A bit of personal history - I never touched a tool in high school. When I was there, kids were openly placed in two "tracks;" either Academic or General education. I know I wasn't the sharpest student and I generally disliked almost everything about being in school but I was placed among the Academics. In … Continue reading Thoughts Provoked by a Sloyd Workbench Advertisement
Wise words. Learning to really properly sharpen an edge tool by hand is an epiphany and makes wood and leatherworking a real joy.
The other day, I was teaching a friend to sharpen his plane iron, and it got me thinking about sharpening. Of all the skills I have learned while working wood, sharpening has been the most life-changing. It started with chisels and plane irons, but then I began sharpening my kitchen knives and pocketknives. I had no idea that steel could get so sharp! It used to be that dull tools were merely inconvenient, but now I find a dull knife a heartbreaking disappointment.
I say this because I want to share a recent article on sharpening by Chris Schwarz, former editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and current head of Lost Art Press. In it, Schwarz reflects (well, more like pontificates) on how few woodworkers actually know how to sharpen an edge tool. Even the some of the professionals who write for the big-name magazines often lack basic sharpening skills. He…
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Scenes of life on the road and around the campsites. This is part of a series of images, mostly Romany, Irish, and Scottish Travellers collected from around the internet. Many of these historic images found on the web are without citation. When a clear link to a source is found, I try to include it. … Continue reading Campsite Life
Stitching Pony, Leather Worker's Clamp, or Saddler's Clam... Whatever you call it, it is a handy device to own if you sew any leather. These are simple devices that just about anyone can make with little time or money invested. Although there are many varieties and models, the one shown in this tutorial by Harry … Continue reading Making a Stitching Pony; Video Tutorial
I would not have ever thought myself a craft fair kind of guy yet here we are... Last year, our local community center hosted an arts and craft fair as a way to bring local artisans together and raise money for public programs (art classes, GED education, computer skills, tax assistance, etc.). Being new to … Continue reading Art and Craft Fair
In Britain and Ireland, the Romany Gypsys and the Traveller community are often associated with low-skilled work such as scrap dealers, horse traders, musical entertainers, or more nefarious activities outside the societal norms. However, there were plenty of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen providing goods and services to people around the country. Below is an image … Continue reading The World is Your Workshop
Nomads are not loners. In fact, humans do not do well alone in any setting. We have always been communal people, depending upon one another for help and support. Many hands make light work and it is essential to be near others you can depend on. I have been collecting images of Traveller communities for … Continue reading Community of Wanderers
So, a vardo is a small space, especially when living with a dog. The old dog loved sleeping under the rig as she took her guard duties seriously but unfortunately, she is no longer with us. The youngster, on the other hand, has no interest in that sort of nonsense and only wants to be … Continue reading A Dog and Her Vardo
I have needed a stitching pony for a long time now... Like so many other undone projects, this one has been stirring around in my head for several years. Since my efforts have been so focused on sewing leather lately, the time had come for a new and useful tool in the shop. I've looked … Continue reading Making a Stitching Pony
I rarely (I mean almost never) go out of my way to endorse a product of any kind but while considering the upcoming holidays I came across this link I saved a while back. I think it would be perfect for the workshop and is a work of art in its own right. I can … Continue reading The Chart of Hand Tools