I haven’t written here in a while. It’s a long story, another time perhaps. Meanwhile, I’m knocked out with something just under the flu. One thing on my to-be-done list has been  learning how to convert JPEGs to PDFs, not for woodworking, but for the many books Rose has written.

But I practiced on Felebien first. So as a thank-you to all the blog readers here for their patience while I was busy bungling the latest tool sale, I’m posting the Felebien stuff I have here. The PDF here is the chapter on joiner’s work, from a reprint of the 1699 edition. Felebien’s first edition was 1676, i.e. pre-Moxon.

So while you’re waiting for Chris to finish up on the Roubo volume, now you can reach back to an earlier time in Paris, and see what Moxon was copying some of his stuff from…

plate 30

Felebien PDF

Now, somewhere I have some attempts at translation done for Alexander & I almost 15 years ago. Paula Marcoux (now the Magnificent Leaven http://www.themagnificentleaven.com/The_Magnificent_Leaven/WELCOME.html ) took a whack at it for us… so here is a “warts n’ all” translation. this is done as a Word document, I have had enough, so I’m not converting it to anything. Have fun.

Felibien w edits accepted

7 thoughts on “Felebien

  1. Hey Peter, I hope that you’re feeling better. And thank you ery much for the Felibien stuff!

    Be well,


  2. Hope you are feeling better by now, Peter. I’ve had it too….nasty bug! I’ve enjoyed reading your translation of Felibien’s work. I believe that “Les Quilboquets” means “wooden pins”. Quille in French means “skittle” which was an old game played with wooden pins, typically 9 of them. Bouquet means “bunch”, hence a bunch of wooden pins. It’s the only way it fits with the heading, Other sorts of Tools & Instruments. I’m also sending you two pictures of what I believe Felibien means in referring to the Cross of St. Andrew, typically used in timberframing large doors. Look in your email…..thanks so much for this. Fascinating because it’s pre-Moxon!

  3. Hi Peter,

    Hope you’re feeling a little better. Tis the season, what with warm, then cold, then wet, etc. I just blame the kid…Ian is two now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so sick for so long, off and on. They ought to warn you! Worth every minute of it, though!

    Thanks for the Felebien, looks like fun browsing!


  4. Thanks for posting. Perhaps this bit will give some an appreciation of what Chris’ team has tackled.

    One really can’t just feed old techincal French to babblefish and live with the results.

  5. Hi Peter. I had a quick look at the original and translation. It’s not a bad first start. The French is not what I would call ‘old French’ because it is still quite understandable. As mentioned above it’s the technical terms and references and the obscure names given to things which makes it a challenge – and I can also appreciate the work going into translating Roubo.

    However, even Moxon has his obscurities – because he says things like (I’m paraphrasing) “these tools are so common that explanation of their usage is hardly necessary”. Sure, except when you are reading it 300 years later and they are not so common anymore.

    The Cross of St. Andrew ( Croix de St Andre) is simply an X shape – found on many flags, also used as bracing in timber framing such as those seen on bridges or any other type of cross bracing in construction.

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