North Bennet Street School: training the American Craftsmen of tomorrow.

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez has been called “an evangelist” for his cause: preaching the value of teaching hand skills. That’s partly because the institution of which he is president, the North Bennet Street School, has been teaching manual labor skills for more than a century to people who turn that into honest work. But it’s also because […]

Fisk Knives: hybrid, multi-ethnic bladesmithing style.

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Jerry Fisk is the first to tell you about his background. He grew up very poor, with no art in his home, and just two books—a Bible and a study Bible. He had no mechanical training whatsoever. His job was to take care of the family’s farm animals. And he finished twenty-first out of twenty-two […]

Manuel American Designs: the man who put Johnny Cash in black.

Posted by on Sep 4, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez Sr.crossed the border in his new car with forty thousand dollars in his pocket. Everyone told him he was crazy for leaving Mexico. He had a thriving tailoring business with a business partner, making “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Manuel says. But he wanted to make it in the United […]

Todd M Johnson Pipes: not a utilitarian object.

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Todd Johnson’s life changed because of a friend’s smoke of choice. Johnson was in college when he decided he wanted to make a friend a pipe for his graduation present. Johnson was already proficient with tools and woodworking. His father had a shop Johnson Pipes 9 where Johnson helped out on high-end pre-1948 cars and […]

Oxxford Clothes: exquisite craftsmanship for over 97 years.

Posted by on Aug 1, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

By the time Don Deisch got the call from the CEO of Oxxford Clothes in 2007, he’d seen just about everything there was to see in the world of men’s custom suits. From the time he’d taken his first tailoring course in high school to working in a custom clothing house cutting room as a […]

Bessell Surfboards: making functional art.

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Tim Bessell immerses himself in his work. Right now, that’s a literal statement. “I was just shaping an eight-foot gun,” says Bessell, covered in sawdust. “Give me a second to clean off!” By “gun” he means one of the five styles of surfboards Bessell makes (also: longboard, high-performance shortboard, funboard or paddleboard, and fish-shaped). After […]

The Carousel Works: how to ride a tapir, a cuttlefish, and a naked mole rat.

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

Art Ritchie realized that he would one day build the country’s best carousels. It came simply because he did the math. By happenstance, Ritchie, who had been carving professionally since 1973, struck up a conversation with a man who had just purchased an antique carousel (cost: $450,000). The man told Ritchie he planned to restore […]

Danner Boots: it takes a hundred hands.

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

By the time a Danner boot is completed, more than a hundred hands have touched it. However, it all begins with selecting the hide. All the work is for naught if the hide doesn’t speak to that very first pair of hands. “Every hide is a puzzle,” says Danner creative director Haven Anderson. “It’s our […]

King Boat Works: 140 hours for a boat that will last a decade.

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

The first time Graeme King saw “a real live 8”—an eight-oared rowing shell, or boat—was in Adelaide, South Australia, when he was fourteen years old. He’d been fascinated with them as a small child ever since he saw them in newsreel recaps of shell races. “I was pretty impressed when I saw it,” he says. […]

Hull Historical Millwork: telling the story of a building.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Journal | No Comments

When Barbra Streisand called, Brent Hull knew he had made it. He’d been doing restoration and millwork for more than a decade, ever since he started his business in his brother’s garage in Fort Worth, Texas. He’d built it steadily, like most craftsmen: repairing historic homes, doing residential remodels, working on a historic courthouse renovation after […]