About

About Virginia Toolworks

Founded in 2008, Virginia Toolworks originated as a dealer of fine vintage hand tools (primarily hand planes). Since then it has grown into a repository of information on the history, use, and preservation of hand tools, both vintage and modern.  With a Master’s degree in business, I also have extensive training working with non-ferrous metals. I’ve been a lifelong casual woodworker, but focused entirely on powered tools – that is, up until I bought my first vintage Stanley hand plane several years ago. I quickly fell completely in love with the beauty and history of these earlier tools from what I consider to be the golden age of American industrial tool design – that being the roughly 100 year period from the 1840s to the 1940s (give or take a few years). My enthusiasm soon expanded to a much broader quest to understand not only how to use and care for them, but how they evolved over time and how this evolution was influenced by changes in technology, functional application, and cultural shifts within the various woodworking trades.

Over the years since, I’ve transitioned away from most of my modern electric powered tools and assembled a very nice collection of usable vintage (and more than a few new) hand powered tools that are quite sufficient for most of my woodworking endeavors. I’ve found them to be quieter, safer, cleaner, often faster to use, and certainly more elegant than the motor driven counterparts in my woodworking arsenal. That said, I’m by no means puritanical in my view and still use powered tools when it makes practical sense, but my preference for non-powered tools continues to grow.

It’s always been my nature when I go off on a tangent like this to completely immerse myself. So before I started dealing I spent a good year doing initial research into everything from the history of hand planes and archival (museum quality) restoration techniques, to the use and care of vintage tools as written and described by authors and journeymen of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I say a year of initial research, because it was about that long before I even attempted to clean, restore, or use my first vintage plane. Of course, that research continued over the years and still continues today.

While my main focus is buying, preserving, and selling vintage tools, I am currently investing in equipment that will hopefully enable me to begin building custom planes and other tools at some point in the future. Until that time, enjoy the resources available on this site, follow the blog, and feel free to comment if the mood strikes. Tools for sale, when available, will be listed here on the blog and/or linked to my Ebay account (virginiatoolworks).

Enjoy!

Bryant
Virginia Toolworks
vatoolworks@gmail.com

Author’s Family Home

About the Author

With ancestors on both sides of my family confirmed in America at least as far back as the 18th century, including one who was a Colonel in the American Revolution, I am deeply rooted in the building of this nation.  My great-grandfather was a civil war veteran and my paternal grandfather, born in the late 19th century,  was a carpenter and farmer in coastal Virginia.  While I never knew him, he managed to impart some of his woodworking aptitude into the family gene pool.  The rest, I learned from my dad.

With a Bachelor of Fine Art and an Master of Business Administration, I have over 25 years experience in sales and business management with expertise in leadership development, brand management, marketing, client development, and operational effectiveness.  However, like many of you, my life begins when the work day ends.  A lifelong casual woodworker, I ‘discovered’ hand tools several years ago and the attraction of working unplugged soon followed.  While I still use powered tools when it makes practical sense, my enthusiasm is clearly in the non-powered camp.

When it comes to vintage tools, I like to think of myself as a conservative archival preservationist .  I return the tools I buy and sell to working condition while retaining as much of the original finish, patina, and character as possible.  I sharpen, tune, and use each one briefly to ensure it is in good working order.  Among the tools in my own collection are several that I use on a regular basis.  That said, my woodworking projects are somewhat sporadic, afforded as time, space, and my wife permits.  As the sickness extends beyond practical application in the workshop, I created this site in order to share the wealth of resources, knowledge, and perspective I’ve accumulated over the years.

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