The Future is Handmade

“Masters don’t need to say they’re the masters—it’s obvious in the work.”  Maikel Kuijpers studies craftsmanship.  This is my kind of thinking and one of the reasons I became so infatuated with material culture when I was a young anthropology student.  People who make for themselves, when that is the only option, don't just create …

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Gourd Bottom Bags and More

Stacey has been adding her art to the shop lately so I wanted to give her a bit of a promotion here on the blog.  Among other things, she produces meticulous and beautiful art, beaded bags, earrings, and fiber arts.  Here are her latest additions to the shop. The smaller bag on the left is …

The Hardest Part of Learning to Sharpen

Wise words. Learning to really properly sharpen an edge tool by hand is an epiphany and makes wood and leatherworking a real joy.

The Literary Workshop Blog

The other day, I was teaching a friend to sharpen his plane iron, and it got me thinking about sharpening.  Of all the skills I have learned while working wood, sharpening has been the most life-changing. It started with chisels and plane irons, but then I began sharpening my kitchen knives and pocketknives.  I had no idea that steel could get so sharp!  It used to be that dull tools were merely inconvenient, but now I find a dull knife a heartbreaking disappointment.

I say this because I want to share a recent article on sharpening by Chris Schwarz, former editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and current head of Lost Art Press.  In it, Schwarz reflects (well, more like pontificates) on how few woodworkers actually know how to sharpen an edge tool.  Even the some of the professionals who write for the big-name magazines often lack basic sharpening skills.  He…

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Some New Leatherwork

There are some new projects coming off the bench.Here's a new minimalist traveler's wallet.  I'm still working through the design and construction process but like it so far. Simple three-pocket design; a vertical a horizontal card pocket  as well as a large one for bills. A bucket purse made from an oil-tanned leather.  Welted and …

Responsibility

Here are some good words about responsibility I would like to share from the Northwest Woodworking Studio.

Tool box detail

Shavings

I had this crazy idea about the world and how I’d like to change it today.

Hear me out.

What if folks acted as if they were responsible for their actions? That whatever they did out in the world had a pond and ripple effect? That they are not alone on their computer, on a phone, in their world, entitled to more of everything at the expense of everyone else?

It would be like working at the bench if you will allow me. Where when you screw something up you are the one who did this. You are the one who has to fix it. You can’t turn to your neighbor, the car next to you or the bike rider, big business or the government, or your sad upbringing and history and blame them for it. You have to take responsibility for who you are and where you are in…

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‘We’re All Frauds’

If it takes five times, build it five times. I feel this sentiment almost everyday. I think that means we really care about what we do.

Lost Art Press

adam-bede-w

The book that became “Chairmaker’s Notebook” began as a chat with chairmakers Peter Galbert and Curtis Buchanan. We made a plan to produce a video of Curtis building a chair that would be accompanied by a pamphlet from Peter illustrating the construction details.

In the end, Curtis’s detailed videos ended up here. And Peter’s “pamphlet” became the best book on chairmaking I’ve ever read.

But that’s not why I remember that meeting with Peter and Curtis. Instead, I am continuously struck by something Curtis said to me in that cabin in Berea, Ky. Curtis began talking about teaching woodworking.

“We’re all not as good as people think we are,” he said. “We’re all frauds.”

This was Curtis Expletive Deleted Buchanan. A guy who has more skill than 10 magazine-grade woodworkers. And he was sitting before me explaining that – like all human beings – he has insecurities…

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