Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something
Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first
materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian
stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work
wood. The development of civilization was closely tied to the
development of increasingly greater degrees of skill in working these
Among early finds of wooden tools are the worked sticks from Kalambo
Falls, Clacton-on-Sea and Lehringen. The spears from Schöningen
(Germany) provide some of the first examples of wooden hunting gear.
Flint tools were used for carving. Since Neolithic times, carved wooden
vessels are known, for example, from the Linear Pottery culture wells at
Kückhofen and Eythra. Examples of Bronze Age wood-carving include tree
trunks worked into coffins from northern Germany and Denmark and wooden
folding-chairs. The site of Fellbach-Schmieden in Germany has provided
fine examples of wooden animal statues from the Iron Age. Wooden idols
from the La Tène period are known from a sanctuary at the source of the
Seine in France.
Woodworking shop in Germany in 1568, the worker in front is using a bow
saw, the one in the background is planing
Two ancient civilizations that used woodworking were the Egyptians and
the Chinese. Woodworking is depicted in many ancient Egyptian drawings,
and a considerable amount of ancient Egyptian furniture (such as stools,
chairs, tables, beds, chests) has been preserved in tombs. As well, the
inner coffins found in the tombs were also made of wood. The metal used
by the Egyptians for woodworking tools was originally copper and
eventually, after 2000 BC bronze as ironworking was unknown until much
later. Commonly used woodworking tools included axes, adzes, chisels,
pull saws, and bow drills. Mortise and tenon joints are attested from
the earliest Predynastic period. These joints were strengthened using
peg [disambiguation needed]s, dowels and leather or cord lashings.
Animal glue came to be used only in the New Kingdom period. Ancient
Egyptians invented the art of veneering and used varnishes for
finishing, though the composition of these varnishes is unknown.
Although different native acacias were used, as was the wood from the
local sycamore and tamarisk trees, deforestation in the Nile valley
resulted in the need for the importation of wood, notably cedar, but
also Aleppo pine, boxwood and oak, starting from the Second Dynasty.
The progenitors of Chinese woodworking are considered to be Lu Ban (魯
班) and his wife Lady Yun, from the Spring and Autumn Period. Lu Ban is
said to have brought the plane, chalkline, and other tools to China. His
teachings are supposedly left behind in the book Lu Ban Jing (魯班經,
"Manuscript of Lu Ban"), although it was written some 1500 years after
his death. This book is filled largely with descriptions of dimensions
for use in building various items such as flower pots, tables, altars,
etc., and also contains extensive instructions concerning Feng Shui. It
mentions almost nothing of the intricate glueless and nailless joinery
for which Chinese furniture was so famous.