I look forward to listening and talking with all of you about our woodworking world. Thank you for the welcomes! I am an old timer, and I enjoy making toys, shaker-style furniture, and finish carpentry work.
I started woodworking about seventy years ago in my father’s little shop. He was sort of a jack-of-all trades
and we worked on lots of different projects, mostly with hand tools. I came to really appreciate clean, sharp
hand (and later machine) tools, because my father insisted that I use only hand tools until I was around
eleven years old. We built a few wooden rowboats, and the only machine used was an ancient cast-iron tablesaw with which father ripped the clear air-dried white pine planking. We filed and honed plane irons and chisels. We filed and set the teeth of our rip and crosscut saws. We split white oak logs and shaped stem and ribs with a drawshave and cabinet scraper. We drilled small holes with an eggbeater drill and larger ones with a bit brace. We surfaced and jointed boards with hand planes. My father joined the Navy right after Pearl Harbor, and became one of the first Seabees who went to the Pacific to Guadalcanel to rebuild Henderson Field. He was a carpenters mate. When he came home after the war, he became the woodworking teacher at the grade school in town. Then we started to expand our shop at home, and I got to use machines. When I started building more complicated projects, and ran into bigger problems with joinery and finishing, he would watch from across the bench and remind me that our creed was the Seabee moto “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer”. After High School, I enrolled in the Industrial Arts program at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts, and became a woodworking teacher. I had the good fortune of spending four years with Walt Harrod, Woodworking Guru at Fitchburg State. I now work out of my own shop which occupies the second floor of our barn in Barnstead, New Hampshire. I do all sorts of woodworking, and use all sorts of machinery, but still use the same hand tools which I started using all those years ago and really enjoy the quiet, familiar feel, sound, and smell of dustless shavings coming off the boards. Thought you might be interested in “the way we were”.