I have had a life long interest in woodworking. It's been a long and sometimes slow road, gathering tools, equipment, wood, and most importantly skills. I'm still constrained by a fairly small shop, but I can make most of the things on my todo list.
My interest is in furniture making from the High Middle Ages to the early 20th Century. Generally, the tools and techniques for making pre-industrial furniture in addition to the furniture itself.
I know, this covers a pretty wide range. But, as you'll see, woodworking tools changed very little from Roman times to the late 18th Century. The quality of steel (steel at all) changed and design aesthetic certainly evolved over time, but the kit of a 17th Century American cabinetmaker would be familiar to a medieval woodworker.
For those of you coming here to see my SCA work, there's going to be a fair bit of later stuff as well. My house is slowly being furnished with Arts & Crafts style and Shaker Style furniture. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
As a young adult in the late 80s, I got to experience the nadir of hobbyist woodworking. Most of the great toolmakers had gone out of business or been bought up and the rest had sold their souls to the Far East in search of higher margins. What tools they were making were junk. It probably drove people away from the hobby in droves. I was given a brand new Great Neck plane in the early 90s. Out of the package, the sole was nowhere near flat. The iron couldn't hold an edge, it was an exercise in frustration.
That's when I discovered vintage tools. Good ones were a little hard to find, but with some careful looking, you could snag a few here and there. I didn't really have much of a budget to work with, but I caught on to the idea that if I bought 10, sold 9, I could keep the best one for myself. Problem solved.
In fact, it solved itself so well, it's been a side business for me for the last 7 or 8 years. It really helped bridge some painful economic times. Unfortunately, it also kept me away from actually making anything with the tools. But that's largely behind me know. I still sell tools, but the pace is much more manageable and I am able to get projects through the shop now.
So here we are. Time to take a little tour of stuff I have made over the years. We can divide the work into 3 epochs:
- Early career - Mostly basic stuff for period looking SCA camping
- Mid-career - Early reproduction work in both medieval and modern furniture
- Current work - Greater complexity, more focus on tool research, still a wide gamut of time periods.