Chris Schwarz's Blog

Too Much Time with Mr. Anderson I Fear

So I like my wagon vise quite a bit and have been giving it a nice workout during the last week or so. I think it’s a keeper. (And good thing, considering the massive chasm in the benchtop.) So to finish off the vise, I bought a nice little European-style backplate for the vise’s end cap from Whitechapel Ltd. Hardware , nice stuff, by the way.

I think I must be hanging around planemaker Wayne Anderson a bit too much. It’s not like me to embellish my benches with unnecessary finery.

As I was nailing the plate in place, I couldn’t help reflecting on an excellent piece I just read in The New Atlantis called “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew B. Crawford. It is one of the most thoughtful pieces of writing about the decline of craftsmanship and the rise of industrial capitalism I’ve ever read. Crawford is a woodworker, former motorcycle repairman, former electrical contractor and a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Material Culture at the University of Virginia.

It’s a stunning article. Sit down with a cool drink this evening and take it in.

– Christopher Schwarz