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Walker on ‘Assessing the Eye of Blue-Collar Geometers’: Issue Two Table of Contents

George Walker has written a fascinating piece for Issue Two that we’re calling ‘Dividing the Line: Assessing the Eye of Blue-Collar Geometers’. In this essay, George presents his own design research from a new perspective. By comparing two 18th century cabinetmaking cousins’ apron profiles to each other, George is able to reverse engineer their designer’s eye for us. At first, you think their aprons look similar enough but after he walks you through the layout process, you see how different they really are.This fascinating exercise will help you in your workshop by teaching you how to layout your own aprons or profiles. How do you capture your inner designer’s eye? How do make something that reflects not just general attractiveness...

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Examination of an 18th Century Drop Leaf Table: Issue Two Table of Contents

Every issue of M&T will have an in depth analysis of a particular period piece. In the last issue, we looked at a Federal Boston secretary. (Yes, the ebook is still in the works.) The objective with this kind of piece is to provide numerous up close and personal photographs of not only the pretty show surface, but also the guts of the thing. This is the stuff museums don’t typically publish for people and it’s exactly the kind of stuff that woodworkers want to see. For Issue Two, I chose this mid to late 1700s New England table that I purchased at an auction earlier this year. I selected this piece because it’s not rare or unique in at...

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Interview with David and George Sawyer: Issue Two Table of Contents

Regularly in my interactions with colleagues I get leads and recommendations for stories. The one that stood out above all else to me was a recommendation from Peter Galbert that I do an interview with legendary chairmaker David Sawyer and his son George, who is now taking over the business. David has a reputation for being one of the most influential Windsor chairmakers in the early days of the modern Windsor revival. I leapt at the opportunity and arranged a visit with the Sawyers. I made that trip this spring, on a drive back from New York, and spent a few wonderful hours with this rural Vermont family. We talked craft, design, technology, rural life, homesteading, etc. It was a...

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Announcing the Table of Contents: Reproducing a Yale Banister-Back Chair

Over the next couple weeks I will be releasing the table of contents for Issue Two here on the blog. Once a day, I will post about one of the articles that will be in Issue Two. The folks who saw the list at WIA universally agreed that Issue Two looks even more exciting than Issue One and so I am looking forward to sharing the list with you. Pre-orders will open November 1st here. We’re expecting a January delivery. I’ve talked about some of Issue Two’s content already so this first one should not be a surprise. As I’ve mentioned before, the Yale University Art Gallery commissioned a reproduction of an 18th century banister-back chair for their new exhibit...

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Free Audio: “Cutting the Cord” at WIA 2016

At Woodworking in America this year, I presented a talk called, 'Cutting the Cord: Why I Converted to Hand-Tool-Only Furniture Making'. During the talk, I had my voice recorder on to be able to share it with you readers that couldn’t make it to WIA. That audio can be heard here. Please note that the recording reflects the fact that I had been talking non-stop with visitors for two days straight. Excuse the strained voice. If you are curious to hear what inspired me to put the power tools away, listen to this 27 minute podcast. And pass it around. I’d like to give more folks a chance to hear a case for hand tools in the 21st century shop....

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How to Make Your Own Liquid Hide Glue

One of the great things about WIA is that the marketplace was closed on the last day. This enabled vendors to drop into a few of the presentations before heading home. One of the talks I was looking forward to was Chris Schwarz’s chairmaking process. His demo, as always, was less than dogmatic about how to approach any particular operation. It was because of this openness that his stance on glue choice was startling in its inflexibility. Chris put it simply, “There is no choice.” He declared without hesitation that hide glue was the only appropriate option for gluing this joinery. He mentioned a few of the many reasons for such a strong stance but especially emphasized the importance of...

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Old Hickory

I've been doing my best to hold down the fort around here while Joshua was away at Woodworking in America. In the weeks before he left, we'd received a disproportionate number of chairs to be reglued, recaned, or otherwise repaired. At one point I think I counted 16 in the studio, surely a new record (if anyone is keeping score). One chair I worked on recently I've affectionately dubbed "Little Abe Lincoln's Rocker": a pretty 19th-century child's chair with a woven hickory-splint seat. The seat appears to be original, but the splints had unfortunately been broken all across the front. Our goal with this project was to restore the appearance of the chair without resorting to using new materials -...

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Beginning the Transition to Issue Two

With WIA coming up this weekend, we’ve decided to begin discussing the contents of Issue Two publicly. The table of contents, which has been under wraps as of yet, is something I have been itching to announce for a while now. I will be making the T.O.C. public first at my WIA display and then, after I get back from the show, I’ll publish it here on the website. Drop by the M&T booth and be the first to see what is coming up in the next issue. In the spirit of transition to Issue Two, we’ve discounted the Issue One Cover posters half off. They are now $7 instead of $15. Also, the stickers have been knocked down a...

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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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