Okay so I just got back from the Kansas City Renaissance Fair. I saw this post here for a topic of must have tools for wood working. Instead of going into the modern day hammer, drill and such I’ve decided to go a bit old school. What are some must have woodworking tools for old style wood working projects. After doing a bit of research this list Things haven’t changed too much from the middle ages. The basic tools are the same as some of the basic tools used today.
Before one must work with the tools, one must find and measure the piece being used. While finding the piece isn’t difficult, with the use of the eyes, a little bit of thinking, and simply going and finding the piece you want to use, it must be measured and cut down. In order to measure the device, the first tool that is most important when working with wood is the measure tape. In mid evil times they would most often use a bit of string cut to where they wanted to. Now today’s standards are a bit different with the use of actual measuring tape with numbers on them.
One tool that is also handy to have is a square. This tool allows for accuracy and measuring both especially when making tables, chairs, etc. This tool can find the corners of your project, or allow you to draw straight lines with the base of your project as a reference point. This can greatly improve the accuracy of your projects.
One of the basic tools utilized now, as well as back in the Renaissance is the carving knife. The carving knife usually has one edge that is straight and is generally 8 to 15 inches in length. This puts them longer than a basic kitchen knife you would find at home. This basic instrument has a wide range of uses within woodworking. The carving knife has been used for ages for both starting and finishing a project. The fine details you see on hand crafted art or furniture pieces are most likely done with the use of carving knives.
The next item that is must for woodworking is the saw. The saw is a classic item used for a multitude of things. The saw is used to cut the wood from the tree, clean off the excess branches, it is even used to make those major changes to one’s project. Saws come in many different sizes and shapes.
The Bow Saw is similar to the metal framed bow saws of today, except the metal frame is replaced with a strong wooden frame. The bow saw is a toothed blade connected between two long narrow handles, also called “cheeks” they are supported by a stretcher in the middle, a narrow piece of wood making an H shaped tool. A string is ran between the cheeks and tension on the blade is kept by twisting the cord with the use of a turnbuckle.
The drawing knife is a an old tool that finds its way into the renaissance period. Websters Revised and Unabridged Dictionary defines the draw knife as “A woodworker’s and joiner’s tool having a blade with a handle at each end, used to shave off surfaces, by drawing it toward one.” After bracing the project on a vice or shave horse you position the piece of wood between you and pull the shave horse towards you to make the cut. This tool is used on many pieces of furniture and is similar to the hand held plane of today. The more pressure you apply to the tool the more material you will remove.
Another tool that finds its use is a lathe and chisel. Now in the medieval time the lathe didn’t have a motor, but merely by pressing your foot down on a wooden step the mechanism of string and wood would turn the project in it’s cradle allowing the craftsman to work on his project just as a lathe of today does. At the Kansas City Renaissance festival I saw crafts of all kinds utilizing this tool, from pens, arrows, to flutes and vases a vast array of tools can be used.
The shave horse, the last tool that is in my list for you all, is one that finds it’s home in the renaissance but today has somewhat lost it’s use for metal clamps and vises. This tool is made of wood and allows for the user to sit across it, press one foot against the foot hold to apply pressure to the piece of wood they are working on. Many variations of this tool exist to help different types of woodworkers. Many items are made from this, and talking with the craftsman at the Kansas City Renaissance Fair, they mentioned that they can make bows for archery, walking staffs, chair legs, table tops.
Hopefully this list entertained you and helps you out. Any of the items on here can be found on line, as well as made from scratch. With the holiday season coming up any of these items would make a great Christmas gift or birthday gift for the craftsman in your life.