Forget oak – we got dinos!


forget oak


Spent a couple of days museum-crawling recently. First one was Museum of Science with kids, second MFA without. So the triceratops (80% real bones) was a hit, as was the 100% made-up model of the T-rex… (why he’s dressed in camo is beyond me; the scarf is a little silly as well…)

T rex

The grownups then went the next day to the MFA to see Durer engravings and woodcuts. They have an excellent show up; it’s a treasure to see the real prints. We tend to think we know these images; they are reproduced to death. But seeing them for real was a blast – the actual prints are so amazing. For the dovetail freaks, Durer regularly has a dt’d board chest in some of his work, I copped this off the web:

Durer, Birth of the Virgin, detail


So, if you are reading this James; here is dovetailed construction c. 1515 or so…it just took the English almost 200 years to make it a regular thing with them. The change from frame-and-panel to dovetailed board carcasses was not technology-driven, just fashion…

I have posted details before from the engraving Melancolia; but while browsing the web looking for Durer’s dovetails, I found a high-resolution detail that I couldn’t resist – it shows one way to fasten the horn or tote on this plane. 

one website that has great scans of Durer prints is


4 thoughts on “Forget oak – we got dinos!

  1. LOL, yes i am reading. I am on the road in the boonies but i always carry my lap.

    Fashion dictated huh, you might be right, it certainly was a dramatic change though, not only in style but construction as well.

    I stumbled into this site recently thats based on medieval material culture. Heres a chest from Regensburg, c. 1475-1500 that has a frame & panel top with a dovetailed bracket base.

    Heres a link to all the chests

  2. The museums sound great, Peter. Pondering a trip to Boston this summer with my 11-year-old son, so I’ll have to keep those places in mind.

    I wonder if Durer’s actual woodcut blocks still exist somewhere. Those would be fascinating to see.

  3. We’re heading out to NC next month to take a class with St. Roy and we’ll be hitting some museums in the DC area.

    I’m looking forward to it, as my wife and I really enjoy them and we’re hoping to pass it on to our kids too. My son is 2 now, and he’ll be dragged to a lot of museums whether he like it or not. :)

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