Making a Rudder for a Ship of  War, by W. H. Pyne 1803


By the look on their faces, the folks at Braxton Brewery were not prepared to see their floors ankle deep in wood shavings. Last weekend’s Lie-Nielsen tool event at the brewery with hundreds of hand tool enthusiasts, lots of exquisite tools, and beer on tap made for a jovial noisy gathering. For me personally, this weekend marked a new phase in the work Jim Tolpin and I are doing. Two years ago my discussions with woodworkers were mostly me attempting to explain By Hand & Eye. This weekend the tables were turned. I spent much of it listening to folks sharing how their work has been impacted by our books in positive ways. Comments ran the gamut across age and experience. I heard fresh perspective from new woodworkers excited about discovering that design was within reach and also several veteran designers who shared how the lessons got them back in the groove after years staring at a CAD screen.  I also was heartened to hear from many who were working their way through the exercises in By Hound & Eye, some on their second or third round trip. But mostly I heard from woodworkers excited about design for the first time and wanting to go deeper. Almost everyone shared that they knew they were just scratching the surface of a new and exciting possibility. Late in the day Saturday I had the privilege of meeting David Savage and talking about furniture design.  David made the long trip to pay homage to one of his mentors, the late Charles Hayward, who’s writing is now available to a new generation of furniture makers in The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years. David shared his appreciation for the foundational knowledge we are making relevant to the next generation. I cannot express how much it means to Jim and I to hear that affirmation. Thank you.

And yes, we have only scratched the surface!

George R. Walker