The tools of the past

Traditional woodworking


Wistful of the time when furniture and other goods were built to last a life time, I decided to build my own dining table using heirloom woodworking hand tools.

I explored simple ways to give wood a second life, drawing upon its natural properties and working with, rather than against, nature, to produce a robust and calming structure.

Key challenges

How to work the wood taking into consideration its natural features such as its expanding and contracting properties? How to fix common woodworking mistakes?


Technical drawing • Traditional woodworking techniques

'Make a chair' course

Over twelve evenings I learnt to make a ‘Stacked chair’ with a planked red wood seat and fit splayed sapele legs, using mostly traditional hand tools. The model is derived from an open source drawing in the Anarchist’s Design Book by Lost Art Press.

Table design

I then applied my knowledge to produce a dining table with ash wood planks. The legs and apron are glued together using half-lap joints, meticulously cut using a handsaw, chisels, and a planer.