Hi! I'm an avid woodworker and tool collector. For over 20 years I owned and operated a custom furniture and cabinet manufacturing company and two retail stores. I've spent over 15 years teaching furniture and cabinet making classes for a local high school, vocational training program, community college, and a university industrial technology program. I've been buying, restoring, and using woodworking machinery and antique hand tools since I was a sophomore in high school. Over the years, I've torn apart and rebuilt hundreds of vintage machines and woodworking tools. I've gathered hundreds of old tool manuals, owners guides, company advertisements, and catalogs and I've taken thousands of photos along the way.
Old-Woodworking-Tools.net is my effort to share a growing library of information and resources about old machines and woodworking tools that I've collected over the years. Hopefully it will be a collection of resources that you'll benefit from as well as one that you'll want to contribute too.
I first got interested in woodworking in the eighth grade. My very first shop project was in a summer school industrial arts class. School budgets for wood must have been tight that year. I grew up near the ocean. Our teacher took us to the nearby tide pools where we were to look for washed up pieces of drift wood. I don't remember what the actual assignment was but I do remember finding a club shaped piece of driftwood that turned out to be some kind of walnut. I cut the head of the club shaped piece off and with some wood rasps and files and a Stanley Surform tool molded it into the perfect reproduction of a potato.
You could have set it on the dining room table with some real potatoes and you couldn't tell the difference. I think my parents still have that first project somewhere around the house. My next project that summer was the obligatory middle school wood shop project.... a fish-shaped candy dish shaped with gouges and chisels from a piece of mahogany. Projects gradually got a little more complicated as I learned how to use some basic hand tools and then moved to more powered machinery.
I learned more and more about woodworking and tools throughout high school. In fact, I started my first woodworking business while still in high school, making a variety of small furniture pieces and accessories and selling them a crafts shows and festivals along the beach cities in Southern California. It became quite lucrative and I could see the business potential so I decided to study industrial technology in college. After four years of school and a year of graduate work obtaining a teaching credential, I kept the woodworking business going while at the same time began my teaching career.
Since then, I've built everything from small accessories to kitchen cabinets to roll-top desks, pedestal tables, custom entertainment centers, wall units, antique reproductions, and everything in between. I've had up to thirty employees working for me in furniture and cabinet production and wood finishing departments. After twnety years or so I decided to go into school administration and had to give up the woodworking business. It was time. Cheap imports from China, government regulations on manufacturing, insurance, and other issues were sapping the fun and enjoyment I used to have when I was one man shop.
At one time I had a 15,000 square foot wood shop and all the room I needed to spread out big projects or work on multiple projects at one time. Now, I'm reduced to a two and sometimes three-car garage. Working on wood projects or building furniture and making lots of saw dust doesn't exactly work out well when you're also trying to rebuild and restore old woodworking machinery in the same cramped space. Either the sawdust interferes with the tool restorations or the dirt and grease from working on the machines has a tendency to ruin the woodwork.
Several years ago, I concluded that I can't do both and for several years have turned my attention to collecting and rebuilding old woodworking machines instead of doing the woodworking. I've been collecting and saving the best of the machine restorations to someday set up my shop again so I can get back to the woodworking. For now, I'm collecting and restoring machines and sharing what I've learned on Old-woodworking-tools.net.
I know a fair amount about woodworking, old woodworking machines and tools, but I certainly don't know it all and as a life long educator, I'm always willing and interested in learning more. I hope you find this website a useful source of information about woodworking, woodworking machines and old woodworking tools.
I hope you find this a great resource and one you'll keep coming back to again and again. Shoot me note if you'd like to contribute to this site. I'd love to hear from you.