Ogee Schmoge: I Jumped on the Anarchist’s Layout Square Bandwagon

I remember when I didn’t even know who Chris Schwarz was…the last time I had an apprentice at the museum, (2008, Quinn the Eskimo) he kept harping about some B&W magazine that I should read and the hand-tool nut who runs it. I have a filter built into my head that is triggered by the words “You should…” – it kicks in & I never hear the end of a sentence that starts that way…so I dismissed the suggestion out of hand.

Anyway, after some time my resolve buckled & I looked into this Schwarz character. Read some blog about his work…as I recall he was working quartersawn oak when I read it…but it was Mission stuff or something like that.

Now, a few years later, & look at me. I got Popular Woodworking & wrote articles for them. Went to their WIA gigs. Got a Lost Art Press hat,


PF LAP hat

and a Lost Art Press T-shirt.  

PF in Anarchist’s tool chest T-shirt by Daniel Follansbee

I even got a Lost Art Press book:

Make a Joint Stool from a Tree


I read the book about tool chests & after 20 years in one shop, I took most of my tools off the wall & built a chest after reading the Lost Art Press book The Anarchist’s Tool Chest

tool chest finished

I’m like a sheep or lemming or something. Next is probably a Lost Art Press decoder ring …

Then when Chris wrote about his “layout” square, I balked. I had never heard that term before for one thing. Squares are squares, unless they are “iron squares” or “wooden squares” in the period I study. Plus his thing looked more like a level to me than any practical joiners’ tool. Moxon has a level in the section on carpenters’ tools. (top left, below) But I don’t need a level. Moxon’s level doesn’t look like a giant letter “A”.

Moxon’s carpenters’ tools

But Andres Felebien’s does, 1676 in Paris. 

Felebien, Paris 1676

I had long known this Dutch painting of a weaver’s loom and surroundings. I studied this for the busted-up chair and the simple cupboard, but had noted the level hanging on the wall behind the loom.

Weaver’s workshop

I sent it to Chris a few weeks ago, & he posted a bit about how he uses the his square. Then I started to see it differently. So with some idea of how it’s used, and the Felebien engraving – I jumped on the bandwagon & decided to make one of the fool things.

PF square in oak

But it’s so boring a device. I used (no surprise) riven quartered oak. I thought the “ogee everywhere” bit was too much, so I deleted 2 ogee cut-outs on the top edge of the brace. I cut the ogees with a backsaw, chisel & knife. I can’t be bothered with a rasp or file. 

PF square detail

I still thought it was painfully dull, so I carved it. Now it looks like something.

PF square finished
daylight carving detail

If you are a woodworker who’s been living in a cave – here’s the LAP website. Buy their stuff. You’ll be glad. http://www.lostartpress.com/Default.asp

13 thoughts on “Ogee Schmoge: I Jumped on the Anarchist’s Layout Square Bandwagon

  1. Peter, you never cease to make me laugh. Great post. I too need to make one of those ‘fool things’, but first I have to finish my Roubo style bench. The kids and the honey-do list never seems to let me get back to it. That Schwarz is a ‘dealer’. Hooks you quick and keeps you coming back for more. Makes me wonder what my woodworking would be like without his influence. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten 2 of Jennie’s wooden planes from you, and be scouring the internet for a single-bevel axe….

    • It is so true C. S. should give you the first book for free as you will defiantly be back for more! The real trouble make is Roy, not only has he sucked me in but I have become a addict to this and several other blogs because of him.

  2. You’ve been married,
    how long?

    “I have a filter built into my head that is triggered by the words “You should…” – it kicks in & I never hear the end of a sentence that starts that way…”

  3. Nice! Ive been sniffing around old antique shops trying to find matches to these classic 17th and early 18th century styles of squares and such…. they seem to endure well into the early 20th century in more rural areas.

  4. Hilarious post. I love how you have added the Follensbee touch to the CS suggestions. And, I now have an absolutely awesome screensaver on my laptop of you in that hat!! Made my day!


  5. Hi Peter!

    Where can I read Chris’ notes on how he uses the “silly thing”. I’d love to read them. Of course it will mean yet another project on the list…!

    Bear ;-D

  6. If you want another historical touchstone, I just saw an ancient Egyptian example in the Luxor Museum (with added plumb bob) last week (no cameras allowed) I like your carving add-on, it certainly makes it yours.

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