Woodworker Neil Cronk of Nova Scotia has begun making Melencolia-style squares as shown in Albrecht Dürer’s famous print “Melencolia I.” The square, shown in the bottom-left corner of the print, is of a style that has all but vanished.
I’ve been making quite a lot of these squares myself and really like them. They are portable, easy to make and quite accurate for woodworking. Neil has begun making them for sale through his site The Cronkwright Workshop.
If you follow woodworking stuff on Twitter, you might have run into Neil, who live-tweets photos of his explorations into hand-cut joinery, from the simple to the quite elaborate. It’s worth checking out here on Twitter.
I ordered one of Neil’s squares and just received it. His squares are smaller than mine, but that’s because he scaled his off of the Melencolia drawing using the smoothing plane as the reference point. So his size is probably more accurate. He also made his squares’ handles out of one single piece of wood – not two bits that were glued up (like I did).
I’ve seen Neil’s work before, and it’s very good. This square is no exception. The details are crisp and everything is square and perfect.
The squares are $40 in maple and $55 in mahogany and can be ordered through his store here. He also has other layout tools in the works – I think he said that winding sticks are next.
So if you want to try a Melencolia square but don’t have the time to make one, here’s your chance. They are excellent.
The state of Maine has some amazing wildlife. And it, whatever it is, is biting me.
This week I’m in midcoast Maine to film a DVD on building a Dutch Tool Chest and attend the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Open House on Friday and Saturday. Details here. If you live within driving distance, I highly recommend the experience. John Hoffman and I will be there with T-shirts and our full line of books. And we’ll be making Wierix squares.
Anyway, back to the biters. Something is feasting on my ankles. And while that’s inconvenient, my ankles will not be shown in the DVD (sorry, ladies). So really, my itchy ankles are of no consequence to you.
However, have you ever seen my “Sawing Fundamentals” DVD? If you watch it on a big screen, you can make a drinking game out of counting the flies shown in the DVD (the last guy to guess correctly the number of flies is now on a waiting list for a liver transplant).
We shot that DVD during the cold months, but something about the lights used during the shoot woke them up from their slumber. After every hour or so, we had to sweep up hundreds of the suckers.
We tried to scare the flies off by putting a few of their heads on tiny spikes (OK, the “spikes” were toothpicks), but the flies kept coming. Waves and waves of them.
Best thing I can say about them: They didn’t bite my ankles.
No man ever finished his work, for each task is but a preparation, which, being completed, should be put under our feet, that we may thenceforward labor on a higher level. Thus, no true worker was ever satisfied with what he accomplished, for, by doing that, he had qualified himself to do something better.
The Hub – August, 1875
De Dorpstimmerman – Tony Lodewijk George Offermans (1854-1911)