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Banister-back Chair: A Yale Commission

When I got back from vacation a while back, I hit the ground running. In the past two months, I’ve written two articles, built a grain-painted chest over drawers, a white oak spring pole lathe, and an 18th-century Rhode Island banister-back chair. It’s been enjoyable concentrating all my effort on making rather than my customary conservation work. I’ve learned a lot through these projects because I am not a production furniture maker. When I build, it’s always a one-off of something that piques my interest. This recent banister-back chair build was no exception to that. When curator Pat Kane from the Yale University Art Gallery contacted me to discuss this commission for the upcoming Rhode Island Furniture exhibition, I leapt...

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Pocketknife

  - This is the first post from M&T staffer, Mike Updegraff - One year, when I was young, my grandpa walked me around the Pennsylvania Farm Show, an iconic and massive exhibition of all things agricultural, creatively crafted, and edible. We wandered away from the food areas, past livestock pens and potted vegetables and a giant butter sculpture, and into an area of local handicrafts. I was immediately transfixed by a man sitting on a stool, carving the most intricate and expressive little chickens out of natural forks using only a sharp pocketknife. The birds had proud tail feathers, bright red painted combs, and fanciful expressions on their tiny faces. I was in awe. My grandpa vowed to help...

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So Much For Small and Simple

This week I finished building a pine slant-lidded chest over two drawers for Popular Woodworking Magazine. But they don’t care about the chest. They’re looking at the grain painting. A while back, Megan asked if I’d be write an article about grain painting for an upcoming issue. She told me I could just whip up a small pine box to use as a canvas for the article. “Seems simple enough”, I thought. It was… until I asked my wife if there was any use for a new chest in our house. We both brought our ideas to the table and ended up with the slanted lid to showcase the graining and make accessing the contents inviting and two drawers because drawers are...

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Welcome Ryan and Tanya.

               Ryan and Tanya come as a pair. Although the strengths they bring to M&T are different, their many years together has made them a cohesive and wonderfully interdependent couple. I first met Ryan a few years back when he was working at the legendary Liberty Tool Company. Ryan was the red bearded guy whose insights and advice won him fan mail from around the country. As woodworkers vacation through Maine to visit the woodworker’s Mecca in Liberty, they often feel overwhelmed by the endless shelves jammed to the brim with ready-to-restore antique hand tools. Ryan, in his characteristic soft-spoken lucidity, would help align each customer’s purchase to their intended use. (In fact, this...

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The One Who Actually Knows What She's Doing

I'll be the first to admit I have no idea how to run a magazine. I started this publication assuming this hand-tool-only pre-industrial publication would be too narrow to generate broad interest. When I began to realize how wrong I was, I called Megan Fitzpatrick of Popular Woodworking for help. See, one of the downsides to self-published material is that there is often no copy editor to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed before it goes to print. I told Megan that I didn't want to rely on my inadequate grammar skills as the final pair of eyes. Thankfully, she agreed to join the M&T team as copy editor. If you found M&T intelligible, thank Megan. She's got...

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A Visit to the Printer

Last week I got back from a trip to Wisconsin to visit extended family. It was a great time off from work to simply play around and catch up with many people I hadn’t seen in years. During the trip, I made sure to drop in at my printer’s facility. M&T is printed at Royle Printing in Sun Prairie, WI. I brought the wife and kids and my folks even came along too. I was really interested to see the place this magazine was made. I chose Royle based on a recommendation and was delighted with the final product but, wow, I wasn’t prepared for how classy this facility was. When we arrived, we were greeted by a sign at...

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In Case You Missed it the Other Day

  The other day, Kieran Binnie at Over the Wireless posted an interview with me about my work. Because I involve myself in a variety of types of projects, I do get questions about it regularly. How does my magazine, conservation practice, and house project all fit together? How did I get into conservation in the first place? I think Kieran did a good job with this one. I was honored to be asked. Check it out here: https://overthewireless.com/2016/04/24/getting-to-know-joshua-klein/

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Jim McConnell, Content Editor

When I began wading into editing Issue One’s manuscripts, I quickly realized I needed help. I saw the need for an experienced editor who could bring expertise and tact to the table. The very first person to come to mind was a blogger I had recently befriended named Jim McConnell. McConnell’s writing over at The Daily Skep impressed me right out the gate. His candid, personal, and fluid word crafting was unlike most of the other writing I had seen online. Jim’s training and previous experience as a writer and editor clearly set his work apart from the rest. When I approached Jim about his availability to join the Mortise & Tenon team, I was delighted to hear his enthusiasm. I...

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Mike: Our Friendly Voice

Mike and I first became close friends through the house project my wife and I began last summer. I hired him as an extra pair of hands and was blown away by his efficiency of work. He worked carefully and precisely at a rate not many could keep up with. That is not common. I knew that when the time came to hire someone on part time in my studio Mike was the very first person on my list. Since December last year, Mike has been working on projects with me to try and keep some furniture moving through my studio. This has worked out wonderfully. Not only is he a conscientious worker but he is also a good friend and...

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T-Shirts Back in Stock!

 For those of you that have tried to order an indigo shirt the past few weeks only to find your size out of stock, good news: they’re back. These shirts have been pretty popular with folks. Besides appreciating the saying “We Plane. We Saw. We Conquer.” on the back, customers have been giving feedback that they really love the soft vintage feel of the shirts. I don’t personally wear t-shirts much but these might convert me. It almost feels like an old worn pair of jeans. I called the printer, Shannon Brantley (IG: @nubthumb) to ask him, “Why do these feel so nice?” He said that they are 4.3 oz rather than the standard 6 oz weight and also because...

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