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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


Upcycling, Retro, Retrofurbing, Retrofurbish, Shabby chi

Paul Sellers - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 1:29pm

Upcycling, Retro, Retrofurbing, Retrofurbish, Shabby chic – What’s in a name?

DSC_0219Passing by an old handsaw amidst piles of junk is hard spot for me. I glance first at the medallion and that tells me a lot. Without conscious thought I have already judged the plate and so I lift it to my eye to cast my eye along its teeth from heel to toe. Price doesn’t really matter too much; any Disston saw with a wooden handle and ‘Phil’ in the disc is worth £40. I wouldn’t pay that myself but it would be worth that at least. They never go for more than £5 at a flea market or car boot sale. These two cost me £6. How can I go wrong? In an hour the set and sharpen is done and the plate on one is shining steel again. The other is a big 6-point crosscut Disston, slightly breasted, just ever so slightly. The other, the one I started, is nameless, but it’s a good saw, even with a split handle. I can just restore it or cut the plate along the length and make a wider frame saw blade from it – in under about 20 minutes I think. Upgrading or upcycling creates creativity in my mind and I look forward to the new possibilities. DSC_0197Down one of the aisles ahead of me, John picks out some bits of wood from a trashy box full of junk. He sees something no one else sees and pulls out five pieces of very aged pieces of darkish wood 10mm thick and a few centimeters wide. He, because of who he is, sees an upcycle on the make. A box unmade but beyond only possible. The man selling them says he can have them and so he tucks them under his arm and walks away.

Phil sees a set of six of the old Marples bevel-edged bluechips on ebay and bids in at £20, I think. He wins and they arrive at his house a couple of days later. The steel is stained only, not pitted at all. the blue handles show signs of neglect as do the whole of the chisels, but inside is good stock material and in an hour he too will have them working better than when they were crude and new. I suggest to the guys they look for something I am about to blog on and that they should buy this week because the price will go up in the next few weeks. In two days and for little more than a few pounds they acquire some good stuff that I think they will really need and that will last them throughout their woodworking life. John bought an old beech plane for a few pounds and took it apart. He has a plane iron he can cut into knives or make another iron from and a handle he can retro to a metal-cast plane if or as needed. The plane itself will make a couple of small planes he needs for finishing his workbench stool. The day passes quickly and I see his new chisel box emerge from the five pieces of junk he bought. My saws become the centre of a video we are making on restoring a saw and so we all upgrade, recycle, upcycle and move through our workday.

DSC_0166I made a new table for our latest woodworkingmasterclasses and we filmed it. While I was doing that I made a second one for my wife that will be her computer desk behind the sofa in the house. DSC_0196Now the filming is done we will go on to film the technique for finishing it using an old method used a hundred years ago that is a wonderful alternative to stain and dyes. The other one may be shabby-chic possibly. I may change my mind though.

DSC_0168John’s 7-sweep gouge from Ashley Iles developed a crack in the handle in the first three or four blows. He decides to replace the replacement handle himself, which took over a week to arrive instead of the next day it should have taken. John decides to replace the handle himself so that we can see the guts of the tang for ourselves. It was a disappointing experience because he had waited over six weeks for delivery and nearly two weeks to resolve the issue with the split handle, but we developed it into an education and upgraded the whole by grinding the rectangular tang to a more traditional tapered one. It was John’s first tang fitting so he learned about stepped drilling and such like that. DSC_0159Now that it’s retrofitted and the steel’s been worked remedially and polished out to where it should be, it’s going to work. Not quite up to the Hirsch gouge, but that’s British complacency. About two more minutes in production time with the most basic equipment and it could surpass the Hirsch. With its nice brass ferrule and well shaped beech handle, the ingredients were right, but there you go. We polished out the inside of the gouge behind the cutting edge and also the brass ferrule and then the general body of the steel too, so that it felt more comfortable. In the end, after a couple of hours work, John felt good about his new gouge. It’s no wonder we lose our grip bit by bit though.

A new design for me

Next week I have new design for a lamp I will make for the next series on woodworkingmasterclasses. It’s a craftsman-style lamp with stained glass, mica or paper panels. The wood will be oak I think and the lamp may be both a floor standing or table type. It’s all in the day, the week of lifestyle woodworkers.

Categories: Hand Tools

Nakashima Rocker.

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:35am

I was sent these photos of a genuine Nakashima rocker by a fellow wood worker, I hope he doesn't mind me sharing them. The chair is many years old and given in exchange for services, with the price these things go for at auction these days that was probably a very good deal!
Apparently the rocker was very comfortable which comes as no surprise!

Categories: Hand Tools

Carving a Cardinal video added to online video school

Mary May, Woodcarver - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 9:43am

Mary May - Woodcarver


A new project has been added to my online video school. It is a fully 3-dimensional carving of a cardinal in basswood. This is not the typical type of carving I have on the school. Most of the styles I do are classical decorative carving that go on either furniture or architecture.

I go through the process of how to get the general shape cut out with a band-saw. I also show how to keep strategic pieces of wood attached so that I can clamp it in my bench vice without having to hold it in my hands. These carvings are often held in your hands and carved with a whittling knife or palm gouges. I am MUCH more comfortable using my long-handled European gouges and clamp the work to my bench. Much less blood… all body parts away from the gouge…


Every Thursday (actually Wednesday evening) I add another video episode. Sometimes the lessons only have one episode – usually when they are less than 1/2 hour long. This project of carving the cardinal will be 3 episodes (approx. 1-1/2 hours total) and so far 2 episodes have been added to the school. The final episode will be added next week (can you handle the suspense?) The plot is pretty predictable.

I added a blog post previously describing this carving process in photographs.

If you haven’t seen my online school, I currently have 122 video episodes and more every week. 12 beginning video lessons are available for FREE!

Canadian Production Wheel – Bobbins

Full Chisel by Stephen Shepherd - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 9:39am

A quick job came in the shop, a request for two additional bobbins for a Canadian Production Spinning Wheel.  Also made a peg to hold the crank and provided a ‘chicken nut’ and bolt for the clam shell tension mechanism.


The first coat was a mixture of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil and red iron oxide and yellow ocher.  I allowed this to dry overnight, then a light sanding.


I then sealed it with shellac followed by a coat of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil and burnt umber.  The weather was so nice I put them outside to dry.


Then a thin coat of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil and black iron oxide.  Turned out fine and the customer was happy.



Categories: Hand Tools

What Hand Planes are Good For

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 9:28am

What Hand Planes are Good For

The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first and then the lessons. This is especially true of woodworking; you never know how far you should take one step of a project until you are knee-deep in the next step. That’s when you realize you didn’t fuss enough and now have a painful correction to make, or that you fussed too much and […]

The post What Hand Planes are Good For appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Two Parts Roubo, One Part Moxon?

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:01am

It was more than a week into Spring, and being this Spring the sun rose to reveal an inch of icy snow coating everything the morning we were to visit the incomparable Conner Prairie historic complex, one of the nation’s premier enterprises of historic reenacting and interpretation.   Once the slop was scraped from my truck we were on our way; one advantage was that the bitter cold kept the crowd small and we had the place nearly to ourselves.


One of the highlights was the timber frame barn in the Conner homestead.  The main cross-beam is a gargantuan oak timber more than 12” x 24” x 40 feet long (the historic carpenters there figure the tree trunk was more than eight feet in girth) and the longitudinal mid-rafter beam was an 8×8 perhaps 70 feet long.


I especially enjoyed our time in the carpenter’s shop, where my wife and I were the only visitors.  This allowed for a lengthy conversation with the proprietor about tools, wood, and their lathe.  He showed it to me and allowed me a turn.


It is a magnificent shop-built machine with a 300-pound flywheel that can get away from you fast!  Since I am a head taller than “Mr. McLure” it was very awkward for me, but I could see one of these fitting into the fabric of The Barn.


In the center of the one end was the impressive work bench, which had been built in the shop in years past.  A copy of no specific documented model, it is instead a combination from a historically accurate vocabulary. 


It seems to be about two parts Roubo with one part of Moxon and a dash of Nicholson.  The six-inch-square oak legs are capped by a four-inch slab top, and the fixed deadman is stout as well.  There is no real woodworker in America who would not be delighted to have this beast in their workspace.  I know I would.

If you are going near the Indianapolis area, take a peek.

VIDEO: Hand Cut Dovetails Part 3: Prepare the Layout

Wood and Shop - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 7:34am

VIDEO 3/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to prepare your squared boards in preparation for marking and laying out the pins and tails.

This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.


This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.

Which traditional hand tools should you buy?

If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”

Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:

Mimicking Old Beams

The Workbench Diary - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:47am
New beams in an addition

Though most of what I work on is historic furniture, I sometimes get called into specialty finishing situations where this expertise is required. In my neighborhood this often means coloring new rough exposed timbers installed in an addition to a 100-200 year old house. Though the texture of the beams is at least 50% of the aesthetic, the color often must at least blend with the rest of the exposed beams. Often the builders apply an off-the-shelf oil stain to scrap wood to try and match the color. This is when I get a phone call.

The original frame looks like this

See… age aesthetic and patination is all about layers. No one color is going to reproduce hundreds of years of wear, soiling, abuse, etc. This patina develops unevenly and over time. In these situations, Mitch Kohanek, at the Institute, taught us to “promise low and deliver high”. It’s important to inform the client that the finished product will never fool anyone from a couple feet away. Rather, the goal is to have the beams blend in with the environment so as not to be distracting.

Orangey base color

This was achieved with three different oil stains applied unevenly to mimic age. The first stain was an orangey color applied thoroughly and evenly for base color. The second was a red umber color applied in streaks and blended with a wide brush. The third color was a dark “walnut” brown applied selectively and mottled.

Red umber 2nd stain

Final dark mottling

After drying overnight, I made a few nail holes with a hand wrought nail and applied black TransTint dye around the hole to mimic rust stains.

Brand new patinated nail hole

Ideas or comments to share? How have you achieved this effect on your projects?
Categories: Hand Tools

Hammer Veneering

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:06am
  In the last video post, The Good Dr.’s Medicine Chest Part Five, walnut veneer was applied to the interior plywood panels. Using a technique known as ‘Hammer Veneering‘ the veneer is applied using hot hide glue and a veneer hammer. So, what exactly is...
Categories: Hand Tools

English Mortise Chisels - Mid-18th Century to Now - Part 3 - The Body of The Tool

Tools For Working Wood - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:00am
Click here for the start of this series. The mortise chisel illustrated in Moxon's 1678 "Mechanicks Exercises" (c5) was in all probability made by a London smith who specialized in tools, but otherwise had a blacksmith shop pretty much the same as any other blacksmith. A waterwheel to power a trip hammer and bellows would be a wonderful thing, but at that time it wasn't obvious that he would have one. The tool would have been forged from wrought iron and a tiny piece of blister steel would have been welded onto the top for the cutting edge. At this time it would have been cost prohibitive to put a section of brass pipe around the base of the tool (continuous brass pipe wasn't available on the market yet), a ferrule as they would be called later, to keep the handle from splitting when you put a lot of lateral force on the tool. The solution to all of this for mortise chisels, and in fact all the chisels of the time as seen in the engraving, were wide, thick handles that would bear down and spread the force of the blow on a wide flange called a "bolster" that was placed below the tang.

While the engraving in Moxon isn't to scale, we can see the basic shape of a 19th century mortise chisel start to emerge and both the bolster and handle of the mortise, along with all the other chisels illustrated are faceted. Octagonal bolsters and handles were pretty common on all types early 19th century chisels but as the century wore down round or oval handles - which are easier to make, became more usual, and the bolsters on mortise chisels become oval.

Three very important events happen in the century after Moxon. An industrial revolution massively lowered the price and availability of iron and steel, and by 1800 very high quality crucible steel (invented in 1740) was inexpensive enough to use on things other than watch springs and razors. "Cast Steel" was the trade name that was stamped on tools when they were made of crucible steel or other high carbon steels that were melted to absorb carbon, not beaten like blister steel. The second thing that happened was a network of canals sprang up all over England so it was possible for a manufacturer in for example Sheffield to find a ready market for goods in London and other commercial centers. Like today, a well capitalized business, with modern machinery, a ready source of power (water then steam), and easy distribution could decimate local smaller manufacturers. The Sheffield makers did just that. The lovely set of mortise chisels (along with all the chisels) in the 1797 Seaton chest were bought from a high end London merchant but were made by Phillip Law, a large Sheffield edge tool maker.

Law's operation would have employed dozens of men, almost all on piecework, each specializing on one operation or another. Individual craftsmen would essentially rent from Law the use of a trip hammer, forge, or grinding wheel, for the purpose of manufacture. They would probably buy their materials from Law, and then sell back the finished goods, advanced to the next stage of operation.
Blacksmiths using trip hammers would first take a blank of wrought iron and draw out a tapered tang. Then the other side of the tool would be shaped, and a steel blank for the cutting edge welded in. The bolsters on Mortise chisels are too big to easily forge in and on most of the ones Ray Iles has examined the bolster is shrunk on. This is done by punching out a ring of iron, then heating it way hot. Then you pop it on the cold tang. As it cools it shrinks down and grabs the tang, never to let go. Then you can do any final forging. Finally the grinders, using big four foot wheels, clean up all the surfaces, make sure everything is tapered correctly and then you are done.

All that's needed is a handle.

The catalog illustration in the middle of this entry is from the 1845 Timmins & Sons' tools pattern book (reprinted by Phillip Walker 1994). (The curvature in the picture is because of my bad photography.) The bolster of the common mortise chisel is thin and while not octagonal is also not perfectly oval either. It's more like the rounded rectangular bolsters I have seen. The best mortise chisel has an oval bolster that is thick and chunky by comparision.

Click here for Part 1 and the introduction to this series.
Click here for Part 2 - What the Catalogs Tell Us.
In the part four we will look at handle styles and materials, and finally in part five we will handle a mortise chisel.

For Shannon Rogers: an 1858 parlor table made in the Modern...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 3:38am

For Shannon Rogers: an 1858 parlor table made in the Modern French style, made by Jelliff & Co., Newark, and a late 18th century parlor chair made in the Rococo style, made by an unknown maker in New Brunswick, NJ.

Both can be seen at the Newark Museum.

Making a plant stand day 2.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 3:09am

Last night I did a little more work on the plant stand. I sawed the joints using a saw, I planed the edges with a plane, and I did some sanding with sand paper and a sander. It’s coming along. It was another satisfying afternoon filled with inoffensive woodworking. I didn’t take any pictures because, you know…

Categories: General Woodworking

Making a plant stand day 2.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 3:09am

Last night I did a little more work on the plant stand. I sawed the joints using a saw, I planed the edges with a plane, and I did some sanding with sand paper and a sander. It’s coming along. It was another satisfying afternoon filled with inoffensive woodworking. I didn’t take any pictures because, you know…

Categories: General Woodworking

How ’bout somethin’ American?

The Furniture Record - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:27pm

I am still recovering from the onslaught of outrage caused by my blog about French furniture. My promise to you is that I will not write about French furniture until the next time I do. And that’s a promise. I am still looking for the Liechtensteiner revival furniture that many of you have requested.

Let’s move on to some American furniture. Unless it’s English. Definitely not German.

These are pictures from my favorite auction house back in October. Not one of the catalog sales but certainly above average. There were two chest on stands, American, I believe, that are worthy of spilling some digital ink. First one is a chest on stand with serpentine stretchers.

Chest on stand. Turned legs and serpentine stretcher.

Chest on stand. Turned legs and serpentine stretcher.

I looked at a pull and saw that the bails were held on by cotter pin fittings.

Bails attached with cotter pins. Click for an inside view of the cotter pins

Bails attached with cotter pins. Click for an inside view of the cotter pins

Being a quality chest, the cotter pins inside the drawer are covered with a piece of leather (or dense cardboard) nailed in [place.

A leather patch to protect your tidy whities or other fine washable.

A leather patch to protect your tidy whities or other fine washables.

The other chest on stand has cabriole legs and pad feet. Note that the pulls on the top drawers are mounted above center. Other pulls seem to be mounted on the center line.

Chest on stand with them skinny little cabriole legs.

Chest on stand with them skinny little cabriole legs.

The frugal furniture maker on his (probably a him) nice walnut chest used a pine board for the top of the carcass. It’s the top of the chest, who’s looking? Nice dovetails, though.

A pine top on a walnut chest.

A pine top on a walnut chest.

Another interesting thing on top of the chest was a small foot stool. Its trifid feet tell me it’s a Philadelphia piece. Unless it’s English. Or Irish.

A nice stool with its younger cousin. Click to see the nice trifid feet.

A nice stool with its younger cousin. Click to see the nice trifid feet.

Click HERE to see the rest of the set. Lots more to see. And that’s a promise,

Picture This XXVI

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 9:33pm
I mentioned in Chest Invection how some, originally floor-standing, chests of drawers occasionally found their way up onto marginally larger floor-standing chests in order to address a paucity of chest-on-chests in the marketplace. The image below illustrates the typical attachment … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 8:30pm

An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Note: I started writing this blog entry more than a year ago. I shelved it and have revisited it several times since. Each time, I thought: I don’t need this kind of grief. For whatever reason (four beers, perhaps?), I offer this as an observation based on teaching students, both amateur and professional. For the last decade I’ve had the privilege of teaching woodworking students all over the world about […]

The post An Observation on Vintage Handplanes appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Attaching fragile carving to backer board

Mary May, Woodcarver - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 5:40pm

Mary May - Woodcarver

This is a great example of how to care for a very fragile carving. This delicate leaf design is for the detail on the top of a Philadelphia Highboy (this project is actually going on a Philadelphia Chest-on-Chest, but since the highboys are so much more common, I’m just going to refer to it as a highboy from now on).


Example of the top of a highboy I carved several years ago – similar to what I will be carving.

I am NOT going to carve this after it is glued to the final furniture surface for several reasons -

1. The rest of the piece of furniture is in NC
2. If my gouges decide to gouge into the background (which they like to do on occasion) I won’t damage this beautiful flat surface.

So, I am going to attach this to a temporary backer board where I can gouge away as I please. This also allows me to clamp the backer board and as a result any clamps or bench dogs will be far away from my carving or gouges.

There are several ways I could do this.

1. Glue it to the backer board with newspaper or paper bag between the carving and backer board (great for more solid and less delicate carvings)
2. Use double sided tape (excellent for fragile carvings)
3. Use hot-melt glue (this is becoming more and more NOT the best choice in my book)

I decided to use the double sided tape method for this delicate carving. When Charles Neil and his gang hung out in my shop for a week last year, they introduced me to an amazing double-sided tape that you can get from Lowes – it is a type of double-sided duct tape called “Suretape”. It  is truly impressive in how it holds. Then when you are finished with the carving, brush along the edge of your carving with lacquer thinner (use in ventilated space) and the tape will soak up the lacquer thinner and will gently release from the backer board.

So here we go…

Cut out your design on a scroll saw – use as small of a blade as you can to get a clean cut, but don’t let it get so small that the blade bends and distorts. For this particular design I used a scroll saw blade with 15 teeth per inch. For the inside sections, I drilled a 1/4″ hole to insert the blade into.

Lay your carving on a backer board that is at least 1 inches larger than your carving on all sides. Draw a rough outline around your design as a guideline for where to lay your tape.

Draw a rough outline around the carving design to know where to lay the double sided tape.

Draw a rough outline around the carving design to know where to lay the double sided tape.

Lay the double sided tape on your backer board in the general shape of the outline you drew. Pull off the covering of the double-sided tape.

Removing double sided tape covering.

Removing double sided tape covering.

Lay your carving on the tape.

Carving set on double sided tape.

Carving set on double sided tape.

Clamp another board over your carving to ensure that the entire carving is tight against the backer board. Clamp it tightly and then release. There is no need to clamp it for any period of time.

Clamp tightly so that the entire carving is pressed into the double sided tape.

Clamp tightly so that the entire carving is pressed into the double sided tape.

With a small knife that can fit into tiny areas, cut the tape around the outside edge of your design. One of the most irritating things is to carve and have your wood shavings stick to any exposed double sided tape. It’s a tedious job to remove this, but very important.

Cut along edge of carving to remove excess double sided tape.

Cut along edge of carving to remove excess double sided tape.


After cutting around edge, remove excess double sided tape.

After cutting around edge, remove excess double sided tape.

And now we’re ready to carve!

Ready to carve and it's not going anywhere!






Fairy tale woodworking

Mulesaw - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 2:43pm
Once upon a time a woodworker was asked by his wife to make a small bed.

The bed was supposed to be the size of a doll bed, but not of any specific size.

The plan of the wife was to present this little bed to a very young niece as a present for her to play with.

Along with the bed, the wife was planning to make several small mattresses and a small doll with a princess' crown on her head. At one side of one of the several mattresses there would be sewn a small green round object - A pea.

With the bed, the mattresses, the princess and the pea, the young niece should be able to play with the things in a way that was already described in an existing fairy tale.

Now two questions arise:
What fairy tale could that be?
Will the woodworker be able to undertake such a task while on board his ship?

The last question is probably the hardest, but lets see in a couple of days.

Categories: Hand Tools

Clever Magnetic Sharpening System

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 1:10pm

Clever Magnetic Sharpening System

DMT recently began offering what it calls the “Double-Sided Dia-Sharp 12″ MagnaBase System” — in other words, a two-sided diamond stone that attaches to a magnetic base. I haven’t yet had time to give it a thorough workout (I’ll report back after I do), but after touching up the edges on two plane blades and three chisels, I can report that it’s nice. The diamond stone, (available in extra-coarse/coarse and […]

The post Clever Magnetic Sharpening System appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Burden of Conjecture

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 11:48am
Here I am in near full armor doing a lecture/demonstration of medieval weaponry
 for a seventh grade class from the area. 

I've been working on notes and writing pages for a book on Medieval furniture for a long while now. Nearly too long. The issues I've had were several including the subject matter itself. I am interested in writing the book on medieval furniture that I, as a reenactor/recreationist, have always wanted to read. That carries the weight of several burdens. 

The Biggest Burden: Conjecture. Conjecture is a necessary evil, short of installing a Flux Capacitor in my pickup and going back in time to see it done for real, you have to make assumptions on history based on personal experience. One of the reasons I wear armor that's as accurate as possible and have studied and practiced the combat techniques documented in period fight manuals, (they do exist) was to expand my personal experience and reign in many of those assumptions. 

The issue with building medieval furniture, at least the stuff I'm interested circa pre-1300's, is that most of it is simply gone. There are some examples around, held tight by the museums or private collections  that own them, but the chance to experience a piece in that state, well it's difficult for a man living on this side of the pond. 

I want to write a book about pieces that have a connection to reenactors today. There needs to be the right provenance. I feel uniquely qualified to write this book, but finding the right subjects to study and build has been a slippery slope to scale. What I needed was good source material and it was sitting right in front of me the whole time. 

There is a document known as the Maciejowski Bible (it also goes by the names the Morgan Bible or the Crusader's Bible) Basically it's a picture bible that dates to somewhere between 1240 and 1250 AD. Think Medieval comic book based on the Old Testament. The really cool thing is instead of depicting the figures as being from biblical times, all flowing togas and sandals, the stories are illustrated as contemporary figures, (contemporary for 1250AD). 

It has been studied and discussed ad nauseam by medieval scholars and enthusiasts It's been an accepted source material for representations of armor, weapons, table wear, clothing, and to some extent customs. As near as I can find, nobody has looked seriously at the document as a resource for the furniture. 

This then becomes my intention, my quest if you will. I've spent the majority of my free hours over the winter studying scans of the pages available online and looking for every scrap of furniture present and there is some cool stuff hidden in the pages, some with high detail. I've drawn out several measured drawings based on the images and what I know about furniture construction. Conjecture . . .yes, but guided conjecture with purpose. 

I've identified ten separate pieces in the pages. My goal for the next several months is to build at least eight of these pieces, document the process thoroughly, and write them up into a manuscript over the winter months. For certain I will be writing about some of the process and pieces here. But before I get into the furniture I wanted to show a couple things I found interesting. 

The first is Noah building the Ark. He is obviously hewing a riven plank and there is another axe and spoon auger in the foreground. The workbench he's using is of a variety I hear refereed to as Roman, but I believe was fairly ubiquitous in Medieval Europe until the upswing of full blown cabinetmaking. Two things are especially interesting to me here. The first is the saw bench supporting the Ark up off the ground. I like the simple design and I'm certain I've seen Chris Schwarz build one that could be mistaken for it. 

The second thing is the plank supported on edge to the workbench. I'd say its unclear for certain if Noah is hewing the board he has one leg proped up on or the board supported on the bench, but I have not seen a historical representation of a board supported for edge work on a bench such as this. I'm not sure if the upright bits are clamping the board or just dogs supporting the backside. 

The next is a scene of masons at work erecting a tower I like this because it shows workmen in their clothes and more tools. Including this beauty. . . 

While I was busy making squares I figured I should go ahead and make a copy of this one too. 

My first step on the journey complete. Now to simply continue to put one foot before the other. 

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking


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