Last week, I burned a passel of vacation hours from my day job so I could travel to North Carolina to hang out with Roy Underhill and Chris Schwarz (an excellent way to spend vacation hours), and take some time together to look at 1930s tomes for binding/cover treatment inspiration, talk about illustrations for the book and bug Roy about his manuscript. (I’m eager – nay, salivating – to read the revised text, give it a copy edit, and put it in the hands of the book designer.)
After much deliberation, we’re switching tactics on the book’s illustrations; instead of Hardy Boys-style line drawings, “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! (A Novel with Measured Drawings),” will include vintage photographs of the places and things that Roy’s radio-woodworking uncle, Calvin*, mentions in the text. (It will, of course, also have measured drawings of the woodworking projects – otherwise, we’d have to change the title.)
Because Calvin’s day job involves manure spreaders, along with pictures of 1930s Washington, D.C., and other locales, there’s going to be some bullsh*t – some funny, funny bullsh*t.
And while we were at The Woodwright’s School (where Chris was teaching a Dutch tool chest class and I was helping out in between Diet Coke breaks), Roy had a truly inspired idea for the chapter spots (the little images one often sees at the beginning of a novel’s chapters – think “Harry Potter”). So, he raced all over town (Pittsboro…it can be covered quickly) taking pictures. I think they’re brilliant – and I’m ever so eager to share them with you…but not yet.
— Megan Fitzpatrick
p.s. Yes, we’re still on track for publication late this fall.
* You’ve heard Roy talk about his grandfather…so I know you’ll believe this, too…right?
After wallowing in images of campaign furniture for the last three years, it became clear to me that many of its core principles – clean design, good joinery, nice wood – had been grafted onto the Danish Modern style.
Some of the connections are obvious, such as the relationship between the Roorkee chair and Kaare Klint’s Safari Chair, which I point out in my book “Campaign Furniture.” But today, Caleb James made another important connection between the two styles.
Caleb has long been a fan and a maker of Danish Modern furniture, though now he focuses more on planemaking and Windsor chairs.
Caleb sent me photos of a secretary by Peter Hvidt (1916–1986), which has many of the hallmarks (or perhaps vestigial organs) of campaign furniture. A little more research turned up some other close stylistic connections between Hvidt’s designs and those from the Victorian campaign style. Let’s take a look.
1. It’s a dresser on a low stand. Like campaign pieces, Hvidt’s case pieces commonly have a plinth that mimics the turned feet that are common on campaign pieces.
2. Recessed pulls. Like campaign pieces, Hvidt’s “pulls” are recessed into the case and suggest the traditional swan-neck pulls on old chests of drawers – just like campaign pieces.
3. A horizontal line between the cases. Though most of Hvidt’s cases don’t break down into two separate carcases, he put in a blade in the middle of the case that echos the division of the two case pieces in campaign furniture.
4. Excellent joinery. Hvidt’s cases are characterized by strong joinery, such as finger joints and dovetails. Campaign stuff is all about joinery that can survive rough treatment.
5. Nice wood. Lots of Hvidt’s pieces are wide teak boards. Lots of campaign pieces are wide teak boards.