“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,”  William Morris.

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Scotch Eggs


My favorites!

Originally posted on Savoring the Past:


If you’re trying Scotch eggs for the first time, you’re in for a treat! A popular snack food in the U.K., Scotch eggs can be found there in grocery stores, gas stations, and everywhere in between. I had my first Scotch egg about 10 years ago at a local British-style pub. They are a guilty pleasure of mine, with which considerable discipline must be exercised to eat them in moderation. While Scotch eggs may not share the British prestige of officially protected geographic status like a Buxton blue or a Melton Mowbray pie, they are still clutched close to the heart by many adoring fans…which is where I always kind of envision them resting as I eat them, bypassing the stomach altogether.

The first Scotch egg is claimed to have been invented by a London department store in the late 1730’s, however, some believe they may have been adapted from much older Moghul dishes. The version we presented…

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Oppressive Burdens on the Mechanical Classes



Originally posted on Lost Art Press:


…Such are some of the considerations, which show the general utility of scientific education, for those engaged in the mechanical arts. Let us now advert to some of the circumstances, which ought, particularly in the United States of America, to act as encouragements to the young men of the country to apply themselves earnestly, and, as far as it can be done, systematically, to the attainment of such an education.

And, first, it is beyond all question, that what are called the mechanical trades of this country are on a much more liberal footing than they are in Europe. This circumstance not only ought to encourage those who pursue them, to take an honest pride in improvement, but it makes it their incumbent duty to do so.

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Set up Shop with the Naked Woodworker, Part 1

Originally posted on Lost Art Press:


I hate hearing someone say: “I would get in to woodworking but I can’t afford the equipment.”

Woodworking does not have to be an expensive hobby. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple workbench can be built in a day with hand tools for about $100. Many tools can be picked up at garage sales and at tool meets. Online auctions or classified sections of woodworking lists such as WoodNet are another great source, as are Craigslist and e-bay.

Do you really need stationary equipment for your hobby? Machines can be expensive – moving them, getting your shop wired, dust collection and etc. will add up quick. Many times it is quicker to do something by hand than to set up a machine or design jigs for machines to do the job.

I find that machines pay off when making multiples. It is the skills that…

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copy-2I will always love this photo of us that Chuck took back in 2011.

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Adding Windows

Finally, I’m getting around to adding side windows to the Vardo.  I’ve wavered for a long time as to whether this was what I wanted.  In the end, the ventilation and view won out.  Many decisions needed to be made.  What kind of opening, size, materials, etc.  In the end, I chose reclaimed oak as it is very stable, strong, easy to work with, and looks good.

window03This isn’t a high-tech, double-glazed thermal window.  It is a simple square frame of oak around a Lexan pane with a simple, chromed piano hinge and a nice brass casement window mechanism.

window02The discolored oak is visible here as I didn’t bother to remove the patina from the parts that will be invisible once installed.

I am sometimes criticized here for not giving enough of the remedial steps when building something new… So here it goes:

How to install a window into your Vardo.

window04First, choose where the window will be placed.  I have kept this spot in mind from the beginning and have kept it free of shelves and cubbies.   I decided to center the window on the structural stud.

I knew where the window needed to be located on the inside, but finding the exact placement on the outside wall can be difficult.  In order to find the point on the outside wall, I drilled a small hole where the top center of the window should be.  Why did I need to do this?  Because the cutting from the outside smooth wall is far easier and less messy (keeping the sawdust mostly on the outside).

Using the hole as a marker, a line was created to layout the opening.

A framing square was used to square up the other three sides of the opening.  The circular saw was used, making a plunge cut (using two hands) as deep as possible, following the guide lines.

The nature of the circular blade prevents the saw from cutting into the corner so a hand-saw was used to finish up.

window15After a dry fitting to check the size, silicone caulk was applied to seal out water and the window was inserted.

window14Having a look at the new window.

Checking the functionality.  Interior framing is not yet complete here.

Next step… making the shutter.

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Now, Less Annoying Ads!

Sorry for the annoying ads recently on my blog.  I say mine, but really it is owned by WordPress and I was enticed to offset some costs by cowing to ads.  I decided when I had a serious complaint about these, I would take them off.  I am glad to say, there is now likely to be only one small ad at the bottom of the post or page and I hope this makes the internet experience better for everyone.


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Bamboo Arrow Instructable

I just posted a “how to” for bamboo arrows on Instructables.  It is impossible to teach a complete class in this way but I’ve done what I can.

fletchIf you have an interest in arrowsmithing, have a look by clicking the arrows above.

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Something to keep in mind when learning a new skill.

A Primitive Technology Disclaimer.

I firmly believe that in Preindustrial Societies, the onus of learning was on the pupil.  Anyone who wants to succeed will find a way to learn.  

Real learning is an active endeavor.  We learn best by carefully observing and doing.  There will be failures.  There will be frustration and tears.  Not everything will be obvious nor will the reason for every step be readily apparent.  It is not the duty of the teacher to drag every unwilling pupil along nor argue every point to their satisfaction every step of the way.  Failure is not something to fear but is something to learn from.  If you don’t like the teacher or the methods, either suck it up or find another teacher.

GT Crawford

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