With sonorous stentorian solemnity I say to myself, “It is in, it is in.”
The complete draft of “To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Marquetry” – 94,000 words of translated Roubo, 350 Roubo illustrations, 15,000 Donwords and well over a hundred photographic images (actually I submitted about a thousand to select from) – now resides on the desk of Monsieur Christophe du Schwarz. The end is still a long way off, but this is a huge hurdle for everyone involved.
There will be corrections. There will be additions. There will be subtractions. But now we know that there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it is not an oncoming train.
I just spent my first Roubo-free weekend since I can remember. It was very, very nice. I built a Japanese planing beam from a perfect 8×10 southern yellow pine timber out at my mountain-side Fortress of Solitude, listening to a college-level course on Austrian Economic Theory punctuated by the angelic voices of Eva Cassidy, Alison Krauss, and Jennifer Warnes. Now that is self indulgent escapism at its best.
Once Chris and Wesley Tanner, the book’s designer, and everyone else at that end of the rope get their hands on it, my nose will be back to the grindstone.
Currently I am reveling in the first glimpses of the 90 percent of our second Roubo volume that has been translated. (Waiting until now for this treat has been perhaps my second greatest exhibition of self control, the first of course being the time I was all alone with a prominent and particularly loathsome politician and refraining from wringing his scrawny chicken neck.) It is very, very good, but I have come to expect nothing less from Andre Jacob’s text and Michele’s translations. Reading deliberately through the recitation on the iconic bench of Plate 11 is a long passage I am savoring, and I expect you probably will too.
In one sense this second volume will be easier, as we are now in full groove, but in another it will be more difficult because of 1) the esoteric jargon-laced verbiage – it is mostly about tools, after all (as one note from Michele exclaimed, “Philippe, help! I don’t even l know what these things are called in English.”), and 2) the sheer scale of it. Like Chris’ Roubo holdfast which could double as an anchor for a large ship, this volume will be huge. For example, the main chapter on tools and techniques will run almost 250 pages in illustrated translation. All tolled, :To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Furniture Making” will be about 60 percent larger than the marquetry book. I could not see Chris when I told him that, but he might have reached for the antacids immediately thereafter.
I know this is just the calm before the storm, when the editorial process reaches through the ether and grabs me by the throat. But for now, it feels pretty good.
— Don Williams