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I started woodworking in my teens helping my father renovate an old building in Augusta St Glenelg South Australia. We did everything, windows, doors, architraves, kitchen cabinets, I fell in love with wood working, if I wasn’t building something I wasn’t happy.
Dad was a metal worker, a panel beater, his specialty, repairs to old Rolls Royce and Bentley’s so he was pretty good at it, when he would finish a panel, he would simply get up and move on to the next job. I would stand there and stare at the finish of that rounded panel perfectly finished and ready for painting by hand only, I was in awe. I would never forget the meticulous skills that he had to learn to achieve those results.
Dad died on my 22nd birthday, he left me with a no 3 Stanley hand plane, 3 black plastic handled Stanley chisels and a bunch of panel beating hammers dollies and spoons, and no money! I mention this because to support my family I entered retail sales, 38 years later I am still doing it, so I guess I got pretty good at it too.
It enabled me to buy Henry Eckert Fine Tools Australia, why? Because the business is the distributor of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. Obviously we have now changed the name.
Over the 38 years my constant hobby was woodworking, like everyone through that period we all gravitated to power tools, but I could never forget the hand skills my dad exhibited, but I could never get that # 3 plane to work well either and by this time there was a # 4 ½ Record, # 5 Stanley and # 6 Stanley, none of them worked well, then I was fortunate enough to buy a # 4 Lie-Nielsen, I learnt what sharp was, what a solid body was and what a fine finish was. I learned how to tune those old tools and they work well now. Following on, there have been Lie-Nielsen chisels, spoke shaves, and well... et cetera.
Since then I have built Peter Galbert Windsor rocking and other chairs, Arts and Craft sofa tables and boxes, the skill set has grown considerably, but just like many of you out there, not trade instructed, it was quality well crafted tools that showed the way, the tools did not make us masters, that takes time and practice and thought, but a bad tool will stop the joy, and without that what is the point?
PS I hated metal work, ironic, given that I spend a considerable amount of time shaping and sharpening tools.
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Australia