Jason writes: I have a question for you about your announcement of “The Book of Plates.” I have already purchased the first installment that Lost Art Press has published on marquetry, and I plan to get the one on furniture when it comes out. My question is this: Is there more information that can be gleaned from “Plates?” Or would having Roubo 1 & 2 have the same information?
Keep up the good work! I look forward to Roubo 2 and the Studley book (yeah, for French fitting).
Answer: “The Book of Plates” includes all the plates from all of Roubo’s books, which includes architectural woodwork, furniture making, carriage building, marquetry and garden woodwork. So far, we have published most of Roubo’s writing on marquetry. The second book (due early next year) will cover most of his writing on furniture and woodworking tools.
We hope to publish the other books in Roubo’s series, but these translations take many years of effort.
So the primary reason we decided to publish “The Book of Plates” now was so everyone could own the complete set of plates from the entire 18th-century opus.
The second reason is we wanted to ensure that Roubo’s plates could be enjoyed at full size at an affordable price and on quality paper. We printed them at full size in the deluxe edition, but the standard edition has them in reduced size. With “The Book of Plates,” you can easily see all the detail at the scale that Roubo intended. Plus, if you own Roubo in the standard edition or the pdf download, having the book of plates handy in front of you is a great way to absorb the text.
I’m always happy to revisit this particular book because it was such a fun project. Joel Moskowitz at Tools for Working Wood unearthed a very rare copy of this 1830 book that we reprinted. Joel wrote a nice introductory section to the book about woodworking during that period. Then I built the three projects shown in the book.
The pages in the pdf below are what I wrote about installing a chest lock, which is based on the excellent instructions in the original 1830 text.
In 20th-century magazines, one common project was a workbench that was designed to affix to your kitchen table, and here is one from The Woodworker magazine. This version is secured to the table with two clamps that are embedded in the tool tray. Plus it offers an adjustable planing stop.
This week we will put the finishing touches on “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” and send it to the printer.
It is astonishing to look at all 383 plates (or 382, depending on how you count them). From a woodworker’s perspective, the plates are enjoyable to stare at for hours. André Roubo drew the majority of them himself, so the drawings show the details that a woodworker wants.
(Many times it’s easy to tell when an artist had no woodworking training – the small bits are slightly wrong. Not so with Roubo. Even the screw threads are drawn correctly.)
We have created “The Book of Plates” so everyone can enjoy Roubo’s plates as he intended – printed full-size and on beautiful paper. No matter how you read the text – on your computer screen, in one of our books or even in a translation in a different language – there is nothing like seeing the plates in full-size and at a resolution approaching the 18th-century originals.
In addition to the plates, this new book will contain the first English-language translation of André Roubo’s table of contents for “l’art du Menuisier.” This document is 10 pages long and is a guide to what is shown in the 383 plates. This document has been a guiding light in the translation of these massive woodworking books.
“l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” will feature all of the plates printed full-size on #100 Mohawk Superfine paper, which is manufactured in Upstate New York. After being printed in Michigan, the pages will be sewn and hardbound. This will be a permanent book, even if your dog takes a liking to it.
The book will be $100 and will be available in November. We will offer this book to our retailers, though it is up to each retailer to decide to carry the book.
We hope you will enjoy the book (and we hope a lot of you enjoy the book – we just wrote a check to the printer for more than the value of my first house).