Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the workshop of Richard Arnold. I’ve long been a fan of Richard’s work as a joiner working in the traditional technique, especially as I knew he had a love of vintage hand tools. The open day was a chance to purchase some tools brought along by others, and some put up for sale by Richard himself. All proceeds went to the Macmillan Cancer Trust. Many thanks for all involved, the day was a complete delight.
Richard’s workshop. You can tell he holds traditional technique in high esteem, with many hand tools displayed on the walls.
Richard and visitors had donated tools for sale, so plenty of vintage items were on offer. All proceeds went to the Macmillan Cancer Trust. I took some bits along and left with a DeWalt router. For a paid-up fanatic of the hand -tool movement, not my usual sort of purchase, but I need one for a big domestic job.
Richard’s shelves of most-used moulding planes.
And the crowning glory, his superb Norris. I had the pleasure of having a go with this, it’s a wonderful plane to use. Feathery shavings come as standard of course, but you couldn’t fail be impressed when Richard showed it takes the same shavings by dragging it with the front bun, one-handed!
Richard having a go with an infill scraper plane brought along by one of the visitors.
What a wonderful feeling to be chatting to such lovely folks, surrounded by these beautiful tools. You might remember it was Richard who found the original booklets that were later published by Chris Schwarz at Lost Art Press as ‘Doormaking and Windowmaking’.
One of the planes on Richard’s bench was this beautiful little plane by Bill Carter. It had a mouth so fine it was almost unbelievable that any wood could pass through!
Another view of that little beauty.
And the man himself, planemaker Bill Carter. When Bill talks about planes, people listen. It was such a delight to finally meet Bill having seen his planes on so many websites. Handling them for real you can see why they command such high prices. They are truly superb.
Three from the Carter stable. My favourite planes of the day. A pair of small, solid boxwood skewed planes. I didn’t think to ask if they were for sale. If memory serves, these were from Bill’s collection, perhaps not for sale, and made by another maker.
The soles of the planes. God, these were so beautiful. I will never be able to do work that justifies owning these. To the right you can see the curvaceous undulations of another Carter plane.
A little group of miniature moulders.
Richard Maguire was in attendance with his wife, Helen. If you haven’t see Richard’s blog, please take some time to check out The English Woodworker. Richard and Helen have an international business making and selling top-quality English workbenches. Here you can see some great wooden screw vises Richard brought along for sale. He turns the threads with a huge tap and die, often making the (heavy) workbenches move with the strain.
A close-up of those great wooden threads.
Lots of other tools on show. There were a few collectors showing their tools. For me, it’s hard to switch off from the idea of buying and selling, nice to see people just showing their collections for the hell of it.
An odd little plane from one of those collections.
And the reverse.
Another collection, this time mainly chisels.
Perhaps my second favourite plane of the day. One from Richard’s personal collection, a stunning bridle plough. Richard explained the bridle design means there is no reason for the stems to project to the right of the plane. With that in mind, you have nothing to grasp in use with your right hand, necessitating the handle.
The reverse of the same bridle plough.
Two gorgeous mitre planes. I think these were brought along to show by a visitor.
Another great plane from Richard’s collection, a really elegant panel-raiser.
Underside of the panel raiser.
A delightful sash pocket chisel used for cutting the pockets in the sides of sash boxes. Hard to find these now.
The sash pocket chisels are thin, to cut away the minimum when chiselling out for a pocket.
Everywhere you looked, gatherings of beautiful tools. What a great day. Many thanks to Richard for organising the day, I hope very much we get the chance to visit again.