Preservation Beyond Tools – Digital Restoration of Photographs

Tools are not always the only thing restored at Virginia Toolworks. This is a family photo of my mother and her sisters (c. ~1932) that I restored for her 10 years ago. The original photo shown on the left was scanned at a high resolution.  You can see evidence of the silver oxidation and fading, especially around the edges.  Restoration was accomplished through digital manipulation using Adobe Photoshop . The restored image, shown on the right, was then printed on special 100% cotton paper using archival inks.

Pre-Post Comp - Family Photo

Merry Christmas from Virginia Toolworks

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:7-14

Happy Thanksgiving from Virginia Toolworks!

Thanksgiving Farm TableWishing everyone a very peaceful and reflective Thanksgiving!  Whether alone, with family or friends, at home or traveling, Thanksgiving is a day to rejoice and be grateful for what we have.  We are truly blessed as a nation, and as a free people.  Please remember those who protect that freedom, especially those who serve in our military, both home and abroad.  Remember and be thankful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families who gather tomorrow with an empty place at the table.  Not everyone gets to go home for Thanksgiving.

The black Friday sales can wait.  Just give thanks – simple, selfless thanks.  “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalms 106:1

Happy Thanksgiving!

Virginia Toolworks Facebook Page!

Virginia Toolworks CoverVirginia Toolworks now has a Facebook page!  Come check it out for more information about woodworking and working with hand tools.  You’ll also find an occasional dash of conservative values, guns, whiskey, hunting, fishing, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Feel free to contribute, comment, and interact!

Virginia Toolworks Facebook Page

Greatest Table Saw Quote Ever

I was doing some research today and ran across the following quote on by a guy named Jonathan McCullough.  Dating back to 2010, it is quite simply the grandest description I’ve ever read of the table saw beast, and I thought it too good not to share.  So Jonathan, whoever you are and wherever you are, here’s to you!

“I wish someone would pop up at my door with a pickup truck saying how much they wanted a table saw.  No doubt. Mine is powerful, well tuned, has all sorts of doodads, and I hate it. Hate It. It’s dangerous and spews out a choking cloud of microfine particles. It dominates the garage like a cast iron miasma of self reproach, with tendrils reaching out and stinking up the place with all sorts of jigs and crap that take up even more room.”


New Old Vintage Planes for Sale

I will be listing several planes and other tools for sale over the next few months.  You can view current offerings by clicking on For Sale on the menu bar.  To view these tools in greater detail or if you are interested in purchasing, please visit the Virginia Toolworks eBay page at


Save Those Apple Wood Scraps!

Back in the summer I came across some live edge apple wood slabs that I thought might be perfect for making small appetizer serving boards for gifts.  Now I know what you’re going to say – apple is notorious for warping and cracking.  True enough, but given the size and casual nature of this particular project I wasn’t overly concerned.  The working properties of apple, however, is not the subject of this post.

Since these were rough sawn pieces with bark still attached in places, I used what I could, but ended up with a lot of unserviceable scraps left over.  Rather than toss them out, I kept them for use in my smoker.

I’ve long been a fan of using hickory or pecan for smoking pork.  On the few occasions when I’ve smoked beef, I’ve used a little oak or mesquite, although the latter is not my favorite.  Apple chunks are not always the easiest thing to find, and while I’ve heard others extol its virtues for creating irresistible pig pickin’s,  I could not personally attest to the fact.  So when I recently decided to smoke pork ribs for a group of my co-workers, I used apple wood for the first time.

Smoking Ribs

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to both ribs and pulled pork barbecue.  I use a dry rub (of my own making, of course) and if I’m feeling very generous, might allow a sauce on the side when the meat is served.  I apply the rub at least a few hours before cooking, and then smoke the ribs for 2 hours at 200-225 degrees.  After 2 hours, I baste the racks generously with a mop sauce (sorry, the recipe is my secret), seal them up tight in aluminum foil, and let them bake right on the smoker (so smoke, just heat) for another 2 to 3 hours.

So instead of my standby hickory, this time I used the apple wood scraps left over from the serving boards.  All I can say is “Oh my goodness, I had no idea what I’ve been missing!”  The flavor was much more subtle than that imparted by hickory, and considerably more appealing.  Rather than flavoring the meat so intensely, the apple smoke delicately complimented the dry rub seasoning, resulting in ribs that were perfectly smoky, tangy, and just plain bone sucking, slap your leg and pass the sweet tea good.

My co-workers went nuts over them, claiming them the best ribs they’d ever eaten.  I have to admit, they were easily the best ribs I’ve ever produced on my smoker and among the tastiest I’ve ever sampled anywhere.  Apple wood for smoking pig parts is now my permanent go to.  So save those apple wood scraps, or better yet, ship them to me.  Otherwise, I may need to find my own apple orchard.


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