a word on process

Hi, my name is Jim and I own a drill press. There, I said it. As a professional in a field fraught with ideology, I’ve developed an allergy to the stuff in heavy doses. Can’t stand it. It makes my skin itchy and I start to break out in a healthy case of “can’t get…

what’s in a mortise?

Yesterday I cleared the waste for the crisscross with my drill press, a Forstner bit, a large chisel and router plane. I’m no purist when it comes to work like that, plus I love Forstner bits. I wish I could go back in time and shake Benjamin Forstner’s hand, because I find them useful for…

patience, young grasshopper

In the middle of last week I received a package on my doorstep. Just seeing the shipping label made me all giddy inside. I wanted to tear it open and get to work installing the hardware right away, but I was still elbows deep in the ephemera and etcetera that had occupied me all week…

The end is ever so near; the pathway becoming clear.

A week ago I set out to clear a space for the new workbench. I’m nearly there and my mental health has already improved at least ten-fold. The chest on the far left is a rickety Craigslist find from a decade ago. When this is fully finished that’s where I want my tool chest to…

Here’s some good news

As a young Boy Scout working on my forestry merit badge I spent plenty of afternoons in the study of Mr. Quincy Baird Hershey Sr., a trapper, naturalist, and family friend. I remember Mr Hershey telling me stories about his youth, and his reverance for the great and mighty giants of the forest. He spoke…

start where you are

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe I read those words yesterday as I was laying back in a dentist’s chair. They were mixed in with a wall display of other cutesy, motivational, life-coach style thoughts. But for some reason, as soon as I read them I immediately…

the ghosts in cardboard boxes

I’ve lived with ghosts in cardboard boxes for too long. Unrelenting characters from stories now long gone. Brave and solemn tokens calling out to write a song. I’ve hauled those heavy ghosts and now I’m done. There hasn’t been a lot of wood working in the workshop this week, but there has been a lot of working on the…

a word on bench hardware

For me, making decisions about bench hardware has been like the rest of the tool purchases I make, and these are the questions I ask when I am making such a decision: Is this a “need” or a “nice to have” tool? What are the options? Which option works best with how I work? Which…

the weight

“I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead I just need some place where I can lay my head Hey, mister, can you tell me, where a man might find a bed? He just grinned and shook my hand, “No” was all he said. Take a load off Fanny, take a load for…

Plato may be to blame here…

The modern mind has a deep seated discontent with inconsistency. We see consistency from item to item as a mark of quality and any difference as a defect. I don’t know when this entered our collective (Western) human consciousness. Maybe it’s Plato’s fault. You can argue that the bulk of Plato’s most consistent and sustained…

beauty and idiosyncracy

As if you needed another reason to get your name on the list for the inaugural issue of Mortise & Tenon magazine, I have to say that in the editorial work that I have been doing for this issue I have learned something with every turn of the page. Without giving anything away, one of the…

It’s in the bag

Need a use for all the brown paper bags leftover from your New Year’s Eve party? They make great burnishers to take the rough bits off of a milk painted surface. This is a tip I picked up from the Chris Schwartz Popular Woodworking blog a while back, (thanks Chris) but having finally tried it…