My love of wood I owe to my Great Uncle Albert. I have a picture when I am about 4 helping him in his shop. He loved wood but was not a very “fine” carpenter. For him you could never build it to sturdy with more wood and of course this was reinforced by more screws. I loved what he exposed me to but decided I wanted to become the best carpenter I could be and that would mean finding a teacher to help me reach that goal.
I met a luthier when I was about 12 and was all to happy to sweep and clean his shop in exchange of talking to him and gleaning a few hints of how to become a better carpenter. I was so excited when he asked if I would like to help him build a violin. That joy quickly faded when he told me that despite the fact he had every power tool known to man, I would not be allowed to use any of them. Instead he open a cabinet that held coffin planes, augers, braces and of handsaws. Most of them were 50 to 200 years old. But then he explained why. He said, “Anyone can force a tool to make wood do what he wants, but a carpenter must learn to listen to the wood, feel the wood, and work with each piece to get the best results. Every piece of wood has its uses. The grain, weight, and shape decides what it is. When you use hand tools you learn to work with the grain so you learn to look at the grain before you start. You notice if the wood has a split because you spend more time looking at it. As the wood becomes thinner, you listen to the sounds it makes. Only after you master the hand tools can you fully become a carpenter.”
Sadly my family moved away and so my lessons were cut short, but he open my eyes to a new way to look at wood.
I spent years building homes to make a living but often you would find me setting down the power tools to use old fashioned hand tools.
When I left construction due to MS I resumed my love of finer wood working. I was soon asked to donate a few pieces of my work for a charity auction and then invited to sell in galleries in a few different states. I then started teaching wood turning for art, as well as wood sculpting. All this time using as many vintage tools I could acquire.
I can no longer produce enough volume as needed to stay in the galleries so wood working is now just a hobby for me that I cannot live without. The nice thing is that means no time tables. I am back to learning the art of antique hand tools and loving it! I will never become the master carpenter I had hoped to become but I take great pride in knowing I have done my best and have had many masters that have been willing to help me on my journey.
So this blog is for the love of vintage tools, the treasures found, the projects made, and the people who aid in the journey.