Stephen A. Shepherd
All Rights Reserved
May not be reproduced in any form, written or electronic, without permission.
This is a collection of essays and discourses on traditional woodworking and
antique restoration. They are descriptions of how woodworking was done in the nineteenth
century and earlier. Most of this will deal with hand tools and the most advanced machine
will be a steam engine. While sophisticated power tools have existed for centuries the
form of power changed at the end of the nineteenth century and will not be included in
these discussions. This is a delineation of the techniques, tools and materials used in
the construction of antique furniture in nineteenth century America and can act as a guide
for the restoration, conservation, preservation and reconstruction of those artifacts. No
attempt is made to improve upon history only to relate that which was. Acting as a
reporter of the past, a chronicler of history, I can only tell you what I have observed
from careful examination of thousands of examples of the material folk culture of our
heritage. I have reproduced many examples in context, using the original tools, the same
materials and the traditional techniques as our ancestors. The only difference is one of
time. It is possible to exactly recreate anything necessary to accurately reproduce an
object or to do a Historically Correct restoration. It is important that this information
to be available to those who can put it to good advantage, I have gleaned it from the past
and I sow it to the future. We are using the highest technology to bring you the lowest
technology. Our ancestors are not primitive, crude and simple people, they produced some
of the finest, sophisticated wooden objects on earth. We can not improve upon the past,
the next new thing, is the next new thing and that is alright. What we are about here is
telling it like it was, chronicling the past, accurately reporting upon the traditional
usage of the very fabric of the lives of our predecessors, wood. We are history.
I would like to thank Arnold Kleyweg for his valuable assistance in the editing of these words. While my writings are a continuous process from beginning to end, I at times repeat myself and will say things over again. I am fonder of my words than Arnold and he reduced and refined to clarify for a better presentation that is easier to read.
There is a lot of information so the pages may take a while to load.
Soon to come:
Coach Maker, Joints, Playing a Hand Saw, and much more.
There is more information at Historical Information and Moses T's Guide To Furniture Care & Restoration and for further reading check out the Bibliography. Check out Restorations and Reproductions for examples of saving and recreating the past. Many of the tools discussed here are available at Handmade Woodworking Tools.