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WORK The Work Magazine Reprint Project

Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890


Work Magazine LogoIssue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 4

Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 5

Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 6

Ahh yes. One for the ladies. The implication that it's Ladies' Night up in the Work offices caused me to spit coffee all over my screen. Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 7Where's Kool & The Gang when you need them? Probably out making furniture for their betrothed.

The project, of course, is innocent. After all, it's furniture. "A Ladies' Combined Work Table and Escritore" definitely represents a challenging and interesting build for anyone outfitting a would-be parlor, or bower, or salon. The remarkable thing here is that in 123 years, gender politics in the DIY scene have remained about the same; goofy. Sub-optimal at the very least.

Fair's fair. I'm not going to pretend even for a moment that I haven't sent myself to the bench for hours on end, hell bent on impressing the opposite gender with feats of makerly prowess. Still, it seems to me this tired yet persistent old trope is worth debunking, if only for a little while.

There is a selfish reason for this, of course. As one who makes and sells woodworking tools, I am forever concerned with the apparent gender disparity in our core markets. The sooner we can defetishize the act of making, the sooner we can get everyone in the sawdust/chips/sparks-making game.

Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 8 I don't think this is even the first time I've said my piece on this, it's just that this week's Work issue reminds me of a schmaltzy, heteronormative nest-feathering home-improvement store commercial. "Make your lady a thing!" "Get your lawnmower clean!"

After all this I'm not sure what to make of the "Adaptation of Sewing Machine for Fret Saw Machine" article. Sewing machine and fretsaw ownership in my family fell along pretty distinct gender lines. Maybe the notion that this article is asking for trouble speaks to personal hang-ups more than anything else. I'll admit, though, it sounds like a pretty cool project. What is more, I have my OWN sewing machine to break trying this move. -TIM
Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 9

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.

• Click to Download Vol.2 - No. 56 •

Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 10 Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 11 Issue No. 56 - Published April 12, 1890 12

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