The Spaghetti Bowl

Studley-cover-2(3)As I recall from years long past there is in Miami a notorious interchange known as “The Spaghetti Bowl,” no doubt the result of some distant urban planner making a dot on a map and saying, “This is where all the highways meet!” I have no doubt that similar complexes exist in many metropolitan areas, but the one in Miami is especially memorable due to the highway routes being stacked five high as they weave together, merging and departing with and from each other.

This absurd traffic construct serves as a nearly perfect metaphor for the current fortnight.  It seems that the threads of LAP and other projects are stacked about five high.

Last night I sent off my final review of the page proofs for “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley,” which Chris sent me last week when I was in Florida on a speaking engagement talking about my favorite topic – historic wood finishing – and reveling in a reunion with my mom and all of my siblings. I spent what time I could on the review, but did not actually finish until midnight last night. I feel about 500 pounds lighter today.

I am not displeased with the product (that is Donspeak for “Holy cow, this is great!” If I wasn’t such a Calvinist I would be really proud). Narayan’s photos and Wesley’s design make the book a nearly decadent experience. The book goes to press very soon (Ed note: Next week), and I am very much anticipating the first of several boxes of books arriving on my doorstep. (I owe copies to about two score contributors to the effort.)

The preparations for the accompanying H.O. Studley exhibit are in red-hot mode, as my fabrication of the exhibit accouterments are well underway, the first slate of big checks have flowed out for the exhibit hall rental, platform and vitrine fabrication, insurance, graphics, lighting, secured shipping, etc.… Tickets are still available, so if you ever wanted to get up close and personal with Studley’s tool cabinet and workbench, this may be your one and only chance.

On Saturday past I presented “Making New Finishes Look Old” for the Society of American Period Furniture Makers’ Tidewater chapter, a test run for my demonstration at the SAPFM Mid-Year meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., in June. Increasingly I find my mind wandering and fingers noodling on the keyboard in crafting my magnum opus “Historic Finisher’s Handbook” (HFH), which will begin in earnest as soon as I complete the revisions for “Roubo on Furniture Making” this summer, and then take the following three years. If I go “dark” this autumn it is because I’m up in the barn having too much fun working through the dozens of recipes detailed in HFH.

And today I spent some time conserving a Roentgen desk; tonight I’m wrapping up the conservation of a c.1720 Italian tortoiseshell veneer mirror frame with another dozen conservation projects in wait.

Yeah, I think the “Spaghetti Bowl” description is just about right.

— Don Williams

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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13 Responses to The Spaghetti Bowl

  1. That’s how I feel at my day job, right now. We have the Tom Moreland Interchange (referred to as spaghetti junction) here in Atlanta.

  2. gburbank says:

    ticket purchaced, hotel reserved. Put me down for 5 copies. (yeah yeah I know you don’t do that) Multiple gifts for fellow woodworkers. I believe you will find this book to be your biggest seller, based on the number of woodworkers who have coveted this toolbox for many years. For myself, this has been the most highly anticipated publication of the past 30 years. I hope I’m proven right: may it be the cash cow that supports all of your more esoteric works!

  3. mcdara says:

    I love Spaghetti! I’m also giddy with excitment regarding most of your projects mentioned. I’ve already got tickets, and “Historic Finisher’s Handbook”, how cool will that be!

  4. ctregan says:

    What is the difference between “historical finishes” and “making new finishes look old”? Do historical finishes look old or is it historical methods of finishing wood?

  5. dnramirez says:

    Please let me know next time you plan a speaking engagement or workshop in Miami. I live in Coconut Grove (South Miami) and I would love to attend. Best regards, Daniel (

  6. drewstout says:

    I’m really looking forward to the exhibit. My dad bought the poster from Taunton back when they first offered it. Now I get to take him to see it in person. Thanks for making this happen, Don.

  7. Brian Clites says:

    Great work Don!

    Chris – I assume this book will ship in an ivory-inlaid custom wooden box, along with full-scale models for each and every tool and component, right?
    but seriously, when do you anticipate to ship? seems like not only Don, but LAP more generally has everything stacked 5-high right now!

    Cheers guys.

  8. Bob Jones says:

    I like a good TULIP myself 😉

  9. Will you have the Studley book available at the exhibit to buy? My husband bought a ticket and would love to buy it there to be signed.

  10. chrisstudley says:

    Can’t make it to Handworks, bridge too far… Seems it would have been appropriate for the Toolbox to go on tour, or at least to its native New England 😉 .. Oh well, I’ll settle for what I’m sure will be a beautiful book. I assume that once things are more settled regarding release we will get an opportunity to pre-buy? I hope the first printing is enough for us to all get what we have been waiting (varying degrees of) patiently for. Thanks Don for this…

    And yes, 3rd cousin, 7x removed…

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