I started fooling around with woodworking when I was a kid, took it up as a hobby in graduate school, but didn’t take it seriously until I was pushing thirty. Probably it’s in the blood; my great-grandfather built houses.

I build everything from solid wood, almost entirely with hand tools and traditional joinery techniques. No plywood, no routers. Hand tools made sense at first for someone with little money and less space; now I simply prefer them. Hand tools let the wood talk back and keep me paying attention to the craft, and there’s real satisfaction in knowing that I’m inheriting (if frequently struggling to be worthy of) a centuries-old tradition. What’s more, as my daughter explains in the diagram below, hand tools are a more sustainable way of working:

diagram of the solar woodshop

Some of my thoughts and writings about woodworking and craft are posted over at The New Agrarian.



  • child's work table, front view Child’s work table - Simple table with no drawer, suitable as a side table or (as it was originally used) a desk for a young child.
  • mini-chest of drawers, side view of drawers Mini-chest of drawers - Historical construction methods, entirely with hand tools. Cherry with pine.

Boxes and Chests

  • painted butterfly jewelry box Butterfly jewelry box - A small box with a wrap-around painting of a tree and butterflies.
  • art box, front view Art box - I built this box to hold my drawing supplies. Yellow pine, cut nails, brass hardware, built with hand tools by historical methods.


Odds and Ends

  • Wooden tool carrier, side view Old-time tool carrier - Hopper-style carrier for my tools, low enough to fit under the seat of a buggy, should I ever get one.

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