The Will and the Deed

A 50 year old essay that is just as relevant today as it was after World War II. A great reminder of the cycles we are embedded in and the opportunities each cycle opens and closes.

Lost Art Press

Earl Gebhart (1876-1971), farmer in Preble County, Ohio

“It looks as though today we are at the beginning of a new era. Values are shifting and changing, in many ways coming nearer to an ancient order of things than once we would have thought possible. Work in farm and field has become once more of prime importance, so has the skill of the technician, the man with the trained hands. We are being compelled to live more realistically, to see money as of less importance than things, a token of barter of little worth unless there are the goods available for barter. We may feel indeed that the time is ripe for the revival of craftsmanship, for the craftsman can only be truly valued when things are truly valued, and when productive, creative work is put first in the scheme of things.

“We may feel that much of our old…

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Some Things I Hate About Knowledge

A good reminder that not everything needs to be professionalized!

Lost Art Press

When I built my first woodworking project as an adult, I didn’t have a single subscription to a woodworking magazine and the only woodworking book I owned was a tattered Graham Blackburn tome, “Illustrated Basic Carpentry,” from 1976. What I knew about joinery, glue and finishes could fit in a teaspoon (with room left over for sugar).

I didn’t know enough to be apprehensive about designing a sitting bench. Or that my joinery choices (dowels) were laughable. Or that I wasn’t supposed to put an oil varnish over a water-base stain. Or that I needed more than one sharpening stone to get a keen edge on my block plane.

Of course, the project came out just fine. I sit on it every day in our kitchen as I work out the groceries I need for dinner. Hundreds of guests have sat on it as our dinner parties inevitably…

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Custom Cabinetry, Part 1

An interesting read on the origins and usage of the word ‘custom’. Interesting implications for those working in community and economic development.

Making Things Work

Custom_Dog_Socks (Source:

The word “custom” gets stuck on virtually anything these days, often as little more than a marketing device. Sometimes it means personalized, as with the socks in the illustration above; sometimes it’s intended to connote exclusivity, as a result of which the object in question will seem more desirable (at least, to those who want to feel special). But when you consider some of the stuff that’s sold as “custom,” you may find yourself questioning the meaning of the word.

What, for example, is custom drywall? Sure, drywall can be finished in a variety of textures, but that variety has been part of the mudder’s art for most of the six-plus decades during which drywall has been North America’s go-to covering for interior walls and ceilings. This historical fact has not kept drywall businesses around the country from incorporating “custom” into their names. Custom vans? I thought…

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Embrace the Gray

Embracing the gray can help us navigate and overcome conflict within our communities. Learn about one way to frame shared needs and interests in addressing polarizing conflicts.

The Tradition Trap

The Tradition Trap can lead to unquestioning action which often leads to wasteful activities, can prevent innovation, or can create communities where entrepreneurs and new residents are not welcome. Breaking out of The Tradition Trap takes time and effort (and a lot of questions) but it's critical to evolve and grow.