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Last week at Handworks I was privileged to finally try out some of Steve Voigt’s exquisite double-iron wooden hand planes. Last night (thanks to Instagram) I was able to read a post on his blog (about Instagram) that has given me some food for thought. Let that swirl around in your mind for a moment before reading…

A plane, a plane! My banjo for a plane!

The other day I was asked a question: “What’s your favorite hand tool?” For all intents and purposes that question really needs a qualifier. What’s my favorite hand tool today? …this week? …for cutting? …etc. I find it hard to pick a favorite. It’s usually whichever one is sharp, or in my hand at any given time. I had…

Kill your darlings

As a writer, you have to learn to kill your darlings – to hit “delete” on those hard-won, witty sentences and paragraphs to which you are irrationally attached, but which also obscure the truly necessary words in meandering mediocrity. (See the preceding sentence for a good example of what I’m talking about.) It is hard to admit…

Assuming you know…

Assumption is one of the deadlier poisons. Take a good look at the world around you. Something will surprise you.

So, that was Handworks

  When I am about to tell a story, I cannot help but think about how everyone else will tell the story as well and this is because, in some sense, there is no way to get any story straight. When four thousand people gather in one place, there are just as many narratives weaving themselves…

Joshua Klein: “Perfect” in 1000 words or less

Editor’s note: It would be hard to overstate my gratitude for the work that Joshua Klein has done over the last few years and for the opportunity to have some small hand in that work through Mortise & Tenon Magazine.  His unrelenting love of pre-industrial furniture and woodworking has been a breath of fresh air…

Twenty-Fourth Century Wood

For the last few weeks my wife and I have been un-apologetically re-watching the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation series on Netflix and I have been unduly captivated by the giant sweeping arc of wood that makes up the upper control console of the main bridge. Every time I see it I can’t help but…

Redemption song

The best part about coming back to the workshop after a major failure is this: the worst is already over. Yes, time was spent. Yes, some investment was probably lost, but there’s a certain freedom in the debris that can bring on a surge of creativity. Something was lost, but there is also something to be…

Hey, you missed a step…

  There are days when I just have to step away from the bench because nothing is going right and I know that the “not-rightness” will only get worse the harder I try. I had a string of those days over the last two weeks in April and it was demoralizing. I spent weeks working…