By: Joshua A. Klein with Charpentiers Sans Frontières
Since 2002, Charpentiers Sans Frontières (CSF, “Carpenters Without Borders”) have traveled around the world to build, using the old ways. With axe, saw, plumb bob, and chisel, this diverse group of skilled craftspeople restored a medieval bridge at a castle in France, built a new hewn-truss roof system on a blacksmith shop in Romania, and even ventured as far afield as China – but they had never before done a project in the United States.
In 2019, CSF traveled to the rural Maine coast to construct a blacksmith shop for Mortise & Tenon Magazine. Join author Joshua A. Klein as he documents this ambitious project, from the sourcing of logs in the forest and their harvest using horse power; to peeling, hewing, scribing, and cutting joinery with simple, ancient hand tools; sharing communal meals made with local ingredients; and finally, the raising of the structure – all accomplished in less than two weeks of labor.
Weaving together stunning images along with technical explanations of tools and tasks, Klein draws on the thoughts and words of many of the carpenters themselves, as well as modern philosophers and thinkers, to build a vibrant argument that another way of working is possible – a way that reawakens our hands and minds. Much more than a simple how-to, this book is a celebration of the beauty of skilled manual labor, of slowing down and reconnecting to handcraft, sustainability, and fellowship in our increasingly distracted world.
9.5" x 11.5" Hardbound with matte dust jacket. Smythe-sewn and matte-coated heavy paper for long-term durability. Printed in the United States. 240 pages.
“This book is a true and moving celebration of the art and practice of hand-tool carpentry. Beautifully laid out and illustrated, it captures all of the joy, sweat, and camaraderie of a community project. The narrative not only tells the story of a barn-raising; it does so in fine prose and well-chosen quotations. This book perfectly shows the benefits of slow work in a fast world.” – Judge at the Maine Literary Awards (2021 MLA Award given for “Excellence in Publishing”)
“A lot to love here – editor Joshua Klein has crafted a tome of beauty and pith both figurative and literal … it’s rich beyond imagining.” – Nick Offerman, actor, writer, woodworker
“A gem of a book – beautifully illustrated, so well written.” – Nancy Hiller, furniture maker, author
“You’ll wish you had been there when you read this book.” – Jim Tolpin, furniture maker, author