My first exposure to woodworking was during World War II. We lived with my grandparents in Duluth, MN, while my father went around the country working for the Army Corp of Engineers.
My first project for my own home was a built-in bathroom cabinet in 1963. Beginning in 1966 I started buying old tools at flea markets, mainly Stanley planes.
My interest in hand tools started when I read a “A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook”. I was very impressed with the quality of finish and overall appearance achieved with hand tools. I tuned up a couple of planes and sharpened my chisels correctly and started using hand tools more.
In 1993 I selected several items from Norm Vandal’s book on Queen Anne furniture and asked my wife to pick one. She picked the tea table with the slide out candle platforms. A year-and-a-half later the table was completed and was granted permission to enter the house. This got me started on several other period furniture projects.
I retired in 2002 and moved to Folsom, CA with my wife. Up to November of 2005, I was busy building cabinets and other pieces for our new house. In 2005 I built eight sash doweling boxes. In October of 2006 I started on the replica of the Seaton Chest.
My user plane collection consists of about 240 items, more than half are wooden planes, from Varvill of York, England. I collect Varvill tools because Varvill consistently stamped the name of the molding or type on the plane.
I have about 200 English sash maker’s tools including molding planes and other related tools. I have about 50 Ward and Payne chisels and plow plane irons that I use on a day-to-day basis.
With few exceptions I stay away from rare items. I want to tune up and use any of my tools at any time without worrying about ruining a rare or unique item. I have used about 25% of the Varvill tools and most of the chisels on various projects.
I am not certain what I will build
after the tool chest is finished.