Here’s another reminder to watch the blog posts by Roald Renmælmo and Tomas Karlsson – I’ve put links to their work before, but just want to remind folks that there’s very interesting work going on in Scandinavia that’s not spoons! Imagine – PhD work on carpentry crafts. Today Roald added an English post about their reproduction of a bench from the shipwreck the Vasa – doesn’t it look great?
UPDATE: I wrote this, then kept going further & further on Roald’s blog, which he does with Tomas Karlsson. It’s amazing stuff. You like old benches – get to it! Great stuff, Roald & Tomas – I’ll keep watching http://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/
here’s what I wrote first:
This ol’ world just keeps getting smaller & smaller…
Here’s my all-time-most beat-up version, since then replaced..I shave pegs on mine in addition to backsaw work, etc.
I had never seen a period example, nor even really a good image of one. There’s a sort of miter-box version in Moxon, with his characteristic lousy detail engraving. But today I got this comment from Roald Renmælmo from Norway:
I was inspecting the Vasa bench deadman this week in Stockholm. I was also trying to fit it correctly. In my opinion the front surface of the stiles and the Vasa deadman are in the same plane. It might have been mounted wrong earlier?
I did also find at wooden bench hook from the Vasa wreck. It was 24″ long and had also been used as a simple “mitre box” for small stock. I will post some pictures of that on my blog soon.
And so he did, so head over to Roald’s blog to see the excellent photos of this bench hook/miter box. When I get my shop back up & running, (more on that hideous story later) I hope to make a new version myself.
Thanks, Roald. I’d mail you 25 cents, but it would cost more than that to get it to you!
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…
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.
(Ahhh…the link now only gives me a preview – says I need to subscribe. If the link fails you, do a search for “Luther Sampson Duxbury shop” or something like that. Might be that I reached the monthly limit on freebies at Boston.com…)
I hope you can read it, it’s exciting stuff. Kudos to Michael Burrey for seeing it for what it is…and to the many who have worked thus far on documentation, research, etc.
Last week I wrote about a day I spent at the 18th & 19th century joiner/carpenter’s shop that was recently found. It wasn’t really missing, but it took a trained eye to see it for what it was. It has been a long time since I’ve been involved in that kind of research, I used to tag along with Plimoth’s historic carpenters to study old buildings whenever I had the chance.
This day reminded me of some of the best things about museum work. Among the crew that day were folks from Colonial Williamsburg, the University of Delaware/Winterthur and others. The building was first identified as something significant by my friend and colleague Michael Burrey, formerly of Plimoth, but for ages out on his own as an historic restoration carpenter.
Jeff Klee of Colonial Williamsburg sent me his very nice photos of the shop. Have a look. This building is of major significance, and its story will be told at some point, but for now it’s time to record it and assess its future.
For me, the highlight was to be reconnected with some of the core ideas behind museum research in this sort of field. I got quite a charge out of it, in the sense that it brought back the fun and excitement I felt back when I was new to museum work in the mid-1990s, making field trips to record all kinds of evidence of what happened, way back when. I’ve been away from research for a while, and it was exciting to get involved again. It makes my work in the shop and with the museum’s visitors better.
Back in my shop, I have been looking closely at the evidence I have left over 19 years, wondering if people would ever be able to tell – “he kept his hatchet here, chisels there…” etc. What we are trying to do in this shop is to read signs on the wind really…but it’s fun just the same.
sometimes the phone rings & it’s a good thing. Last week I answered and it was my friend Michael Burrey. He said “come look at this 18th-c cabinetmaker’s shop” – so off I went. Today I went back and got a few photos. I hope to get back some time and clear some room for proper shots…
It seems the room had a lot of use over the years, so some modifications took place. But essentially it’s benches on three walls, (I only photographed one bench & the lathe) – one is made into a treadle lathe. The iron wheel above is the second wheel, it seems. The ceiling framing shows signs of there having been a different sized wheel at one time. I think we determined that the lathe could handle a bout five feet between the (missing) headstock and the tailstock.
Here’s the tailstock taken out of the bed.
The room has a simple arrangement; with the benches at least partially fixed to the frame of the building itself…in one case, the end of one bench is tenoned into the adjacent bench/lathe. When this bench top got too worn, they added a plank on top of it and started over. I’ll show that to Chris Schwarz!
Windows over each bench. Hearth/stove on the other wall, with a door on each side of the hearth.
There’s another room that looks like storage, and a partial basement. A loft above.
It’s not everyday that you get to see a place like this. There is a long story to be told about this building, but not yet. There’s much work to be done studying and then figuring out what happens next. For now, the building is safe and sound. If I get a chance to get in there with some lights, & de-clutter it, I’ll post more photos. There’s a whole chronology of nails, wrought, cut and modern; the framing members of the building itself, sash, etc -all to be factored in figuring its age & history. There’s a lot of compass-work on the walls, some things scratched here & there, door hardware. Some bench framing is replaced, but some seems older than just old. The bench that has a new old top has a mortise in its original top for a planing stop/bench hook.
here’s some other shots from today.
These shelves were added over an original “gunstock” post.
Give me ten years or so & I catch on all right. I was for some reason last week using my old German workbench, with its end vise and steel dogs. I forget why, and it doesn’t matter. I was planing some short-ish stock, under 2 feet long. And what I found was the shavings piled up in the midst of the bench’s length, and then got swept onto the floor right in front of the bench. In other words, in the way…
I built what I call my joiners’ bench just about 9 years ago, and within a year or so really settled into it.
You can see in Moxon’s lousy engraving that the bench hook, (the planing stop w iron teeth) is set way back near the end of the bench.
In part this is so you can work the longest stock without any special arrangement, but also I think it’s so the shavings fly off the end of the bench, out of your way. And that is another benefit of the joiners’ style bench – less frequent sweeping.