Passion for woodworking fuels exhibition


CANASTOTA – Since childhood, Dean Wittwer has been interested in things that could be made from wood.

“In high school, I took industrial arts classes and I really wanted to become an industrial arts teacher,” Wittwer said as he filled out a display case at the Canastota public library. “I have collected all of these antique hand carpentry tools over the years. Some of them date from the 1800s.

Wittwer’s antique woodworking tools exhibit will be at Canastota Public throughout October.

Wittwer started collecting coins over 25 years ago. He found woodworking tools at auctions, garage sales, and antique shops. Even friends and neighbors started giving him tools when they found out he was interested.

His personal collection includes Fillister planes, various saws, scroll saws, axes, casting planes, dovetail saws and more. One of the most impressive pieces on display is a bow saw which Wittwer says is over 100 years old.

Besides collecting these interesting tools, Wittwer is passionate about using the tools. Over the years, he has endeared Welsh people to spoons, bookcases, birdhouses, wooden gift boxes, coffee tables and end tables, cutting boards, a dovetail maple chest and Harry Potter type magic wands for his grandchildren.

He even worked in his carpentry workshop, sharing his space to teach woodworking to his children and grandchildren.

“I use all of these tools,” Wittwer said. He even replaced the moldings in the presbytery of his church which could no longer be found or purchased.

He used a casting plane and did the casting by hand.

A piece of this molding is also part of the display. It is obvious that Wittwer’s collection and woodworking are all a labor of love.

The Canastota Public Library is located at 102. W. Center Street in Canastota. The library has been providing services to the community since 1896.

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