Bill Rainford on the Craft

Bill Rainford of North Bennet Street School recently filmed a series for Fine Homebuilding on reproducing period molding for a historic home in Boston. These videos complement his article for the August/September 2013 issue of the magazine (subscription required). I had let my Fine Homebuilding membership lapse, but the few videos outside the pay wall convinced me to renew my membership.

Many of the experiences he spoke of hit home for me: learning from his father and grandfather; coming from a machine woodworking bias; realizing that all the personal protective equipment he used to save his lungs, hearing, and eyesight from machines were coming between him and the work; recognizing that as the craftsman’s skill and muscle memory increases, the use of hand tools overcomes the initial efficiency of power tools.

These videos are worth viewing, not just for his thoughts on the craft, but also for the practical insight into the work of sticking architectural moulding by hand. As Rainford demonstrates, it’s a surprisingly practical approach to reproduction work, and an incredibly handy skill for a woodworker to have.

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