Talking to 33-year-old Scott Carlson is like stepping into a time machine that takes you into the early 19th century. Carlson is a joiner, or timber framer, who builds frames in Ohio the way they used to 200 years ago. The first thing you notice about him is his handmade toolbox and the tools inside. In addition to the slicks and chisels most timber framers use, Carlson still carries a small ax, an adze, wooden mallets, several handsaws, and a log splitter. He uses his spoke shave to hand cut the pegs that secure his mortise-and-tenon joinery. And next to his toolbox is his 100-year-old Millers Falls mortising machine. He "rides" this to hand drill the mortises and, after all that time, it's still going strong.
It's safe to say Carlson's not afraid of hard work, because he builds all his frames by hand. He likes the feel of a blade cutting green wood. And his work is tied tightly to the way he lives his life. After years of building frames in a loud, dusty shop with power tools, he says: "Hand tools keep my work on a more human level and afford me some peace and quiet in my day."
It's even safer to say Carlson knows his trade and the history of timber framing. He'll tell you in detail how the framing square we all have behind the seats of our trucks was designed for laying out timber-frame buildings. One of the most appealing things about this ToolHound, though, is how much he cares about what he does. You might say Carlson is using his old tools not only to build enduring and beautiful homes, but also to build a good life.
Are you a ToolHound? Do you know one? Contact Katy Tomasulo at 202-736-3303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.