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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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More Caught than Taught

As each of us starts out in a new craft, we wish for someone with experience to show us how it’s really done. It’s possible to read all the tutorials and hear all the explanations and yet still feel like we haven’t gotten to see how it’s done in the real world. Watching a craftsman work in their natural setting brings out all the subtleties of work habits than make all the difference for us learning in the early stages. The experienced artisan’s subtle movements burn into our subconscious and those small things teach us more than is often given credit. When my family listened through The Joiner and Cabinetmaker on a recent road trip, one of the things that stood...

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New eBook: The Boston Secretary Photo Collection

As I’ve discussed M&T with readers, the exposure to pre-industrial workmanship is cited as the most powerful asset M&T brings to the woodworking community. I agree. One of the things I wished I was able to do with Issue One was figure out a way to provide even more images of the Federal Boston secretary without it taking over the entire issue. In truth, I’ve got somewhere around 200 images of this piece, highlighting the insides and undersides, and finer details of craftsmanship. It has been bugging me that I have these images stashed away on my computer without a good way to present them to my readers. I’ve thought long and hard about the best solution and decided that...

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The Bench Bites Back

It seems that one of the hurdles folks have to installing a toothed planing stop in their workbench is fear of the teeth marring the plane iron. They worry that as the plane works the stock thinner and thinner all the sudden out of the blue, “BAM!”, your edge is toast. I’ve been using a toothed planing stop regularly for a few years now and never once had an incident like that. I’ve found that woodworking demands so much attention anyway that working the height of the stop into your consciousness is not a big deal. As long as you’re awake and paying attention, you will have no issues. This morning, I was barely awake and hardly able to pay...

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DVDs, Inpainting Kits, Glue, and Steel Wool: Now Available!

During the lull I have during Mike hard at work editing our upcoming Foundations video and before wading deep into Issue Two (and working on my Fisher book), I finally found a moment to add some new products to our e-store. 10 Essential Furniture Repair DVDs First off, the ’10 Essential Furniture Repairs’ DVD produced by Popular Woodworking shows the most basic repairs I’ve employed to make a living restoring antique furniture. Although it’s not a shortcut approach, I did select some of the more straightforward (and less specialized) repairs to demonstrate. You can do this. From loose joints to severed tenons to white rings in an old finish and more, this DVD should bolster your confidence to make repairs...

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New M&T Project: The “Foundations” Video

Reading M&T is an opportunity to unplug from the screen time of modern life and to revel in the creative pulse and enduring craftsmanship of woodworkers. But books do have their weaknesses. I find that someone can tell me how to do something ten times and I still struggle but as soon as they show me in person, it clicks. The success of YouTube tells me I’m not alone here. I regularly talk with two different kinds of readers that express the same desire. There are the folks with little to no woodworking experience asking me how to get started. I also have long-time power tool users that are falling out of love with their dust collectors and router bits....

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Craftsmanship: A Word to Start an Argument With

  When I wrote the previous post titled “Thoughts on Real Craft”, I wasn’t anticipating such an active interaction with readers. (If you missed that last post, you might want to go back and read it to make sense of the clarifications here.) The post was written as a way to think out loud and get feedback. Boy, did I get feedback! I am grateful for such passionate and thoughtful readers who are willing to invest time into this discussion. Thank you for your comments! I appreciate your participation so much, in fact, that I am looking into upgrading the commenting system to a platform that is easier to use and read in the future. The conversations I’ve been having...

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Thoughts on "Real Craft"

  I’ve been interested that the term “Real Craft” has been thrown around a bit the last couple years in green woodworking circles. The hash tag is full of spoon carving, pole lathes, and the like. After doing some digging to try to figure out the origins of this phrase, I realized I should talk with Jarrod Stone Dahl. Jarrod is a spooncarver/bowlturner from the Wisconsin woods who has been using the term more than anyone else so I thought I’d pick his brain about it. Jarrod sent me to Robin Wood’s commentary on Chris Eckersly’s 2014 “Real Craft” exhibition. Reading Eckersley’s essay and Wood’s critique hit me in just the right spot as I’ve been thinking a lot lately...

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First Impressions

The 2016 Lie-Nielsen Open House was the first show I’ve attended as a vendor. Consequently, the experience was entirely new and exciting and even a bit surreal for me. Joshua and I arrived early Friday so we could get our fairly elaborate display set up before the tent filled in with other demonstrators. We’d worked out the most efficient method of setup back at the studio, but here I found myself distracted by everyone else trickling in with their wares. Whoa, look at those planes! How much for that saw?  I just spotted Peter Follansbee (the legend)! Tom Lie-Nielsen  shook my hand. I may never wash it again.     Focus, Mike. We have work to do. I don’t want to...

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