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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 – I believe Season 27 was just released.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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Showing 10 comments
  • amoscalie

    Just an idea; wouldn’t these pictures make a great calendar?

  • R.L. Kocher

    Roy Underhill never ceases to amaze me. With everything he does, he still manages to get things done. I’m well organized but, run out of day light. Maybe he’s a twin. ha ha.
    Keep up the great work Megan. You do an outstanding job. How do YOU find enough time?

  • dmac4870

    Nice pictures! I hope Roy will let us peak inside during the class in August! I was surprised to see Roy prepping the oak for the upcoming chest build….I was looking forward to losing a couple pounds busting open logs in August! I suspect there’ll still be plenty of sweat equity in the class, though, I’m not too worried! Sorry you won’t be with us in’s bound to be a hoot!


    BTW, I got a kick a kick out of the phantom farmer driving the tractor through eternity 😉

  • pmac

    Talk about not judging a book by its cover, I never would have guessed that shop was in that building.
    Also, future Roy or Peter Follansbee article request: splitting and riving boards from a log. Thanks!

  • joinerman

    these are inspiring pictures, thanks.
    It is very educational to see all the pedal-powered tools, and try to figure out what they do.
    Through one of his shows he inspired me to build myself a lathe like the one in the BG.
    What does that yellow string do which shows up in some of the pictures? In one it looks like its coming out of the wall from something that looks like an outlet. 🙂

  • sawdustdave

    It’s hard to picture that man as Roy – I’m so used to his appearance on TV!

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