Thoughts Provoked by a Sloyd Workbench Advertisement

A bit of personal history - I never touched a tool in high school.  When I was there, kids were openly placed in two "tracks;" either Academic or General education.  I know I wasn't the sharpest student and I generally disliked almost everything about being in school but I was placed among the Academics.  In … Continue reading Thoughts Provoked by a Sloyd Workbench Advertisement

Rules of Conduct – From the Pen of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wrote reams of good advice, important political philosophy, the Declaration of Independence, and many other things (which is why we know so much about him).  To some of his younger relations he sent his favorite "Rules of Conduct" to help the people he cared for better and more insightful humans.  These thoughts evolved … Continue reading Rules of Conduct – From the Pen of Thomas Jefferson

The Useful Man

Some thoughts on a “useful man” from 1852. Possibly the best thing I’ve read this year.

“The useful man would be the necessary link in the chain that ought connect the man of science and the daily workman, for he would lay one hand on the theory and the other on the practice, and would often take the place of the two.”

Lost Art Press


We have scientific writers of several kinds, and their number is continually increasing; there is no harm in that, but their studies are mainly directed to form theorists capable of ordering workmen, but unable to put their own hands to the work. Banish to their country seats the most celebrated engineers, and they will be as embarrassed to perform the smallest thing for themselves, as our statesmen, magistrates, professors, poets, painters, and wealthy merchants.

If a lamp leaks, a coffee-pot is broken, a screw lost, a lock damaged, or a chair on three legs—and for a thousand other petty trifles—they must send to the neighboring town. If it is an emergency, a messenger on horseback must be dispatched, with perhaps a kettle round his neck, and a couple of watering-pots in his hand: there is no poor Robinson Crusoe to be found in these oases of luxury and indigence.

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Learning from Masters (not me, just what I seek)

Using archaeology to find out hows things "should be" done?  A response to a common question, by George Thomas Crawford I am regularly asked about my connection to archaeology and my interest in primitive technology.  I've also been chided by some people in the primitive tech community on behalf of other archaeologists because they (archaeologists) … Continue reading Learning from Masters (not me, just what I seek)