Antique woodworking tools like the one shown here are part of a prized collection by Jim Goodson, featured at the Texas Furniture Makers’ Show.


Jim Goodson wants to talk about tools, especially anything from the 17th or 18th centuries. 

An avid collector, Goodson has a passion for tools that were used to craft everything from household goods to finely crafted furniture. The collection features items like planers, chisels and small anvils for detail work by gunsmiths. 

Goodson’s collection is on display at the Kerr Arts Cultural Center through Saturday. What makes Goodson’s collection so fascinating is the artistry of the tools themselves. 

The idea, at least according to Goodson, was that the more beautiful the tools, the more likely a craftsman was to gain the confidence of the client. 

“It was a calling card,” said Goodson, a Kerrville resident who has been collecting the antique tools for more than 20 years. “They didn’t really have business cards. If you see someone pull up with one of these tools that are so beautiful, you could feel pretty confident they could do a good job.

The collection features wooden tools, most ornately decorated with animals, or in the form of Viking-like ships, and one could even be described as erotic — a topless woman lounging in bed adorning a French planer from 1745. 

Goodson also has Bronze Age items, sets of iron tools from the Vikings found in Russia, but the real pride of the show seems to be the European woodworking tools. Goodson is a masterful guide of the entire collection and will take great care to explain the use and purpose of each tool in his collection.

There are also some eclectic pieces like a Bowie knife, that also has a single-shot pistol and cutlery set. You can shoot it, skin it and eat it. 

Goodson said the part that fascinates him is the craftsmanship of each tool. While they’re antiques, most can still perform the tasks they were created to do more than 200 years ago. 

“They were building furniture back then,” said Goodson, adding that it was made to last quality that is not easily replicated today.

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