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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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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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