In the Woodshop: The Training has Begun

Recently, Mardell Doubek – one of the last pantograph operators from the original Hamilton wood shop – in conjunction with the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, was awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board to participate in the Folk Arts Apprenticeship program. The purpose of the program is to help prevent native crafts from dying out by providing funding for the master craftsperson to train an apprentice. Mardell, as the mastercraftwoman, has accepted me as her apprentice. My goal is to learn as much as I can over the next year about the art and craft of cutting wood type with the ultimate goal of training a new batch of pantograph operators. Thus far, we’ve located scrap wood – don’t want to use the good stuff! - in the bowels of the museum storage area, sawed it down into 6, 12 and 18 line pieces, and have been practicing machine set-up – a very tedious, time-consuming process. One important by-product has been learning how to use the saws correctly. David Carpenter, our esteemed Assistant Director’s husband, has agreed to lend a hand in that regard and his efforts are truly appreciated!