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Woodworking Tools 1600-1900   By:

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Woodworking Tools 1600-1900 by Peter C. Welsh is a comprehensive and detailed guide that delves into the fascinating history of woodworking tools. Offering a wealth of valuable information, this book is an essential resource for both woodworking enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Welsh's meticulous research and expertise in the field shine through as he takes readers on a journey spanning three centuries. The book begins by providing a thorough overview of the tools used during the early years of woodworking, detailing their evolution and significance. Welsh's attention to detail is commendable, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to describing the intricacies of each tool and its purpose.

One of the standout features of this book is its inclusion of numerous photographs and illustrations. These visuals not only enhance the reading experience but also give readers a clear understanding of the various tools discussed. From the different types of saws to the intricate designs of hand planes, every important tool is showcased with utmost clarity and precision.

The organization of the book is another noteworthy aspect. Welsh has divided the content into logical sections, making it easy for readers to navigate and locate specific information. Whether one is interested in the history of chisels or the development of braces and bits, they can easily find the relevant section within the book.

Furthermore, Welsh goes beyond merely discussing the tools themselves. He explores the social and cultural context in which these tools were used, shedding light on the lives of the craftsmen who wielded them. This holistic approach enriches the reading experience and gives readers a deeper appreciation for the evolution of woodworking tools over time.

While the book is undoubtedly a treasure trove of information, it does have a somewhat academic tone. This may deter casual readers looking for a more light-hearted exploration of the subject. However, for those seeking an in-depth exploration of woodworking tools and their historical significance, Welsh's expertise and detailed analysis will be greatly appreciated.

In conclusion, Woodworking Tools 1600-1900 by Peter C. Welsh is an excellent reference book for anyone interested in the history of woodworking. With its comprehensive content, beautiful visuals, and valuable insights, it offers a wealth of knowledge that will undoubtedly benefit both novice woodworkers and experienced craftsmen. Welsh's passion for the subject shines through in every page, making this book an invaluable addition to any woodworking enthusiast's collection.

First Page:

Cover design after engraving from Diderot.




Peter C. Welsh





Peter C Welsh


1600 1900

This history of woodworking hand tools from the 17th to the 20th century is one of a very gradual evolution of tools through generations of craftsmen. As a result, the sources of changes in design are almost impossible to ascertain. Published sources, moreover, have been concerned primarily with the object shaped by the tool rather than the tool itself. The resulting scarcity of information is somewhat compensated for by collections in museums and restorations.

In this paper, the author spans three centuries in discussing the specialization, configuration, and change of woodworking tools in the United States.

THE AUTHOR: Peter C. Welsh is curator, Growth of the United States, in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of History and Technology.

In 1918, PROFESSOR W.M.F. PETRIE concluded a brief article on "History in Tools" with a reminder that the history of this subject "has yet to be studied," and lamented the survival of so few precisely dated specimens... Continue reading book >>

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