I know it’s too late to convince you to come to Handworks. But it’s not too late to make you feel bad about skipping it to attend your daughter’s wedding.
In addition to the H.O. Studley tool cabinet in nearby Cedar Rapids, Jameel “Jamal Alabama” Abraham of Benchcrafted will be exhibiting the traveling tool chest that he and I collaborated on early this year for the August 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The chest features a silence-inducing carved marquetry lid that was designed and executed by Jameel.
Read about it here and get a peek at the upcoming magazine cover.
In addition to that, Jameel says there will be two other special chests on display at the Benchcrafted booth by some young woodworkers that you won’t want to miss.
And if that’s not enough, Marco Terenzi will be displaying his 1/4-scale Anarchist’s Tool Chest (I think it will be in our booth), which is on a stateside tour from its home in England. This thing is sick. Also, Marco tells me he is bringing one other tool chest to Handworks that – if it makes it – should make you freak.
And in addition to that, I’ll be baring my chest at the top of every hour. Just to get attention.
One of the quirks of writing for a woodworking magazine comes when you build a reproduction of a famous piece of furniture, such as Stickley’s #334 Morris chair. One of the typical lines in the story will discuss the original’s cash value. Something like, “Pieces such as this have fetched $5,000 at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.”
It’s a subtle way to equate monetary value with beauty. I’m guilty of teeing up that unfair equation myself. And I’m the first to tell you it’s bull-pucky.
Today as I was making the six legs for the staked table above I said out loud: “Who would pay for this thing?” I shook my head and finished shaping the tenon.
The answer to the question is actually a key point about this sort of furniture: Nobody has to buy it because I think anyone – anyone – can make it. It’s basically worthless. Or, to twist the meaning of a second word, priceless.
Though the “Furniture of Necessity” will explore lost forms of furniture, its other important job is to explain techniques of making furniture you might not have considered before.
These methods are ridiculously simple (can you sharpen a pencil?), fast and require fewer tools than you suspect. The photo above is after only four hours of shop time with a band saw, jointer plane, drawknife and tapered tenon cutter. Another four hours, and the table will be finished, easy.
Then it will be ready to roll into the forest for a banana fight.
“It is surprising,” said an intelligent workingman, “to notice the change that machinery of all kinds has worked in the different trades within comparatively few years. For a time there was an objection to machine work of all kinds as not being equal to hand work, but this has worn away and machinery rules everywhere.”
“In the trade of a blacksmith machinery has made great changes and actually new trades; but there is one trade which machinery in recent years has killed, that of the cabinet-maker. I have known hundreds of good cabinet-makers, after serving a long apprenticeship, finding that machinery has taken away their occupation, to become house carpenters straight away and are now earning good wages.”
“I do not think,” he continued, stroking his chin reflectively, “that contractors will be able to do without house carpenters or lay bricks by machinery for many years yet, which is one comfort.”
Two ardent amateur collectors of old mahogany recently entered a shabby looking shop together in search of a bureau of a type they scarcely dared hope to find, and, to the amusement of one of the two, the other pounced eagerly upon a very dilapidated chest of drawers and a bureau in equally bad shape, and got them for $4.50 and $5, respectively. In response to the query. “What can you possibly do with such junk?” she said:
“You know all those pieces you admire at my house? “Well, some were worse than these, and I have done them over myself on rainy days, only having an old carpenter come in for a few hours to put in braces where needed. I have a regular scraper that every hardware shop can supply, and a file to roughen it up when needed, and with this, some boiled linseed oil and a cabinetmaker’s glue-pot-on-heater, I work wonders and amuse myself for weeks at a time.” (more…)