Here at Woodworker’s Journal, a staff birthday (no, it’s not Rob — as he will clearly tell you, his birthday is December 11. That’s De-cem-ber el-ev-enth.) has us looking to the past — 60 years ago, to be precise. What was happening in woodworking back in 1951?
Well, it was right in the midst of the post World War II “do-it-yourself” era, the beginning of the birth of modern hobbyist woodworking. Some of the names in woodworking tools back then are names you still see around today: In 1951, Milwaukee Tool introduced the Sawzall, the first reciprocating saw. Featured in the 1951 Delta Milwaukee Industrial Machine Tools catalog were a new Delta/Rockwell 8″ jointer, which weighed in at 400 pounds without its motor and switch. Those, said the catalog, cost extra. And, according to one source, the Shopsmith used in broadcaster Andy Rooney’s shop today is a 1951 model.
Also in 1951, Walter Durbahn, a locally famed TV woodworker of the day, published Walt’s Workshop, a woodworking manual with the same title as his Chicago-area NBC TV show. It joined the year’s other publications like Make Your Own Modern Furniture by Paul Bry, and the ongoing series of “Deltagrams,” published by Delta Machinery from 1931 to 1959.
And, in 1951, the Sauder Woodworking Company of Archbold, Ohio, made their first snap-together table, thereby, according to their website, “creating the ready-to-assemble furniture industry.”
So, Woodworker’s Journal blog readers: do any of you have memories of woodworking from 60 years ago?