While I am trying to keep a stiff upper lip in my basement shop by working on a British naval officer’s campaign chest, the rest of the house is in a European near-riot.
This morning the postman dropped off another proof of “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry,” which I’m going to start plowing into as soon as I stop typing this missive to you.
A few minutes later, the same postman stopped by to make me sign for a package from France. What’s this? He shrugs his shoulders and ambles away. I rip the package open with a knife and suddenly remember I had won this item via French eBay.
It’s a brass apron hook that looks like a workbench that is adorned with a bowsaw, holdfast, mallet and handplane. The bauble is surprisingly small – the brass part is only 1-1/2” long – and quite detailed – I can see the pegs that secure the tenons on the front leg.
Now all I need is an apron that works with these hooks. That shouldn’t be too hard to rig.
Also in the Inbox is a very interesting e-mail from Jeff Burks with an early – 1502 – depiction of a shoulder knife in use.
“As far as I know this is the oldest image depicting a shoulder knife in use, “Jeff writes. “The original was an intarsia self portrait made by Antonio Barili in 1502. I believe this was installed at the chapel of Saint John the Baptist in the Duomo of Siena.
“Antonio Barili (1453-1516) was an Italian intarsia designer, civil engineer, architect and engraver and a native of Siena. From 1483 to 1502 he worked in Siena Cathedral, providing carving and intarsia. This particular intarsia work was destroyed during World War II.
“The Latin inscription on the intarsia reads: ‘Hoc opus ego Antonius Barilis coelo non penicello D excussi an MCCCCCII.’ This translates to: ‘This work have I Antonio Barili made with the carving knife, not with a brush. In the year 1502.’ ”
One interesting description of this self-portrait comments that Barilis seems to be guiding the knife with a pencil in his right hand. Curious.
— Christopher Schwarz