As you pull up the leafy driveway to the mill Roy and Jane Underhill call home, off to the right is the cottage where I was lucky enough to stay on my recent visit (you can take a look at it here). To the left is a barn in which Roy has his home shop.
Many students who have taken classes that move from log to project at The Woodwright’s School are familiar with that shop; it’s where much of the heavy work gets done – from crosscutting and splitting logs, to breaking them down into billets, to using a froe and riving brake to make rough, straight-grained boards ready for use in green woodworking. I, perhaps foolishly, took a class there that involved such work…in late July. While I enjoyed the class immensely, the next time I attempt to split a tree, it will be early spring, late fall or the dead of winter. (My people are from peat bogs; give me cold and rainy over hot and sunny any day.)
Just before my recent visit, Roy had been busy splitting red oak for an upcoming Oak Panel Chest class with Peter Follansbee, so there’s a pile o’ planks outside the shop door.
The rest, well, take a look at the images below. There are spokeshaves and pedal-powered lathes and dog butts – oh my. And more. And if you want to read about how Roy became The Woodwright, read the feature on him from Christopher Schwarz in our November 2012 issue. Roy’s is a fascinating journey. And of course, you’ll find DVDs of “The Woodwright’s Shop” at ShopWoodworking.com – I believe Season 27 was just released.