If a man in 1780 raised wheat in the spring, corn in the summer, sheared his sheep, worked a couple of days framing a new barn, cut sawlogs in the woods, and then built a table and a set of chairs from the lumber—what would he have called himself? Farmer, joiner, woodsman? Sheep raiser, chairmaker, or builder? Very often the country furniture maker was all of these. At a time when most occupational titles were conferred posthumously, most likely by a clerk who felt obliged to “put down something,” the label probably identified only what the man happened to be doing at the moment he died. It seems more sensible, then, to rank him for what he was—a man. Aldren A. Watson, Country Furniture
What I am, for our purposes here, is a guy building furniture out of his garage, almost entirely with hand tools. This is more than a hobby and not yet a profession. “Neighborhood joiner” more describes what I’d like to be than what I am at present: the local guy people go to when they need something made out of wood. That’s a vision from the eighteenth century, not the twenty-first. I’m okay with that.
By training I’m a historian, a background that informs my woodworking (and pretty much everything else). I am also an avid gardener and a curious baker, and I homeschooled my daughter in math, science, and the arts through 12th grade. I’ve done some teaching and a lot of writing. Much of that writing is archived on this website, including pieces formerly published at The New Agrarian, The Rooted Cook, and here under the banner of Walbert’s Compendium.
Although this is a woodworker’s blog, then, it is not a woodworking blog. I am notoriously bad about sticking to the point: I make no promises.
—David Walbert, June 2022