The Tools You Need For The Work You Do

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ERGONOMIC, FT-GR IP HANDLE

Editor's Letter by Ken Collier

New wood, old woodworkers.

Some people take a coffee break, some a cigarette break, but around here, we take breaks to admire new wood.

It happened a while back when the wood for Tom Caspars Cafe Table arrived (see page 44). He was using jarrah, a wood that we had heard of but never handled, and the truck was waiting. Good thing wre had a crowd, too, because those planks felt like steel beams, they were so hard and heavy I wish we could slip a sample into the magazine so you could really see the beautiful chocolate brown color and impressive heft of jarrah (see p. 52). At around $5 a board foot its a perfect substitute for teak, at one-third the cost. Plus, unlike teak, its not oily and hard to glue, or full of tool-dulling silica. Give it a try—its a fine wood.

Tom built the Cafe Table in his old shop, and on a visit there I noticed a huge collection of dusty, old cardboard patterns for furniture pans, tucked away high on a wall. Patterns for legs, rococo table rails, lyre chair backs—there must have been hundreds of them. These were the legacy of John Erickson, the old Swedish cabinetmaker in whose shop Tom learned his craft. By the 1970s, Ericksons shop was way behind the times, run by old men crafting furniture with traditional joinery and lots of handwork. The shop went out of business, and Tom inherited the patterns. They're an impressive, but saddening sight—a physical summary of artisans1 lives working with wood, the men now gone, the traditions lost. All except for what they passed on to Tom, who will be passing it on to you here on the pages of American Woodworker. John Erickson would be proud. *

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The index covers Issues I -63. Use the electronic version at our website, www.americanwoodworker.com

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The Bridgewoodworkers' Edge Begins With The Right Tools

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