Woodworking is one of the oldest crafts known to man. Wood has long been a staple material for man’s many arts and crafts, being used to create everything from homes to toys to tools. Carpentry has evolved over the years with the introduction of power tools which allow woodworkers to make things faster and more efficiently, but the appeal of antique items created the old fashioned way, with chisels, saws, and hammers, have their own appeal to collectors.
Such handcrafted wooden items are still being made today by dedicated woodworkers who prefer to use old fashioned manual tools instead of electric powered ones. These collectibles, along with the truly old antiques created decades ago, fetch hefty sums among collectors of woodwork. For those of you who want to try your hand at either collecting or buying and reselling antique woodworks to collectors, here are a few of the more popular categories of woodwork around.
Carvings and Statuary – wooden carvings and statues are extremely attractive decorative pieces. Some of the larger and more impressive pieces include not only wooden statues, but even carved murals. True antique wooden pieces of this nature are quite expensive, though even modern crafted pieces can fetch a hefty sum if the artist is capable of rendering something with a great deal of elegance and beauty. The most common example of modern wooden carved statues are usually religious in nature, like carvings of ancient gods and angels.
Tribal Paraphernalia – this is a common collectible that is usually best purchased overseas in local bazaars and markets. Native woodworkers create all sorts of pieces from wood, including tribal masks, shields, baskets, accessories, and the like. Wooden antiques of this sort usually appeal to people who have a fascination with ancient cultures. To avoid buying “tourist trap” pieces, it is best to do a little background study on the customs of the area you’re visiting to learn how to determine authentic tribal pieces from their gaudier, mass produced cousins.
Shelves and Furniture – on a more modern note, wooden furniture in general is a collectible that must not be overlooked. Heavy hardwood tables, chairs, and shelves can fetch quite a hefty sum among people who are seeking to decorate their homes with a touch of elegance. A pure mahogany dining table, when polished and restored properly, can grant a touch of warmth and beauty to any home. Another good example is a book shelf with matching wooden carved bookends. These are almost a staple with any book lover who owns his own home library.
Handcrafted Toys – old fashioned children’s toys are probably the smallest and easiest of all antique woodworks to collect. Probably the most famous examples would be carved wooden animals, and those old appealing hollow russian dolls which can be opened to hold a smaller doll, which can likewise be opened to hold an even smaller one. Then of course there are the little wooden puppets on strings, and wooden toys on wheels which can be pulled along on a string. While quite simplistic by modern standards, these toys are generally colorful and carry a nostalgic appeal with woodwork collectors of any age and genre.
Musical Instruments – while not an antique woodworking category per se, there are actually collectors who have a fascination with wooden instruments, most notably woodwind instruments and stringed instruments made of wood. Perhaps the most common example of this would be collections of wooden flutes. In case you are musically inclined and have a talent for woodworking, this might be a nice area to start a collection or even to craft pieces of your own.
Weapons – lastly, weapons are a special category that caters to a small but very dedicated niche group. While most antique weapons are made of metal like swords, knives, maces, and battle axes, wooden weapons compose a smaller minority that nonetheless remains avid about them. Oriental wooden weapons in particular are extremely well made and in high demand, including things like arnis sticks (single or paired truncheons, essentially), nunchacku, tonfas, bo staffs, and bokkens. A collector and martial arts practitioner will usually be willing to pay quite a bit for a pair of personalized wooden weapons made of rare hardwoods.
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