Sunday, March 15, 2009

1923 Woodworking Video

Heinrich commented with a link in the Spoon Carving Knives post of (presumably) Swedish woodworkers from 1923 making clogs, a spoon, and a chair—using basic handtools in a rustic setting.  It is well worth watching.

I was amazed to see how fast these craftsmen zipped through the process of their trades using crude benches and few tools....and was even more amazed that they had all their fingers.  You can even pick up a few woodworking techniques from them--I did!

(Thank you for the link, Heinrich.)


Anonymous said...


Amazing, to say the least. I was impressed to (finally) see how some of the tools are used.

Thanks for sharing this cool video!

Unknown said...

Amazing short film, I wish there more like it of some of the old craftsman from the Appalachia Mountains . Thanks for sharing


Anonymous said...

I was captivated by this film. I was especially interested in their boring technique using the shoulder and body weight to drive the bit, probably a spoon bit. Thanks for sharing this, wish I knew what all the captions were saying. Made me think of the Swedish chef on the Muppets Show.

Anonymous said...

The craftsman were probably not working quite as fast as shown. Silent movies were usually shot at a slower frame rate, and frequently speeded up when converted to sound movie format.

The technique used to saw the front of the heel was interesting - bow saw held stationary and the shoe moved along the blade.

mdhills said...

Neat. I was pretty amazed to see how far into the construction impact tools were used (ie, hatchet to pull off the excess wood on the clogs after the boring was done). Also interesting to see how much work was done in-hand, as opposed to having the piece clamped or wedged somehow.

For the swedish-impaired: don't forget google translate:|en|Amnena%20kilas%20fast%20I%20%22träskomärren%22

Bob Tinsley said...

Great film. I was especially interested in the spoon carving segment. I'd never seen such a large knife used before. I use a scissor cut myself with my opposing thumb as a fulcrum, but this was the first time I'd seen someone use their knee as a fulcrum! Thanks for posting this.


will said...

So now we know ... how Mr. Ikea got his start making and selling chairs. And, instead of a VW, he had a horse and wagon.

Overall, the various tradesmen reminds me of the old expression: "Anyone can make something but only a master craftsman can make it well and make it quickly."

Unknown said...

Great video. The rest of them are fun to watch too. Especially the wheelwright at work...

Anonymous said...

For those curious about wood shoe making, there is a Dutch site that lays out the process step-by-step:

I saw the process once Northwestern Germany. The two main tools that I had never seen in use before were: 1. a large spoon auger, and 2. a large knife anchored on one end to a wooden base with a long handle for substantial leverage. The types of wood used predominantly were birch and alder.



Anonymous said...

I swear the one guy looks like Swede, especially with that hat. Also, I think they are really practicing their skills for the chickens running around in the background.

Great link!

Anonymous said...

To quote Matt Vanderlist;

"Fingers and Thumbs. Don't be dumb!"

Aside from the speed the film was played back at, it was pretty impressive how fast they were able to go from log to finished product.

Thanks for sharing, Kari!

Kari Hultman said...

I loved the film, too. If anyone finds more, please let me know!

The Village Idiot said "...the one guy looks like Swede." For clarification, "Swede" is my dad.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to watch that. Thanks for posting it. H

Anonymous said...

Truly amazing stuff. They way they worked the adze and sloyd knife was just unbelievable not to mention the way of life. Not cluttered and no tool collections. Maybe after the bailout the agaraian lifestyle will come into vogue. More of this stuff can be seen on More contemporary but still great to watch.
Scrap Wood Bob

Unknown said...

A real pleasure to watch. I thought the spoon augers were cool and was fascinated by the way they threw their bodies into the work.
Dipping the chair parts into the hide pot was great and boring the pins to hold it all together. Boy, practice makes perfect. I've seen videos that spend more time with rulers and squares than these guys take to make chairs! Very humbling.

-Chod Lang

aranman said...

Thanks for the great link, this archival material is priceless. I also have learned that I need one more tool in my shop, A COOL HAT!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed watching this documentation! Great!

Joe said...

Det är mycket bra.

I wonder if any of those guys are my Swedish ancestors ;) Incredibly fascinating to watch them work.

Thanks Kari.

Robin Wood said...

I love these vids too though it's a while since I last watched them. One of the things I like best is that quite a few of them are working in their front rooms, so many folk are now banished to the shed to make mess, craftwork in the heart of the home is good and no doubt made sense only heating one building.

There is another set of similar vids from Finland, not as much woodworking but some nice bits along with traditional fishing folk customs etc. I think I had a link on my blog a while ago I'll try to find it.

Stuart King and I also filmed a fast spoon carver in Romania in 1998 search youtube for Romanian spooncarver for that one.

Kari Hultman said...

Aranman, my thoughts exactly!!!

Michael, glad you enjoyed it. :o)

Joe, those are words I recognize but couldn't remember "mycket". Thank heavens for translation sites!

Robin, I finally got ahold of Wille's book and just read the part about how people used to work on their crafts together in one room in the house. I thought of you and your wife making chips fly in your living room. : ) I found a bunch of carvers on youtube but had not seen the Romanian carver--I'll look for it.