Saturday, May 31, 2014

hand planes and more...

In its Arkansas Living Treasures mini-documentary series, the Historic Arkansas Museum has released this video about my good friend Larry Williams. Please click on it to see it at full width. My own video is available through a link below. I think you will find each documentary to be interesting.

The Perfect Plane from Nathan Willis on Vimeo.

Mini documentaries about the Arkansas Living Treasures.

My own, produced by Gabe Gentry is called Wisdom of the Hands.

On another subject, I have been reading more about the life of Froebel. One can wonder how he made all his gifts intended for Kindergarten and there are few references concerning Friedrich Froebel the craftsman, but it was really quite simple and described in the Paradise of Childhood, Quarter Century Edition:
Regarding the German kindergartens of the present day about all that needs to be said here is that they are found in all the large cities, with occasionally one in the smaller places. On this point Hermann Poesche, the compiler of Froebel's Letters, published in 1887, writes : "The Kindergarten Factory, as Froebel established it in Blankenburg, after his creative spirit, is now at work, at least in a merely imitative fashion, in almost every large town in Germany; and what Froebel's assistants had with great pains to produce with the labor of their hands is now made easily and in large quantities by machinery and then sold in the ordinary mercantile way."
It was also noted that the Baroness B. Von Marenholtz-Bulow "cherished many things that Froebel had made with his knife while developing his gifts." And there we are given insight into the directness through which the gifts were originally created. "The tablets of the Seventh Gift were his latest work and much experimented upon; and these experimented tablets she kept and showed with deep interest." In this, we learn that Froebel's gifts were made using simple technology and the skills of his own hands. We also learn that Froebel was active in crafting and creating his gifts up to the last years of his life. The Baroness first met Froebel in his 68th year and he died at the age of 70.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Thanks a lot for the link to the video about Larry Williams. I've got a deep respect for that man.

  2. Thank you for bringing this story of Messrs. Williams and McConnell to the internet in such a wonderful way. Thousands of people will have a better understanding and appreciation for what they do.

  3. Thank You !
    I was lucky enough to get one of their coffin smoothers before they stopped taking orders. I want a jointer but alas. Perhaps a previously owned one.
    Larry said "I work to a thousandth of an inch every day in wood".
    I am a metal worker and just fooling around I checked my plane. Larry and Don are not fooling around.
    I look forward to your book in September.

  4. Larry's work is amazing. And the video does a good job of documenting their contributions to hand tool making.

  5. Anonymous2:22 AM

    When a kind hearted man , true passionate skills , dedication to create combine you get Larry.