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Back To Basics: Turning Your Hand To Rustic Woodworking Tools

Back To Basics: Turning Your Hand To Rustic Woodworking Tools
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As the speed of modern life increases and we race towards what seems like an inevitable robot uprising, more and more people are rediscovering the joys of activities away from the glowing screens that dominate our lives. It's a trend that's gathered steam in the last decade; reflected across the culture in the rise of movements such as slow travel, slow food and a renewed interest in artisanal crafts that many thought were previously on the verge of extinction.

Leading the charge in this return to the rustic is an upsurge of interest in the noble craft of hand woodworking. With our lives becoming ever more abstract and digital, the tangible allure of creating something solid and real using traditional rustic tools grows ever stronger. And few crafts are as satisfying to dive in to and explore as the world of woodworking.

We've put together an overview of some important aspects of this world for the woodworking newbies among you. Let's get going with a look at how picking up the chisels puts you in good company.

Woodworkers All Around Us

When you sign up to be a woodworker you're not only taking a step into one of the world's oldest crafts, you're joining a surprisingly diverse list of its modern-day proponents. Let's have a look at some notable examples.

Harrison Ford: After decades perched at the very top of the Hollywood food chain, it's easy to forget there was a life before fame for Harrison Ford. As a young man back in Los Angeles he paid the bills as a "carpenter to the stars" before an encounter with George Lucas set him firmly on the road to silver screen success.

Jimmy Carter: Ex-President Carter is rightly praised these days for his unstinting humanitarian and peace building work across the globe, but it's his passion for woodworking that has long kept the home fires burning. He was featured in the august pages of Fine Woodworking as far back as 1984 and his love of the craft hasn't diminished in the intervening decades, as evidenced in this enjoyable recent interview.

The next generation in tech: It's not just politicians and performers who've jumped on the bandwagon. Rustic woodworking is steadily gaining a cult following among some of the most cutting-edge members of the digerati. Check out this fascinating recent talk from Tim Ewals where he lays out what modern software developers can learn from the flexibility and discipline of an ancient craft.

These three examples are just the tip of iceberg, though! Discover more over at the Celebrity Woodworkers Pinterest page.

Tools For Getting Started With Rustic Woodworking

Hopefully you're starting to get fired up about the world of woodworking and are itching to get going. Where to begin with woodworking tools, though? Assembling the perfect woodworking toolset is the work of a lifetime, but we've put together a quick list of five essential pieces of kit you won't want to be without.

Workbench: A good workbench is the center of your woodworking world but it doesn't need to be too fancy. Anything that lets you get your materials in place and safely secured will do for starters. Don't be tempted by the build- it-yourself option when you're an absolute beginner, though. Save yourself some time and frustration and begin with something pre-made.

Combination square: "Measure twice, cut once" goes the old saying and an accurate tool for pencilling and knifing is one of the key weapons in your woodworking arsenal as you progress.

Marking knife: As your skills develop, you'll find the extra dimension of precision in laying out a joinery location that a good marking knife gives you to be an invaluable asset.

Dovetail saw: Two basic variations from which to choose—the Japanese pullsaw (Dozuki) and the Western backsaw. The Japanese variety make an excellent tool for beginners to practice.

Chisels: It's worth unlocking the wallet here. A good set of chisels will last you a lifetime and there'll be some use for them on practically every project. Treat yourself to a solid set of starter bench chisels and build your collection out from there.

Where to Find Affordable Tools

Searching for rustic woodworking tools can turn into an enjoyable hobby in itself. They're tools you'll be using for a lifetime with little of the associated purchase anxiety that comes with shopping for more modern products. Here's three simple spots where a savvy woodworker can pick up some bargains:

eBay: A treasure-trove for the informed buyer. If you know what you're looking for, there's a good chance a bit of patience will pay off on this platform.

Craigslist: All the advantages of eBay but with added local convenience.

Flea markets: Treasure-hunting at its finest with the extra appeal of being able to pick the brains of a fellow woodworker in person.

Masters at Work to Inspire You

The internet (and Youtube in particular) has been a boon for the craft community, allowing a rare insight into the worlds of master craftsfolk that would have been previously unobtainable. Here are three great examples for your viewing pleasure:

We hope you've enjoyed this introduction to the rustic woodworking world and wish you all the best in your future journey further into the craft.

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