Roy Underhill’s woodworking school is a magical place, where the Works Progress Administration still builds beautiful stone bridges and Care Bears poop gumdrops.
But upstairs from the school is a place of great temptation. Many a woodworker has gone up there with money in the bank and come down with armloads of pre-Industrial Revolution objects. Yes, on the floor above Roy’s The Woodwright’s School is Ed Lebetkin’s Antique Woodworking Tools store.
He’s open when Roy’s class is in session, and it is a wonderland of rust and beech and brass.
Aside from the hundreds of moulding planes, bench planes and joinery planes on the walls, Ed carries stuff that is both unusual and extraordinary. Need mutton tallow? Ed has it. Hinges, locks and the most beautiful holdfasts I’ve ever seen? Yes, damn you. Ed carries stuff made by blacksmith Peter Ross, who makes hardware and tools that are of astonishing beauty.
I hesitate to even mention those holdfasts here. Oh well. It’s done.
Ed also has wooden things made by local craftsmen. There are a couple tool chests for sale — including a new one from Bill Anderson based on Roy Underhill’s design. A side table and blanket chest from Jerome Bias. Oh, and tools.
Walls of saws, from the rusty but restorable to those that have been sharpened yesterday. Backsaws, panel saws, handsaws. There are planes of every era in every corner. This week there was an entire collection of Stanley transitional planes that were sharp and ready to go. Oh, and you could buy the chest they came with.
Metal planes? Check. Wooden planes? Check. Badger planes? He has a whole shelf of those.
And let’s talk moulding planes, wooden joinery planes and the like. Ed seems to specialize in these. Two shelves of beading planes in every size? Yup. Nosing planes? Yes, a whole shelf of nosing planes.
I bought a few things. Even with my recent spates of reduce, reduce, reduce, I found a few things that I really needed. A good ogee-profile moulder. A pair of snipes bills in PERFECT shape. And some stuff to experiment with.
So when you go to The Woodwright’s School, bring your tools, but also bring your wallet. Ed is open for business.
You can contact Ed Lebetkin at 919-967-1757 or at EdLebetkin@gmail.com.
— Christopher Schwarz