Artists and craftsmen too should deal
With good faith and with honest zeal;
Let each of them the other aid
With work well done and things well made,
And as he would be served, thus serve.
— Hans Sachs, “The Book of Trades (Standebuch)” (Frankfurt, 1568)
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LostArtPress on InstagramFace vises show up on workbenches about the 14th century. The first image of a face vise I’m aware of is in a northern Italian drawing of woodworkers building Noah’s Ark. The vises on low workbenches hold the work for planing edges, ripping, cutting tenons and many other tasks. It would be tempting to think that vises this massive were used for large-scale work only, but the historical record tends to differ. Take a look at the nuts and chop on (the above painting), “La Sagrada Familia,” by Juan del Castillo (1634- 1636), a Spanish baroque painter. This bench has a remarkably massive benchtop supported by stubby legs that are joined with end stretchers. The vise chop seems to run the entire length of the benchtop and is driven by massive ellipse-shaped nuts. From the painting, it appears that you rotate the nuts counterclockwise to tighten the vise screws. This is reverse from the modern “lefty loosey; righty tighty” scheme, and is a fairly common in early representations of bench screws. I’m fascinated as to when (and how) screws became standardized. But that’s for another book. In this scene, Jesus and Joseph use a frame saw together to either rip a board or saw a tenon’s cheek. This activity is interesting to me because it echoes the way French menuisiers are shown ripping veneers on a low workbench in the 18th century’s “l’Art du menuisier.” Also worth putting in your craw: When you start looking at a lot of New World workbenches from areas conquered by the Spanish, you’ll see lots of these massive vises and the screws will be longer, sometimes freakishly long. Why? I have no clue. — from “Ingenious Mechanicks” by Christopher Schwarz #Ingenious_MechanicksOne of my favorite woodworkers and persons in the general sense. He has passion, good humor and a sharp tongue in spades. And we are pleased to announce that you can now pre-order the new book, “Joiner’s Work,” from @peterfollansbee in our store.I’m checking the final proof of Peter Follansbee’s (@peterfollansbee) new book “Joiner’s Work” this morning. It should be available for pre-publication ordering this evening for $49. Pre-orders will get a free pdf of the book at check-out. It’s a big and spectacular work.
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