CULLMAN - On Saturday morning, the Peinhardt Homesteaders sponsored a multi-part class in traditional woodworking techniques and technology. Participants had the opportunity to try their hands at splitting wood shingles, hewing a wooden dough bowl, shaping wood staves with draw knives, drilling holes with hand-cranked braces and bits, shaping and smoothing wood with various types of planes, hand cutting dovetail joints and turning wood on a lathe.
Event host Dr. Bill Peinhardt gave an overview, “We’re going to talk about pre-electric ways of working with wood. If you think about all our buildings before World War II, they were all built with hand tools, so that’s what we’re going to focus on today. It’s fascinating to me to go back to the time when these hand tools were all you had.”
Peinhardt began the class by giving students an introduction to many species of trees found in north Alabama, including the properties of the woods and common uses of different types.
“You could produce a lot with hand tools,” he said, “but one thing you had to have was knowledge. Knowledge was the biggest part of your ability to make things, and it started off with knowing woods. We’re really blessed here in north Alabama to have a lot of good wood.”
Participants broke into small groups to visit different stations, where they got hands-on with woodworking hand tools under the supervision of knowledgeable volunteers who are experienced in the particular areas of woodworking they demonstrated.
The Peinhardt Homesteaders meet the third Sunday afternoon of each month, and are planning a series of special events like this class.
Homesteader Shannon McBride explained, “Once a quarter, we’re going to try to put on these bigger hands-on Saturday morning kinds of things. Before the last Peinhardt Day and at Peinhardt Farm Day, we got people to respond to a list of interests; we’ve taken the top things, and we’re starting with those this year. We did maple syrup, simple sewing and clothing repair; and the woodworking was popular. We’re trying to work our way through the most popular things, and see what members want to learn about. There’s a wealth of information around.”
For more information, visit the Peinhardt Homesteaders on Facebook at http://qrne.ws/homesteaders.
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