Tuesday, February 9, 2016

That isn’t Really a ‘Magazine’ Then, is it?

Over the course of the past few months I’ve been fielding various questions from readers about the very-soon-to-be-released magazine. A few have asked how many issues there are in a year’s subscription. Although I’ve tried to make this clear from the beginning, I apologize if there is still confusion over this matter.

This upcoming release is the inaugural issue of our annual publication. Because M&T is published only once a year, there isn't a “yearly subscription" to sign up for. We've decided that rather than ration the content out into four or six issues spread throughout the year we'd release it together as one annual volume. As such, each issue is offered for sale individually as it becomes available. When/if M&T increases in frequency down the road it will not be by merely cutting this content into four and then calling it a “Quarterly”. We want every issue to be substantial and book-like. At 144 pages of ad-free body copy, I will grant that it is more like a book than a typical magazine. The cover is thick and rigid and the pages consist of perfect bound heavy uncoated paper. This massive volume weighs in at around 1 lb a piece.

So there has been some confusion over the use of the word “magazine” for this publication. “Isn’t this a book and not a magazine?” Feel free to call it whatever you like but this format is not unprecedented. There are an abundance of indie magazines like this in the UK and a handful here in the US. Some of these are quarterly, some bi-annual. (e.g. Kinfolk, Trouve, Cereal, Huck, Lagom, The Collective Quarterly) They are all on uncoated paper and have 100+ pages of virtually ad-free content. They focus primarily on lush photography with brief navel-gazing essays on “lifestyle” or “travel” themes. Although I have never been able to get myself to wade through actually reading one of those in their entirety, I do appreciate the feel and aesthetic. I think it is the perfect format for the unique and engaging content of Mortise & Tenon.

The uncoated paper gives a vintage look and tactile quality that standard coated paper just cannot achieve. My printer explained to me that the nostalgic look is a micro-bleed of the ink. Instead of the ink sitting on top of a coating, it actually sinks in to an uncoated paper causing a microscopic bleed. This is what creates that wonderful vintage look. From a print techie’s perspective, the rigid and precise lines created on coated paper are more advanced technologically. From an antiquarian’s perspective, the warmth and nostalgia of traditional uncoated stock are irreplaceable. In our judgment, the coated stock is just too conventional and common place so reading a publication on uncoated paper is a special experience.

But M&T is not just pretty pictures. Containing approximately 40,000 words from today's leading experts, your mind will be just as stimulated as your eyes are delighted. The most common complaint I’ve heard about woodworking media is that it’s skimpy on the content. I’ve taken this to heart and consequently refused to compromise word count in order to achieve a minimalist look. It’s been a challenge to make these different goals work together but I think the final result is a tasteful blend of beautiful simplicity and abundant content. I think you’ll agree.

p.s. Last day for free shipping, folks. Make sure you’ve got your order in.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It’s Out of My Hands Now

Yesterday morning I approved the final proofs for Issue One. It is a tremendous weight off my shoulders to know it’s out of my hands now. Because my wife Julia and I can be rather persnickety when it comes to aesthetic decisions we pored over these pages time after time to tweak each image and text column just so until we were happy. I’ve had many nights of no more than a few hours of sleep in order to refine the design to our satisfaction. Aside from the design side of things, many hours were spent combing through the text with a fine-toothed comb. Jim McConnell, Megan Fitzpatrick, Julia, and I have been through it too many times to count. I now understand why quality publications cost what they do.

So we’ve done our bit now. Issue One is designed, edited, and the proofs approved. From here on out it’s in the printer’s court. Based on recommendation, I’m using Royle Printing from Sun Prairie, WI. I’ve been very impressed with their willingness to take on a totally green start-up like myself. The account executive, Phil, has been particularly helpful in explaining technical issues and jargon in plain terms that even I can understand. He’s heard my vision for this publication and bent over backward to make sure I can deliver to you exactly what was intended. I know this thing is going to be beautiful. I’m in good hands with Royle.

I also owe tremendous thanks to many people that have advised me along the way. Chris Schwarz (Lost Art Press), Megan Fitzpatrick (Popular Woodworking), Amanda Marko (Trouve), and Jon Wilson (Wooden Boat Magazine) in particular have been the guiderails for me as I’ve been on this journey. They’ve helped me to understand the business side of print in a niche market. Mortise & Tenon simply wouldn’t exist if it were not for their immeasurable generosity.

It’s been an indescribable experience the past nine months to watch reader enthusiasm and support surround this project. To have over 10,000 people following the progress of the magazine is humbling to say the least. I never thought M&T would grow into this so quickly. It has come clear to me that although hand tool woodworking and pre-industrial furniture is a niche topic, the interest is deep.

This is the magazine I always wanted to read and now, because of your support, we can. Thank you, readers. I’m looking forward to getting you your copy of Issue One. In only two weeks, when that truck shows up at my house with a mountain of magazines, this vision will come to fruition.

If you’re wondering how to get your hands on the inaugural issue, hop over to the website to put in your order. Please note that free shipping on pre-orders ends on the 10th (only one week away).

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Shirts, Posters, and Stickers: Now Taking Orders


I spent a large part of today doing inventory on my new M&T e-store and getting all my shipping supplies in order. It wasn’t until 10 pm tonight that I could get the domain transferred to the new store ready to take orders. It’s finally live. If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on one of the t-shirts, posters, or stickers, wait no longer. Visit the store at http://mortiseandtenonmag.com.

This run of things is a “while supplies last” kind of deal. Having no idea of the level of interest I made a conservative call on the size of run for each item. I didn’t want to have to use t-shirts as insulation in our new house someday. When this round starts thinning out, I will be contacting my printers to restock. Shannon Brantley, who printed the excellent shirts, is standing by ready for a second run if need be. Check out the offerings. I suggest a t-shirt especially. They have a super soft, vintage feel.

Issue One Poster

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Deadlines: Studio and Sponsorship

Tonight after work, I deposited a pile of boxes into my new Mortise & Tenon storage unit. Between t-shirts, stickers, posters, and all the mailing supplies, and not to mention soon-to-be thousands of copies of Issue One, I needed storage space. I’ll have to build a few shelves to make this stuff easily accessible throughout the year.

Thanks to the help of my new studio assistant, Mike, I’m wrapping up the last few projects before I go into full time M&T mode for the month of January. I’ve got a handful of chairs, a couple tables, and a desk that need to be out before next month. As always, deadlines are getting tight as the week is drawing to a close.

Speaking of deadlines, the sponsorship opportunities are closing after January 1st. That gives anyone who has been meaning to inquire two days to drop me a line. Now is your chance. I’ve been adding more and more sponsors as time goes on and there are a few more I will add when I get the final details. It turns out that Issue One will be sponsored by about thirty businesses and individuals, all of whom I have immense respect and admiration. It is very humbling to be endorsed by folks of this caliber. Check out the list here. It is pretty incredible.

What a turn of events. I never thought this would take off as well as it has. Thank you for your support, readers. I am very blessed.

That’s it for now. I’ve got a lot of work to catch up on.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Full Time Gig

Posters for sale in January

This whole magazine thing is starting to become a full time gig. In the beginning when I was talking with Chris about the idea, he told me that producing one issue of a magazine is the same as writing a book. It’s true. People have asked me why I am starting by only publishing annually. It is perfectly understandable that folks that have never been involved in any publishing would be unaware of how time intensive this stuff is. Well, besides running the conservation practice that pays my bills, I am the editor in chief, marketing department, photographer, interviewer, contributing author, designer, customer service, and sales manager for an emerging internationally distributed magazine. It’s kind of like a lot of work or something.

I have recruited some help. My good friend Brittnay has transcribed the audio recorded interviews. Recording the conversations this way enables the interviewee and I to chat casually and comfortably without the distraction of note taking. I think it pays off in the final product. I then have been sending these rough transcriptions (Brittnay’s not a woodworker) and rough drafts of articles to woodworker/writer Jim McConnell. Jim, trained and experienced in editorial work, has been working these articles through in a way I never would have been able to. The magazine will be so much better for having Jim on the team. After the manuscripts are cleaned up for review, I work through them to refine/cut content, etc. Then the files go to my copy editor, Megan Fitzpatrick. She makes sure everything is house style compliant and that the commas are in the right places and words are spelled correctly. Having such an awesome team working on this has fueled and inspired me in a way that never would have happened working on this by myself.

But how am I going to keep furniture moving through my studio? Again, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends. I am starting to get studio help one day a week from a very good friend of mine. Mike helped me on the house project and I was so impressed with his careful hand and work ethic I invited him into my studio. As a woodworker and boat varnisher with an enthusiasm for historic furniture, he’s got a great foundation for developing conservation skills. I’m really looking forward to working side by side with him. More on our collaboration later.

Many late nights and early mornings lately have been consumed with producing this magazine. I will be dedicating the entire month of January to M&T in order to get the finished Issue One to the printer Feb. 1st. After that, I’m turning back to Fisher.

Hogarth's "Line of Beauty" found in Fisher's stand legs

Working on this magazine has been very instructive to me as I am writing this book about Jonathan Fisher’s furniture making. Through the many conversations I’ve had and the feedback I’ve gotten my vision for the Fisher book has been clarified. I feel like I am on a better track by focusing a little more on the craftsmanship of Fisher and less on the biographical backdrop. As strange as it sounds, launching M&T during this book writing process has actually been very good for the book. It will be better for it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blown Away

The first week of pre-order opening has gone spectacularly. I’m blown away by the amount of enthusiasm for this publication. Honestly, when I first came up with this idea, I thought I'd have to figure out how I could convince a few of my friends to buy a copy. But as this thing has been developing and growing the past year there has been a good amount of buzz about it. Popular Woodworking and Classic Hand Tools have been tweeting about it. Chris Schwarz, Tom Fidgen, George Walker, and Jim McConnell have been blogging about it. It’s been passed around Facebook quite a bit now. All in all, I am pretty overwhelmed by the response. It has been a long road to get to this point and I’m still in the thick of it for a while doing the nitty-gritty editing and designing. I will make sure you see this thing in your mailbox in February.

A Few Words on Ordering

A small handful of people have contacted me to tell me they’ve had issues not being able to sign up for pre-orders. Most of them followed up later and said it finally went through. I can’t say why that glitch happened but all I can tell you (as annoying as it sounds) is it’s a Paypal issue and not anything on my end. If you’ve tried and tried with no success feel free to shoot me an email at info@mortiseandtenonmag.com and we’ll see what we can do. I will be switching to a different (and better) storefront in the next few weeks so I’ll let you know when that is launched. There may even be a few new products to release. We’ll see if they arrive in time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Now Open For Pre-Orders!

Finally the day has come to take Mortise & Tenon Magazine pre-orders!  The “Pre-order Now” button is live at the Purchase page of the M&T website. Check out the updated Table of Contents and put in your order. Don’t forget: As a thank you for your support, all US pre-orders from the website will receive free shipping.

For international orders, please check the Purchase page for the list of stockists. Classic Hand Tools is taking pre-orders for the UK and Europe and The Wood Works is now taking pre-orders for Australia. Also, Lee Valley will begin taking all Canadian pre-orders within the next couple of weeks. I will let you know when they’re ready.

I have spent many hours this year interviewing, photographing, and writing to prepare Issue One. It has been an incredible privilege spending time with the best of the best discussing period furniture, conservation, woodworking, and scholarship. Al Breed, Phil Lowe, Freddy Roman, George Walker, Martin O’Brien, Jon Brandon, Gerry Ward, Charles Hummel, Zachary Dillinger, and the Yale Furniture Study are all making an appearance in this Issue. It is a truly incredible line up… beyond what I could have hoped for.

I’m now hunkered down now in editing mode in order to get the manuscripts off to my copy editor, Megan Fitzpatrick. There are a lot of articles and photographs to work through so I’ll be busy. The printer and I are working out an expected delivery of mid to late February.

To all you enthusiastic folks that send me the steady stream of encouraging emails and messages, I look forward to putting Issue One in your hands. Spread the word: Pre-orders are open! Thank you!

Warmest regards,

Joshua Klein
Mortise & Tenon Magazine