If you were a Victorian dentist, only recently raised from the barbarity of barbering, and needed some place to store all those picks and pokers and pliers and porcelain where they wouldn't panic your patients, while giving an air of aristocratic and academic authority, how might you outfit your office with adequate opulence to signify stability and sincerity? A top-of-the-line dental cabinet.
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]
CARPENTRY FOR BOYS WITH 250 ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS By J. S. ZERBE, M.E. Copyright, 1914.
Kubb is a lawn game that was (maybe) invented by Vikings, and is often described as a combination of bowling, horseshoes, and chess. This adorably-accented video explains the rules, as does the helpful infographic here. It's easy to make your own kubb set- and once you have, you can ask all about the finer points at Planet Kubb, read Kubbnation Magazine, and sign up for the National Kubb Championship.
David Esterly makes intricate, delicate carvings out of wood, in the tradition of Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721), whose spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits and foliage revolutionized ornamental sculpture during the age of Christopher Wren.
Shaped on all Six Sides: A short documentary about the craft and philosophy of wooden boat carpentry. [via]
A nicely crafted video showing the construction of a treadle lathe, a foot-powered device for woodturning. The builder uses only hand tools and traditional methods; even the drill press is hand-cranked. Useful for those interested in constructing such a thing, mesmerizing for those who enjoy "how it's made"-type videos.
Marquetry is the art of making pictures composed of cut pieces of wood veneer which are then attached to a piece of furniture. Silas Kopf is perhaps the best known American doing marquetry. He works in Easthampton, MA on cabinets, desks, and at one time, pianos for Steinway. He also decorated a piano for Walden Woods using indigenous wood. [more inside]
Frank Howarth's woodworking videos are a joy to watch. Even if you know nothing about woodworking, the stop-motion animation he incorporates into them is a treat.
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.
If you've ever had a door or drawer that sticks during some parts of the year but not others, you have received a practical lesson in seasonal wood movement due to humidity. As the humidity changes, so do the dimensions of a piece of wood - sometimes to the breaking point. [more inside]
The Wood Database has specifications and photos of many types of wood to help guide their identification (but beware the pitfalls). The site also features articles on safety and other matters.
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]
AV Club Interview with Nick Offerman Articulate and often profound, this excellent AV Club interview with MeFi favorite Nick Offerman (previously 1, 2, 3) discusses his role as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson, the modern concept of masculinity portrayed by Hollywood, the importance of being yourself, and prosthetic penises. Second page of interview NSFW. [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]
The art of intarsia was brought back to life primarily by Judy Gale Roberts in the early 1980's. Practiced in earlier times by artists such as fra Damiano da Bergamo, the technique is similar to marquetry. Intarsia is made by cutting different pieces of wood to shape, and sanding to fit them together tightly. Incredibly complex bas-relief pieces have been made by artists such as Kathy Wise.
A lot of people don't know where to go to source interesting info on historical wood finishes. You are not one of them. [more inside]
In 1968, Richard Proenneke retired to the desolate Twin Lakes region of Alaska. Alone, he built himself a log cabin, filming the endeavor with a 16mm camera. He lived there for 30 years. Dick passed away in 1999, at age 82, but the cabin is still there, and you can visit it.
YouTube video (15:45) description says: "Mike Jarvi badassedly constructs his signature one-piece, the Jarvi Bench." Really? r e a l l y . More of Mike's badass work at mikejarvi.com.
Seth Roland does amazing things with wood. From bookends to tables and more, he does remarkable things with wood and a band saw.. Fine Woodworking magazine's website has a video.
One World Technologies, manufacturer of Ryobi tools, has been ordered to pay damages of US$1.5 million to Carlos Osorio who injured his fingers while using a Ryobi table saw. The case hinged on the Ryobi's lack of "flesh sensing technology" which is found only SawStop's [previously] saws. [more inside]
The Evenfalls Studio - Woodworks Library - a Woodworker's Resource A unique collection of over 175 complete (Public Domain) books on woodworking and related topics of interest to woodworkers.The Library continues to grow, All Free, 24/7
From Matthias Wandel, the inventor of the wooden marble calculator and the non-wooden eyeballing game, now comes the wooden Jenga pistol and its successor, as well as the wooden geodesic cat storage device and wooden wasp sucker.
Downloadable original logos and badges for restoring old woodworking machines. Via Old Woodworking Machines and the Draplin Design Co.
Etsy has a YouTube channel where they have all kinds of profiles of their users and how-to guides. My two favorite series are the Process series (e.g. New Books with Old Materials & Tin Toys) and Handmade Portraits (e.g. Armor Guitars & Wood Mosaics). In the description of each video there is a link to the corresponding entry on Etsy's blog, The Storque. The blogposts have more information on the users and sometimes further links and videos. [via Work in Progress]
Johnna Klukas makes science fiction wood carvings, sculpture and furniture. She has also detailed her techniques (with more "coming soon").
Regia Anglorum, an English re-enactment society, maintains a wealth of information about life in medieval England using the virtual village of Wichamstow and its surroundings. They have in-depth articles on many of the crafts and trades that the villagers would have undertaken, and about the places they would live and work. (A full listing is here.) They are perhaps unique, however, in building a medieval village and estate with which to demonstrate medieval craftsmanship.
Building a mandolin from start to finish. A beautiful documentary in three parts on the work of the late great Portland luthier John Sullivan.
Matthias Wandel's astounding wooding calculatory enigma. A woodworker turns his talents to binary mathematics via a cunning series of cats-eyes, clinkers and rounders. Plus many other marbled wonders. [this might be marbles]
Grow your own. Furniture that is. Christopher Cattle has pictures and basic instructions on growing a three legged stool. Similiar previously here, here, and here.
How to make a crooked knife via mo-co-ta-gan. The Museum of Woodworking Tools has a very fine example.
Sexy Furniture. "The shape of a woman, her organic architecture, combined with my passion for wood inspired me to sculpt these sexy designs." Passion for wood, indeed. NSFW.
Vintage Projects do it yourself plans, vintage reprints and building ideas from the 40's, 50's and 60's for farm, workshop, woodshop, machineshop, kids and camping. Includes plans for a pop-up camper, toy excavator, snow blower, and concrete block machine.
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.
The Periodic Table Table now has its own, newly updated website. This had made the rounds on various websites when it was a mere set of construction photos on a bandwidth -constrained site. This is now much better.