Foot-Powered And Hand-Powered Woodworking Machines

Dismiss the idea that foot-powered stationary woodworking tools are toys. In the London-based weekly Work, 1889-1893 -- a magazine dedicated to woodworking, metalworking, and numerous other crafts -- advertisments for these tools appeared issue after issue, and numerous articles focused on their use in shops. (Notice its subtitle: an illustrated magazine of practice and theory for all workmen, professional and amateur. In Work, at least one article described the use of a jig for cutting dovetail joints on a foot-powered table saw.) in addition read what the New Yorker, A L Hall, says about making a Morris chair in 1908.

Or, read the article by Victor J. Taylor, "English Oak Table: Reproducing an Arts and Crafts Classic," Fine Woodworking no, 48 (Septermber/Octorber, 1984), pp. 72-75, which gives instructions on making Barnsley's famous "hayrake" table (this link leads to a photo of a copy of the Barnsley table):

... An influential figure in the English Arts and Crafts movement around the turn of the century, Sidney Barnsley designed and made this massive oak table in 1924. Trained in London as an architect, Barnsley, along with his brother Ernest and their friend Ernest Gimson, was disenchanted with the impersonal, mass-produced furniture churned out by the machinery of the industrial age. So the three left urban life behind and retreated to the idyllic English countryside. In this peaceful setting they planned to make furniture that emphasized craftsmanship and integrity of design.

Sidney Barnsley was the loner of the trio. When differences arose among the three partners, he went his own way, hand-crafting all the pieces that came out of his workshop.

His only machine was a large hand- and foot-powered circular saw.

Source: Francis Chilton-Young; Paul Nooncree Hasluck, Work; an illustrated magazine of practice and theory for all workmen, professional and amateur. Weekly v. : ill. ; 30 cm.London : Cassell, 1889-1893; David. Denning, The Art and Craft of Cabinet-Making: A Practical Handbook to the Construction of Cabinet Furniture, The Use of Tools, Formation Of Joints, Hints On Designing And Setting Out Work, Veneering, Etc.; Together With A Review Of The Development Of Furniture. London: Whittaker, 1891. 320 pages. A woodworker's manual dedicated to "amateurs and beginning professional woodworkers", Denning's Chapter 6, "Tools", includes attention to foot power and hand power tools available in England in the 1890s. Kenneth L. Cope, American Foot Power and Hand Power MachineryAvoca, NY: Martin J. Donnelly Antique Tools, 2001. 135 pages.

Below is pasted portions of the blurb about American Foot Power and Hand Power Machinery's purpose, contents, and editorial slant:

American ingenuity and the dramatic style of the Victorian Era complemented each other no better than when they were combined to create beautiful, yet thoroughly functional machinery. In this copiously illustrated paperback, antique tool researcher and author Kenneth L. Cope captures the spirit of the short-lived world of hand and foot-powered machines.

The result of nearly ten years of research, the book combines hundreds of period illustrations of human-powered devices of every sort with Cope's detailed research into the histories of the producers of the machines. This book covers hundreds of large and small makers--many of whom were previously undocumented. An index of trade names helps locate historical information about manufacturers.

Eight collectors of American hand and foot powered machinery -- in a separate Appendix -- give commentary-- including pricing information -- about evaluating specific machines.