This has been one of our busiest years ever at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Plus, I have been in many foreign lands with exotic cultures and their own languages: France, England, North Carolina.
As a result of my travels, I haven’t had a chance to introduce you to some of the interesting stuff we have been working on in the wee hours, including a jumbo-sized project called “Exercises in Wood-Working.”
This was a book published in 1889 that was designed to give students at the College of the City of New York all the hand skills they need to become industrious Neanderthals. The core of the book is 39 exercises for you to complete , everything from crosscutting a board to veneering to fairing a boat’s hull.
These exercises are unlike a lot of woodworking books in that they focus on basic skills. Instead of building a cabinet to learn about tool , an overwhelming task , you square up a block of wood using a chisel to learn the more important lesson , how wood and steel relate to one another.
We’re re-publishing this great book in hardback form, printing it in the United States and selling it for a reasonable price, $17.99. The book should arrive in our warehouse next week. Until that day, you can pre-order the book for $14.39. Visit our store to order your copy.
But that’s not all. We’re shooting 15-minute videos that walk you through many of the exercises in the book. I’m the host (lucky you). To get in the spirit of this historic book, I don a tie for these exercises, and our video crew desaturated the colors so it looks a bit like vintage footage (but it’s not distracting , promise).
We’ve finished shooting the first eight exercises. The first three are available now as individual downloads in our store. Or you can wait a few weeks and we’ll be collecting the first eight exercises onto a DVD (which you can pre-order here at a discount in a package deal with the book).
To show you how useful these are, we’re giving away the text and illustrations for “Lesson 1: Use of the Chisel.” This is a fun lesson, even if you are an experienced chisel user. The object of the lesson is to square a board using only a chisel. There are some good tricks (including how to burnish the high spots with your try square).
You can download the text and drawings for free here.
If you’d like to purchase the video that accompanies Exercise 1, you can do that here in our store. The individual videos are $4.99 each and are downloaded instantly to your computer.
I’m having great fun with these exercises and am looking forward to the next batch of them that we’re shooting. I am not, however, looking forward to wearing that tie again.
– Christopher Schwarz
– Pre-order the book: “Exercises in Wood-Working.”
– Pre-order the DVD of the first eight exercises.
– Download the first video: “Exercise 1: The Use of the Chisel.”