Craft Films: Greenwood Chests in 1955 Hungary

by | Dec 13, 2015 | 0 comments

My friend Bill Anderson just found this incredible film.

A fellow and his wife are working outdoors making a chest using an axe, drawkife, hook knife and a few nifty brakes. They split a log into planks and work them down on the shaving horse – I wonder what’s the advantage of driving the axe into the log’s side rather than it’s end-grain…. Then he cuts grooves with some sort of nifty double-ended hook knife (this looks like an incredibly skilled task, but what do I know – I’ve never even seen such a tool).

Bow-sawing slots and grooves is next. I like how he rolls the saw blade around the work-piece to transfer his line to the other side of the piece – no fancy try-squares to take up valuable seconds. He sometimes uses one of his hands on the bow-saw’s blade, I suppose to guide it. Then the tip of an axe deftly cuts the bottom of a rabbet. Ha!

His method of decorative painting (watch the video to see it) is one I’ve been wanting to find a way to try on chairs. Maybe one year.

The way this fellow works reminds me of videos I’ve seen of traditional coopers. The chest seems to be mostly built off of itself, with one piece fitted to another without measurements. The edge tools are mostly unregulated edges (axes and drawknives, rather than planes and spokeshaves) that take many years of practice to build proficiency, but which are highly versatile once mastered.

An inspiring video. Thanks Bill, for making my week.


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