What tools did the Vikings use to construct their ships? During the early years of the Song dynasty, while Sridhar Acharya's concept of "zero" was making it's way westward and a pair of anonymous Anglo-Saxon poets was committing the tale of Beowulf to animal skin, a Viking craftsman lost his tool chest. It is speculated that the chest fell overboard off a ship or through the ice into what was then a swamp on the modern island of Gotland, Sweden. The chest was unearthed in 1936 when a chain attached to the chest got caught on a farmer's plow. In it were the tools a Viking blacksmith/ship builder would need to ply his trade. Named the Mästermyr chest its discovery was a boon to archaeologists, historians, re-enactors, woodworkers and blacksmiths. The original tools (catalogue of the items) were restored and put on display. Numerous copies and tributes of the chest or selected tools have been made over the years including a complete replica of both the chest and contents made using period techniques as a 'net project of a blacksmiths and woodworkers. [more inside]
Wood Central is a long lived forum for woodworkers predating even young upstart Metafilter. Having been around for so long the forums are a source of immense knowledge of all things wood and some of that has been collected into posting archives and essays on their Articles and Reviews page. So if you ever wanted to know
- How to make a Double Twisted Dovetail joint
- How a totally blind wood worker manages his craft
- How to Age Cherry with NaOH
- How to construct a paddle
- How to safely use a chainsaw
- How to use electricity to remove rust from tools
- How to make a fancy bow saw
- How to make a Fibonacci Gauge and why you would want to.
Looking for a project for the winter? Have some spare room and hand tools? Why not build a boat? [more inside]
Yesteryear's Tools is an Internet Magazine that concentrates on hand tools, the toolmakers and the tool distributors that operated mostly between the mid-1800s and mid to late-1900s. Particular attention centers upon the markings and labels of such makers and distributors, specifically those that can be classified as manufacturers and/or major distributors. [more inside]
When it comes to hand tools, many woodworkers will tell you that they just don't make 'em like they used to. Unfortunately, making sense of the myriad versions and model numbers of antique hand tools can be a daunting task. Fortunately there's Patrick's Blood and Gore for Stanley hand planes, the Disstonian Institute for Disston saws, Old Tool Heaven for just about everything ever made by Millers Falls, and HyperKitten, which includes pages on Metal Routers, Stanley Bench Planes, and Harvey W. Peace saws. [more inside]
WoodTreks is a well-produced video blog about traditional woodworking with hand tools. Many of the videos are aimed at the beginner. [more inside]
Hannu's Boatyard is a site by a Finnish guy who offers free plans for two dozen simple plywood boats you can build, along with photos illustrating the build process of each. He also describes basic woodbending technique and some of the design process, in a pleasing writing style that makes me want to get off the internet and make things. My favorites: Portuguese style dinghy; tiny stubby halfpea; round, Welsh-style coracle -- if you click on no other link today, click on the coracle link and scroll down at least to the black and white photo.
Old Wood Working Machines. Covering only North American manufactures, the OWWM website (referred to as the mothership) has 1160 scans of manuals, flyers, catalogs, and sales literature dating back over 100 years. The FAQ is extensive and has exploded spinning off many pertinent articles. OWWM also has almost 2200 user submitted, machinery profiles showing machines as found and/or restored. One of the highlights is a write up on what appears to be the very first (PDF) Delta Unisaw which was built before WWII and aside from mostly cosmetic changes is still built today.