During the housing boom of the early 1960's my Dad brought me to various job sites on Saturdays
from the time I was about eight. I would migrate to the wood scrap pile, pick out something to
hammer nails into and practice hammering for hours.
One of the carpenters took notice after a number of hammering sessions and was kind enough to show me how to make a saw bench, a common utility back in the day. From then on I was always building. At fourteen, Dad brought home a skiff in the back of his truck. In excitement, I rushed over for a close look and much to my dismay the bottom was missing. I learned many lessons from the little skiff as we steam bent new ribs, used a drawknife to shape the wood, and fit new planking so it would float.
After college, my first house was a big 1823 colonial with many rooms to fill with furniture. Equipped with a sparse amount of hand tools I built a few tables out of thick pine slabs from the local sawmill to help fill the spaces. These rustic pieces are still in use today.
The first half of my career was spent in the industrial manufacturing world where I learned about production machinery and the business of the fitting, hydraulic, and marine industries. All of my spare time meanwhile was spent working with wood and building.
In the mid 1990's after finishing my new home, I wanted to work with green wood using a drawknife to make some new furniture. In 1995 I signed up for a class, “Make a Windsor Chair with Mike Dunbar”, and was introduced to the world of hand tools. I brought along a square I designed made out of tool steel which some classmates showed interest in purchasing. At first I thought I would make a few chairs like many who go through the enlightening experience, however, I was intrigued with the old tools used. After numerous tool hunts throughout New England and coming up short for usable spokeshaves, I decided to make my own blades after finding a new old blade without a body. I fit a wood body around them based on several shaves I found in my tool hunts.
After several more chair classes with Mike and numerous trips to his shop testing tool proto-types, the big spokeshave was born.
In 1997 Woodjoy® Tools started as a part time endeavor. The business grew into a full time operation by the end of 2001.
My latest building started with the trees harvested on my land, cutting the joinery, and an old fashioned barn raising with a lot help from good friends. This shop conjures up a great sense of pride especially since my Dad got to see the first bent rise.
Today, after several years in the making, the new timber frame shop is about ready to move into
and I am excited to introduce some new tools into the lineup.
Glenn C Livingston
Developing tool designs that are helpful to new and experienced woodworker's, having the freedom to be creative, and to inspire the enjoyment of hand tool use.