struck...

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Babysitting the Screen

  The video export and upload has been an inordinately protracted process. Getting a successful export took more than thirty hours of troubleshooting failed attempts. Since Friday afternoon, we have been actively exporting and (eventually) uploading the video to the web. As I write this, the video is (apparently) uploading to Vimeo. Due to the massive file size, that upload has exceeded 24 hours now. It’s tedious watching that progress bar move up a percentage only a few times in an hour. I appreciate all the enthusiasm and encouragement, folks. It’s coming…

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“Arg. And Again…”

  I spent this morning finishing off the last of the Foundations voice-overs in the makeshift voice recording studio. Although my moving blanket cubicle was getting a bit claustrophobic by lunch time, I was excited to be completing these last few parts. I’ll confess that our video making process is a bit goofy. First, I organized my ideas into an outline which Mike and I discussed at length. Then we created a rough shot list for the sections. During the week long shoot, I intentionally did not acknowledge the camera while Mike recorded me working as naturally as possible. (There were many pauses to change camera angles.) The next week, we got together and watched every single clip to discuss...

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Video Editing and the Real World

One evening last week, as I drove my family into town for ice cream, I had the fleeting thought that the view I was enjoying out my window (sun settling towards the horizon, idyllic bay and rocky shore reflecting golden rays) was "overexposed" and needed to be adjusted. Yep, it had been a long day of video editing.  Anyone who has worked much with images or videos on editing software has likely felt that empowered sense that the universe you've managed to capture with your camera is yours to command, or at least sharpen a bit and tone down the highlights. I've been struck that a quality as intangible as the "mood" of a scene can be changed drastically by...

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