Whether or not you purchase “l’Art du Menuisier: The Book of Plates” makes no difference to me personally. I have my copy, and it is making my woodworking life more interesting.
Today I finished up the first edit of the final bit of our forthcoming translation of A.J. Roubo’s writings on furniture and tools. (Don’t get too excited, it still has to travel a long way to arrive at the end of the goose – look for it in early summer.)
Today was devoted to plate 265, which describes “Autre Secretarie mobile Pupitre, et Petite Table a Ecrie.” AKA, an incredible unfolding, mechanical secretarie that I am hopelessly in love with. It is one part simple Creole-style side table, one part Transformer and two parts Jere Osgood’s Shell Desk.
As I edited the translated text, the words alone weren’t clear as to how the desk’s pigeonhole section pivots up. I had some detail drawings, but those weren’t enough to make the mechanism clear. Only when I opened “The Book of Plates” and took in the entire plate in full size did the scales fall from eyes. I immediately “got it” – like a Zen koan.
After that, the editing was a snap. I knew how the desk worked and could build it myself. My copy of “The Book of Plates” just paid for itself.
By the way, reader response to “The Book of Plates” has been incredibly positive (custom wooden box issues aside). It was a financial gamble that just might pay off. You can still get one before Christmas if you order it by Dec. 19 – all books are now shipping Priority mail, which will arrive in three business days.
Though it’s only 3:30 p.m., finishing plate 265 (and the other 87 plates) calls for a beer.
— Christopher Schwarz