For those of you, my wife included, who found my first post a bit overwhelming, here is a slightly less, um… epic version.
Okay honey, you can stop laughing!
My name is Geoff Webb, and I am a galoot. For those of you aren’t familiar with the OldTools list a galoot is a woodworker who works with only hand powered tools. Since I look at woodworking as a way to spend time rather then make a paycheck, hand tools fit the bill perfectly.
A few years ago my lovely wife bought me a book by Roy Underhill. In the book he described the skills needed to go into a wood with an ax and build a house and everything in it. I was mesmerized. I dreamed of being able to do just that, taking a living tree and turning it into useful objects.
Fast forward to the recent present. My grandfather is a master craftsman. He can literally build a house and everything in it. However, he is getting on in years and recently moved into an assisted living facility where he had to give up some of his tools. He gave me one of his tool chests. That was the beginning of my journey.
My grandfather had several jobs during his working life, bricklayer, shop teacher, jeweler and modelmaker. My toolchest was the one he used as a modelmaker at Rockwell during the late 1950’s and 60’s. It was filled with chisels and gouges that he had made himself. There were old layout tools, planes and spokeshaves. Everything needed to build model aircraft.
My dreams and the tools collided. I decided that I wanted to learn to master my grandfather’s tools, and to pursue a simpler, slower method of woodworking.
Many years ago, I was a theatre designer. I designed and built the sets and lighting that you see on stages and concert halls around the world. It’s a mad world, where the most complicated joint used is a lap joint, and the work will be viewed from forty feet away. Things are done quickly; the set pieces are only temporary. Once the show is over they are destroyed or reused. Nothing is made to last.
Now I am working with tools older then myself; some older then my grandfather. I am discussing techniques hundreds of years old, used on objects made to last for generations.
This is gonna be fun.
-- Geoff Webb, Spokane WA