As we wait for final electrical approval for our new shop, we can’t help but consider alternatives to 220 volts. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were many non-electric choices, including lathes, table saws, scroll saws and combination machines. If you’re curious about these devices, there are plenty of resources online. The first place to look for information about old woodworking machinery is VintageMachinery.org. That’s where I found this old advertisement, and it’s well worth a look.
If you want to see some of these old machines in action, take a visit to Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, Calif. If you can’t make it in person, the web site is a great way to spend an hour or so. Back in 1973, Eric Hollenbeck started a salvage logging company that grew to include a millwork shop that specializes in authentic Victorian era details, a living history park and a hands-on educational program in conjunction with the local school. Among the highlights is a great collection of pancake-powered woodworking tools, with photos available online.
Click Here to See Photos of Human-powered Tools at the Blue Ox Millworks.