I think I have too many tools

It gets better & better. I forgot to add a short television clip Tamas Gyenes sent me; so here is that.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B48s8ERHyYTwZEJBWE1keU4wOUk/preview“> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B48s8ERHyYTwZEJBWE1keU4wOUk/preview
But I also received a short film about another Hungarian making one of these riven beech chests. Frederik Uijs (whose blog is here: https://frischesholz.wordpress.com/) sent a link of this 1955 film, that to my mind could almost be shot in 1555. Watch it & count the tools – probably less than 10. Axes, hammer, saw, chisels, that twybill-like tool, compass, drawknife, auger – not many more than that…astounding.

35 thoughts on “I think I have too many tools

  1. Thanks for that Peter . A nice way to while away a wet sunday afternoon . Beeing a bit sad I had to count the tools 21 if you include the shave horse. I think I need one of those twybil things and its the missing link to roof shingles that look like the sides of the chest .

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing these latest two posts, Peter. I’m particularly amazed by the work done with the twybill with the hooked ends. Who needs a plow plane? After your previous posts about these chests, I was still wondering how the field boards fit together, and that was made clear in the video. The simple and effective holding methods were an inspiration as well. The guy in the video painted, then cut through the paint for decoration. The picture in your previous post of Tamas’ work seems to show steaming?? that darkens the wood first? Do you know what’s going on there? Anyway, looks like you’ll have to bring Frau Maureen to the Greenwood Fest to swing the beetle as you rive some planks!

  3. That tongue-and-groove, dado, compass, carving multi-tool is called a Twybil? I want one. Absolutely fascinating.

    I’m not educated in green woodworking, so apologies for the novice question, but those work-holding methods: there was the shave horse of course, but are each of the others formally named and (once, anyway) in common practice?

    • Wesley – I don’t know the name of that tool; in this case it would be Hungarian anyway. It is similar to a hurdle-maker’s twybill, but different too. The twybill’s cutting edges are straight, like chisels. this tool is hooked, like a race knife. R.A. Salaman’s Dictionary of Woodworking Tools is a good place for tool I.D. – as far as the holding devices, brakes, etc – different places have different names for these things. Once in common practice – you bet.

  4. Reblogged this on wesleyworkswithwood and commented:
    Even if green woodworking isn’t your thing, I think you’ll find this post/video from Peter Follansbee this morning absolutely fascinating. The video is in German. Just mute the audio if it’s distracting, and watch. 21 minutes long; you may not be able to take your eyes off it.

    Read the post and watch the video over on his blog, not here. That way you can maybe catch some explanations of everything going on in the comments.

  5. Peter, the second video (1955), is amazing. Literally only a hand full of tools! That is a VERY interesting way of using the shave horse.

    I am most interested in the Tybtwybill-like tool as you are. You can grove as you build and use it as a decorating tool. Do you think they still make them in Eastern Europe? Thank you very much for sharing this; I do wish it had English subtitles.

  6. As I watch this video I am lead to understand the timeless nature this chest’s construction that I could do myself were I willing to undergo the training that apprenticeship involves. I don’t have the interest / time yet I can see what I could do were I so inclined, Ha! Ha! However through this I can enter into the construction as well to enjoy the finished chest! A thorough appreciation of tallent, training, inspiration, technique, raw wood in one man’s hands! Thanks for the understanding!!

  7. Thanks for Sharing…
    I am always thrilled when we get to see something like this which was documented.
    This was the life of our Rural Overseas ancestors.
    They had very little but made the best of everything.
    Today, we have all the Tool Shops telling us we need this or that powerful new tool or gadget.
    My Dad told me stories like this and when they were in DP Camp in Austria, My Dad had a family friend make him a pair of Fancy Riding boots. Still have them.
    The cobbler hd no shop to work in, just theBarracks and probably very few tools. No lasts to form the boots on, just some newspaper forms he made to match Dad’s foot.

  8. You might enjoy this NFB (National Film Board) production of a guy building a canoe (the traditional way). I count an axe, hammer, 3 knives, brace & bit, awl, and a saw. These tools take him all the way from a standing birch tree to paddling!
    I would LOVE to attempt this, but it is not going to happen in this lifetime.
    The straightness of the grain in both the cedar and the birch is (for me, at least) to marvel at. The finished canoe is… well, you judge for yourself.
    I hope you enjoy it.

  9. Yeah, great film. Wish I had a wife like that one, very handy with the maul ;-). It does raise a question in my head though. Does anyone know why he spits on his hands when riving? My dad used to do it – he was a stone mason, but I never did ask him why he did it. Perhaps I should start doing it and find out!

  10. Hi Peter Trying to purchase a ticket to greewoodfest and the site is not allowing me to. It keeps saying I don’t have the number in box and I don’t quite understand how to go forward could you please let me know what I have to do to purchase it. ________________________________

  11. I’ve seen a few twybelles listed in 17C inventories but thought they had a straight blade up and down at one end ad a straight blade crosswise at the other, like they were used for making fencepost holes. This thing with a scorp or scoopie is astounding. I’ll bet from the way that guy’s wife wields a maul, he doesn’t argue with her much. The bridle joint at the top of the chest reminds me of the top slats on those Italian square post chairs. The guy carving with the scoopie thing on one leg of a compass makes you look way too fancy with your calipers and chisels.

    • Not a twibill. According to a German-speaking friend, “The German narrator calls it “ziehmeißel”, that would translate into pulling-chisel or drawing-chisel.” It looks like a twibill in profile, but that’s where the similarities end. The function is very different.

  12. That is an awesome video. I see what I am doing wrong. I need to get my wife to swing the maul. Only thing wrong with that is she would hit me with it.

    It is funny to listen to people today, complain about having a hard life. Watch a video like this and see how easy you have it. They had the skills and resourcefulness to build what they needed.

  13. A twibil, or pull chisel thingy, is not terribly hard to make from a discarded pitchfork or digging fork. Cut the tines off to make a squat tee shape. The tang will be used to hold the new shorter handle, the bar that the tines were attached to are heated and drawn out and shaped, then hardened and tempered. A torch for heat, heavy lump of iron (even e sledge hammer head) for an anvil, hand hammer and some files would do it.

  14. Excellent John Wolf. I was wondering where to get the basic shape in high carbon steel to try and make one. An old fork is perfect. Get it to cherry red in an open fire then bury in the embers overnight to cool down slowly. Hammer and file to a blade shape the next day and bend a mirror image hook on each end around a 6″ nail or something. Then heat the hooks to cherry red and douse in oil [rapeseed is good]. Clean the black off the steel so it shines clean then temper in the oven at about 120c for 10 minutes or until it goes straw yellow coloured. Then it’s ready to hone and use. Probably quite tricky to get right the angle at which the hook bites into the wood.

    The video has inspired me to have a go making one…then a chest!

  15. Hello all
    There is a video on you tube in the same vein of barrel making at Guinness’s brewery, Dublin, Ireland.
    some machinery involved but 99% hand work with very few tools making water tight barrels mostly by eye ,no marking.
    Amazing to watch and as in this case the product of centuries of refinement of skills and techniques.
    Most of these ways of working are lost which is a great shame as every individual is born with latent skills that modern technology and ways of living does not allow of their development and practice.
    Hand and eye are the most complex bio mechanics which machine and computer will never equal.

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