Appalachian mountain style woodcrafts are based upon methods that have changed very little since medieval Europe. The full range of skills allowed one to literally walk into the wilderness, and with only a box of hand tools, then proceed to build and furnish a comfortable homestead. This scenario was repeated many times on the American colonial frontier. Here in the isolated Appalachian mountain region, this attitude of being self-sufficiency by using the old-ways hung on well into the 20th century.
In my shop, I make authentic heritage wares for you home and farm. The process always starts with a raw locally harvested log - often from my own property. I most often use White Oak because it is both strong and beautiful. I rive the log apart with hammer and steel wedges which follow the natural grain of the wood, unlike sawed lumber which is weaker because it cut across the grain fibers. Riving gives each piece a natural organic shape - thus no two pieces are exactly alike. Smaller pieces are then shaped using tools such as a Drawknife, Spokeshave, Boring Augers, and most significant is the "Shaving Horse". The Shaving Horse, which is depicted on my logo drawing, is a combination of sit down workbench and foot operated vise. This combination allows the hands to freely hold the woodworking tools, most of which require two hands to use.
More complex items like the hay forks (or pitch forks), firewood tote handles, and such, require the wood to be steamed and bent into various shapes. The wood fibers are held together with a waxy substance called lignin. The steaming process heats the wood fibers enough to allow the fibers to shift and thus bend the wood without breaking it. When the wood cools and dries, it will retain the new shape.
Whether you are a re-inactor, decorator, back-to- the-lander, or just have nostalgia memories from your family's homeplace, these authentic Appalachian mountain wooden wares will fill your needs.
I offer informative talks and demonstrations on Appalachian folk life and crafts for schools, conventions, and resort groups.
Programs can be tailored to your group's needs and interests.
Using old "tinsmith" techniques, I fashion copper into pans, washtubs, and apple butter kettles up to 60 gallon size. Custom work is available unless you ask for a moonshine still.
Using a drawknife, shaving bench, and other traditional tools, I rough hewn green logs into benches, ox yokes, pitchforks, and related custom work.