The Gentle Way

Right out of college, my first job was working for Catholic Charities at a residential treatment facility for boys. The facility had once been an orphanage called Paradise School for Boys, and although it did not always live up to that idyllic name, it was some of the most fulfilling work I have ever done. I’m not…

Извините, мой русский очень простой

In high school I took Russian when I probably should have been in shop class. The way my schedule tracked, I was constantly faced with the false dilemna of “working with my hands” or “working with my mind.” I wanted to be the first in my immediate family to go to college, so I did what…

Getting the axe

My review of the “Axe” carbide turning tools from Carter Products went live today over on the Popular Woodworking website. You can read that here. I don’t usually post crossover content regarding my work for the magazine, but I received so many questions about the tools on Instagram that Megan asked me to record a short video…

A picture is not (always) worth 1000 words.

One of my pet peeves with internet auction sites is when a seller writes something like the following in the description: “I don’t really know anything about _______ so I can’t be responsible for describing it incorrectly. See the pictures. They’re part of the description.” Such a disclaimer is generally accompanied by pictures so fuzzy…

Nobody’s perfect

During the past year, one of the highlights for me has been handing over the reigns to The Daily Skep and featuring monthly guest posts in the “Perfect in 1000 words or less” series. You may have noticed February and March slipping right on by without them. Due to schedules, sickness, and other unforeseen circumstances…

I almost broke down…

Every so often I forget that woodworking is supposed to be fun. Usually I’m tired, or frustrated, or both and I slog on when I should wipe the tools down and come back later. Nothing good can come at this point. A few months ago I was pushing through some cuts in red oak with my…

A staked stool

Height: 18″ Top:  11″x 11″ (rough octagon) Base 10″ square (roughly) A few observations:  Everything is pinned with nails. I don’t know if this was original or a sign of repairs. My guess is original. The legs were likely made square, two-thirds were tapered and then the top third was worked down with a draw…

Stickers, still.

I’ve still got a small stack of stickers available. Just a reminder, all you have to do to get one is send a SASE to: Jim McConnell  P.O. Box 141 Ayden, NC 28513 The first one is my gift. If you want more than one, please include a dollar for each additional sticker. International shipping…

It’s no big secret

When you finally work up the courage to make a handle for a hand saw, the shaping is not the most intimidating part. At least it wasn’t for me. The most exacting part of this whole endeavor is letting in the plate. There are a few things you want to simultaneously accomplish. Most importantly, you want…

It is what you make of it.

Lately I’ve been preoccupied with the thought that there will come a day when my body will no longer allow me to do all that I want to do. This feeling is always more acute after I’ve moved a lot of boxes and I wake up stiff the next day, or I try to keep up…

Ash Wednesday

“Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so…