“Nearly all articles of free-standing furniture are variations on two basic shapes: a platform or a box.”
— John Gloag, “A Social History of Furniture Design: From B.C. 1300 to A.D. 1960” (Crown).
One caveat, Mr. Gloag. Some pieces of furniture are both a platform and a box.
As I finish up “The Furniture of Necessity” book, I’ve started to play a little game with myself. It’s called “S$%^w Dovetails.” I try to figure out how to build a piece of furniture without dovetails or other high-class joinery.
In other words: Can I build solid, solid pieces with only staked joints and some nails?
Today I designed a bunch of beds. I could have designed these beds by making boxes with nails alone, but then they would look too much like platform waterbeds. At the Schwarz household one Christmas we ALL received waterbeds. (Did I mention that I become easily seasick?)
I’m going to build some of these beds when I return from Boston and before I head to England. But my little design game has also made my pencil go nuts with sideboards, dressers, desks, couches and chairs.
Clearly, I’ve given myself over to my odd ideas about furniture and am wallowing in my own… pig excrement at this point. But the option is to wallow in someone else’s historical excrement, which could have more corn kernels than is to my liking.
— Christopher Schwarz
Note: I removed the suggestion of a very coarse word in the text above. Not because anyone complained (no one did), but because I had intended to soften it before publishing and forgot. Apologies.
If you ordered the full-size plans for the chairs in Peter Galbert’s “Chairmaker’s Notebook,” they are in the mail to you now in a rigid cardboard mailer.
The printed plans are $25 and are available for the next couple weeks with free domestic shipping. After July 5, 2015, domestic shipping will be $4. As always, this will be the only discount we ever offer on this product.
Customers in all parts of the world can purchase the digital plans for $20 and print them out at a local reprographics firm.
Some readers have requested a searchable “Table of the Plates” to accompany the printed version of A.-J. Roubo’s “The Book of Plates.” So we have created this word-searchable pdf that you can download by merely clicking the link below.
The document is a 13-page pdf. You can search it in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader by going to Edit/Find. Or by pressing the command+F keys. This will bring up a search box where you can type your queries.
We hope this makes “The Book of Plates” easier to use.
In other news on this product, we have sold about half of the press run and will not reprint this title. The expense of creating this book was simply too much for us to attempt again. This isn’t a hard sales pitch – at this rate we’ll have the book in stock for a few years. It’s just a heads up. If you want the book, get your act together in the next couple years.
Ostensibly he keeps the village inn. His name appears over the door in the orthodox black letters on a white ground as a licensed seller of beer and tobacco. It is a pleasant little inn, and in the garden behind there are some choice plants of the old-fashioned kind in which the landlord takes a good deal of pride; but the trade in beer and tobacco is not very brisk.
They keep a gramophone at the ‘Swan’ at the other end of the village, and its seductive tones seem to have an attraction for the thirsty. Such customers as fall to the quieter tap of the ‘Lion’ are served by the landlady, an active, bustling body with some little contempt for the slow, niggling work which her husband puts into the old rubbish that she would consign to the flames. Not but what she admits that the money that the old things fetch is a welcome addition to the family purse.
The old man is not contentious by nature, but he enjoys a moment of quiet triumph. ‘She took on about an old chair I brought home the other night,’ he tells you, after glancing round to see whether the good lady is within hearing. ‘I gave five shillings for it. Well, it didn’t look up to much, certainly; but I tell you what, sir, it was a genuine Cromwellian chair, and I never saw another of the same pattern.’ Then, with a twinkle in his eye of self-conscious justification, he adds that two days later a passer-by looked in, saw the chair, and promptly gave him three guineas for it, and sent it across the Atlantic. (more…)
Washington Feb 16.—Cabinet-Maker M.W. Dove, fitting dark green leather to polished mahogany with a border of brass nails, is busily completing chairs for Cabinet-Maker F. D. Roosevelt. Making the seats of the mighty is nothing new to Dove. He’s 54 years old now, and he’s been at it ever since his early twenties when he “worked right in the palace of the czar.” (more…)