My great grandfather was a furniture maker who immigrated to the US from Italy in the 1920’s. I have a piece of his that was made in the early 50’s, was painted in the 60’s and then stripped and “weathered” in the 80’s. Its in terrible shape, but it have given me an idea—the re-craft the exact piece of furniture. Something occurred to me though: the techniques that I currently use have almost nothing in common with those of my great grandfather.
So I am going to be getting more into hand tools over the next year or so. Watching Tommy Mac for the past few weeks has really gotten me thinking about a healthy balance between hand and power tools; something that Norm never really did well+. My current shop looks more like a production shop than an artists studio. Whenever I am presented with a particular challenge, I often choose to utilize the quickest and easiest solution possible with little regard for the artisanal merits of the approach.
So I am going to start with a hand plane. I Picked up an old Bailey #5 for 12 bucks.
+ Don’t get me wrong, I love Norm. Without him, I would have never developed an affinity for woodworking. And yes, he did occasionally use hand tools, though I never did see him flatten a board with a hand plane—he used his Timesavers sander for that :)