So Christopher Schwarz has been called the Woodworking Oprah for several years now because of his influence and ability to set a market by simply using or suggesting the use of a tool. There is no question that he still holds this ability, but I think there is a new kid on the block now. “New” is probably not the best word because I’m referring to the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker Shop blog that the cabinetmakers in Williamsburg have recently started. These guys are ooooold school, portraying 18th century cabinetmakers and adhering in every way possible to historical trade practices. Colonial Williamsburg is a living museum and they have access to some of the best records and resources out there. They are blogging from the perspective of a modern woodworker portraying an 18th century cabinetmaker and their insights are really great.
Several of my hand tool loving compatriots have already gotten the word out on this new blog, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even though this blog’s entire purpose is to share and educate, they will inadvertently start setting the market on antique tools. Take for instance one of the recent posts in the last week about toothing planes. Lie Nielsen has done a good job of educating us all on what a toothed blade in a low angle Jack can do, but the Anthony Hay boys introduce the vintage high angle model and back it up with actual historical evidence found on the antiques in the Williamsburg collection. Let’s just say I’m glad I already have one of these because if the comments on the post are any indication, woodworkers reading it immediately starting scouring the Internet for a toothing plane of their very own.
If you haven’t yet discovered the Anthony Hay blog, then run, not walk, over there and subscribe to their posts. This is a rare insight into the minds of this trades historians. Even during my visits to Williamsburg I have not been able to get that much time to pick their brains as there is always a steady flow of visitors through this popular trade shop. Another great example is the post on an interesting case construction using a quasi sliding dovetail. A close look at an antique from the early 1700s is always educating if nothing else to wonder why something was done the way it was. This post in particular goes into great detail on how an odd dovetail connection was made and the wood movement upshot of it all. I can tell you that the timing was perfect as I am in production on my own sliding dovetail lesson for my Hand Tool School and the insights from a master were very illuminating.
This blog will be one to watch and it has already become a favorite in my reader.Google+ Profile