I’ve spent a lot of time with Jögge Sundqvist in the last 2 years, a couple weeks in Maine in 2015, then in 2016 at Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest and then in Sweden at Täljfest…then we toured around Sweden for a couple weeks. Think I’ve had my fill? Nope.
Before I left Sweden, I made sure that if schedules permitted, he’d come back to the US for Greenwood Fest 2017. Lucky for us, the schedules just made it…(he has an exhibition back home right after our event.)
Jögge’s craft skills are firmly rooted in tradition, and his teaching is top-flight. His craft permeates his life; they can’t be separated. He makes you better at woodworking. If you’ve not been around him, here’s your chance. His 2-day class will be making a handle and sheath for a sloyd knife, and learning some carving to go with it. Then in the festival he’ll be doing some demonstrations, and short sessions…spoon carving, decoration – there’s lots to cover.
I wrote this post tonight because it was just announced by Lost Art Press that us mono-linguists will be able to read his book once and for all. They are publishing a translation of his updated book Slöjda i trä. Great combo, Jögge & LAP.
It’s been a summer of inspiration for me in many ways. One way is books. So much book inspiration that I’m building a new bookcase. Just have to see where I can fit it. Here’s a few titles I’m rummaging around in these days.
First up, a gift. Thanks, Jögge.
It’s Jögge Sundqvist’s book Slöjda I Trä (something like “Handicrafts made in wood”) – the publisher is Natur & Kultur, Stockholm. It’s a revised edition of an earlier book of the same title. More projects, more text. Nice clear drawings and diagrams, great photos and COLOR! As you expect from Jögge… it’s in Swedish. http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789127148833/slojda-i-tra/
Another revised edition that just arrived here this week is Victor Chinnery’s Oak Furniture: The British Tradition.
One of the great thrills of my joinery career was getting to know Vic. His book originally came out in 1979, and stayed in print for eons. But since Vic’s death, his wife Jan has been working on revising it for a new edition, and they’ve taken a great book and made it better. When Jan wrote to me asking for help contacting American museums for photos, I thought it was mostly to just add more color. But the new edition is way more than that, there’s better photos all around, lots of color added, it’s true. But many new figures. The old photo numbering system is still there. Each photo is numbered according to the chapter it’s in, thus fig. 3:210. When Jan and the editors have added new items, they get a small letter after the figure number, thus there is a fig. 3:210a, where there wasn’t before. Most of the pictures are bigger, thank-you very much. The book is bigger, which helps. In an age where it seems like everyone but me is running around looking at things on small screens, it’s nice to have some images get bigger rather than smaller. If you are serious about oak furniture, then you’ll want to get this new edition. I’m glad I did…it’s well worth it. (and yes, the cover of Oak Furniture is still a walnut chair. Nice one, Vic). http://www.antiquecollectorsclub.com/uk/store/productdatasheet/9781851497157
I had mentioned some time ago about Lost Art Press’ new edition of Ants Viires’ Woodworking in Estonia. (I just now realized that’s 3 revised books in a row…weird)
I wrote a short intro to it, just some notes about my exposure to the original English edition. Now we get better, clearer illustrations, and a text that is related to what the author wrote. And you can buy it easily, whereas the 1969 edition was like hen’s teeth. Suzanne Ellison wrote a nice history of the book, and how it got to be translated and published by the US government back in the 1960s. If you’re not familiar with the book, the author travelled his native countryside in the 1950s and 60s, recording in photographs, drawings and notes the woodworking practices in the countryside, which he reckoned were soon to disappear. Much of the work presented relates to agricultural work; but lots of it is things for the home – cooperage, boxes, some spoons, some furniture. What always strikes me is the familiarity with the material these craftsmen had. A must-have for green woodworkers… https://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/woodworking-in-estonia
In some ways, this next book is similar, in that it’s about knowing the properties of trees.
This one, however, is new, and written by woodworkers, it is the Swedish book Slöjden börjar i skogen – The title roughly translates to “Craft begins in the Woods.” How to use what sort of tree where, what sort of growth – straight, crooked, hard wood vs soft. I bought mine at Sätergläntan’s great craft store, an amazingly inspiring place. I have just started to work out some of the text via Google translate. It’s enough to get the gist of it. (here’s the link to Sätergläntan’s store; it’s available elsewhere, but I know nothing about who ships where… http://www.saterglantan.com/butik/butiken/litteratur-sv/slojden-borjar-i-skogen/ )
I had seen this one on Jarrod Stone Dahl’s blog, after one of his earlier trips to Sweden. I haven’t turned a bowl in 2 years, but hope to get to it again before too long. This book was one of those things where I thought, I’m not going to see this again, so better get it now. Might need it later.
Continuing the Swedish theme, when I got home, I was searching used books for one on Swedish vernacular furniture. I didn’t find one yet, but I did find Swedish Folk Art: All Tradition is Change.
(edited by Barbara Klein and Mats Widbom, published by Harry Abrams, 1994) It’s an exhibition catalog of sorts. Lots of great painted interiors for one thing, and there is a good deal of furniture and other decorative arts in it. It’s a very nice book. Makes me want to decorate everything in sight.
I also got the Lost Art Press edition of Charles Hayward’s articles titled The Woodworker: the Charles Hayward Years. I got both volumes, seems silly to scrimp on this sort of reference material. Lots of depth to the ideas, there’s both fundamental and advanced information in there. With this much content, every woodworker is going to come across stuff they don’t agree with, but there’s still many good concepts. (For instance, I hate the way 20th-century woodworkers scribble all over their stock with pencils – all those stupid wiggly lines. Ugh.) All in all well worth having, it gets the usual Lost Art Press treatment, nice production.
One last woodworking book, a gift from our friend Masashi Kutsuwa.
It’s about a chair he’s been studying in Japan, based on a Vincent Van Gogh painting; https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-van-goghs-chair hence the nickname “Van Gogh chair”. Masashi’s facebook page has some details about the project, starting with Tatsuaki Kuroda’s 1967 trip to Spain to see these chairs being made…this link includes a short film of one of the Spanish chairmakers.
The book traces the introduction of this chair, via imports, into Japan; all the way to Masashi and students making them now in Japan.
And while I was in Sweden, I got 2 books on birds there – I used this one a lot; and I didn’t see the woodpeckers shown below, but I was ready for them…it’s a very good bird book. One thing, the maps are large enough to see…
The next one was pure indulgence. I have a couple other Lars Jonsson books; they’re bird books and art books. I like both.
Lost Art Press just announced they are now taking orders for their new translation of Woodworking in Estonia – go order yours, don’t even think about it. I saw it as they were working on it, it will open your mind about woodworking.
If you ever thought you’ve seen this book based on the 1969 US version, forget it. You ain’t seen nothin’. If you wasted your eyesight on the online version that was floating around some years ago, even worse. Now you’ll be able to see what this book is meant to be.
Congrats, Chris, John & the rest of LAP cohorts. Nice going.
This note from Craig D touches on just why we used a joint stool as the project in our introduction to 17th-century joinery book…you only need a short section of a log. Many find it daunting to go out & secure a large oak log. But Craig says he used an “urban” white oak that had already been cut to firewood lengths. Here’s his note & stool:
Hi Peter – I thoroughly enjoyed the Joint Stool book and used the information to build this stool from an urban white oak that had been cut into long firewood logs. Quite enjoyable and very informative.
Thanks to you and Jennie for writing the book and your blog.
Readers of the blog know that I try to regularly include period examples, for a couple of reasons. One is the basic premise that the study of period artifacts is essential to learning how to make this stuff. I’ve been very fortunate in having access to many collections for study. Along those lines, I know it’s not practical for everyone to get to see these objects in detail, curators, collectors, etc just don’t have the time and resources available to accommodate everyone who wants to crawl around their furniture. So I try to let you see some of it here.
Some collectors and collections (most maybe) distinguish between American and English furniture – and either focus on one or the other. Me, I like them both. The sheer numbers of surviving English pieces makes it much more interesting than sampling American pieces. In the book we show some New England stools as well as some from old England.
Here’s a photo of two joined forms sent to me last week by Bob Trent who often searches auction listings on line…this one’s from Bonham’s. (to be able to zoom on the photo, go to their website: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20404/lot/288/
These are interesting because of their central stretcher, instead of the usual arrangement all around the frame. This central stretcher has never been seen on any known American stools or forms, not even on tables. I like this framing though. It is easier to sit at, I did it for my kitchen table. On the forms from Bonham’s auction, the joiner made the framing simple by planing the side stretchers to the same thickness as the stiles. This means the center stretcher’s shoulder-to-shoulder dimension is the same as that of the long aprons. On my kitchen table I foolishly didn’t do it that way, and had to do a test-fit to get the length of the center stretcher. Learn by mistakes, next form I did this way I equalized the side stretchers and stiles and got on quite well.
So this is another variation on joined stools and forms, After you’ve read the book and made your first stools, then you can do # 2 with a central stretcher. Send your photos of your stools here & I will put them on the blog…
See Chris Schwarz’ blog of a week ago or so to see some other variations on joined stools…
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,
and a Lost Art Press T-shirt.
I even got a Lost Art Press book:
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.
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”.
But Andres Felebien’s does, 1676 in Paris.
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.
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.
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.
I still thought it was painfully dull, so I carved it. Now it looks like something.
Long-time readers of this blog know that I follow closely the work that Robin Wood does over in England. Robin’s blog was the one that inspired me to do this one…
Just last week, he (and many others) finished the first-ever spoon fest in Derbyshire. Robin posted a bunch of photos, as well as links to other blog posts about the event. I wished I could have gone, but I deserted my family enough this year with woodworking travels. Be sure to follow the link that takes you to the audio portion of Jogge Sundqvist’s talk that opened the event. Great stuff, thanks for making it happen, Robin et al. Sounds like a good time was had by all.
Now, another piece that you folks that have been here a while might remember is these fabulous drawings from Maurice Pommier.
They came with very kind words from Maurice. His work intrigued me, so I looked up his books. He had a children’s book that I added to my list, and I finally ordered it. I couldn’t read a lick of it mostly…but I loved it. I showed it around at a Lie-Nielsen gig one time, & described it as a cross between Mad Magazine & Eric Sloane. I sent images to Chris Schwarz, and he replied that he already had the book in the works. Now it’s ready to go, so trot over to Lost Art Press and see for yourself. I assume that Chris never sleeps. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2012/08/26/new-from-lost-art-press-grandpas-workshop/
I had read the book in a near-finished draft, and was knocked out. Even if you haven’t used molding planes, or especially if you haven’t, this book will make you want to. Hollows & rounds are some of the next batch of JA tools here, later this week. Matt’s book makes the use of them so basic & simple. He really has demystified the use of these tools. If you have ever seen Matt at one of the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events, then you understand. A nice guy, a great book. Lost Art Press, the hits just keep comin’.