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fake letters

fake letters

english has the most unnecessarily-complex spelling system of any modern language. while spelling is not necessarily-simple in many european languages, it is usually complex for a reason — mostly because the words are actually that long or have that many phoneme-groups in them. the letters usually represent how the word sounds. english, however, has a unique problem. it’s not the evolutionary child of an ancient language with some other influences…

aquatic woodworking

aquatic woodworking

if you cut a lot of dovetails, there is a tool you may be missing from your kit — a fishtail chisel. of course, this might be old news to you as most of the modern manufacturers make one. the problem is, as always, that they’re brutally-expense. but we’ll get to that in a minute. first, let’s talk about why you might need one. a fishtail chisel, as the name…

the language of more-than-one

the language of more-than-one

the english language is famous for many things, most of them bad. it is evolutionary and cumbersome. it has tense, number, gender, myriad useless pronouns, more punctuation than it needs by many times, impossible spelling because it doesn’t really follow rules and borrows from multiple simultaneous writing systems and an alphabet that makes slightly less sense than trying to see patterns in the clouds. possibly the most stupid thing english…

counting planes

counting planes

if you’re starting as a woodworker in the west, you would be forgiven for assuming stanley didn’t just make planes but was actually aiming to give craftspeople a better way to fight insomnia than counting fluffy sweaters-in-training (sheep or was that obvious?). with its confusing number system, many beginners either give up on the numbers completely and just go with the names (jack, smoother, jointer) or become so obsessed by…

all’s well that’s endgrain

all’s well that’s endgrain

there’s an elephant in the room. a sticky yellow one. i know you’ve seen it. the video about endgrain and glue. and i have lost count of the number of times someone has mentioned it to me and asked if this has changed the way i think about furniture and glue and removed any of my disdain for butt-joints and the people who think they’re acceptable in fine-woodworking. and honestly…

getting your curve on

getting your curve on

today is my mother’s birthday. she was my gateway to the world of wood — and nature in general. she’s an avid gardener and she and my father built the home they’ve now (finally, well into their seventies) retired to, years before i was born. just to give you a sense of how this all began for me, my favorite photograph of my mother is one where she is standing…

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