Roy Underhill is best known as the host of the PBS series The Woodwright’s Shop and the many books that followed. While working in television he also served as Master HouseWright for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he and his crew recreated the work of 18th century carpenters and joiners – much like playing early music on the original instruments. Roy now runs The Woodwright’s School in North Carolina, dedicated to historically-informed woodworking.
Favorite wood – elm. Favorite tool – moving fillister plane. Favorite fuel – lager.
This episode was so much fun to do. I talk with Roy about how he grew up and came to woodworking and about the creation and evolution of The Woodwright’s Shop TV show and his time at Colonial Williamsburg. Along the way we discuss “subversive woodworking,” his writing, and being a “complete person.” All our episodes are fun for me to do, but this one was particularly special and I think you’ll enjoy it, even if you aren’t a woodworker. I’m grateful to Roy for the time and to you for listening and reading.
Roy Underhill’s books:
- The Woodwright’s Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft – 1981
- The Woodwright’s Companion: Exploring Traditional Woodcraft – 1983
- The Woodwright’s Workbook: Further Explorations in Traditional Woodcraft – 1986
- Architectural Treasures of Early America – 1988
- The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop – 1991
- The Woodwright’s Apprentice: Twenty Favorite Projects From the Woodwright’s Shop – 1996
- Khrushchev’s Shoe: And Other Ways to Captivate an Audience of One to One Thousand – 2000
- The Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood With Wedge and Edge – 2008
- Calvin Cobb, Radio Woodworker! A Novel With Measured Drawings – 2014
Other books mentioned in this episode:
- The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II – Antony Beevor
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott
- Deacon King Kong – James McBride
- A Distant Mirror: A Calamitous 14th Century – Barbara Tuchman
- All That is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region – David E. Whisnant
Other people mentioned in this episode:
- Joan Baez
- Lewis Black
- Len Deighton
- John Hemmings
- Sally Hemings
- Thomas Jefferson
- Andre Roubo
- Bobby Royster
- Christopher Schwarz & Lost Art Press
- Sir Walter Scott
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