Drawn to Old Time Tools

Woodworking hobby takes turn to include collecting old time tools

| May 2002

Jim Linthicum of New Market, Md., felt so stressed out at work 10 years ago that his wife, Kara, suggested he take up a hobby. He chose woodworking and soon found himself collecting old time tools used for woodworking and tool literature, too.

As a child, Jim said, he spent many hours on his grandparents' dairy farms, learning how to make hay, plant tobacco and feed the animals. Doing those things, he gained an understanding of how the previous generation used old farm tools.

Later, he trained to be an industrial arts teacher and then switched to real estate, which was what he was doing when he took up woodworking.

"I started working with green wood and old time tools," he said. "I like this type of woodworking. It's the way this country was settled in the 1700s and 1800s. I like to work wood the way they did back then."

He's not particularly interested in the exact chronology of when a tool was invented. Rather, he is fascinated with how a tool first was used and how he might replicate that use.

When Jim started looking for old woodworking tools, though, he couldn't find them. "They were only available at antique shops, farm auctions or specialized auctions of antique tools," he recalled. "One of my resources was Eric Sloane's book, Museum of Early American Tools. He has the best drawings and insight into these tools and how they were used.