Where His Gunpowder was Only Snuff

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“Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

— E.L. Doctorow

I was pissfarting around with my combination square today when Megan Fitzpatrick stopped by the shop to pick up a manuscript to edit (it’s the Hayward Project, by the way). She looked curiously at the panel clamped in my face vise.

“That’s a huge sliding dovetail in this…uh, what is this thing?” she asked.

I gave her the simple answer: a table. But the real answer is something more like: The sum total of a thousand ideas about contemporary furniture design that are finally taking shape – thanks to a manuscript from the 15th century.

linen_clothing

Let’s back up. The last six months of work have been incredibly unprofitable for me. I’ve delayed several upcoming commissions (apologies; you know who you are) and I haven’t completed a single piece of furniture to sell since December. Part of this is because I devoted big chunks of time to “Chairmaker’s Notebook” and “Virtuoso.” But I also stumbled on a bright string in the forest that has led me to design, prototype and build pieces that explore new territory for me. So commerce can wait.

The images with this entry are part of the story, but certainly not anything worth commenting on. If you think the legs are chunky, I suspect you don’t even know what you’re looking at just yet.

I hope to have this “table” prototype complete this week. Then I’ll post some finished photos and explain the piece a bit more.

— Christopher Schwarz

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About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to Where His Gunpowder was Only Snuff

  1. “whole trip” – maybe?

  2. tsstahl says:

    “Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whore trip that way.”

    I don’t know what he picked up before sunset, but that is going to be one helluva night time drive.

  3. Dennis Heyza says:

    “You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whore trip that way.”

    And why exactly would one go around tripping whores?

  4. sawmillman says:

    Some of us like chunky legs, more of us like chunky top parts as well!!

  5. Brian Clites says:

    it looks like you’re going to bed the legs at 90 degrees. modern, but not contemporary. perhaps you are going to turn them into toothpicks on the lathe…

  6. Brian Clites says:

    unless by “table” you mean you’ve finally created the one-hour knockdown workbench 🙂

  7. Poor Megan. I don’t suspect we’ll see her for several months.

  8. Jennie here
    Sliding dovetails? The ends of the battens possibly look a bit chamfered. But put it together. The four in line trestle stakes provide no opposition to right-left forces. Help me out!
    Jennie

  9. Looks like a Moravian stool writ large. Will the legs taper significantly?
    Your remark about lightness made me think of Colin Chapman of Lotus.

  10. tpier says:

    I think there are eight legs to this table/journey/trip.

  11. jwatriss says:

    Pissfarting is a hazardous pastime, my friend. One sneeze added into a Pissfart can be ruin.

    That said, combination squares are worthy worry stones.

  12. Bob Jones says:

    Now, leave some live edges on the table top slabs and I see my next project. I’ve been needing to learn sliding dovetails.

  13. mylordsladiesandgentlemen says:

    Maybe the battens will stop this one splitting apart and you won’t have to be pf’ing about with butterflies and pocket screws.

  14. Really like the quote. An adaptation fits my case: Building a wood shop is like driving car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.

    And btw, _The Anarchist’s Tool Chest_ is one of my headlights.

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