Since he was a young boy, Dean Wittwer was interested in things that could be made out of wood.
“In high school, I took industrial arts and I really wanted to become an industrial arts teacher,” Wittwer said as he filled a display case at the Canastota Public Library. “I’ve collected all of these antique hand woodworking tools through the years. Some of them are from the 1800s.”
Wittwer started collecting pieces more than 25 years ago. He would find woodworking tools at auctions, garage sales and antique stores. Even friends and neighbors started to give him tools when they learned he was interested.
His personal collection includes fillister planes, various saws, coping saws, axes, molding planes, dovetail saws and more. One of the most impressive pieces on display is a bow saw that Wittwer estimates is more than 100 years old.
In addition to collecting these interesting tools, Wittwer is passionate about using the tools. Through the years, he has made Welsh love spoons, book cases, bird houses, wooden gift boxes, coffee tables and end tables, cutting boards, a dovetail chest of maple and Harry Potter-type magic wands for his grandchildren.
He has even shared his woodshop space to teach his children and grandchildren about woodworking.
“I use all of these tools,” Wittwer said.
He even replaced molding for The Discovery Church in Canastota’s parsonage that couldn’t be found or purchased anymore. He used a molding plane and made the molding by hand. A piece of that molding is also a part of the display. It is apparent that Wittwer’s collection and wood working are all a labor of love.
Wittwer’s antique woodworking tool display will be at the library through October. The Canastota Public Library is located at 102. W. Center St., Canastota. The library has been providing services to the community since 1896.