The Tin Woodman was not always made of tin. He was born Nick Chopper, the son of a woodsman who chopped down trees and sold the wood for a living, the son followed in his father's footsteps and became a woodman as well.
When his parents died, he decided he would marry so that he would not have to live alone. He soon met a Munchkin girl whose beauty captured his heart immediately. Her love was returned. She agreed to marry him as soon as he earned enough money to provide for her. The Woodman worked harder than he ever had before.
The Munchkin girl lived with an old lazy woman. She did not want the beautiful girl to marry since she did all the cooking and cleaning for her. The old woman then paid a visit to the Wicked Witch Of The East. She gave paid her two sheep and cow in order to prevent the marriage from happening. The Witch then placed an enchantment upon the Woodman's axe.
While out chopping down trees, the axe slipped in the Woodman's hand and cut off his leg. It seemed that his career was at an end as a one-legged man wouldn't be able to chop much wood. The Woodman then went to a tinsmith and had a tin leg made.
Getting used to his new leg, the Witch became angry. She then caused the axe to cut the Woodman's other leg. The Woodman had this leg replaced also. Over the next few days, the axe continued cutting off parts of the Woodman: his arms, his head, yet the Woodman continued. Finally the Witch made the axe split his body into two halves. The Woodman had no choice but to have his body replaced as well.
Proud of his new shiny body, the Woodman knew he didn't have to worry about his axe slipping any more. The downside of this is he didn't have a heart anymore. He no longer cared whether or not he married the beautiful Munchkin girl.
The Woodman continued chopping wood, always keeping an oil-can nearby to oil himself when needed. One day he forgot to oil himself and was caught in a rain storm. His joints soon rusted and became stuck in the woods.
In the year he sat there waiting for Dorothy and the others to come across him, he had time to think. He thought about his greatest loss. The loss of his heart. When he was in love, he was the happiest man on Earth. He then decided to ask the Wizard of Oz for a heart. Once having a heart, he intends to return to the Munchkin girl and marry her.
The Tin Man was first seen in flashbacks during the Fables: Legends in Exile story arc, while fleeing the Adversary's forces. In the Fables spin-off Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, it is revealed that he, along with the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy Gale and Toto made it into the mundy world in the year of 1943, having been on the run from the Adversary's forces for years. The Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion decided to live out on the Jersey pine barrens rather than staying at the Farm, while Dorothy went on to live as a killer for hire among the mundys. At some point years later, all of them were captured by Mr. Revise's people and imprisoned at the Golden Boughs. The Tin Man used to have all sorts of appendages attached to his body, including tin cannons, a rotating saw and a large drill, which were all removed when he was revised. When Bookburner attacked the Golden Boughs, Mr. Revise reluctantly allowed many of the revised Fables to be restored back to their original self, and the Tin Man magically got all of the appendages back. In the final issue of Jack of Fables, the Tin Man and many former prisoners are caught in the middle of a confrontation between Jack Frost Two and Jack Horner, who has been turned into a dragon. Jack Frost believes that the Tin Man is on the dragon's side and kills him by chopping off his head.