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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
My interest in woodworking started in my childhood (1950/60s) when I used to love watching my Poppa making things in his shed. Over the years I have dabbled a bit myself - the odd bookshelf etc - but the few old hand tools I had were not up to the job, and I didn't really know how to use them properly anyway.
In the 1980s I got interested enough to do some courses at L'Etacq college here in Christchurch, New Zealand - tool sharpening, dovetailing, and making a Krenov-style plane. Although I really enjoyed it, and had all sorts of ideas for setting up a workshop at home, for various reasons it never quite happened.
Then in the 1990s I rediscovered the recorder, having enjoyed playing it at primarily school, and attended many recorder festivals in New Zealand and Australia. At three of these festivals I took instrument making classes - shakuhachi (Japanese end-blown bamboo flute), kouauau (small Maori bone flute), and of course recorder making, which I found especially exciting.
I love the idea of making my own musical instruments, and I have now really challenged myself by undertaking to make a 16th century Italian polygonal virginals! Meanwhile I have set up a small workshop in a corner of our garage, and over the last 18 months or so I've been building up a set of good quality hand tools and teaching myself, from books, videos, and the Internet, how to use them.
My interest in woodworking centres exclusively on hand tools. Although power tools are generally more efficient, I find them rather noisy, dangerous, and dusty, and would take up room that I simply don't have. I like making my own tools too, and so far I've made a frame saw (for resawing by hand), a hand powered drill press, a hand powered jig for hollow grinding chisels and plane irons, and various other jigs.
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