Antique Woodworking Tools

A 'must-have' for anyone who loves woodworking tools.

Antique Woodworking Tools

Antique Woodworking Tools

Lavish, stunning, outstanding, magnificent ... superlatives just don't do justice to this book. It documents what must be one of the world's greatest private collections of woodworking hand tools. The book's sub-title "Their Craftsmanship from the Earliest Times to the Twentieth Century" gives you some idea of the great span of history covered – from man's earliest creations in stone and bronze, through the Iron Age, and to the master tool makers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The size of the book –  1-5/8" thick, 10-1/4" by 13-3/4", and weighing 9 pounds – hints at the vast number of tools that Russell has collected over his lifetime. The book showcases 1,556 hand tools, in 935 photographs of single tools or groupings of two or three similar tools. Plus, there is a photo index of 269 plane iron makers marks.

The photos, almost all in colour, are 
set on a white background, and accompanied by a short description of each tool, the materials from which it was made, the name of the maker, a known or estimated age, and its provenance. 
Three Arm Plow, c. 1834-39

In a short, 5-page introduction, Russell describes his life as a collector. He initially trained as an apprentice joiner in the Cumbria region of North West England, which is where he first laid eyes on a Norris jointing plane – an encounter that obviously became a lifelong passion. While he eventually left trade work to become a builder, he never lost his passion for hand tools. I, for one, am thankful that he didn't. 

A somewhat longer introduction by 
John Adamson sets the scene for the feast to follow. Adamson is a publisher of "highly illustrated books in the fine and decorative arts and in the history of material and visual culture". I take that to mean books done to very high standards of design and production – thick heavy paper, superb print quality, high resolution images, sewn binding – the whole nine yards.
The core of the book begins with tools from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods and then moves on to the bronze and iron ages. Following this are various tool categories – anvils and tongs, axes and adzes, saws, and several groups of measuring tools. The bulk of the book, some 350 pages or so, is taken up with hand planes – wood, metal, hybrid, American, British – glorious hand planes. There are no less than 50 pages on Norris planes. This is followed by much shorter, though no less intriguing sections on chisels, boring tools, braces and boring tools, and some bone and ivory tools. The book ends with a section on British plane iron markings. Here is a link to the full table of contents in a PDF format.

For anyone who really enjoys woodworking, and in particular, hand tools, this is a book that you're sure to appreciate, and treasure, for years to come. Highly recommended.
Chariot plane, 18th century

Holtzapffel braces c. 1800 to 1844

Spokeshaves c. 1794 to 1849

Makers marks

PUBLISHER:John Adamson
FORMAT:Hardcover, 528 pages
AUTHOR:David Russell

Carl Duguay
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