My small, tight and messy shop in Az, and some of the tools i use

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Project by darkhollow posted 07-20-2011 12:38 AM 7212 views 4 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

1) my shop after a busy few weeks. in the middle is my regular-sized shaving horse, which i chainsawed out of a Poplar log and a fork from a black walnut tree. it’s design is a combination of a few found in the Foxfire book series. Peeking out from behind much stuff, hanging up above the shaving horse is a folding-style shaving horse. In the back left corner is my Veritas carving bench, which has proved essential many times over the years. The tool pictures are taken atop this bench. There are two three-legged chopping blocks in the back right corner, made from the base of Oak trees where the grain can be really erratic, and therefore, sturdy. The larger one weighs around 100lbs or so, and is great when I am hewing larger pieces, and mostly, when I wish to stand while hewing. The shorter one i use seated, or when I’m working on longer pieces. It is also the one i take to one-day shows to demonstrate hewing on.

2) Candy Rack O’ Tools! One of my best rescued-from-the-land-fill finds! this old wire candy rack, when lined with cloth, is an excellent home for many of my tools.

3) Hatchets, left-to-right: (Used in place of a bandsaw, tablesaw, etc, for roughing out work. Single-beveled indicates that the hatchet is only sharpened on one side of the edge.) – Antique single-beveled carving hatchet, bought on eBay where it was advertised as a “Child’s Hatchet” for about 20 bucks. This is the most used of my hatchets, and one of the most used of all my tools, as it is used to hew most of my work. – (upside-down) long-bladed, light weight, single-beveled, goose-wing hatchet with a “cirlce M” touchmark. very useful for long slicing cuts. Bought on eBay for around 20 bucks; Sold as a “Viking Battle Axe”! – Old double-beveled, hand-made hatchet. Maker unknown;Found by my grandfather in the 1930’s, along with another that my brother has, at the site of a long abandoned and busted-up still-site. I assume it was the moonshiners, as the revenuers would not have been to such a hurry as to forget their tools, but the ‘shiners would have lit out fast. The handles were totally rotten when granddad found them. the current handle is one granddad made out a a store-bought hammer handle. Used for splitting. – small single beveled, hand-made hatchet. My first carving hatchet. – Japanese double-beveled hatchet, purchased from Garrett-Wade. useful for both splitting and hewing. – Small, heavy, stout single-beveled, antique hatchet with an off-set handle. good when I need the extra weight for bigger cut. – Hand-made, Damascus Tomahawk made by Master Blacksmith Jay Burnham Kidwell. Nice, lightweight, easily packable, beautiful! – Above the Kidwell piece is anothe very nice, heavier hatchet head made by Andy Dohner.

4) Adzes (Think what the child of a hatchet and a gouge would look like!) used for rough- hollowing. – Top left, made by Zack Noble of Bakersville, NC. – Facing that one is one made by Nathan Blank of Spruce Pine, NC. – The big one: Gransfors-Bruks’ Guttering adze. Nice for working really big. – At the bottom of the bench, facing upwards: Large hand adze made by Zack Noble. – above and to the right of that one is an antique coopers adze, from the 1830’s according to the stamp. Still does its job well.

5) A slew of knives (and a useful, Japanese key-hole saw) Including two right-handed and one left handed hook-knife in the bottom right corner, two that I made, one store-bought with a replacement handle made of a chair leg. above them is a modified steak-knife for when I need a really thin blade, like when carving chains. There is a modified Opinel knife, with the blade re-shaped for carving. I have a set of these for when I teach. Above that one is a Knife I made from an antique, hand-forged, straight-razor, that hold an edge forever, and is stout enough for driving with a wooden mallet if need be. Most of my bought-knives get either handle or blade modified, if not both. At the top right corner of the picture are two knives made by Master Blacksmith Chuck Patrick, of Brasstown, NC. The smaller one has a Damascus blade and stag-horn handle. Both are a joy to use. Below them are two crooked knives. I forgot to include my antique Boker and “Otter” folding pocket knives, which I use a lot when I need to be more mobile. The Boker has very worn-down blades, which makes it great for carving chains, caged- balls and other Whimseys. It was given to me by my friend Big John Renick, who assists me when i teach some times. Also not pictured is a set of 13 “Dockyard” micro knives and gouges, and other stuff. The third knife from the top in the middle column is an Opinel No.2; It’s home is in my backpacking emergency bag!

6) Scrapers and Shavers… In the bottom left corner are two store bought, goose-neck scrapers. above tehm, with the wooden handle, is a store-bought, spoon scraper. The big triangular one in the foreground i made from a table saw blade. Above that is a rusty, sickle-bar mower tooth and three scrapers I made from other teeth. Above them is a small, pocket-sized set made for me many years ago by Mark “Sparky” Sperry. Above that is a few draw- and push-knives. at the top left is a Japanese-styled plane I made while assisting Rick Allison in a tool making class. At the bottom right is a home-made stail engine, used for planing round posts and such. Above that is an antique, hand-made travisher that works wonderfully. The brass piece is a Spoon Plane that a couple of good friends got me years back. in the top left corner is a group of spoke shaves, one is round, one is double sided (I haven’t seen the likes of it), one is adjustable, with brass thumb-screws. The smallest one, though is the one i use the most.

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

23 comments so far

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4627 days

#1 posted 07-20-2011 12:49 AM

Nice collection of tools that you have. Shop looks used and cozy. Glad to see it is a working shop.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4206 days

#2 posted 07-20-2011 01:31 AM

I like the scrapers made from old sickle blades. Terriffic IDEA ! Nice looking tools.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Ryan's profile


238 posts in 4138 days

#3 posted 07-20-2011 02:46 AM

Looks a bit messy but well organized.
If you use hand tools this extensively,
you wouldn’t need much space.

View darkhollow's profile


60 posts in 3726 days

#4 posted 07-20-2011 03:03 AM

Your right, Ryan. In fact, i can carry what i need for some projects on my person (Hatchet, a couple of knives, a gouge or two, and the smaller scrapers). When I worked at the Penland School of Craft, as the nightwatchman, I realized that I practice one of the more portable crafts, as I can actually work on some things while walking down the street. in fact, I almost always have something to work on and something to work with on me at all times. it’s nice when the doctor/dentist/boss etc, is running late, for I will just sit and carve into my hat until whoever is ready for our appointment. I have also found that, no matter the size of the space, like a gas my mess will expand to fill it!

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4446 days

#5 posted 07-20-2011 04:02 AM

That’s a great collection of old and new tools! I love working with the few old tools I have that my father and grandfather used.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View RichardMu's profile


259 posts in 4140 days

#6 posted 07-20-2011 04:03 AM

You are right. That shop is way too small for that many tools. I would be happy to help you out by taking some of them off your hands. Just kidding. You have a great collection of old tools and I am jealous. When you work with hand tools you don’t need a huge shop.

-- You will never build it unless you try. The second one always turns out better.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26628 posts in 4314 days

#7 posted 07-20-2011 04:28 AM

You do have a lot of stuff in a small space, but you do have some organization with the boards and shelves. A totally clean shop means not much is happening there!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3863 days

#8 posted 07-20-2011 04:44 AM

It’s fun to make a mess.

I would love to see a demo of hewing, this is a technique I have not had the chance to learn.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View darkhollow's profile


60 posts in 3726 days

#9 posted 07-20-2011 05:57 AM

If there is a way to post a video on LJ, I would gladly shoot some of me hewing out something. (I’m much uglier than my icon.)

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

View WVTODD's profile


120 posts in 3753 days

#10 posted 07-20-2011 02:41 PM

Like the tool collection, not dust no work.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3863 days

#11 posted 07-20-2011 03:07 PM

usually you have to post a video somewhere else (facebookm youtube, etc) then you can use that site to embed the video here.

I wish there was an easier way.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View BigDaddyO's profile


136 posts in 3986 days

#12 posted 07-20-2011 07:18 PM

I love your collection.

I too have that single beveled hatchet used for roughing out material. I love it, found it for $5 at a flea market. Mine has marks on the side where it was once used to hammer in the old style cut nails. I noticed you don’t have what I would consider a normal draw knife shown. Do you use one, or just what’s in the pictures?

I have had my eye on a gutter adze for a while but new ones are too expensive for me right now. I have been keeping my eye out at flea markets and estate sales but haven’t found one yet.


View darkhollow's profile


60 posts in 3726 days

#13 posted 07-20-2011 10:04 PM

I do have a lot of tools that didn’t make the pictures, including what most folks think of as a regular drawknive. (I don’t use it too much of late, as I have grown to really like the scandinavian-style pushknife for most stuff. Today I even found another adze taht should have made the picture. It is a short, WIDE-bladed (About half a 3” circle) French style that I bought soon before leaving NC and haven’t really have a good test-drive of it. i’ll probably shoot more tool pics soon.

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4267 days

#14 posted 07-21-2011 05:23 AM

The first thing I wondered as I looked at your shop was, what type of work do you do. I took a look at your posted projects. That is some nice carving work you’ve done. Do you do all of your work with hand tools only? Do you sometimes use power tools in breaking things down to rough size?


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View darkhollow's profile


60 posts in 3726 days

#15 posted 07-21-2011 05:35 PM

Generally, I don’t use power tools, with the exception of some chainsaw roughing. I’ll also use the chainsaws for sculpting furniture out of large logs. i will use a bandsaw for making musical spoons and pottery tools, as if i used all handtools on these, the price would keeps folks from using them. the figure piece in my gallery was roughed-out with power tools when I was assisting a class on figure-sculpting. Tomorrow, I am expecting to get a 12-20 foot section of a cottonwood that is nearly three feet across. (I’m thinking chaise lounge…) It is, unfortunately, in the way of construction across the street, so, though i’d rather see it standing, I’d also rather use it than see it turned into mulch.

-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...

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