I’ve prepared a 56-page excerpt from “Woodworking in Estonia” that you can download and (I hope) enjoy. The excerpt includes Peter Follansbee’s introduction to the book, plus a section on axes and a chapter on making containers from multiple boards (it’s like cooperage, but also not like it).
The book is available for pre-publication order for $29 in our store – copies should start shipping the first week of August (though factory schedules, inclement weather and postal delays can always delay us).
Don’t forget that we are now shipping to Canadians from our Canadian warehouse (details on that here). And that all prices include shipping.
I adore my Millers Falls mitre box, and I’ve been bemused by a recent backlash against mitre boxes, which ruled the American worksite and garage during the first half of the 20th century.
The argument against a mitre box is that you don’t need it. You should develop your sawing skills to the point where you don’t need a mechanical contrivance to hold the saw for you. The things are training wheels. And you are a candy-bottom wuss girl if you use one.
To these people I say this: You don’t cut many miters, do you?
Metallic manual mitre boxes are more accurate than the electric miter saw in my experience. They allow a level of finesse and control that you aren’t going to get with freehand sawing. And chances are, if you aren’t a nincompoop, your miters will be dead-on off the saw with a mitre box.
Oh, and when armed with a shooting board they radically decrease your need for a table saw.
If you own a mitre box, you need to know how to maintain and use it.
So this evening I present to you a scan of a vintage Millers Falls manual for using the company’s mitre boxes. I guarantee that even if you are an ace, you are going to learn something from this short little manual.
The manual was given to me by the late Carl Bilderback. During my last visit to his home, he asked me to take his library. To keep the books that I didn’t have. And to give the rest away to deserving young woodworkers.
This vintage manual is one of about 100 books and manuals Carl owned that I did not.
So I present it to you in a free pdf you can download here:
Several readers have reported some difficulty in manually adding pdfs of our books to their iPads. Here is a short tutorial on several ways to do it. As always, technology changes so fast that we recommend searching the web for alternative solutions if you hit a rough patch.
Use the iPad to Fetch the pdf The easiest way (I think) to get a pdf on your iPad is to download it directly to your iPad – skip your desktop machine or laptop entirely. Once you receive your download e-mail from us with the download link, e-mail it to yourself on your iPad. Click on the link on your iPad and the book will download to your iPad and put itself in your iBooks app.
Another option is to purchase the pdf using the iPad. The Lost Art Press store is friendly to mobile devices.
Once you make your purchase, you’ll receive a link like this in your e-mail. Click it.
It will open a page that looks like this in your browser. Click it and be patient. Some of our books take a long time to download and some mobile browsers do not show you a progress bar.
After the book downloads the browser will prompt you to open it in iBooks. Click the link and you are done.
Use a Third-party App If you use Dropbox or another free pdf reader on your iPad there are a variety of ways to fetch the pdf from a desktop or laptop computer. There are also a variety of ways to share files between your iPad and computer – too many to explore here.
Transfer via iBooks If you downloaded the pdf on your desktop machine or laptop, you can easily move it to your iPad using the iBooks app on your Macintosh. Launch iBooks on your desktop machine (it’s in your Applications folder).
Go to File/Add to Library
Navigate to the book (it’s probably in your Downloads folder).
Add it to your library and then open iTunes. Connect your iPad to your desktop machine and sync the iPad. When the sync is complete, the book will be on your iPad.
Whenever I have to wait in a doctor’s office, I don’t mess around with their pile of last year’s Time magazines. I bring my own really old magazines – and this week it was issues of The Woodworker from 1916.
Tucked in amid the magazine’s 10-part series on making your own poultry gear (no lie), I found two little gems worth sharing here.
The first article, “Screws and Screwdrivers” is the kind of article that most people would skip over. After all, what is there to say about this basic operation? As always, if you read The Woodworker closely you’ll pick up details and fine points that are worth knowing.
This short article even discusses a pattern of screw – the improved American form – that I’ve not seen before. Sure, the shank is familiar, but the head?
The second article is on “Hay Box Cookers.” I do almost all the cooking in our household, and I enjoy exploring old cooking techniques as much as I enjoy old woodworking stuff. So this article was aimed right at me.
Hay box cookers are like the CrockPot of the 19th century. The cooker is a wooden box filled with hay. When you make a stew, you bring it to a boiling point. Then you take it off heat, cover it and put it in the hay box cooker and shut the lid for two or more hours.
The hay insulates the stew (or boiled bacon, yum?), cooking it slowly without any more energy. And you can’t scorch the food. There’s even a recipe book out there.
The lessons inside “By Hand & Eye” cannot be learned by reading alone, any more than you can learn to cut dovetails from a book.
You must put pencil to paper so the book’s ideas about proportion will become physical things on the page before you. Then the ideas will be in your fingers – not just your mind. When I was editing “By Hand & Eye,” I had to perform these exercises to gain entrance into the heads of Jim Tolpin, George Walker and the pre-Industrial artisans. (Many of the exercises were done at a bar in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, which generated a lot of odd looks from fellow passengers.)
It was well-worth doing and has absolutely made me a better designer.
This week we had a reader who was struggling with the first drawing exercise in the book called “Making a Visual Scale.” In that exercise, you are asked to make seven rectangles using a compass, straightedge and pencil. Tolpin and Walker are purposely a little obtuse about the process to make the rectangles because it’s important that you make a small mental leap yourself.
To help the reader, George offered a small nudge on his blog yesterday in this entry. If you have been struggling with this exercise (or skipped it – naughty, naughty), here’s the chance to wake up your inner eye this Saturday. Give it a cup of coffee.
For those of you who don’t own the book, here are the four pages from the book in pdf format so you can try it yourself.
If you like this sort of thing, you are going to be thrilled by an upcoming and inexpensive workbook from Tolpin and Walker. The workbook answers this question: Can you learn design from a cartoon dog? More details to come.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. “By Hand & Eye” is back in stock in the Lost Art Press store after we sold out of the last printing.