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Low tech woodworking

 
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This is a series I watched sporadically as a child. Turns out it is still around.

It features making things from wood using things like hand axes, hand saws, and carving tools.

Many of the episode are now available online.

This one I watched earlier is focused on how to carve a Swedish spoon. It includes alot of safety tips, a bit on how to choose the right wood, and some thoughts on what a good spoon design is.

http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/3100/3108.html

There is lots more than spoons available. Surf around and maybe somewhere he'll cover what you really want.
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

From a post below, updated link to that series
https://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/watch-on-line/watch-episodes-topics/

 
pollinator
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WOW, I forgot how much I love PBS, thank you for the reminder!
 
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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this was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid! he also has published a bunch of books that I have never read but I have a friend that has read them and seems to think they are very good books.
 
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We are settling in to watch The Woodwright's Shop" as I type this...funny how Roy doesn't age. I am glad this is back on our station.
 
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I grew up watching this! Roy Underhill is definitely one of my heroes. Glad it is available online for free and new episodes are still coming!
 
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I don't know if this link will work because I'm on my phone, but look up mastercrafts bbc green wood on YouTube. It's amazing. All of the shows in that series are very inspirational.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=QisKUt_fPPU
 
Mother Tree
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Thanks for sharing that Caleb. I've embedded it below.

 
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Location: Lowell, MA Zone 6a
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Wow! This looks like an amazing series. Thank you very much for the heads up!
 
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Low tech isn't a really accurate description; Underhill is working with pre / early industrial revolution technology. Which was the highest tech of the time. And still state of the art for handtool work.

Generally, muscle rather than electricity;skilled work generally done to well fitting precision. Which probably is a better fit to what many of us ascribe to.


Since his work focuses on work done during the era of agrarian society, much of what he builds fits to permaculture ideation

http://video.pbs.org/search/?q=oak+gate+woodwright%2

Often, his books 'bootstrap', build a workbench, then use the workbench to build a toolbox, then your kitchen table......... His books give a good description of the process and what to look for, and incentive to get out there and build.

Books often available at your local public library and they show up quite often at used book stores (brick or online).
 
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Roy has a school with a tool shop associated with it, in one or the other of the Carolinas. He's still going strong.
 
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I found this video of a gorgeous table made from reclaimed wood and hand tools and thought this might be the thread for it.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Oops. Paul already had a thread with that video: https://permies.com/t/35635/woodworking/table-built-power-tools.
 
pollinator
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Wow! I never knew about "The Woodwright's Shop"! I am fascinated by low tech and hand tools.

The PBS link to the episodes has changed over time... the current link to browse episodes by topic is:

https://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/watch-on-line/watch-episodes-topics/

Luckily I don't have a place yet to do woodworking, otherwise I might fall clean down the rabbit hole for good!
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

Thank you, Dave! I added the updated link to the first post

 
pollinator
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A few links that may be useful if you're considering this sort of wood working...

Very good quality tools for this sort of work for a lot less than, ahem, "heirloom tool" prices.

Bought a froe, drawknives and other stuff from them and I'm very happy with them.
They're quality well beyond my abilities at the moment. They have a US and a Canadian site, they'll shuffle you off to the appropriate one when you go look:

https://www.leevalley.com/en-us


Relaxshacks

This one is a bit off topic...and yet not.
It's not a how to, but a very fun idea generator.
I've enjoyed watching them build clever and fun stuff with minimal resources and hand tools for years, although they're a bit fancier these days.

Their book on Amazon, maybe found cheaper on Addall.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Humble-Simple-Cottages-Ramshackle-Retreats/dp/0762771461/ref=sr_1_1?


Youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoYe2YOpqspuGAOB1Epe7GA
 
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I'm a pole lathe turner! Pole lathes were used to make the round legs and spindles of chairs until fairly recent times and, until Wedgewood & Co came along and set up the Potteries, everyone ate from wooden plates and bowls and drank out of wooden cups, all turned on pole lathes. Here's a video on how to make one: -  
 Lots more info available on the Net.

You folks should set up some pole lathes, they're great fun, kids love them and they generate lots of offcuts & shavings ideal for lighting up Rocket Mass Heaters! With luck, you'll end up with useful items too: rolling pins, handles, mallets, all sorts of things as well as bits for chairs. They're about the only sort of technology I know of which you can watch in action and understand exactly how it works.
 
pollinator
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 Jim Webb wrote: You folks should set up some pole lathes…



ha! I’m hearing Paul’s voice- “did you just ‘should’ me?”

But this is a very good ‘should’ and I agree with you. I watched one of these in action many years ago at a county fair in the northeast. Kids were loving it, even just to run the treadle. It’s a great learning experience, practical, useful, inexpensive/quick to build, and not terribly inferior to the $1000+ alternative if only needed occasionally. It’s also far safer to use than a powered lathe.  The biggest drawbacks are low speed and the amount of space it takes up.
 
Dave Bross
pollinator
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Many thanks to Jim Webb for the pole lathe video.

If you wander over to the section of our pole lathe builders Youtube channel there is an incredible variety of excellent videos on woodworking, blacksmithing, leather work etc. etc.

https://www.youtube.com/c/mrwindsorchair/videos

 
Jim Webb
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Dave Bross wrote:
Many thanks to Jim Webb for the pole lathe video.



Many thanks, Dave for posting that link, some really good stuff there. I love this video: -  
 . It's a great introduction to Green Woodworking; felling with an axe, cleaving with a froe, pole lathe turning, shaping with draw knife & shave horse and side axes, steam bending. A wonderful bunch of lads having a great time. And they were having Bacon Butties for dinner! Made me feel hungry. No outdoor event could ever take place in England without a van selling bacon butties & cups of tea, it would be just unthinkable! No way could you buy one here, no-one's ever heard of them let alone have the ability to make one. You can't get the right sort of bacon for a start, nor the right sort of bun (bread roll), nor the brown sauce. Neither can I recall ever getting a "nice" cup of tea here that we hadn't made ourselves.

Never mind, there are compensations. I should do more pole turning, My lathe is portable & dismantleable for taking to shows, of which there have been none for the last two years, and in the winter it lives in the crawl space. I'm going to build a shed with an all-weather lathe that will be ready to go any time I feel like using it, along with a shave horse, a cleaving brake and a steam bender (and a kettle). Then I'll make myself a rocking chair with the seat and back just so and the arms just the size and width I want them and in the right position, unlike every other chair I've ever sat in! Hey, I could make myself a ROCKET steam bender! ANOTHER project!!
 
Julie Reed
pollinator
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That ‘build a chair in a day’ was the one I gravitated to as well! My immediate thought was- how many people are left (in developed countries) that even know how to properly use an ax to fell a tree? Or a froe to make shingles or split logs? And those are the simple bits! The spring pole lathe shown at 9:55 is a work of art! The balloon drifting over casually made it all surreal.
Such a beautiful tribute to real craftsmen and handmade wooden items. I watch no tv but I know there’s a proliferation of ‘reality shows’ and have seen snippets at places with television (the dreaded waiting rooms). This video was a true reality show- no fake drama, no staged disputes, no heroes and villains, just a group of people working together toward a common goal and succeeding, simply and honestly. I’ve had the pleasure to have attended events like this, and it’s so amazing! My final thought, sadly, was ‘could that chair even be sold for enough to pay a living wage to the makers?’. I realize this one piece could be auctioned or raffled off for a great deal more, but for everyday production it’s unlikely.
That bacon looks quite similar to Canadian back bacon, definitely a treat! And all these thin healthy people- proof it’s not the culprit causing obesity.
 
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