BRIDGEWATER – Shackleton Thomas, located in the historic mill building in Bridgewater, hosted Lie-Nielsen’s Hand Tool Event this past November.
The event was the first collaboration between the two companies. The event brought the artistry and exquisite handwork of woodworking to life through hands-on demonstrations.
Lie-Nielsen’s international woodworking show, Hand Tool Event, is an event designed to encourage woodworkers of all ages and skill levels to participate in first-hand demonstrations, either one-on-one or in a group setting, with one of the toolmakers. The demonstrations provide education on the benefits of traditional hand tools.
“Lie-Nielsen Toolworks are the primary makers of traditional wood tools, and we [Shackleton Thomas] are unique in our size within the U.S., still making traditional handmade furniture. I have always looked up to that company [Lie-Nielsen Toolworks], we use their tools here at Shackleton, so it was a match made in heaven to have them here,” Charles Shackleton, CEO of Shackleton Thomas, said.
Since 1986 Shackleton Thomas has specialized in and been dedicated to traditionally handmade furniture and pottery. Shackleton Thomas is a Vermont-based company that consists of the fine handmade furniture workshop of Charles Shackleton and the pottery studio of Miranda Thomas.
The Hand Tool Event was held on the top floor of the mill building housing the Shackleton Thomas showroom, attracting 300 to 400 people who sauntered through wood-shaving-covered floors over the two days of the free and open-to-the-public event.
“It is an attractive event for the area and for hobbyists; it is a venue for the tools, not only to see the tools, but to see them being used,” Shackleton said.
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Inc. is a family company located in Warren, Maine, begun in 1981 by Thomas Lie-Nielsen, making hand tools for woodworking. The planes, chisels, saw, benches and other tools made from steel, iron, bronze, brass, cherry, maple and hornbeam are all sourced in the U.S., with all castings poured by a local foundry.
“We are an all American-made company, a small company of 80 employees. This is our 35th year, and we now make over 350 individual tools, we hold between 30 and 40 events each year, and we hold weekend workshops in our classroom in Maine,” Deneb Puchalski, of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, said. “We find a partner – a host for our Hand Tool Event with a connection to woodworking that is inspired to educate people in hand tools. Shackleton was a great host for us; it’s really unusual for a production furniture maker to place emphasis on hand tools,” he added.
The Hand Tool Event is not just for the skilled woodworker, but for beginners as well, with the option to learn in a group or one-on-one.
“I’ve spent most of my life working with hand tools. I’ve created several of our constructional videos on our youtube page to educate [on] how these hand tools work and how to get the most out of them. Furthermore, to spread some of that knowledge, and to help teach the craft – to help people with their questions,” Puchalski said.
Shackleton has stayed true to his roots in creating traditional handmade pieces, with six furniture makers within his workshop. “In the age of computer technology putting soul into the inanimate object, our customers can see in handmade objects the humanness that can’t be found through mass production,” Shackleton said.
Shackleton Thomas will be hosting the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event again this year, in addition to celebrating their 30-year anniversary.
Shackleton Thomas is located at 102 Mill Road in Bridgewater. Contact the company at 672-5172 or www.shackletonthomas.com.
For more information about Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Inc., call 800-327-2520 or visit www.lie-nielson.com/hand-tool-events.