Monday, September 10, 2007


Never thought I'd have a blog but here 'tis.

I'm a female woodworker and have been building furniture, hand planes, and various other things since 1992, when I moved into my house and found a workbench in the basement. Not being able to afford anything, including furniture, I decided to try to build a few things. Wasn't long before I was hooked. Imagine being able to build something that looks nice and is also useful. It appealed to the practical Virgo in me.

I started out using power tools and relied on Norm Abram to teach me how to use them. Years later, and with only a slight incline in my learning curve, I finally enrolled in some fine woodworking classes. Hallelujah! Learning from master woodworkers was the catalyst I needed to improve my skills. From David Finck I learned how to make bench planes and handcut dovetails. From Tod Herrli I learned how to make molding planes, including shaping and tempering the blade. From Bess Naylor and Gene Landon I learned how to use molding planes and make crown & dentil molding by hand. And from Steve Latta I learned how to make string inlay for a specific line and berry technique found only in 18th & 19th c. Chester County, PA spice boxes.

And from all of my wonderful mentors, I learned to love hand tools. They are a joy to use. Meditative & peaceful and when using antique tools, a connection to our past. I have a number of antique hand planes and often think of the men who used them and wonder what they might have built. Did they use them for a woodworking business, for a hobby, like me, or for utilitarian purposes—building and repairing things at their house or farm? There is nothing like the contentment one feels when using a well-tuned antique plane, its edges softened by handling and its patina a result of years of service and age. The rythmic whoosh whoosh of a scary-sharp blade zipping through wood and the wispy shavings that trail out of the plane's mouth never fail to lift my spirits.

Thanks for reading.