This woodworking tips card is about old fashioned work. Looking back to the ways that the old makers built their projects and the tools that they used can teach you quite a bit about woodworking. The older makers did great work with little for tooling when compared to the makers of today. Here is why looking back is so important:
Old Fashioned Work
There was a time when woodworkers did not have power. They did not have sandpaper, and they did not have reliable measuring devices. Even with all of these limitations and more, they still produced some of the best work the world has ever known.
How did they do it? How did they create perfectly flat surfaces on large pieces of wood without a belt sander? How did they create long lasting finishes in a time before petroleum based products? It’s a wonder to think that these woodworkers produced fine works that lasted hundreds of years.
It’s a miracle to get some woodworkers to just try working without power. Let alone working by candle light or natural light only. Given the fact that we have so much more information today, and so much more in the line of tools, it can be hard to explain why the older makers were able to do what they did. I believe that the older woodworkers did so well because they…
Old Fashioned Woodworkers Had More Patience
The biggest tool that they had was patience. Older woodworkers had more patience. Some will say that they had more skill, but there is no real difference in the abilities of anyone from this time period and that time period.
If you were born in the 1700’s you would have learned the same things they did. Their brains were no better or worse than ours. It was just a matter of what you learned at the time you were alive in the world, and what was available around you.
Older woodworkers just had no other options rather than working their piece of wood by hand until it was right. They used the tools they had, because they were the best available at the time.
Today We Are Too Hurried and Impatient
I remember when the internet was on a phone line, and it was extremely slow to load anything. Now, we have lightning fast internet and amazing devices and we still complain that the page doesn’t load fast enough.
We are a spoiled group of people, and that’s why we have no patience. The faster the world has become has caused us to want it to be even faster than that. Never being satisfied, we complain and complain about things not being fast enough.
The connection to woodworking is powered tools. The modern woodworking machines make the process really fast and easy. When you switch from machine planing a long board to hand planing a long board, you grow impatient quickly with the difference in speed between the two tools.
Slow Down and Feel the Old Woodworking Spirit
If you want to connect to the woodworkers of old…slow down. Slow down, and spend some time learning about the older woodworking techniques. Find an old book, or look for a hand tool book that is recently published. Both of these can be a wealth of old fashioned woodworking information.
Then, spend some time in the shop. Make sure you have no deadline. A deadline forces you to take time into consideration as you build. Instead of making decisions based on that is best for the project, you make them based on the time it takes. This is not good when you are learning about hand tools.
Read, learn, and apply. Spend some time carving something with a chisel for no reason at all. Then, use the hand plane for the same experience. Look into older books and joinery methods, and see what you like. Many times these older methods can inspire and teach you about areas of woodworking that you never knew existed.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
While I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well. You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
You can also Join the Community, and receive updates from me about new articles, upcoming books, and when I release new books. It’s completely free, and full of great tutorials, freebies, and great content.