Woodworking has a grand tradition of those involved in the craft making their own appliances, marking out and bench tools. It has long been pointed out by writers such as James Krenov, Alan Peters, Robert Wearing and Chris Schwarz that making our own tools is an end in itself; it improves our technique and ensures we have a tangible, useable result that will extend the capabilities of our workshops. What’s not to like?
This message has clearly been taken to heart by Bernard Billsberry who is one of the makers who will be joining us to make an Anarchist’s tool chest with Chris Schwarz in a few days time. Bernard has made the beautiful dovetail marking gauges shown above from reclaimed Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum) and Oak (Quercus robur) and ensured that his gauges have some really nice tight dovetails themselves. They are a nice design: I really like the fact that they have a high wall to keep a marking knife snug against and that Bernard has chsoen two species with good wear properties. I am also alarmed that Bernard told me he made them to ‘speed things up’ when taking part in my ‘Dovetail Challenge’ back in March (Note to self: people actually read this stuff…).
Now I am always very pleasantly surprised at the generosity of woodworkers the world over but was blown away when Bernard let DJ and I know that, without being asked, he has made one for every person on the ATC course as a gift. Bernard: A tip of the cap to you Sir.
– Paul Mayon