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.
— Christopher Schwarz