Monday, August 26, 2013

Rumors of my Demise Have been Greatly Exaggerated!

It has been a while since my last post, so I figured I would share an update and some pictures to show what I have been working on. Since starting my new job, I have been expanding my hand woodworking skills at an alarming rate. Helving axes, making mallets, fixing beetles, splitting pale, hewing logs, and a whole other slew of incredibly useful skills (relative term according to The Boss) for a self proclaimed woodwright!

I wont go over everything that I have been up to in this post...that would ruin all of my great material, plus I think the long-windedness (awesome new word) of a post like that would scare away any potential readers. I will however share the first completed project that I did as a 17th century carpenter.

We were making a new goat pasture so naturally we needed a garden gate to get in and out of the pen. I started with a huge oak log and split, rived, trimmed, and smoothed my way to reasonably flat and straight lumber. Green woodworking really is a beast of a different color, and it is great fun trying out new skills that have been essentially extinct for at least a hundred years or so. The gate was assembled using hand wrought nails and a method called clenching...which is basically a way to bend nails on purpose. Another important note is that everything is done using traditional 17th century vernacular, so before making this gate I went and did some research into paintings, engravings, woodcuts, and written documentation on the appearance and construction of garden gates (it seems a little bit overkill when I write it out).

A garden gate with riven oak and clenched nails. That should keep the goats at bay!

Another adventure I had very quickly at my new position was going to see Mr. Schwarz himself give a talk on the history of tool chests. We hosted the Early American Industries Association for a day, and in return we were able to attend their conference down in Hyannis.  Most of the material was taken from The Anarchist Tool Chest, so I was familiar with it, but there was some additional pictures and information not included in the book, most notably some stunning sneak peak photos of the H.O. Studly tool chest (Google it if you have never seen're welcome).

Chris Schwarz in the flesh ladies and gentlemen. 

I have a ridiculous amount of photos and stories that I have been accumulating in the last three months, so check back often as I am planning on clearing up my backlog and returning to boring you all to death with erroneous details.