bronze woodworking tools


An interesting post – people can get over obsessed with the tools and forget about the materials – like the Zen buddhist saying about mistaking the finger pointing to the moon, for the moon itself.
A couple of thoughts come to mind:
I’ve got increasingly involved with green woodwork to have the absence of power tools and the immediacy and feedback of closeness to the material that hand tools and easily worked wood gives you.

It’s also interesting how the old bodgers used their wood work intelligently, e.g. when fitting legs into the seat with a round mortise and tenon, with the legs seasoned and the seat green, so the seat shrinks onto the joint making something that holds together without glue or nails.

Also, I recently spent a few days as a volunteer on the Dover Boat project, making a 1/2 size replica of a Viking boat from 1500 BC. Most of this was done with hand tools, and a very large proportion of it with reproduction bronze axes and adzes, all working on green oak. Although the bronze tools couldn’t take as much meat out with each stroke as a modern steel blade, they were remarkably efficient, accurate, very light and well balanced in use, so you could chip away all day quite easily. And it was fascinating to see how well the Vikings had used the materials to hand to make an efficient and strong structure. Although it sank on launch, this was due to a fixed launch date for the project, so they ran out of time to finish things off properly and test the seams in advance. See Robin Wood’s blog for info on the project – It would be an interesting exercise for your trainees to make a chair seat or top of a side table using bronze tools!



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses? is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.