This weekend I’ll be demonstrating making wooden rakes at Beamish museum’s Show of Agriculture which recreates an agricultural show from 1913. I’ve been measured for a period costume and working through my tools, sorting out which will be suitable for the show.
Thankfully, I”m a hand tool worker and often use old tool because the skills I employ were most common in the pastand they’re very often better quality than modern tools. This means my tool box consists of an axe, drawknife, spokeshaves, brace and bits, knives and proper saws with teeth you can sharpen. To add to those I’ve sharpened and fettled up a wooden smoothing plane which is a pleasure to use, made a simple measuring stick for the rakes instead of my normal tape measure and built a bucksaw to cut the logs to length.
People often ask why I use these old-fashioned tools nowadays but for me, combined with fresh greenwood, they are the most efficient and pleasurable way of working. They are versatile and ergonomic, will work anywhere (they’re the ultimate cordless tools) and even survived a workshop fire last year. I’ve already had years of use from them and the names stamped into them show that they’ve already done service for one or more craftsmen. To be part of that heritage fills me with pride when I use them.
I’m really looking forward to being at the museum for two days of making rakes and demonstrating how effective these simple tools are at a fair based around a time of hand working. I can’t wait to see what other demonstrations are there so if you’re in the area, call in and see what’s going on.
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