Old Woodworking Tools | Still Life Photography
two Draw Knives and a Spoke Shave

Old Woodworking Tools | Still Life Photography

Old Woodworking Tools. Two Gouges and A Skew Chisel
Two Gouges and A Skew Chisel

Old Woodworking Tools. 

Long ago and far away, in a previous life, I made my way as a wood sculptor and cabinet maker. While I had a few basic power tools, I preferred working with hand tools. The older the better. Forged from better steel and tempered to hold a keen edge longer than today’s tools. Many of my carving tools are over a hundred years old. A gouge forged from Sheffield steel in the mid-1800s and honed to a razor sharpness is a thing of beauty and a joy to use. Working with those tools was often a zen-like experience. Through my hands and the tool, I become one with the sculpture. The creative process at its best.

Now, my creative spirit is nurtured through still life photography. Though the process of making a photograph is different from carving a sculpture, that all-important zen-like connection remains. From the first glimmer of a concept in my mind’s eye to the final processed image.

The old woodworking tools pictured here are but a few of the nearly 200 in my collection. The gouges and chisel are made by “Addis and Son” of Sheffield, England likely in the mid-1800s and are among the oldest in the collection.

Old Woodworking Tools. Two Draw Knives and a Spoke Shave
two Draw Knives and a Spoke Shave 

The drawknives and spokeshave are not very old. Each is individually made by hand. Their beautiful rosewood and walnut handles add their uniqueness.

For more of my still life photographs click here and to order your prints please click here.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come. And be safe and healthy. Thanks for reading.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Love these pieces but also how you used lighting in your photography. Very nicely done!

  2. Such beauty in their being, these tools kept, old like mythologies themselves. As much i am also enjoying the light in your images. And does it mean you do not sculpt any more ?
    Thanks Ron.

    1. Narayan, thank you so much for your kind words. No, I do not sculpt any more. I put my creative energy into photography now. But I can not part with my tools. It would be like parting with old friends. Again, thank you for taking the time to comment.

      1. Hi Ron, lovely to hear from you. Even though there only little difference between Sculpting and image making but there surely is. Yes, completely. I have been working as a photographer for a decade and half, and all the lenses that i had bought for my film camera then have been the best eyes i have ever seen from. I can imagine those tools being your hands as well. Beautiful. It was my pleasure. Thanks again, Ron.


  3. I swear I love these are absolutely gold. You have showcased these otherwise old simple tools as if they’re art! Very nice photography and I think the best part is the background, do you mind telling us what it is?

    1. Thanks so much Landon. The background is the last piece of some very old wormy chestnut. The chestnut came from a house in the NC mountains that was probably built in the 20’s or 30’s. The foundation and outer walls were rock.

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