The Era of Manmade Machines
A generation of woodworkers overcame the high cost of machinery by building their own
Synopsis: A look back at some of the fascinating shopmade machinery throughout the history of Fine Woodworking, from wooden tablesaws to bandsaws, planers, and more.
When it comes to outfitting our shops, today’s woodworkers have a lot of affordable machinery options. But that wasn’t always the case. Before amateur DIY and woodworking went relatively mainstream, woodworking machinery manufacturers served primarily a pro audience, which meant that prices often were out of reach for many hobbyists, and availability was limited. The solution for some woodworkers was to build their own machines. Fine Woodworking published a number of project articles from these enterprising woodworkers, who created astounding, functional machines from hardwoods, sheet goods, spare parts, and used motors.
This issue’s Looking Back highlights a few of those shopmade successes, with short excerpts from each article, explaining why or how each machine was made. One of the projects, the bandsaw above,…