Trust your gut. The folks that cooked up the 2013 Handworks event in Iowa didn’t check with an accountant, lawyer, or MBA. They trusted their gut and banked on the idea that hand tool woodworkers are motivated by the same thing that drives hand tool makers.
Passion shows up in different ways. It drives Jeff Hamilton to dig deep and create splendid marking gages that are functional and beautiful. It’s behind Don McConnell and Larry Williams at Old Street Tools lifelong quest to unlock the secrets of wooden moulding planes from the best historical makers. Passion can be lighthearted too as the gang from Mike Siemsen’s woodworking school proved building a pine “toe pincher” coffin.
But this lightning in a bottle was mostly toolmakers and artisans quietly teaching and sharing their knowledge with other woodworkers. Time spent sharing the craft is gold and a big part of what keeps us all hard at it.
In my conversations with hundreds of folks at Amana I took away a few things:
Hand tool woodworking is alive and in fact growing.
A good number of these woodworkers are either beginners new to the craft, or veterans (Normites) turning to handtools to enrich their craft.
All seemed to share that passion for the craft.
Raney over at Daed Toolworks sized up Handworks better than I can.
Thanks again to the Abraham family and other co-conspirators. Thanks to all the participants that came from across the continent. It was an excellent ride.
George R. Walker