As the knowledge of carpentry, cabinetmaking, joinery, and other various forms of woodworking grows amongst the current generation of practitioners we hear more and more about specific tools that were once made, were once common, and now are referred to only in the misty eyes of craftsman. We read that if we had this particular thing or that particular thing our work would be so much better. Many of these desirable tools have been reproduced in questionable quality or have been snapped up by collectors so that the only affordable samples are not very good. The purpose of this site is to provide what any good museum should provide: A knowledge-base of museum quality tools and a description of tools and techniques that once existed but are now gone. A museum should not be a fossilized, nostalgic look back to the past, so we hope to show how older tools can help you to be a better woodworker.
Ideally, it would be great if this museum could exist in a physical location and you could come by, look at the exhibits, get a chance to handle some of these tools and even get a chance to use them. However, if logistics preclude actual physical contact, the World Wide Web allows you to at least get a chance to examine the collection at your leisure. It also gives us the ability to post a photo collection that draws on collectors and users throughout the world.
Some of you may have the opportunities to buy antique tools. As these tools are expensive, a good question is always will the tool work as well as expected? What is the standard for that tool? Is it the right size? If it is a reproduction, is it a good copy or a bad copy? What better way to find out than to compare the tool in question with a prime specimen in a museum? We also should be able to help craftsman who wish to make their own copies by helping them with designs, bibliographies and, in some cases, measured drawings. For collectors, we will have a fairly complete set of reference material from old catalogs and other ephemera (which cannot be posted due to copyright restrictions). Exhibits will come on line as time and budget permit. However we cannot appraise any tool so please don't ask.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our site,
Robert Mathison, Curator
Copyright 1999 01 Inc., NYC