If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll have noticed that every once in a while we post an issue so crammed full of awesome as to defy description. This is another one of those issues. I've posted a load of pictures below to give you a sense of the thing. All the same, this week I feel compelled to point to a gem among gems and proclaim it required reading for anyone engaged in the act of making.
If you have skip everything else this week but still manage to read this article, that'll be just fine by me. The reason for this is simple. Or maybe the reason is simplicity. I haven't decided yet.
In either case, this little chat about finishing is great because it isn't filled with hacks or secrets. It may not even be about finishing in the long run. No, what we have here is a wonderful and rare compilation of generalist remarks: the tempered advice of an old pro set against the normal tide of tips and techniques.
Alright so it quite a bit about finishing despite my earlier remarks to the contrary. Still, I insist that a larger case is being made. Without putting too fine a point on it, the key thing separating a novice from desired results is experience. Among makers and crafts people, it is a popular diversion to overvalue the multifarious elements of a given task, often to the detriment of the attempt itself. Call it what you like, our humble polisher does well to point us on the straight and narrow.
I'm sure some might consider the tone akin to a wagging finger, but to my ear this guy sounds like all of my favorite shop techs and teachers. They never knew what I was going to make next. They only knew that if they did well, I'd never stop, and that a good foundation of guiding principles would serve me better than a grimoire of gimmicks. -T
Disclaimer: Articles in Work: The Illustrated Weekly Journal for Mechanics describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.